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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Korean Perilla, Beefsteak Plant, Chinese Basil, Purple Mint, Bhanjira, Shiso, Egoma, Shisonoha, Tsu Su.

Latin Name: Perilla frutescens

Plant Family: Lamiaceae

Close Relatives: Mint, basil, oregano.

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. young leaves are used raw or cooked, mature leaves are used for flavouring meats and colouring preserves, seeds eaten cooked or oil extracted); medicinal (e.g. Leaf extract for inflammation and sedative properties); ornamental; essential oil (e.g. flavouring, cosmetics); Industrial (e.g. perilla alcohol in fragrances; natural sweetener). Often used in Japanese and east-Asian cuisine. Green and purple-leafed varieties are available and have different end-uses/markets.

Purple perilla
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Chill seeds at 5˚C for 3 days in moist soil prior to sowing.  Needs light to germinate.

Propagation method

Most commonly by transplants from seeds or direct seeding.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

Late winter

Field Seeding Date:

Mid-May, after last frost. Do not bury seeds and keep soil moist until germination.

Field Transplanting Dates

Late-May, after last frost.

In-row spacing

15-30 cm

Between row spacing

30-45 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. No research or recommendations from other jurisdictions were found for nitrogen fertilization of this crop. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils, sandy or loam soils.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range

18-24 °C

Temperature sensitivity

Frost tolerant (light frosts only).

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation required under normal Ontario conditions for seedbeds. Irrigation beneficial under normal Ontario conditions for remainder of season.

Days to harvest


Specialized equipment:



Leaves wilt rapidly and plants are often harvested whole to reduce wilting. Harvest whole tops for essential oil extraction at flowering. Whole tops are often harvested and bunched for culinary uses or for essential oil extraction. Single leaves can be harvested and sold for culinary use.

Harvest Scheduling

Whole plants: single harvest, multi-cropping or continuous harvests from successive plantings. Tops for essential oil:  single harvest.  Individual leaves:  multiple harvests from the same planting.

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest (leaves, whole plants); machine harvest (tops for essential oil extraction – forage harvester).

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Harvest during cooler parts of the day to reduce moisture loss and cooling costs. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing


Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 85-100% (fresh leaves)

Temperature: 0°C (fresh leaves)

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: N/A

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Japanese beetles.

Diseases: None observed in Ontario to date.

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Flea beetles, slugs, two-spotted spider mites, spittlebugs, garden fleahopper.

Diseases: None reported.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario:  Japanese Beetles. The lack of reported pests is due to limited information available or experience with this crop in Ontario or similar growing conditions. This crop is not in a crop group. There are few to no pest control products registered on this crop in Ontario.

Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  2. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Small, E. 2006. Culinary herbs, 2nd Edition. NRC Research Press, Ottawa.
  2. Bown, D. 1995. Encyclopedia of herbs and their uses. Dorling Kindersley, London, UK.
  3. Readers Digest. 2009. The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs. The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. Pleasentville, NY.