Looking to grow your persimmon trees? These lovely trees have a special beauty that changes with the seasons.
Persimmon trees are slow-growing but particularly low maintenance once established, which makes them a great choice for growing at home.
Keep reading to learn all about persimmon tree identification, how to plant, grow, and harvest them, and how you can eat them.
Understanding Persimmon Trees
Persimmon trees are small- to mid-sized fruit-bearing trees known for their brilliant blooms in the spring, which grow into richly sweet fruit in the fall.
Persimmons are more popularly sold across Asia than in the U.S. This fruit isn’t even commonly sold in American grocery stores. Its rarity is due to the fruit’s growth patterns. When ripe and ready to eat, persimmons are too soft and mushy to sell in stores.
If persimmons aren’t ripe yet, they are astringent and unpleasant to taste. The short window by which persimmons can be sold is shorter due to transport times.
When persimmons are ripe, the fruit–from deep red-orange to bright orange and pale yellow–has a honey-like taste reminiscent of apricots. Its flesh is yellow-orange with a soft, jelly-like texture.
When it comes to persimmon trees, the fruit is usually a long time coming; it can take up to seven years for these trees to bear fruit! But one thing’s for certain: sweet-testing persimmons are worth the wait.
Visit our page on how fast persimmon trees grow to learn more about this tree’s growing habits.
Health Benefits of Persimmons
Persimmons are plentiful in nutrients. One persimmon is about 118 calories and contains folate, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamin (B1), and riboflavin (B2).
It also contains about 55% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which supports eye health, and 22% of the recommended vitamin C intake, which is a powerful antioxidant. A single persimmon also contains six grams of fiber, twice the amount of apples!
How to Properly Identify Persimmon Trees
There are hundreds of kinds of persimmon trees, but all of them fall under three categories: dwarf, Asian, and American.
American persimmon trees are the largest type of persimmon trees. These trees range from 35- to 50 feet tall and are equally as wide. Because of its size, American persimmon trees are great to plant if you’re looking to fill a large yard space and add shade.
As its name suggests, dwarf persimmon trees are the smallest. These trees grow to about eight- to 10 feet tall and equally as wide. Visit our page on dwarf persimmon trees to learn more about them.
Asian persimmon trees are mid-sized and grow to about 15- to 20 feet tall and equally as wide. These trees are especially high producers of fruit. However, even though Asian persimmons are larger than other kinds, the fruit is less flavorful than American persimmons.
Persimmon trees exhibit beauty year-round, though their appearance changes with the seasons.
If it’s summertime, persimmon trees have thick, glossy, dark-green leaves. Its leaves range from two- to 6 inches long and one- to 3 inches wide, and are widest at the middle. The top of the leaves are leathery and slick, and the bottom is paler and somewhat hairy.
These leaves change to marvelous shades of reddish-purple and purple in the fall. Fall is also harvest season for persimmon trees, so you’ll see pinkish-orange, goldish-orange, or reddish-orange fruits with skin that wrinkles when ripe.
If you spot a persimmon tree in the spring, you’ll immediately notice its stunning display of fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers. It’s these flowers that eventually turn into the fruits that we so enjoy.
The bark of persimmon trees is truly one of its standout features. The bark ranges from dark brown to dark gray and black and features deep grooves that form square and rectangular blocks. Its bark is often likened to alligator hide.
Check out our page about the unique bark of persimmon trees to learn more.
Astringent Versus Non-Astringent
There are two main categories of persimmons: astringent and non-astringent. If you like to eat freshly-picked fruit and want to grow persimmon trees at home for this purpose, this is an important detail to note.
Eating an astringent persimmon before it is fully ripe is tart, a taste caused by tannins in the fruit. To avoid tartness, it’s customary to wait for astringent persimmons to turn very soft and very orange, which indicates that it’s fully ripe.
Astringent persimmons are typically used in cooking. The most-popular astringent persimmon is the Hachiya, which is also a term commonly used to reference astringent persimmons in general. These fruits are generally acorn- or heart-shaped.
Non-astringent persimmons are deliciously sweet-tasting. You can eat fresh-picked non-astringent persimmons off the tree like apples or pears. You can also slice them and add them to salads.
The Fuyu is the most popularly grown persimmon in the world. Fuyu is also a term used to refer to non-astringent persimmons in general. These persimmons are round and tomato-like in shape with a flat bottom. The fruit ranges in color from dark reddish-orange to golden yellow.
