Perilla, Beefsteak Plant 'Magilla'


Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Perilla (per-IL-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Magilla




Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:



White/Near White


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama

Moody, Alabama

Chandler, Arizona

Mountain Home, Arkansas

Prescott, Arkansas

Clayton, California

Clovis, California

Concord, California

Fairfield, California

Oakland, California

San Jose, California

Sonoma, California

Vallejo, California

Bartow, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Fort Pierce, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Largo, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

Nokomis, Florida

Tampa, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Cumming, Georgia

Boise, Idaho

Chatham, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Lake In The Hills, Illinois

Rock Falls, Illinois

Davenport, Iowa

Galva, Iowa

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Minneapolis, Minnesota(2 reports)

Leakesville, Mississippi

Mathiston, Mississippi

Otoe, Nebraska

Las Vegas, Nevada

Brooklyn, New York

Ithaca, New York

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Stilwell, Oklahoma

Butler, Pennsylvania

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Summerville, South Carolina

Cordova, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Dayton, Texas

Dublin, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Garland, Texas

Houston, Texas(3 reports)

Lufkin, Texas

Midway, Texas

Plano, Texas

Port Lavaca, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Shepherd, Texas

Spicewood, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Ashburn, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

Muscoda, Wisconsin

Twin Lakes, Wisconsin

Riverton, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 16, 2015, siege2055 from Stilwell, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

After I figured out that this plant shared the name Perilla with the weed that grows in the woods around here, I almost panicked because of the invasiveness of green Perilla here. But after growing Magilla, I am pretty sure it is not a true Perilla, or at least not completely, perhaps a hybrid between Perilla and something else, but more likely a Coleus. It lacks the strong smell of Perilla, and I would not try eating it.


On Sep 30, 2014, purpleinopp from Opp, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

The one negative review of this plant by coriaceous is describing Perilla frutescens, not Perilla 'Magilla.'


On Apr 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I have grown both the hybrid Perilla x 'Magilla' and also the purple leafed strain of the species P. frutescens. Where I live, if a plant is prohibited because it's ecologically invasive, all its hybrids, even ones which seem to be sterile, are also prohibited. That's because there have been so many cases where a supposedly sterile cultivar or hybrid has turned out, many years later, to revert to an invasive form.

I used to be partial to the purple-leaf strain, but after growing it once in pots I found it turned into a persistent annual weed. After more than a decade, I'm still weeding it out of the beds. It's very aggressive and outcompetes many perennials.

A pretty plant, but there are far too many other pretty plants that are less work. I'll never plant thi... read more


On May 15, 2011, TexasFriendly from Dublin, TX wrote:

I searched for this plant after reading how hardy it was in the Texas heat. I found it in Stephenville at the ace hardware plant place of all places! It is beautiful and adapted well in planting in my garden, it adds color and promises to be bushier than Coleus. It has survived the wind storms and hail and is thriving. If it lives up to its reputation it will be a trouper in the Texas summer... what a find!


On Jan 30, 2010, mmanman from Houston, TX wrote:

My greenhouse has over 40 varieties of Coleus that are overwintering in small pots from cuttings. There is a Perilla frutescens var Magilla amongst them. When friends visit, I give them six stick-on tags which they may initial and place on pots of the varieties they would like for spring planting (I start cuttings of these for them). Invariably, the Perilla is selected by everyone. It really is a lovely plant and does well in the garden as well as a houseplant (I rotate duplicates to the brighter greenhouse every 3 or 4 days).


On Aug 6, 2009, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

I couldn't help but laugh when I read the name tag... it reminded me of the cartoon "Magilla Gorilla", which I'm sure the plant breeder intended. Anyway, I potted this perilla in a container with some trailing torenia, and placed it in a morning sun/afternoon shade location. It grew profusely and maintained its rich purple/magenta colour.


On Aug 19, 2008, yhanavan from Concord, CA wrote:

I planted 3 of these plants in mid-July. They are all in full sun until mid-morning and then partial shade the rest of the day. I was worried about how they would do since the soil is poor quality (mostly hard clay). They all are doing remarkably well and are growing like crazy.


On Aug 13, 2008, lavender4ever from (Louise) Palm Bay, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Care free plant of exceptional beauty. Loves our clay soil too. Easy to root in water and does equally well in planters.


