Perilla frutescens var. crispa

Chinese basil

  • Botanical name: Perilla frutescens var. crispa
  • Common name: Chinese basil
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Plant Type: Herb
Flower colour:


Foliage colour:


Perilla frutescens var. crispa has many common names, including purple shiso, Chinese basil and purple perilla. Leaves have a unique taste, which is said to be a combination of the flavours of mint and basil, with a hint of cumin.


Popular in Asia, the purple-red leaves may be used to colour and flavour vinegar and to make pink rice. They can also be grown as micro-leaves, to include in salads.


Grow Perilla frutescens var. crispa in rich, well-drained soil in full sun. Water only when dry. Provide cloche protection in cool weather.

How to grow Perilla frutescens

  • Plant size

    60cm height

    30cm spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, west facing

  • Sun exposure: Dappled shade, full sun
  • Hardiness: Half hardy
  • Soil type: Clay / heavy / moist / well drained / light / sandy

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Do not Sow in January

Do not Sow in February

Do Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do not Sow in May

Do not Sow in June

Do not Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do not Sow in September

Do not Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December


Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December


Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do not Harvest in March

Do not Harvest in April

Do not Harvest in May

Do Harvest in June

Do Harvest in July

Do Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do not Harvest in October

Do not Harvest in November

Do not Harvest in December

Perilla frutescens and wildlife

Perilla frutescens has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Perilla frutescens poisonous?

Perilla frutescens has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People

Plants that go well with Perilla frutescens

Rumex sanguineus

Rumex sanguineus

Red-veined sorrel

Persicaria odorata

Vietnamese coriander