Perilla Frutescens 65-70 days. Known by many names including Shiso, perilla is widely used in Asian cuisine. This versatile plant can be used in everything from salads and sashimi to pickles and even hard candy. As a member of the mint family, its leaves are fragrant with a unique and appetizing flavor. The broad leaves are triangular shaped and the plant is suitable to use in an ornamental bed. The seed contains oil that's rich in omega-3 fatty acid, and the flowers can also be used as a condiment. Red Perilla has deep wine colored leaves with a flavor some describe as anise with a touch of mint.
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CULTURE: Do not be in a hurry to plant. Treat as a tender annual. Start seeds inside, 3-4 weeks before your last spring frost. Sow in sterile seedling mix and lightly cover seed with fine vermiculite. Inadequate light could result in seedlings becoming leggy. Optimum germination temperature: 70-85°F. Days to germination: 5-14. Fertilize lightly and grow at 62-65°F until planting outside. Plant 12-18 inches apart, in full sun, in rows 24-36 inches apart. Sowing outdoors is not recommended until nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50°F. The flowers range from white to shades of pink and purple and begin to appear from late July into August. Germinates at temperatures between 60-75°F.