How to Grow Red Shiso (Perilla)

Red shiso, also known as Perilla or Beef-Steak Plant, is a Southeast Asian variety with a flavour that is a mix of both basil and mint. It is a microgreen variety that has become a popular garnish for noodle dishes, pastas, seafood and many more.

Microgreen growing guide:

Equipment you will need:

      • 2 x 10×20” trays (no holes)
      • 1 x 10×20” tray (with holes)
      • 10-15 grams of red shiso seeds
      • Growing medium (coir peat or organic soil)
      • Nutrient (optional)
      • Hydrogen peroxide mixture (2tbsp/1L water)


      • Pre-soak seeds: 2 – 4 hours.
      • Blackout period:  4 – 6 days
      • Germination time: Approx 3-7 days
      • Harvest: 11-21 days
      • Grow at approx. 20ºC, as this replicates a spring climate in Southeast Asia.
      • Heat mats can be used to maintain soil temperature at this temperature
      • Ensure good circulation in your growing space
      • Shiso can be difficult to grow as it prefers warm, moist conditions, however it does not like excessive light
      • Maintain moisture level to ensure germination.
      • Avoid overwatering as shiso seedlings can be prone to damping off

Growing method:

      1. Begin seeding your tray
        • Start with a nested set of 2 trays – 10 x 20″ without holes as a solid base, and the drainage hole tray
        • Add your growing medium in the 10×20″ tray with holes. Flatten surface of grow medium
        • Evenly spread 10g of seeds across your growing medium
      1. Water your seeds
        • Water the seeds well with a spray mister
      1. Place tray on top and add weight
        • Put another tray on top of your microgreens
        • Add a weight (approx. 2 – 3 kg) to the top of the tray.
        • Continue to mist the growing medium twice daily (morning/night) during the blackout period
      1. Day 3: Check if the seeds have germinated
        • Shiso can take at least 3-7 days to germinate
        • Ensure the medium is continually moist, but not oversaturated.
      1. Day 6: remove weight, open tray
        • Most seed hulls should have shedded and even germination should be occurring
        • Ensure growing medium is still sufficiently moist. If not, mist with more water
        • If you lift the growing tray and survey the roots and notice discoloration (possibly mould), spray with a hydrogen peroxide mixture
        • Flip the top tray so it now creates a space for your shiso to grow taller (they typically stay small then will grow suddenly). Leave weight off
      1. Day 8: remove top tray
        • Blackout period is finished
        • Option: add organic nutrient to your microgreens as it can aid with growth in peat coir – this would be done through pouring ½ cup of nutrient into the bottom tray
        • Place tray under light conditions (6-12 hours per day) with good air circulation
      1. Continue growing your microgreens
        • Harvest shiso microgreens in approx. 11 days, or continue to let them grow at the height at suits you.


Mature shiso growing guide:

If you choose to, you can continue growing your microgreens into mature shiso plants. Their fully grown leaves are a great addition to both green or fruit salads. They’re also popular in many different Asian dishes, particularly with raw fish.

Growing method:

    1. Seed starting
      • Some growers recommend sowing your shiso seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost
    1. Transplant seeds
      • Transplant seedlights after around 3 weeks to your garden, once there is no chance of frost occuring (night time temperatures should be above 8ºC
      • Plant your seedlings 25-30cm apart as they grow quickly and will be large and in an area that receives sunlight 6-8 hours a day
    1. Watering
      • Be sure to keep the soil around your shiso moist as this will allow them to thrive
    1. Feeding
      • It is recommended to either feed compost around your shiso growing area every 3-4 weeks during their growing season
    1. Harvest
      • Once your plants grow to a suitable size for you (generally a few inches tall), it’s time for their harvest
      • Harvest this variety by cutting off a sprig from the plant, just above the junction of two leaves, this will allow it to develop a bushy growth habit

One comment

  1. Nigel Ross

    From Micro Herbs…can you transplant the Perilla Red bunch and individually seperate them out so they are individuals and grow them on?

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