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Plants of the UNF Campus

Perilla frutescens - Perilla
Family Lamiaceae


About four to six species of Perilla are native to to Asia. The common garden forms in the United States have purple or purple and pink leaves. Small flowers are borne on spikes at the tops of the stalks. Perilla may grow to three or four feet tall.


Perilla resembles basil and is used in similar ways in cooking. It has many uses in Oriental medicine. The seed oil is used as a drying oil for paints, varnishes and inks. Some people recommend rubbing the leaves on skin to repel ticks and insects.


This plant is a summer annual, used for color in planters and prominent locations.


Herbaceous plant usually grown as an annual outside of the tropics.

Care Instructions:

Light: full sun to part shade

Water: average water requirements, tolerates drought

Soil: well-drained soil, very adaptable

Perilla grows as a summer annual in Jacksonville. Like coleus, the foliage provides a long season of color. At least two color forms can be found in local gardens and nurseries. It tends to reseed heavily in the right environment.

Perilla frutescens Perilla frutescens 2