Red Shiso (Perilla frutescens), beefsteak plant, is an herb that has been a staple in Japanese cooking for centuries to wrap fish, be fried in tempura, or added to soups. This deep, purple leafed variety has a distinctive taste, different from the green leafed variety of Shiso.
This Asian herb grows about 2’ high and is striking as an ornamental. What more can you want? Edible, ornamental, and a dye plant! The seeds are even used ground as one of the ‘seven’ spices in Asian cooking.
Plant in full sun. Start indoors or sow on surface of soil after danger of frost is past and press into the soil. Germination is 10-21 days.
Make sure to mordant your wool or protein fibers that you want to dye with alum, and then harvest the stems and leaves in a pot and bring to a simmer and add your yarn/wool. I was really surprised at the bright, fresh, modern green that this plant gave me with ease. I didn’t have to add iron as you often have to do with other plants, and it was a much fresher green than the dark army greens you usually get with the addition of iron to sadden a plant that gives a yellow-ish green. I was really pleased with the color, I got from this plant and even used it in my food a few times. So, I hope you’ll be pleased too!
If you ever have a problem with any seed that you get from me, please let me know. These seeds are grown and harvested in my gardens, and to me, a wasted growing season when a seed or plant does not grow, is something that money can’t replace, so I take it very seriously, if there is a problem.