Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Favorite Plant in the Garden Right Now...

...Is Perilla frutescens 'Magilla.' I bought this Coleus look-alike earlier this spring at Sky Nursery, which I blogged about here. It's done very well in my garden in the ground, as a companion to Echinacea 'After Midnight.' It's growing in a bed near the stream, under the spreading branches of a red twig dogwood. Also in the bed with it are a handful of Black Mondo Grass, some Prairie Smoke, and a couple of daylilies, which have long ago petered out and are now just strappy foliage.

It has been wonderfully drought-tolerant all summer, never missing a beat even when I forgot to water that bed. The enormous Darmera nearby was not so forgiving. According to Ball Horticultural, it's sterile, so no rampant self-sowing like the all-purple version of Perilla. In fact, it hasn't even flowered yet, so unlike Coleus I haven't needed to pinch it back at all. I haven't given it any fertilizer either. I think next year it will make a great companion to the tropical Cannas, bananas, and Colocasias that I'd like to put in my new tropical bed. I plan to take cuttings and root them like I would a Coleus, which I hear should work well. From what I've read online, it takes to rooting in water quite well. I've also found references online to it being deer-resistant (a problem I don't have with my fenced back garden). Of course, deer will try anything once.

It's a nice, compact plant.

Love that magenta stripe down the center of the leaf

It's been a great companion to Echinacea 'After Midnight'

Here are some stats.

Height: 18-24 inches
Width: 18-24 inches
Hardiness: Zone 10-11, so for me it's an annual
Sun: Full Sun to Part Shade
Soil: Fertile, well-drained

The Favorite Plant in the Garden meme is hosted by Loree at danger garden, who's current post is about Senecio mandraliscae, or Blue Chalk Sticks, a tender succulent. Check out her post here and see what other bloggers are writing about as their favorites.


  1. Love that dramatic coloring! Hope your cuttings root well and flourish.

  2. Gorgeous! Too bad it doesn't throw seed everywhere as I wouldn't mind having to pull up such a beautiful weed!

  3. I'm going to have to look for this plant as, unlike Coleus, it might actually over-winter in my zone 10b garden. Thanks for the heads-up!

  4. That's a very nice combination, those two plants together. Also nice having the peace of mind knowing the beastie is not going to reseed everywhere.

  5. Wow, great color pairing, Alison! I just love that magenta stripe in the middle. Shame it's not hardy in our zone, it's a beautiful plant.

  6. I had a drink last night at Pelicano Restaurant called "Shiso Lovely' with gin and lime and shiso...which is, apparently, perilla....maybe not one as pretty as yours. But the drink was fine and very very pink.


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