Anyone in San Diego have any luck with Red Perilla/shiso?

HeyJude2012(10b/24 San Diego)July 21, 2013

My mother is from Japan and makes the most amazing red ginger pickles with red shiso. I have tried to grow it and I'm not having any luck.

I've tried germinating the seeds indoors and outdoors. Fall and spring. Out of all my attempts, I've had only 3 seeds germinate and they got fried during an unexpected heat wave.

Is there a trick to getting the seeds to sprout? Are they a fall or spring plant?

I can't find much info through the old messages here or from Google.

I can't get any info out of my mother other than her pronouncement that you can't grow red shiso here. I remember as a kid that she had them growing along the side of her house although she always complained that the taste was not the same.

Any thoughts...advice...pronouncements? :)

I finally just bought 2 plants from the local nursery last week. It was the first time I had ever seen it for sale as a plant.

Thank you! Jude

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

I had great success with the green form when I lived in Long Beach. Think I started with a *small* transplant from the garden center.

I found the following info about starting from seed:
- In temperate climates, the plant is self-sowing, but the seeds are not viable after long storage, and germination rates are low after a year.
- Store extra seed in fridge [doing so will help prolong seed viability.)

So it sounds like the key is fresh seed sown soon. Once you get plants going, you (or your Mother) should be able to have more plants from the self-sown seeds.)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 3:38PM
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HeyJude2012(10b/24 San Diego)

Hi Jean...thank you! I'm going to let my two plants go to seed and try from there. They sure are a pretty plant.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 6:43PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

@ HeyJude
I have been growing shiso, both green and red, BUT I DONT DO IT from seeds ANYMORE. I buy bunches of shiso from Asian market and root them in water, then plant them. This year I have 4 plants.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 8:27PM
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HeyJude2012(10b/24 San Diego)

Seysonn-That is brilliant!!! I never would of thought of that. Thank you so much!!!

Are they more a spring or fall plant?

:))) Jude

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 11:46PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

I am growing green shiso in the foothills north of L.A. Have a bunch of plants growing abundantly from seedlings picked up at Nijiya Market in Sawtelle.

The stuff is hard to start from seed, though it will tend to reseed itself once established. As my current plants move to maturity this fall, I hope to take some cuttings and grow indoors over the winter.

Today's lunch included eggplant sauteed in sesame oil with lots of shiso, flavored with miso. Delish!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 12:07AM
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I'm also in LA area hills - very hot western SFV. I have a few questions, such as any insight on how heat-tolerant they are?

I usually start seeds outdoors, either in containers or raised bed, but think I may need to treat these with more care (start and harden off indoors). My SIL's translation of the seed pack said to plant out in March, but I think they won't like our summer heat so I'm waiting til our hopefully-rainy season.

Another question - what's their growth form? Bushy like a basil? Small individual plants like a spinach? do they need staking? Lots of water?

That's a great idea, to root cuttings from the grocery aisle.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:41PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

They will grow very much like basil in form, though taller than most basils.

They like water. Tolerate heat just fine as they are a summer crop, but they don't need too much direct sun, considered fairly shade tolerant. Japan is a very humid climate, and sunlight is not half as intense as Southern California sun.

Seeing as you are in SFV, let me know if you ever want to trade plants or seeds. I am up in Sunland/Tujunga.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 3:30AM
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HeyJude2012(10b/24 San Diego)

Thought I'd post a pic for sbmw. These are now a month old from the small starts I got from the nursery. I transferred them into these bigger pots. I did not pay $9.99 for them! Home Depot was having a recycle black plastic grow pots and I grabbed a couple. :).

When y'all make cuttings, do you use rooting hormone?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:52AM
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Thanks for the info and the enviable photo. I think I'll wait til the weather cools off a bit before planting the shiso seeds.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Avocado101(9A Southern California)

I grow green perillas from seeds. Due to the higher intensity of sunlight in Southern California, they don't do well in the full sun. I plant them between my tomato plants in April. Then they are shaded within, and receive "some" sunlight. And I water my tomato plants a lot.

Your mother is right about the difference in taste. Even if I use imported seeds, the taste is not the same. Spinach also doesn't taste the same.

This post was edited by Avocado101 on Sun, Sep 8, 13 at 14:37

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 2:30PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

Any thoughts on whether to cut back Shiso to prevent going to seed, as you would with basil?

If so, what technique? With basil, easy, just remove the tops, but shiso flowers all over the place.

Since the flowers develop in the crotch of the branches, just remove the flower buds?

Or cut the whole plant back vigorously?

Maybe cut the plant back hard, harvest the leaves and try rooting the cuttings?

Any ideas or experience welcomed.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 5:57PM
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So when you guys mention that locally grown shiso doesn't taste the same, do you mean that it's not as pungent?

Shiso actually grows wild here in Richmond, VA - I just started growing red shiso, but it's not large enough yet to harvest and compare with the wild stuff.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 8:20PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

Shiso prefers to stay moist. If it dries out leaves will get tougher and flavor will be compromised. Here in SoCal plants seem to do much better with very little direct sunlight.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 2:42AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Shiso / perilla , nturally grow bushy to a height of about 3ft if you don't do any thing to it. By pinching back you can keep it shorter and bushier.

Some shiso have big leaves, the size of a hand. Some have smaller leave. The ones that I am growing this year(from store bought rootings) have smaller leaves and not quite as aromatic.

Shiso dries well too. That means, it will keep some of its aroma and flavor. I use it just like basil and oregano in spaghetti sauce, meat balls, pot roasts, chicken roast, stuffed peppers, You can use large leaves to make DOLMA,(stuffed leaves) Greek style just like grape leaves or cabbage leaves. But shiso is MUCH tastier than them all. Plus you add some chopped leaves to the stuffing.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 12:01PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Several people said they had trouble with germination. From what I have read, shiso is contrary to most other plants in that old seed has better germination than fresh seed. Try planting some old seed.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:01PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

Thanks Seysonn, that's helpful.

I ended up letting the ones that were further along go to seed and have started collecting seed for next year.

Meanwhile, I picked all the flower buds off the ones that hadn't gone completely to seed and made a ginger-shiso-toasted sesame oil pesto with the flower buds. Pretty tasty, but the sesame oil time I'll go with olive oil.

Hopefully, we'll get a few more weeks of leaves out of the plants I de-flowered.

Yes, Jim, according to Japanese sources, shiso seeds stay dormant for at least 6 months before they will germinate. Smart temperate climate annual weeds, if you ask me.

Very unlike it's cousin basil that will germinate right away - perhaps partly due to more extensive history of cultivation and selection in favor of fast germination?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 8:58PM
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I wanted to grow the red shiso I ate in Japan. But, after reading the following, I see I NEED the Korea type:
Wiki excerpt
The oilseed variety contains about 38-45% lipid.[42] Expressed from these seeds, the perilla oil exhibits one of the highest proportions of omega-3 (α-linolenic acid (ALA)[6] fatty acids of any seed oil, at 54-64% and only 14% linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. This unusual n6:n3 ratio gives this crop potential for an alternative to other seed oils.[43]

My question is: If I grow one in the front yard and one in the back and try my hardest that the flowering times don't overlap (pinchI out flower buds), how likely am I to get pure seed from each?
I guess I can overwinter a cutting or two as well. Has any one tried that?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2015 at 11:13AM
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