Image by Robert Couse-Baker
By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener
Growing persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) is a great way to enjoy something different in the garden. Early explorers to American valued this tree, as did Native Americans who used the fruit, which hung on the tree into winter, for food during the cold months. The tree is very attractive and valued for both its wood and its fruit.
Bark forms in thick square blocks that resemble alligator skin. The wood is strong and resistant, used to make golf club heads, flooring, veneers and billiard cues. The fruit is sweet, when left to ripen, and is similar in taste to an apricot. Growing persimmons is a fun and rewarding project for the home gardener. Learn more about persimmon tree growing conditions so you can grow these amazing fruits yourself.
Where Does Permission Grow?
The American persimmon, also known as the common persimmon, is native from Florida to Connecticut, west to Iowa and south to Texas. Persimmon trees can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. The American persimmon can tolerate temperatures down to minus 25 degrees F. while the Asian persimmon can tolerate winter temperatures down to zero. The Asian persimmon is grown commercially in the United States and can be found in nurseries that specialize in less common nuts and fruits.
How to Grow Persimmon Trees
You can grow persimmons from seeds, cuttings, suckers or grafts. Young seedlings that are one to two years in age can be transplanted to an orchard. The best quality, however, comes from grafted or budded trees.
An important factor for those wanting to know how to grow persimmon trees includes the type and number of trees to plant. The American persimmon tree requires both male and female for fruit while the Asian variety is self-fruiting. If you have a smaller garden space, consider the Asian persimmon.
The right persimmon growing conditions are not hard to find. These trees are not particularly picky about soil but do best with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.
If you are interested in growing persimmons, choose a sunny spot that drains well.
Because persimmons have very deep taproots, be sure to dig a deep hole. Mix 8 inches of soil and loam in the bottom of the planting hole, then fill the hole with loam and native soil.
Persimmon Tree Care
There is not much to persimmon tree care other than watering. Water young trees well until established. Thereafter, keep them watered whenever there is no significant rainfall, such as periods of drought.
Do not fertilize the tree unless it does not appear to be thriving.
Although you can prune the tree to a central leader when young, very little pruning is required with older growing persimmons as long as they are bearing fruit.
Now that you know how to grow persimmon trees in the home garden, why not give these interesting fruits a try.