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Think of shiso like a coleus for sun. In fact, it's closely related to coleus and serves the same role -- to add colorful foliage and an exotic feel to beds, borders, and containers. Some varieties of this plant, though, are treated as an herb and eaten. Others are grown as colorful ornamentals that thrive in both shade and sun. It can be difficult to find in some garden centers, but is becoming more commonly available. Some types of shiso will self-seed in the garden.


Part Sun, Shade, Sun



Under 6 inches to 3 feet


To 2 feet wide

Foliage Color:

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how to grow Shiso

garden plans for Shiso

more varieties for Shiso
Purple beefsteak plant

Purple beefsteak plant

(Perilla frutescens 'Atropurpurea') bears citrus-scented purple leaves that have a metallic bronze overlay. It grows 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide and can self-seed vigorously in the garden.

Gage's Shadow shiso

Gage's Shadow shiso

(Perilla 'Gage's Shadow') bears burgundy foliage shaded with green. It grows 3 feet tall.

Magilla shiso

Magilla shiso

(Perilla 'Magilla') bears burgundy leaves with a magenta-red stripe down the center and is often confused with coleus. It grows to 3 feet tall.

plant Shiso with
Spider Flower

It's amazing that the tall, dramatic spider flower is only an annual. Once temperatures warm up, it zooms to 4 feet or more plants very quickly and produces large balls of flowers with fascinating long seedpods that whirl out from it. Cut it for vases, but be aware that the flowers shatter easily after a few days. It typically self-seeds prolifically, so you only have to plant it once. Because it develops surprisingly large thorns, it's best to keep spider flower away from walkways.Plant established seedlings in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Cleome does best in moderately rich, well-drained soil. Be careful about fertilizing or you'll have extremely tall floppy plants. Group in clusters of 6 or more for best effect.

New Guinea Impatiens

Like their more common cousins, New Guinea impatiens provide hard-to-find brilliant color in shade. And it's not just the flowers. The foliage is often brilliantly, exotically colorful as well. These tropical plants really shine in containers, where they thrive in the perfect soil and drainage, but they also do well in the ground as long as you take the time to improve the soil and work in plenty of compost. Note that they're a bit more sun-tolerant than common impatiens.Plant established plants in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Keep soil moist and fertilize lightly but regularly.

Coleus, shade-loving with blended leaf

Shade-loving coleus with blended leaf color provides vivid color and wild markings even in the darkest corners of your yard. The mottled colors often change in intensity depending on the amount of sunlight and heat. These varieties are easy to grow -- just plant them in a shady but warm spot; give them enough water to keep the soil moist, but not wet; and add a little fertilizer.When frost threatens, pot them up and enjoy them as houseplants in a sunny window until spring. Then plant them outdoors once again!

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