Have you ever heard of perilla or shiso leaves and want to try them? Learn how to grow shiso leaves so you can try it fresh!

For more information: What is Shiso?

Shiso, or perilla leaves, are not only linked to Korea but also many other Asian countries like China and Japan.

In the native Korean language is referred to as deulkkae, Shiso in Japanese, and si zu ye in Chinese. It is the backbone of many Asian cuisines like kkaennip (a Korean dish). It is also part of many side dishes and can be used as a pickled vegetable.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to buy fresh perilla leaves outside of Asia, and keeping them fresh for long is challenging, making it impossible to import or export these precious leaves.

Growing these at home isn’t difficult. With the right conditions and perfect instruction, growing perilla leaves is hassle-free. In the post below, the process of growing perilla leaves at home is written in detail.

How to grow shiso leaves?

Growing any vegetable or fruit requires the best condition required for them. So whether it is perilla leaves or any other vegetation, it is essential to know the perfect conditions to grow them.

Plants are like voice-less children. You have to take care of them and give them love daily through water and perfect conditions. If it is not the case, then they will wilt and die.

perilla shiso seeds in bowl on wooden surface

Plant shiso seeds

The first step in growing perilla leaves is starting from the seed. You can quickly source these special seeds from a farmer’s market or stores online. In the era of social media, many stores linked an online deal with seeds.

You can also harvest these deulkkae seeds yourself at home. But it isn’t easy to store these seeds as they require specific temperatures and conditions to be stored. These conditions are difficult and almost impossible to achieve and maintain, making harvesting these seeds almost impossible.

Soak seeds in water for at least 24 hours before planting them a quarter-inch deep and covering them with soil. At the temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the seeds will germinate in 21 days to grow a seedling. The soil should be moist instead of wet. Wet soil can lead to fungal infections.

Be sure to plant the seeds at a distance of 10 to 12 inches apart, so they have plenty of space, soil, and water. Keeping grow lights is a good idea as they require plenty of light in the initial stage.

When to grow shiso

Perilla is a plant that can grow best in warm and humid conditions meaning it is best to plant them at the end of the winter period, in March or April, as these plants originated from the Himalayas so that they can tolerate cool summers.

Perfect timings are essential so that a plant can thrive. If it is too hot, it is essential to maintain a shade on top of the plant so that it doesn’t cause any harm.

Another essential surrounding condition is sunlight. Korean perilla leaves require six to eight hours of sunlight. The sunlight helps in photosynthesis, which is critical in the growing process. If there is an issue with sunlight, grow lights are your best friend.

Another critical aspect is the space and water. Like any other living being, water is necessary for plants and hence requires moist soil to grow. Excess water can lead to fungal infections; occasional dryness won’t do much harm.

Temperature and weather conditions

Korean perilla needs neither warm nor cold conditions to grow. As they originated from the Himalayas, they are used to cool summers paired with plenty of sunlight. The perfect temperature for seed germination is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature can be easily achieved in the months from March to May in zones 2 to 11.

In March, April, and May, the last snowfall has usually been experienced in the zones mentioned above. Spring is in the initial stages, and the temperatures are perfect for perilla to grow.

The day temperatures are around 70 degrees, followed by about 45 degrees Fahrenheit at night- temperatures easily acceptable for perilla leaves. However, if the temperature falls below that level, they will be uncomfortable.

Korean perilla leaves are one of the most delicate species of plant; therefore, in the case of cold or frost, they can quickly die, leaving you confused about the cause of death. Our recommendation? Wait for a little until you know the cold has ended and spring has started.

purple shiso plant

Surrounding conditions

The surrounding conditions mean the soil in which it is planted. The soil should be well-drained and moist in order for the plant to have a consistent supply of moisture. It may be picky regarding the cool, but this plant can handle warmth with a few drought conditions. So be sure not to overwater them. And if you forgot to water them in between, it shouldn’t cause any issue.

Soil

The soil pH should be slightly acidic, ranging from  5.5 to 6.5. So it is crucial to load up the soil with plenty of organic materials and compost. It would help reach the perfect acidity and provide the plant with nutrients and minerals to grow into a healthy plant.

Sunlight

Sunlight is also essential for its growth but in a moderate amount. If the sun is too sharp and warm and the days are longer, it is best to keep a shade over the plant so there are no issues in its growth.

Harvesting

Korean perilla leaves multiply; hence, multiple plant harvest is possible within a year. The leaves are flat with serrated edges and grow wide enough. So please wait until the leaves are as broad as your hand before cutting them.

Cutting a junction of leaves is better than removing single leaves as this ensures the plant grows bushier. Keep the small leaves on the plant and give them time to grow before picking them once they reach the perfect time.

Bloom

The flowers of Korean perilla leaves are dispersing; hence, once they produce seeds, they can spread far and wide. But these seeds are choosy regarding the conditions they grow and, therefore, will only turn into weeds instead of an entire plant.

