Akashiso, also called red or purple shiso, is a great culinary variety of this popular Asian herb. It’s highly ornamental and has an intense flavor like mint, basil and cinnamon. Traditionally, red shiso is used for coloring umeboshi (pickled plums) and other preserves since the leaves and stems contain a special color compound.
The plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall. Germination isn’t easy. To break their dormancy, you’ll need to stratify the seeds by simulating cold winter weather. You can do this by soaking the seeds, placing them in a pot and transferring them every week between the freeze and the refrigerator. After a few cycles, place the pot in a warm area to aid germination. The germination rate is 90%.