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Perilla Magilla®

Perilla Magilla®

Perilla frutescens


Starts shipping in early May to all zones
Item # 88090-PK-6C
This item does not qualify for any additional discounts or promotions.

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Red leaved Perilla (also known as Shiso) is a must have herb in the sunny garden, just for its beautiful looks and butterfly attracting abilities if not for its flavor and nutritious value. This annual is a mainstay of Asian cuisine, but is less commonly used in this country, though it grows readily in full sunshine and any well drained soil, even re-seeding itself in mild and warm climates.

The stems on this plant are a deep violet, keeping their color from spring until frost, and the leaves vary from pink to dark wine red. Slightly serrated, they can reach up to 6 inches across, leading to one of Perilla's many common names: the Beefsteak Plant. (It's also known as Wild Coleus, Japanese Basil, Purple Mint, and Rattlesnake Plant, among others!) Wonderfully aromatic, the leaves release a scent that is mint like but also spicy sweet, like cinnamon or cloves. Fabulous on a hot summer day in the garden, perfuming the entire herb garden or vegetable patch!

A superb companion to Tomatoes, this plant reaches up to 4 feet high in bloom -- and it remains in bloom over a long season in most areas! The 10-inch spikes studded with ¼-inch lavender-pink blooms begin in midsummer and continue through mid-fall, luring butterflies into the garden by the dozen. Leave them on the plant to dry out and their seedpods will rattle when you shake them -- hence the nickname Rattlesnake Plant! But beware -- Perilla re-seeds freely, so if you are planning to let it go to seed naturally in your garden, prepare for a big showing next spring!

Packed with vitamins and minerals, Perilla's flavor echoes its fragrance: strongly anise or licorice with a hint of cinnamon to take the edge off! Chop it up for salads and stir-fries. And if ticks are a problem in your area, rubbing the leaves on your clothing before a hike through the woods is said to repel ticks! Perilla also has many uses in traditional medicine.

Often grown just for its ornamental appearance, Perilla does the annual bed a great favor with its brilliant Coleus like leaves, strong scent, and butterfly magnetism. Give this herb a try in several parts of the garden this season and see what you think! We predict you'll love the fragrance and the dramatic color of this plant so much that next year you'll have a special area devoted just to its cultivation!