For any gardener looking for an easy-to-grow plant with beautiful leaves and a delicious flavor, the perilla plant is a perfect choice. This delightful perennial is native to East Asia and can be found in many gardens worldwide. This article will discuss everything you need to know about growing a healthy perilla plant, from what it is to its soil requirements and harvesting the leaves. With these tips and tricks, you’ll have your perilla plants looking and tasting their best in no time!
What is Perilla?
Are you looking to add a unique and vibrant addition to your garden? Then you should consider growing a perilla plant! Perilla, also known as shiso, is a popular herb in Asian cuisine. It grows in various colors, including purple, green, and red, making it a great addition to your garden. Not only is perilla a beautiful plant, but it’s also straightforward to grow.
So, what is perilla? Perilla is a genus of plants that belongs to the mint family. It features large, lush foliage, and its flavor is similar to anise with a hint of lemon. The perilla plant is native to China, Japan, and Korea and is used in various dishes. It’s often used in teas, salads, and stir-fries.
When it comes to growing a perilla plant, you won’t need much. All you need to do is provide plenty of light and water. As long as you give your perilla plant plenty of sunlight and keep it adequately moist, it will thrive. The best time to plant perilla is early spring or late fall when temperatures are mild. You can also propagate perilla by cuttings.
Consider growing a perilla plant if you want to add a unique and vibrant plant to your garden. It’s easy to grow and gives your garden a burst of color and flavor. Plus, you can use it in a variety of dishes!
When to Plant Perilla
Ideally, it would be best if you were planting perilla seeds in the early spring and after the season’s last frost. You should wait until the weather is consistently warm, with temperatures usually at least 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (15-18 degrees Celsius) each day. Soil temperatures should be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). Plant the seeds about ¼ inch deep in a pot that has well-drained soil.
If you are planting perilla in outdoor containers, you can do so any time from April to May. You can also start to harvest them as early as late summer. For in-ground planting, you can wait until late spring to early summer. Planting in the early spring means that you should be able to get your first harvest in the late summer.
Soil Requirements for Growing Perilla
Perilla plants prefer soil that is loose and well-aerated. The pH level should be between 6 and 7.5, and the soil should provide an adequate supply of nutrients. The soil should be composed of equal parts of compost, sand, and clay. Additionally, adding peat moss to the soil will help retain moisture, which is necessary for the plant’s growth and health.
To prepare the soil, removing any weeds or debris that could interfere with the plant’s growth is important. Additionally, it is essential to mix the soil with some organic matter, such as compost or aged manure. After this, the soil should be loosened and leveled to make it easier for the perilla roots to spread.
It is also essential to ensure that the soil is well-draining. This can be done by mixing sand or peat moss into the soil to create good drainage. Additionally, it is recommended to mix a slow-release fertilizer into the soil to ensure the plant has all the nutrients it needs for strong growth.
Finally, it is essential to water the perilla plant regularly and provide it with plenty of sunlight. Watering should be done as needed, ensuring the soil is moist but not soggy. To thrive, the perilla plant should receive at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
Caring for Perilla Plants
Firstly, Perilla Plants prefer full sun or partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. The plant can usually tolerate both acidic and alkaline soils, but it is best to start with a soil pH between 6 and 7.5. Fertilizing your perilla plants is also essential for proper plant growth. It is best to use a balanced fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 fertilizer applied at a rate of 2-3 pounds per 100 square feet.
When watering your Perilla Plant, keeping the soil lightly moist but never soggy is best. Make sure to avoid standing water around the base of the plant, as this can cause root rot. During the summer months, it is essential to water your plant regularly, mainly when the soil is dry.
When it comes to pruning your Perilla Plant, removing any dead or diseased branches as soon as you notice them is essential. Perilla plants can be pruned to shape and encourage new growth. However, it is best to do so in early spring before flowering.
Finally, Perilla plants can be susceptible to pests and diseases such as aphids, mites, and powdery mildew. It is essential to monitor your plants closely and treat any problems as soon as they are noticed. If you notice a pest infestation, it is best to use a natural pesticide such as neem oil.
Light and Temperature Requirements
Perilla plants are incredibly versatile when it comes to light and temperature requirements. They can be grown indoors and outdoors, although they are happiest in bright, indirect light. When it comes to temperature, they thrive between 50-80°F and should be protected from extreme heat or cold.
