The persimmon tree has been used to symbolize transformation and success at New Year’s in Japan for many years. This divine tree is also known for bearing delicious and nutritious fruit, so it’s no surprise you want to grow your own!
While these trees are uncommon in colder climates, inhabitants in warmer climates know all about the many benefits and uses of persimmons. If you’re in a zone too cold to grow persimmons outdoors, you can try growing it in your house with some special care instructions.
Whether you live in a zone known for growing persimmons or hope to try growing this tree indoors, keep reading to learn how to grow a persimmon tree.
Characteristics of the Persimmon Tree
Types of Persimmon Trees
There are two commercially sold types of Persimmon trees: Asian and American.
Asian Persimmon Trees
Fuyu and Hachiya are the two most popular commercially sold Asian varieties, although several other varieties are on the market.
Fuyu persimmons are best for eating fresh. Their flavor is unique and spicy, hinting at bits of tropical and cinnamon.
Hachiya persimmons are best when cooked or baked. Their flesh is smooth and creamy, and their flavor is tangy.
American Persimmon Trees
American Persimmons, or Diospyros virginiana, is also called the Common Persimmon. This tree variety is native to the East Coast of the United States and is more cold-hardy than the Asian varieties. They grow from New York to South Florida.
Common persimmons produce smaller fruit than Asian persimmons, but their fruit is often described as being more flavorful and is often compared to an apricot. The American persimmon is described as having a complex, rich, and intensely sweet flavor.
Persimmons can grow up to 60 feet tall and 25 feet wide, but some dwarf persimmon trees stay short or even shrub-like, topping out at 10 feet.
Although the fruit of an Asian persimmon is much larger, American persimmon grows larger than their Asian cousins.
You can usually identify a persimmon tree by its fruit. Persimmon fruit looks like a mix of tomato and an orange plum, although each variety varies in appearance. For example, a hachiya persimmon looks more like an acorn.
Persimmons can range in color from yellow to red-orange.
Each persimmon variety has different uses in eating and cooking As mentioned above, some varieties are better for cooking and some are better for eating raw, but did you know there are more uses for persimmon trees than just eating their fruit
The indigenous people chewed persimmon tree bark to help cure heartburn. Now It is commonly used for building objects such as golf clubs, musical instruments, tool handles, flooring, furniture, and more.
The seeds can be turned into peanut-like oil or roasted for use as a coffee substitute. Persimmon seeds can also be turned into buttons.
History of the Persimmon Tree
Persimmon trees are native to Asia and were first cultivated in China over 10,000 years ago. Today, China, Japan, and South Korea are still the top producers of these trees,
Asian persimmons were first introduced in the United States in the 1800s, though early settler Captain John Smith discovered the American persimmon in the 1600s in Virginia.
American persimmon seeds were used by Southerners in the Civil War as buttons because they are sturdy and difficult to break.
Growing the Persimmon Tree at Home
What You Need
Tall and wide pots *If planting Indoors
Sun or Artificial Sunlight
Pine Bark *If soil is too acidic
Well-drained area with sandy loam soil
Best Time to Plant
Persimmon trees need to be planted during a period of no frost, so plant them in spring after the threat of frost has passed. You can also plant a tree six weeks before the first fall frost.
Select a Variety
Select a variety based on your location’s lowest temperature. Asian varieties can survive down to zero degrees Fahrenheit at best, but American persimmons can survive temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Look at the USDA Plant Hardiness Map when selecting a variety. American persimmons will grow in zones 5 to 9, but Asian persimmons will only grow in zones 7 to 10.
Persimmon trees can grow in containers, but choosing a container large enough to accommodate their long taproots is important. You will need a pot at least 22 to 24 inches wide and deep.
Rounded pots are typically measured in gallons. Trees grown in rounded pots should be in ones that are 10- to 15- gallons.
You will preferably want a pot that can be moved easily because persimmons thrive best in natural sunlight and will be happiest if moved outdoors in the warmer months. If you live in a region that gets too cold for persimmons, moving them indoors during the winter is the preferred method to protect them.
