Caring for Persimmon Trees: A Guide to Growing Persimmon Trees

Caring for Persimmon Trees

Expanding Your Orchard

Some home gardeners plant traditional fruit trees such as citrus, apples, pears, and plums in their orchards. However, there are numerous additional crops to consider, such as the Diospyros virginiana, or persimmon tree. With minimal care, this beautiful ornamental tree yields a bountiful crop of unique fruit every fall.

For the home gardener, growing persimmons is an enjoyable and fulfilling endeavor. Continue reading to find out more about how to grow persimmon trees in your yard and how to take care of them.

Diospyros virginiana Overview

The plant requires loam, sand, and clay soil, has a height of 12.2-18.3 meters, a spread of 6-10.7 meters, needs direct sun exposure, thrives in hardiness zones 4-9, and can be planted in spring or fall.


The American persimmon tree thrives in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9. Its foliage transforms into warm colors in the fall—vivid red, orange, and yellow—accentuating its gray bark. The characteristic thick, black bark of persimmon trees, divided into square blocks resembling a chessboard, distinguishes them. Urn-shaped blossoms emerge in late spring, yielding fruit that ripens in the fall.

Tree Size

A persimmon tree can reach a height of 60 feet (18.3 meters) in the wild, with branches that spread between 20 and 35 feet (6 and 10.7 meters) and a trunk that is two feet thick. However, persimmons grown at home are typically significantly smaller and shorter.


Their brilliant orange fruits, which linger on bare branches into late winter, are a major source of food for wildlife. People have strong feelings toward persimmons: they either love them or detest them. When the odd edible fruit is young, it is as hard as an apple, but as it ripens, its flesh becomes creamy and mushy. Devoted fans of the persimmon adore its distinct flavor, which sets it apart from all other fruits.

Uses of Persimmon Trees

Native Americans and early explorers to America both prized this tree. Throughout the winter, they fed on the fruit that remained on the tree after the first frost. People regard the tree as an ornamental plant and for its wood, which makes it beautiful.

Thick, square chunks of bark that resemble alligator skin cover robust and resilient wood. Craftsmen frequently use persimmon wood to produce veneers, billiard cues, flooring, and golf club heads.


The native American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) and the Asian persimmon (Diospyros kaki) belong to two different families of persimmon trees. The American persimmon is a versatile tree that is simple to grow. Its vivid orange fruits, typically smaller than Asian persimmons, have a characteristic beak at the base. The fruits of the American persimmon are bitter until they mature.

Asian Persimmons

Asian persimmons, also known as Chinese or Japanese persimmons, have two types of fruit: the American kind, which is astringent until ripe, and the non-astringent variety, which is edible while firm.

Orange Persimmons

Orange variants encompass both non-astringent and astringent types. These persimmon trees typically reach a height of 25 feet (7.6 meters), which is less than that of native persimmon trees. They were introduced to the United States a century ago and are prolific fruit producers. Asian persimmons grow to the size of a peach, while American trees yield plum-sized fruits.


Native to Florida to Connecticut, Iowa to the west, and Texas to the south, the American persimmon, also called the common persimmon, is widely distributed. Persimmon trees may be grown by home gardeners in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. While Asian persimmons can only withstand wintertime lows of 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius), American persimmons may withstand temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit (-32 degrees Celsius).


Persimmon trees can be grown from seeds, cuttings, suckers, or grafts. Transplant seedlings to an orchard after a year or two. However, grafted or budded specimens should be purchased or grown for the highest quality plants.

Deep Taproots

Keep in mind that persimmons have extremely deep taproots when planting. Create a deep hole for the root ball, fill it with 8 inches (20 cm) of loam and soil, and then backfill it with additional native soil, compost, and/or loam.

Ideal Growing Conditions

Growing circumstances don’t matter to persimmon trees. Select a sunny area with soil that is moist, porous, and well-drained. Although they are quite tolerant of a wide range of conditions, persimmon trees prefer soil that has a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. They grow well in urban environments and are wind- and drought-intolerant.

Care for Persimmon Trees

Other than watering, there’s not much to caring for persimmon trees. Once established, give young trees plenty of water. After that, water trees in dry spells or other situations where there isn’t much rainfall.

Fertilizing and Pruning

Fertilizer should only be applied to persimmon trees that are struggling to grow. When your persimmon tree is young, you can prune it to a central leader. Otherwise, minimal pruning is needed as long as the trees produce fruit.

Pollination Requirements

When it comes to native persimmons, two trees are required for pollination: male and female. Only when there is at least one male flowering tree nearby can the female flowers on female trees bear fruit. On the other hand, Asian persimmons are self-fruiting and only require one tree to produce fruit. Consider planting Asian persimmons if your garden space is limited.

Time to Fruit

A female persimmon tree grown from seed will bear fruit in four to nine years. Grafted trees, on the other hand, can start producing fruit in just three years.

Growing Persimmons

Growing Asian persimmons has the benefit that a single tree can provide excellent, male, or female blooms. Unfertilized flowers can even yield fruit without seeds in some Asian types. Certain varieties, such as Ichi Ki Kei Jiro and Hachiya, yield high-quality fruit even in the absence of pollination. Pollination, however, typically yields more consistent and plentiful harvests.

Cultural Conditions

Asian persimmon trees require similar cultural conditions to their native counterparts. Both are low-maintenance plants that only need occasional fertilizer and pruning.

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