Perilla 'Tia To'
Scientific Name: Perilla frutescens
Common Names: Perilla 'Tia To', Vietnamese Perilla
Tia To is a traditional, open-pollinated cultivar of perilla that has been grown and eaten in Vietnam for centuries. You can collect seeds from this variety and resow year after year and they'll grow true to type.
Tia To perilla is traditionally eaten raw in Vietnamese salads or cooked in soups and stir fries. The strong flavour of this perilla variety complements fish and other seafood well. Tia To can also be diced and used as a herb in pickling mixes.
Choose a growing site for Tia To perilla that receives full sun or light shade. Ensure your garden soil is free draining, grow Tia To perilla in raised beds if your soil is compacted or heavy with clay. To give perilla the nutrients it needs to thrive dig lots of organic fertiliser, well rotted manures, compost and/or worm castings through your soil prior to sowing. Water perilla regularly and mulch around plants well to help retain moisture, keep their root systems cool and suppress weeds. This variety of perilla is suitable for growing in containers. Perilla will self sow in the garden if conditions are ideal, remove the flower heads as they form if this becomes a problem.
When To Sow:
Sow Tia To perilla seeds from September to February in temperate and subtropical regions of Australia. In tropical regions of Australia you can sow Tia To perilla seeds from May to August.
How To Sow:
You can improve the germination rate of perilla by cold stratifying the seeds, tricking them into thinking they've experienced a cold Winter. To do this mix some seeds with an equal amount of damp sand in a plastic ziplock bag. Don't use sand that is dripping wet otherwise you may cause the seeds to rot. Place the seed mix into your refrigerator for a week. Then remove the seeds and soak them sand and all in lukewarm water overnight before sowing them out the next day. Perilla seeds need sunlight to germinate so sow them no more than 3mm deep, covering them lightly with soil and firming it down will slow evaporation from the surface which could otherwise dry out and kill the seeds. Space or thin Tia To perilla plants to about 35cm apart to give them plenty of room to grow.
Germination of Tia To perilla seeds can be slow, taking between 11 and 30 days.
Time To Harvest:
You'll be able to harvest decent quantities of Tia To perilla leaves 10 to 11 weeks after sowing the seeds.