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The Purple Perillo Man

Last year I introduced you to the Hobby Greenhouse Clubs Plumeria Princess. This year I’d like you to meet another of our members, Richard Hollembeak. Richard is our very own “Purple Perillo Man.“

Bet most of you never heard of Purple Perillo, aka Shizo. Don’t worry I hadn’t either. That is till I passed Richards stand last year at the fall plant sale. Another member, Cindy Fischer got Richard hooked.

He had a beautiful plant with deep purple maroon colored leaves that closely resembled a coleus. He informed me it was an herb called Shizo used in Asian cooking. Since I’m always looking for something new and different, I naturally bought a large pot. As soon as I got home I researched Shizo (Purple Perillo). Though not common in this area, it’s often used in Asian dishes. The plant itself is beautiful but the real clencher for me was where it popped up in my yard later…..

Richard told me it would reseed. I wasn’t interested in that. I loved the color. It looks fantastic in my flower beds, no matter what I plant it next to.

At the end of the season, I forgot to put it in the greenhouse and it died. I just left the pot where it was and ignored it….I’m basically a lazy gardener. In fact, my motto is “find what grows well in your yard and grow a lot of it.” So…Imagine my surprise when I walked by it in the spring and saw a full pot of fresh spring growth. Well, I transplanted the whole pot right into my flower bed.

A few days later I found a little sprout growing somewhere else. It had reseeded, but not in my flower beds as expected. You’ll never guess where I found it…

As the days went by, I found at least half a dozen small plants and carefully moved each one to the flower beds. Talk about a hardy plant, I was continually amazed at where this plant popped up…..

As the plants grew, I propagated some stem cuttings. I always like to have something to give away when friends or family visit and compliment or ask about a particular plant.

According to the internet…….“Purple Perilla has been used for centuries in Asia, not only as a source of purple color, but also as an ingredient in dishes. It’s used in China, Japan, India, Korea and some Southeastern Asian cuisines. Does Perilla Have Any Nutritional Value? Perilla leaves are high in calcium, iron, potassium and riboflavin as well as Vitamins A and C.”

So for you herb growers out there, who are always looking for something new, this would be a great addition to your herb bed. It grows in full sun to light shade, does well in our heat and humidity, and tolerates dry soil.

Not only that….I did tell you where I found it growing at my place didn’t I…. No?… It grew in my driveway….Yep, came right up in the asphalt. Any plant that grows in asphalt is a “keeper” as far as I’m concerned.

So come on out to our Fall Plant Sale on Metts Ave. September 9th and 10th.

Just ask for the Purple Perillo Man. We’ll show you where he’s camped out.

Oh yes, the Plumeria Princess will be there too. To find out about her, go to the blog on our Webpage…

See you at the sale…..

Happy Gardening!

Linda Newber