On Sep 14, 2006, DonnaA2Z from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I haven't had this plant but for about a month... I have to say I fell in love with it when I saw it. I, as well as others, thought it was a colleus at first. This is definately the most hardiest plant I have.


On Jul 10, 2006, crowellli from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

These plants have withstood prolonged drought that lasted for several months when they were first planted. We then had heavy rains every day for a couple of weeks. It stood up to all that without any problems at all. I've experienced no bug problems with it either. Very colorful and easy to grow here in Houston.


On Jun 6, 2006, saladgirl from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a) wrote:

I purchased a Magilla in mid-May and planted it in a glazed pot (approx 10 gal. in size) with good drainage and pot feet. It is in a spot of my yard where it receives full sun from 10 a.m. to 7p.m. Our temperatures jumped into triple digits about 10 days ago, and over the last weekend most of my other plant began to wilt, but the Magilla has held it's own, and more than doubled in size. We are on a drip system which offers a short drink each a.m. and I'm happy to have found another plant that will stand up to this desert heat and beautify our pool area. (All of the sunlight reflecting off the water and light colored walls has not affected it yet either.) Will see how it holds up through our winter.


On Jun 25, 2005, tremax from Delray Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Have had this plant for about four months now. Some in full sun and some in partial shade. They are all growing well and have been easy to root from cuttings. There has been some damage to leaves caused by unknown sources. Leaves get various shapes of deterioration. Some look as tho they've been eaten. Not having any idea how to treat this problem I have not tried any kind of medication. Anybody having success with treating this???


On May 9, 2005, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I could have sworn it was a coleus when I first saw it, then I saw a sign right below it that read, "This is not a coleus." Well, that answered that. :) It's a very interesting plant with about as much variegation as you can get in a leaf. Sure looks like a coleus, though. :)


On Nov 12, 2004, ruthm from Dayton, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant has performed wonderfully in our humid, hot summer. It has rooted so well, we have many pots ready for gifting. No problem with wilting but have noticed small slits in some of the older leaves. Not sure if it is a critter or just the habit of this plant. But as long as the plant performs this beautifully, it's a keeper!


On Oct 14, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I absolutely love this plant! I purchased 6 of them this year and have them growing all over. They are deep pink/purple where they receive more sun and green with pink centers in the shade. They make wonderful accents in and around hydrangea, hosta and when mixed with impatiens and other annuals and have survived several weeks of cooler weather and light frosts here in NY so far.


On Sep 11, 2004, surfee from Clarksville, TN wrote:

I love this plant! Everyone who sees it comments on it, and it has grown unbelievably fast. I have also rooted some pieces in water and they too have been a success.

I would like to have it again next year...but i am unsure how to preserve it, i would love any tips.


On Aug 28, 2004, dedward300 from Cordova, TN wrote:

This is a true crowd pleaser. It can take our full Memphis sun. Very easy to take cuttings, roots in about a week, and can set out in 2 weeks. Grosshoppers may be a problem, but the plants are so bushy you really don't see the damage. They are beautiful planted with Profusion Cherry Zinnias. I am going to try and winter-over some plants for cuttings next year.


On Aug 26, 2004, shudhave from Upton, MA (Zone 5b) wrote:

This plant is so easy to grow and looks fantastic all summer. I overwinter starts of it and also the large plant -- which struggles through until Spring and then takes a few weeks to adjust when it goes back outside. It recovers by early summer and is full and colorful until nearly frost. Try it with lime-colored annuals and stand back! It's great!


On Jul 18, 2004, RonandDanyle from Butler, PA wrote:

WE LOVE THIS PLANT!!!! We live in mid-Western PA and it does rain a lot here. I think Pennsylvania has like 37 sunny days a year that it doesn't rain/snow/sleet etc. First let me establish that I have been know to be able to kill virtually any plant (no kidding, I killed snake plant once in college--bet you thought that was impossible). We planted 7 of these aproximately 6 weeks ago on the side of our house in an area that's about 1/4 sun/ 3/4 shade about 18 inches apart. I thought they were pretty but didn't hold out much hope. We watered them every few days and put some miracle grow on them exactly twice and they just took off! They are now so huge they are touching each other width-wise and almost 2 feet tall. These have approx QUADRUPLED in size and they are sooooo beautiful. Every... read more


On Jul 2, 2004, johnastl from Tampa, FL wrote:

I also bought some of the Magilla variety 1 gallon at Home depot. They are doing fine, however there has been some insect damage on the leaves. I have not experienced any color changes with full sun or partial sun. Makes a great texture change between larger shrubs. Time will tell if they can survive a long time. Have not seen this plant be a fast grower as of yet. Any help would be appreciated on the insect damage because we really love what the perilla adds to our landscape..