Types of Persimmon Trees
There are hundreds of persimmon tree varieties.
Fuyu and Hachiya are two of the most-popular persimmons grown, bought, and sold worldwide. Other popular persimmon varieties include Maru, Izu, Louts, Jiro, Tanenashi, Triumph, and Hyakume.
Check out our page on persimmon tree types to learn more about the scope of varieties out there.
Other Trees with Similar Traits
Older persimmon trees and black tupelo trees are sometimes mistaken for one another. The bark of these trees has the same distinct alligator-like appearance. However, these trees also have many differences between them, including their fruit.
While persimmons are round or tomato-shaped and brightly colored, black tupelo trees produce small, round, blue-black fruits that slightly resemble purple grapes.
Where to Find Persimmon Trees
Persimmon trees grow throughout the U.S. east coast and in parts of the Southeast. It’s common to find these trees from Southern Connecticut, Missouri, Long Island, New York, and Pennsylvania to South Florida. You’ll also find them in parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
American persimmon trees can grow in USDA hardiness zones 4-9. These trees can withstand temperatures down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit, so they can generally survive winter throughout most of the U.S.
Persimmon Tree Care
Persimmon trees thrive most when planted in well-drained soil and exposed to full sun.
Well-drained soil is ideal for these trees because it helps to prevent root rot and fungus problems. The tree will tolerate a range of soil types, though loamy, slightly acidic soil is ideal. It’s best to avoid very salty soil.
These trees have a reputation for being low maintenance. Once established, you don’t need to water persimmon trees unless there is an unusually dry season. In a drought, you can water these trees once a week.
Persimmon trees will survive a drought just fine, though the size and yield of their fruit will be affected. Persimmon trees also don’t require extra fertilizer and flourish fine without it.
Check out our page on persimmon tree care and learn more about what’s required to take care of these trees.
How to Grow and Harvest Persimmon Trees
How to Grow
Growing persimmon trees is generally a breeze, even for inexperienced gardeners. Here are three simple steps to planting this tree.
- Dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the tree’s root ball. The hole should be three times as wide as it is deep. The depth should be just as deep as the roots.
- Place the tree inside the hole. The crown of the tree, or the beginning of its bark, should sit slightly above the line of soil.
- Refill the hole with dirt. The dirt should sit similarly to a pyramid, with the tree in the center.
As the tree grows, prune it regularly by removing small and flimsy branches. Doing so will also help to deter alternate bearing to occur, which is when a tree produces fruit every other year.
Visit our page on how to grow a persimmon tree for more specific details on doing so.
When to Harvest
Persimmons must be harvested at the right moment. Otherwise, you risk eating too-sour and unpleasant-tasting fruits. Depending on your location, these fruits are typically ripe in autumn, from September through late November.
When you pick persimmons, use hand pruners or a knife, and leave some of the stem attached. It’s also important to use a tray instead of a bucket to avoid bruising.
To produce fruit, you’ll typically need two or more persimmon trees. There are male and female trees, but persimmon trees can produce fruit so long as there are two trees, regardless of sex.
How to Use Persimmons
In the Kitchen
Persimmons can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or dried and used in sweet and savory recipes.
Because persimmons have a high sugar content, this fruit is a great ingredient for cakes, cookies, muffins, bars, puddings, sherberts, smoothies, jams, pies, and even drinks. You can also make oven-dried persimmons for a healthier, albeit still sweet-tasting, option.
You can also puree persimmons to make soup, such as persimmon habanero soup, or use them to make salad dressing. Or, you can slice up persimmons and add them to oatmeal or salads.
Persimmon Trees: Frequently Asked Questions
How can you tell if a persimmon tree is male or female?
Male persimmon trees have smaller flowers that grow in clusters. Female persimmon trees produce larger flowers that grow independently. Inside the flowers, you’ll notice a difference in regard to the stamens.
Female flowers have stamens but are sterile and significantly smaller than those in male flowers. The only way to decipher between a male and female persimmon tree is by its flowers.
What is the lifespan of a persimmon tree?
Persimmon trees live for about 60 years.
Wrapping Up the Keys to Persimmon Tree Identification
Not only do persimmon trees bear marvelous white flowers and, eventually, deliciously sweet fruits, but they are also very easy to care for.
Persimmon trees are a great choice for new and experienced gardeners alike to add to their properties, whether to grow delicious fresh fruits or enjoy the refreshing shade these trees offer.
Interested in learning more about this fruit tree? Visit our Persimmon Tree page!