Herbal Series: Growing Shiso Britton

Part of what keeps me gardening year after year is that I can never come to the end of new herbs, vegetables, and flowers. I love the consistency of my favorite workhorses (I just picked up several packets of Sun gold tomato seeds from  for my clients’ gardens this summer) but I also love trying something that I never have grown before. Recently, on one of my mental health field trip excursions I found these lovelies! The winter had been bearing down on me so I needed to be near many plants…many…many…many plants and I had gone off on a jaunt to my local nursery and found Shiso Britton for the first timel. I loved how beautiful it is with its two toned leaves of green on top and deep reds underneath but more than that I wanted to experiment and cook with it this summer. Though it may not be used as often in our homes in the west, it is a very common herb across Asia and is often paired with fresh sashimi, sushi, tempura, rice and even in soups. Some have described the taste as being a combination of cloves, cinnamon, cumin, mint and basil. That just sounds like an herbal pantry rolled into one! It requires full sun, grows to between 18-30 inches, likes well draining soil that stays moist and like other leafy plants loves a fertilizer higher on the nitrogen side. I’m excited to be growing it this year!