If you want to collect the seeds, then pinch the flower of the plant and let them dry out and turn brown. Put the flour in a bag and shake it vigorously to collect the seeds. These seeds must be stored in cool and dry temperatures before planting in the next planting season.

Storage

Once the leaves are fully grown and cut off the plant, they need to be stored appropriately to ensure their long life. These leaves dry out quickly, so they should be stored in the fridge. They should be consumed within 1 to 3 days of being stored in the ridge as they can quickly go wrong.

For their long life, you can marinate them according to the kkaennip recipe, making it go longer and taste amazing. Or you can cover each leaf with kitchen paper separately and then put it in the zip lock bag. Then this zip lock bag can be kept in the freezer.

Freezing the leaves might elongate their life; however, it would affect the taste significantly, and the best decision is to consume them fresh, making them tasty and healthy!

What is shiso used for?

There are many uses for Korean perilla leaves, the first being its use as part of the central cuisine. In Japan, these leaves are often served alongside sushi. Apart from that, it is part of the garnish for many Japanese dishes and is often eaten raw.

In Korean, these perilla leaves are used in kaennip and incorporated in many cooked dishes. Korean people also use the seeds of this plant to extract the oil, which can be used as a substitute for sesame seed oil (due to being high in omega 3). This oil is also used to make perfume due to its sweet nature.

stack of perilla or shiso leaves on wooden cutting board

Health benefits of shiso leaves

There are numerous health benefits to perilla leaves too. They are packed with iron, calcium, and Vitamin A. The nature of these leaves is anti-inflammatory and has been used as part of treatment for asthma, eczema, and arthritis for years.

They taste amazing with a hint of mintiness and can be easily incorporated into many dishes like in a salad to take advantage of its numerous health benefits. The oil extracted from its seeds is rich in omega 3 and can be easily used for many heart problems.

Perilla decor uses

In North America, perilla leaves are famous for their vibrant color and beauty. Instead of being part of a plate, they are part of gardens and parks to give a touch of vibrancy and color. These leaves are often purple, adding a bit more beauty.

Additionally, the minty smell of these plants makes the surroundings exponentially better and fresher. And that is why it is planted in some areas to provide the freshness for which it is known.

Shiso diseases

Shiso is susceptible to many diseases, which can be a result of certain microbes or conditions. The most frequent issue faced by first-time planters is the damping of the seeds, which prevents the germination of the seeds.

This results from too much water or not having a proper drainage system. A large amount of water in the soil can lead to fungal infections, which will kill the seed.

The leaves can also rust, which leaves a red patch on their leaves. The best preventive technique is to avoid planting in the same area again and remove the affected leaves, so they don’t spread more.

Downy mildew is another condition this plant can suffer through. This condition causes yellow patches on the leaf and causes it to go harmful and unsafe for consumption. The best prevention plan for this disease is to ensure enough air circulation. The seeds should be planted at a distance, allowing enough air to circulate between them.

Shiso pests

These plants are minty, and as a result, many pests tend to stay away from them. Its nature is also the reason some people use it as a form of pest repellant. But some pests tend to attack and harm it.

Aphids are one of the pests easily found in most gardens and attack most plants. They stick to the underside of the leaves, leaving sap that causes discoloration of the leaves. They also suck the sap from the plant, causing them to die.

To prevent the attack from aphids, you can watch the leaves with soapy water dislodge pests stuck to them and remove the sap they may have left behind.

Another issue you may encounter is spider mites. Spider mites are often ignored as they are not easily noticed until a large amount of discoloration is left behind in the leaves.

They suck the sap from the plant, leaving whitish spots and small webs behind, making white spots appear, deeming them unsuitable for consumption. It’s possible that this will spread to other parts of the plant.

Like aphids, you can thoroughly spray the plant and its leaves with soapy water or insecticidal soap. Make sure to cover all the areas, mainly the underside of the leaves.

You may also run into white flies that inhabit themselves onto the plant. They are also often ignored due to being very small.

Whiteflies suck the plant’s sap, just like the other two, causing stunted growth. They also leave behind a white sap called honeydew which can be easily caught- hinting at the infection of the plant with white flies.

You can apply neem oil onto the plant or insecticide spray to eliminate the white flies. Cut off the infected leaves or part of the plant.

shiso or perilla plants in garden

Conclusion on how to grow shiso leaves

Shiso leaves are easy to grow and result in numerous leaves throughout the year (just after one plantation). The key is just the perfect condition to grow as any plant requires.

Another important thing is the storage, which can easily yield numerous healthy, fresh, and tasty leaves used in many dishes or as medicine.

Packed with many nutritional benefits, these leaves are also famous as a disease-fighting plant too. Additionally, they are not too difficult to grow at home.

Other gardening articles:

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  2. Growing Strawberries In Raised Beds
  3. How To Keep Basil Alive
  4. How To Grow Green Onion
  5. Easy Fruits And Vegetables To Grow
  6. How To Grow Lettuce
  7. How To Grow Kale

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