On Jun 26, 2004, maconfalcon from Macon, GA wrote:

I planted this in middle Georgia last month and it is thriving! Its the center of a pot with petunias and mixed flowers around it and everyone loves it. Of course, every person who has commented on it thinks its a coleus. So far so good, but the summer is still early here and we've had lots of rain in the last couple weeks. I have not tried to take cuttings to root new plants yet, but sounds like that is a distinct possibility. I got mine at Home Depot @ $3.99 for 4" pot.


On Jun 15, 2004, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

BEAUTIFUL plant! One of the top-ten comment getters in my garden. Roots very easily from cuttings, easier than coleus even. I LOVE it!


On Mar 17, 2004, youreit from Knights Landing, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I would have given this plant a negative, however, I believe most plants must have at least one or 2 redeeming qualities. I live on the border of zones 8 & 14 in California, and this poor thing was wilting before I even got it in the ground. It perked up a little after more watering, but as soon as I planted it [in a non-boggy area near a man-made creek in filtered shade], it began its slow decline before dying completely. I haven't had that happen too often, so maybe I'll just stick with what I know from now on. The ones pictured sure look beautiful, though.


On Feb 11, 2004, jyoung from Baton Rouge, LA wrote:

We had much success the first year we trialed this plant in Baton Rouge, LA. Unlike coleus, this plant did not flower until very late in the season, late September early October, and had very few flower spikes. Plantings occurred in April in full sun and performance was outstanding. No insects or diseases were found, plants continued to flourish under extreme heat, up to 101 F on some days, and survived until first frost in late November.

This is an excellent plant for areas where heat stress and droughtful conditions occur. It is somewhat maintenance free and has a provides excellent color.


On Aug 25, 2003, PVick from Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7b) wrote:

Fell in love with this plant the first time I saw it. Grows beautifully in containers. My plant gets some sun for most of the day; multi-colored and lush, it has not gotten leggy, wilty or faded.

I hope to get cuttings to overwinter so I can have this one again next year.


On Aug 16, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The old-fashioned purple-leaf perilla (Perilla frutescens) resembles purple basil. Perilla, a small genus of annuals is a member of the mint family as is the coleus for which the 'Magilla' is often mistaken. It has vibrantly colored, rounded, almond-shaped leaves with dark purple stems. It is a tremendously fast grower.

It requires moist, well-drained soil and occasional fertilizer. It is said that with more sunlight, its foliage should be more multi-colored and in the shade, it should be more purplish toned. But my plants seem to be a deeper color planted in pots where they receive the most sunlight. I have not planted any in full sun. In all locations, they have grown robustedly.

My 135 pound dog broke off a stem from one of these plants before I c... read more


On Jul 11, 2003, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Just got this plant so can't say how well it's going to do long-term here in coastal Northern CA (zone 9/Sunset zone 17). Supposedly this plant can go all the way full sun to full shade; sun gets more pink/red, shade goes more green/purple. Astoundingly beautiful plant, everyone who sees it wants one!

6 wks later, Aug 2003: Our hot dry CA summer can bleach this plant, but so can too much shade. I'm keeping tabs on 4 of these plants, two of them in full sun, windy coastal conditions, 1 in almost full shade (potted so I can take it out to the sun if it needs it) and 1 in partial shade.

In full sun (5+ hrs) the colors fade, particularly the purple, to a much duller overall appearance. When backlit, however, you still see the vivid magenta color of stems and leave... read more


On Apr 23, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Looks more like Coleus than many Coleus do; I was completely nonplussed when I lifted up the tag at the nursery (I was sure it was a Coleus.)

The commercial grower's notes say it will take full sun better than the best Coleus, too - we'll see!