|PERILLA frutescens - Beefsteak Plant|
Lamiaceae; native to India.
Germination: Best sown indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost at a temperature 65-75°. Expect germination in 15-20 days. Sow outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Do not cover the seeds as light is necessary for germination.
Growth: Transplant with care to its permanent place in the garden as Perilla resents being moved. Site 12-15 inches apart in full sun or light shade. Plant in an average to dry soil with good drainage. Pinch when 6 inches tall to induce bushiness. It self sows readily. To grow indoors, provide 55° nights, full sun, and keep the soil evenly moist.
Appearance and Use: This annual is used in borders, beds, and planters, and is grown as a houseplant. The crisp, deeply toothed, reddish purple foliage has a metallic, bronzy sheen. The plants reach 18-36 inches, have square stems, and bear pale lavender- pink or white flowers in 3-6 inch racemes in late summer. Perilla is primarily grown for its foliage.
NASA Seeds in Space
"What’s it to you whether or not we have an orderly, scientifically sound method for cataloguing plants and animals? Not much. But it comes in awfully handy for scientists who, up until the middle of the eighteenth century, had to say something like ‘that little yellow flower with the spots on its petals’ every time they wanted to compare notes," The Linnaean System of Taxonomic Classification, Judy Jones and William Wilson, An Incomplete Education