Perilla is mentioned here because in years past it was a great favorite as a foliage plant. The leaves are dark purple and have a metallic luster causing the plant to resemble a Coleus. It grows about 1/2 feet tall. The pinkish flowers, in form like those of Catnip, are inconspicuous. Perilla frutescens is the species but there are forms with finely cut leaves and others with spotted foliage, cataloged as P. nankinensis.
USE. Perillas are used for masses of bright foliage in the border, where they offer a strong contrast when planted in the rear of low-growing white flowers, such as Sweet Alyssum, Candytuft, and white Stocks, or with the white-leafed Dusty-miller. They make rather attractive low hedges. It must be admitted that this plant is somewhat weedy, but it fits certain situations very nicely.
GENERAL. In some sections of the United States, it has run wild. Seeds sown in the open soil in April produce good plants that are effective all Summer. The seed germinates slowly. Let the plants stand 1/2 feet apart. They thrive well in poor, dry soil and require little attention.