A good choice for containers

David C. Becker,  – April 18, 2005

Few plants have made such a splash so quickly as Magilla perilla. Introduced last year, the annual is related to Perilla frutescens, commonly known as shiso and used in some Asian cuisines. But Magilla, more widely available this year, is grown for its lime green, hot pink, and plum leaves, which look remarkably like those of coleus, one of its cousins.

Magilla perilla is a good choice for containers, along with pink Showcase geraniums, purple Aromatica nemesia, and trailing ‘Jade Frost’ lamium ― all growing in a galvanized metal tub. It also works well in the ground, where it will quickly reach 2½ to 3 feet tall and as wide. Magilla prefers rich, well-drained soil and regular water but is surprisingly sun-tolerant ― in fact, leaf color develops best in full sun along the coast and only light shade inland. The plant benefits from occasional tip pruning to keep it bushy and should last outdoors until frost.