A traditional Japanese plant, this Shiso has been a part of Japanese culture for many years. Its delicate blossoms add color to every landscape. It is a perennial herb that prefers a warm climate but will grow just about anywhere in your yard. Shiso blooms from spring through fall.
The most attractive feature of this delightful perennial is its lovely green leaves with a white throat. The blooms come in several varieties including blue, purple, orange, pink, white, black, and yellow. The leaves are very fragile and sensitive to cold, so be sure to store seedlings either in the refrigerator or outdoors in an airtight container. If you’re growing this, be aware that the tiny white or pink flowers only bloom for a short time and will turn brown quickly if exposed to extreme temperatures. It is also important to note that mint can cause a severe allergic reaction when consumed so keep the seeds and leaves out of reach of pets and young children.
When planting growing this, be sure to plant it in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It will do best in full sun but you may want to consider alternate sun and shade to ensure it has ample nutrients. Because it is extremely drought tolerant, it is a great choice for growing in coastal areas as long as there is regular rainfall. As a matter of precaution, you should dig a hole about twice the root width of the plants and place the pots in the hole, press the soil down tightly, and water the plants thoroughly before putting them back into the hole. Watering on a daily basis will help keep the soil moist and help prevent mold.
While growing shiso, remember to move them from direct sunlight to a shaded area once a week, or to a greenhouse if possible. During the hottest times of the year, it is best to protect the seedlings from strong southern sun, high winds, and heavy rain. This will allow the plants to get all the sun they need without being over-watered. Moist climates are very ideal for growing this so try to avoid areas with heavy frost during the wintertime.
When growing this, try using partial shade and be sure to cover the seeds with potting soil. In order to germinate your seeds, you must have a cold frame. This is a simple, plastic structure that traps the heat of the sun during the winter and provides it to seedlings in the spring. The frame will provide the right environment for germination. A partial shade over the seedlings will help ensure they don’t get scorched, while protecting them from the full brunt of winter.
Once the seedlings come up through the autumn, you can move them outdoors. It may be too hot for them to be outside for more than a few days, but keep an eye on them from time to time just in case they go into a dormant stage. As the plants start to grow, they will require a lot of water. So make sure to have a back-up source of water that is as well-drained as possible so as not to waste precious water when you’re trying to grow this.
If at some point in time you decide you want to harvest your growing this, you must take special care not to damage the seed. Harvesting your shiso before it’s fully developed will stunt its growth and its flavor. When harvesting your shiso, you should first dig it up and put the seeds into small plastic bags. Make sure to leave about one inch of soil in the bags. After this, spread the seeds evenly over the dirt, cover them with the plastic bag, and seal it.
Once you have the seed settled, you can now start growing your herbs. Harvest them once each month or so, depending on how fast you want to grow them. Harvest them while they are still half the size of a pea, because as they mature, they’ll shrink back. Put the seeds in your herbal garden and water them generously right after harvesting. You’ll notice that the flavor of your herbs has all been enhanced, and the color of the herbs has changed as a result of the sunlight shining onto them as they’re growing.