Pretty Persimmons! The closer-to-home exotic-looking fruit you don’t expect to see while hiking, but their unmistakable fall fruit can be seen standing out against the fall leaves from afar! American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) are native to most of the East Coast, and as far west as Iowa. Where they are a boon to wildlife anywhere they can be found growing.
Persimmon trees are highly ornamental, fruit-bearing trees and easy to grow! Seen occasionally in the grocery stores in the fall, many folks don’t know quite what to make of them. But they were once a staple of Indigenous American diets back in the day. Used in pemmican, and as winter food staples for centuries here in the US and in Asia, and now the American Persimmon and its cousins are coming back into vogue!
Along with the Asian Persimmons that do great in hot growing zones 6-10 of the US, cold-hardy American Persimmon trees. Producing colorful round fruit that starts out green, then turns to orange, deep red, or even soft purple!
The ripe fruit has a uniquely sweet but nutty flavor and a wide range of culinary uses. With a soft texture, Persimmon fruit has been made into puddings and pies for centuries! Eaten alone or added to other foods, like salads, breakfast cereal, made into delectable preserves, or frozen to use in smoothies. You can bake with them too, as you would apples. Persimmon tree leaves can even be used to make tea!
Yes! Prune your trees in such a way to develop a strong framework of main branches while the tree is young. Remove crossing branches, damaged and any stems growing into the interior. Airflow and sunlight need to reach the interiors of these trees.
The ideal time for pruning Persimmon is in late winter or very early spring - when the tree is still dormant. Use a sharp pair of shears to cut out any broken and diseased branches, cutting back till you reach the trunk of the tree.
For size control, prune in the summer, prune for size and shape, remove water growth and suckers, keep the canopy open for air circulation and allow sunlight to reach the interior.
Types of Persimmon, Pollination & Harvest
Known as Diospyros, which means "fruit of the gods", Persimmons come in both astringent and non-astringent types - but don’t let the name fool you. Asian varieties are harvested when the skin becomes translucent and the calyx separates from the fruit, while American Persimmons drop off the tree when ripe.
American, or Common Persimmon, can be both! Pick early for astringent, and then let ripen on the tree until non-astringent.
American Persimmon does require cross-pollination with another Persimmon tree. Although some flowers may be perfect, most plants have separate male and female trees (dioecious). We suggest you plant at least two (or more) to increase pollination chances. Groupings not only ensure pollination but give you and your wildlife more to eat!
Asian Persimmon are generally self-fertile, but all plants do better with a pollination partner, increasing yield significantly with more than one tree planted in the same area.
Persimmon trees, as mentioned above, are very easy to care for! Simply give them the right location to grow:
These are low water need trees once established, but for the biggest, juiciest harvest and to keep your tree from struggling, water them well in times of need.
The Persimmon tree itself offers ornamental bark, wonderfully robust foliage, and tremendous fall color in addition to that delicious edible fruit on an easy-care ornamental tree. You’ll love their tropical-looking blossoms and so will all the bees. Their unusual blooms have four thick petals and are quite tropical, usually in greenish-yellow or greenish-white in color. The male flowers can appear more pinkish and in clusters. Plus they’re often fragrant!
Naturally resistant to many diseases, they easily avoid late frost damage, as they are one of the last trees to bloom each spring. Persimmon trees have foliage that's glossy green and branches that give it a flowing appearance! Growing as either a multi-trunked or single-stemmed deciduous tree to about 25 feet high and wide.
What's not to love about these pretty-as-a-picture Persimmon trees?
Head over to NatureHills.com to find the perfect Persimmon for your family today and as always…Happy Planting!