If you’re looking to grow your perilla plant indoors, it’s best to position it near a south-facing window for maximum sunlight. Keep it away from direct sunlight, as the leaves can become sunburnt, which will cause discoloration. If necessary, you can also provide additional artificial light with the help of a grow light.
If you decide to grow your perilla outdoors, keep in mind that the temperature can change significantly between night and day. When the temperature drops in the evening, it’s best to insulate the plant with a cloth or plastic cover. It’s also essential to ensure the plant stays sheltered and protected from strong winds or extreme frost.
Given the proper care, a healthy perilla plant can be advantageous. When cared for properly, these plants can reach heights of up to three feet and provide vibrant foliage of shades of green and purple.
Watering and Fertilizing Requirements
The plant requires frequent watering, but it is essential not to over-water it. Water the soil about once a week, but only if the soil feels dry. If it does not, wait a few days before watering it again. A good indication of when to water is to stick your finger in the soil; if it feels damp and cool, it’s still hydrated. During the summer months, it’s best to water the plant twice a week, allowing time to dry out in between. In the winter, it’s best to water only once a week or every other week, as the soil dries out more quickly due to the cooler temperatures.
Fertilizing is an essential part of the perilla plant’s growth. You can use liquid or granular fertilizer to feed the plant. It’s best to fertilize twice a month during the growing season and once every two months during the winter. Make sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer packaging and do not over-fertilize, as it can burn the plant’s roots. Alternatively, you can use a slow-release fertilizer to feed your plant, as this will help provide a steady supply of nutrition and avoid burning the roots.
First, you should prune any dead or diseased branches to keep the plant healthy. After removing any dead or diseased branches, it is essential to thin the foliage of your perilla to allow for better air circulation, which helps reduce the risk of fungal diseases. You should also remove branches crossing over each other, as this will encourage healthy growth.
It would be best if you also pruned your perilla to keep its shape and size. To do this, you should prune the stems of your perilla plant at the end of the growing season, as this will help keep the overall size and shape in check. Be sure to prune the stems at an angle, which will help promote healthy growth. Additionally, it is important to prune any branches that are shooting up too quickly, as this will help keep the height of the perilla in check.
It’s best to pick the leaves and stems when they are young and tender because they taste better. The stems are usually ready for harvesting after the plant has grown to around 1 foot tall.
Once you harvest the leaves and stems, you will want to dry them. This is best done by laying the leaves on newspaper or paper towels in a cool, dry place. Make sure to turn them in occasionally. When they are dry, they can be stored in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator or freezer.
After they are dry, you can use the leaves and stems in various dishes. The leaves can be used as a garnish or an ingredient in a salad. The stems can add flavor to dishes and make herbal oils and teas.
Common Problems with Growing Perilla
The most common issue is an Anthracnose disease, which is caused by a fungus and usually appears as blackish-brown spots. The leaves may die and fall off if these spots become too severe. To prevent this, ensure to water your plant from the base, avoid wetting the leaves, and keep the soil moist, but not wet. Also, properly ventilate the plant by providing enough air circulation and ensuring that the plant does not stand in direct sunlight for too long.
Another issue is overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. To avoid this, always check the soil before watering, and only water your perilla if the top inch is dry. This will help prevent the roots from staying overly wet. If you suspect the plant has already suffered from this, repot it in fresh soil, and keep the soil well aerated.
Finally, another common problem is the infestation of pests. To prevent this, make sure to inspect your perilla frequently, especially when it is outdoors. Look out for small holes in the leaves, discoloration, or sticky leaves, as these can all be signs of an infestation. If you notice any of these signs, treat the plant with an appropriate insecticide, or bring it indoors for the winter if possible.
In conclusion, growing perilla plants is not as hard as it sounds. With the proper knowledge and effort, you can quickly grow a healthy, lush crop of perilla plants. Plant perilla in spring in well-draining soil in a sunny spot sheltered from strong winds and freezing temperatures. Keep the soil moist and fertilize monthly, and enjoy a bounty of colorful foliage and vibrant flowers. Monitor for common pests and diseases, and prune regularly to keep your perilla plants healthy and growing. With a bit of time and effort, you can enjoy the beauty of perilla plants in no time.