Potted persimmon trees should be repotted every two to three years or when you notice a decline in the tree’s overall health. You can easily tell if your tree needs to be repotted if there appear to be more roots than soil or if the roots appear matted.
Dwarf persimmon trees are ideal for indoor planting since they won’t outgrow their pot as quickly, although they require the same size as regular-sized persimmons.
Potted persimmons typically produce less fruit than planted persimmons, but as long as they are of fruit-bearing age (between six and eight years old), you should see anywhere from 15-30 persimmon fruits each year.
If you are growing a potted tree with artificial light, do not exceed 12 hours of light each day during the growing season. Persimmons require a dormant season and don’t need much sunlight in the winter.
Try to select an area with sandy loam soil that drains well. Light, sandy soils are not ideal for persimmon trees.
Persimmons prefer a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Most soils range between 6.0 to 7.0, but testing before planting your persimmon is not a bad idea.
After selecting the location where your persimmon will be planted, dig a hole three times the width of the pot and the same size deep as the root ball.
Persimmons prefer full sun to grow and produce fruit. They thrive best in locations where they receive at least eight hours of sun daily.
Spacing depends on which persimmon tree variety you are growing. American persimmons should be 30 to 50 feet apart and Asian persimmons should be 15 to 20 feet apart. Jiro persimmons only need to be 8 to 10 feet apart.
You must provide your tree with a four-foot diameter weed and grass-free area to protect your tree. This area serves as a water basin and prevents nutrients from being taken from the tree.
Place four to six inches of mulch a few inches from the trunk to allow air circulation in the spring and summer.
The best spring mulch is weed-free hay and compost; the best summer mulch is a mixture of grass clippings and weed-free hay. Add pine bark or pine needles to add acidity to the soil.
Pests and Diseases
Watch out for the following common persimmon tree diseases, so you can catch them early and save your tree. You should always contact a local tree inspector if you suspect your tree has a disease to confirm and discuss treatment options.
A persimmon tree’s growth will appear stunted, and leaves may be reduced in size. Fruit will not produce at all or will be in very small quantities. Check the roots for hard, woody tumors if the tree appears dead.
If Crown Gall is suspected, the tree must be destroyed to prevent the disease from spreading to other plants.
Persimmon Trunk Borer
Persimmon trunk borer occurs when insects get into the trunk of young trees near their soil lines. You can naturally control these insects by digging them out with a thin wire or cutting them with a sharp knife.
Persimmon Pylloxrexa is a small insect that feeds on leaves. It causes little damage except it likes to feed on leaves. Oils like neem oil are safe to spray on the tree to help prevent these insects.
Pruning your persimmon tree ensure optimal, healthy tree growth. Note that persimmon trees are slow-growing, and it’s not uncommon for them to take at least six years to produce fruit.
The best time to prune your tree is in late spring or early spring when the tree is still dormant.
Use sharp shears to cut back broken or diseased branches. Pruning is especially important while the tree is young to develop a strong tree frame. Older trees will not need to be pruned as often.
Where to Buy Persimmon Trees
Asian Tree Varieties
American Tree Varieties
Wrapping up How To Grow A Persimmon Tree
Congratulations, you now know how to grow a healthy and beautiful persimmon!
Interested in learning more about this fruit tree? Visit our Persimmon Tree page for informational posts and comprehensive guides!
- About the Author
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Nicole Kinkade considers herself blessed to have grown up with fresh garden vegetables and fruit readily available. Both sets of grandparents were avid gardeners, and she spent many hours helping them collect the fruits of their labor.
She is passionate about healthy living and loves learning and sharing about nutrition facts. She is also always experimenting in the kitchen and finds joy in writing about what she’s been cooking.
With a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and an Associate’s in Media Communication, she is a passionate writer who loves sharing her knowledge online.
Nicole can be reached at email@example.com