American persimmon growth rate


Form & Size

A medium to large size tree reaching 60 feet high.

Tree & Plant Care

Full sun in well drained soil. Tolerant of wide range of soil moisture and pH levels.
Tolerant of dry soil to low, swampy areas, but best in moderate to well-drained, fertile soil.
May be difficult to transplant due to a taproot.
Persimmon can sucker from the roots, increasing the maintenance of this tree.
This species has separate male and female trees; female trees produce edible fruit which can be messy

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious pests
Root suckering can be a management problem.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to the southern United States up through southern Illinois.

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) photo: John Hagstrom

Bark color and texture

Bark is rugged and deeply divided into small blocks.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves with entire margins; 2 to 5 inches long.
Dark green in summer and yellow to reddish-purple in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Male and female flowers on separate trees; both flowers small, creamy white and fragrant; urn-shaped; late spring into early summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Female tree produce orange berries about 1 inch in diameter; fruit are attractive but messy; edible after frost.

Cultivars and their differences

Numerous cultivars in the market sold for fruit production.

Table of Contents

“Diospyros” is the scientific name for the genus of persimmon trees, and the meaning of the name implies that persimmons are fruits of the gods. Maybe you haven’t had a chance to taste for yourself how true the name may be, in which case you should realize how much you’re missing out on.

The American persimmon in particular is heavenly in taste, a tiny fruit bursting with sweetness, possibly the closest thing to a nature-made dessert in existence. Best of all, it’s actually good for you.

This might all sound like some exaggerated infomercial, but it’s all quite true. Persimmons really are that good, and you can find out for yourself by simply growing a tree in your own garden. The only rule is to be sure that the persimmon is ripe enough before you partake, or you may be in for a mouthful of bitterness.

American persimmon trees have a long history and a huge range. They can be found as far North as New England, and as far South as Florida in the Eastern-most half of the continental United States. This plant is extremely hardy, and can survive in all sorts of weather and climate zones. In all likelihood, you will easily be able to find a strain of the plant that will do well where you live.

The Persimmon is a beautiful tree to behold. During the summer, its leaves are a deep green with a touch of blue and, depending on the climate, its leaves can range from various shades of yellow to strong, dramatic reds. The tree has a lazy-looking branch system, that hovers over the ground with a hunched posture. The mature fruit of the tree adds an attractive gold into the color scheme. Long-living persimmons can reach heights of over fifty feet. In its earlier stages of growth in particular, a persimmon tree will shoot up rapidly in height, and it is only once it begins putting energy into bearing fruit that the growth rate begins to naturally slow.


Persimmon trees are very simple plants to take care of, though they are unfortunately a bit rarer to find compared to more common fruit-bearing trees. It might take a bit of looking around through the various nurseries in your area before you might find an appropriate sapling. Worse comes to worse, though, you can always order one online.

Most of all, be sure to find a strain of American persimmon that will tolerate your particular local climate well. Though it may be tempting to find wild Persimmon trees to add to your garden, a transplant of this kind is unlikely to be successful because the critical tap root of the tree is unusually deep and fragile, and any significant damage to it will probably lead to the plant’s death. In addition, domestic persimmons are quite a bit tastier than their wild cousins, anyway.

Since quite a number of varieties of American persimmon tree cannot reproduce asexually like some other fruit trees, you will want to plant both male and female trees if you desire a decent harvest of fruit. However, if space is limited and you can only accommodate one plant, it is possible to graft a male branch onto a female tree, or to simply stick to a variety that can pollinate itself.

These plants are fortunately not too picky about the quality of their soil, though they can suffer if the soil is too moist or simply not moist enough. Keep the soil around the tree somewhat damp and be sure to fertilize it twice a year, during the spring and during the summer. As the tree grows, prune any dead or inconveniently shaped branches to keep it healthy.


American persimmon trees are resilient to most diseases. The most troublesome problem you will have with your persimmon tree will be your competition with the local wildlife over your fruit. The wildlife may be able to tolerate the tartness of the fruit before the fruit is ripe enough for you to enjoy, so be on guard.


  • ‘Meade’ is the hardiest of all American persimmons, and it can withstand temperatures to -30° F. Its fruits are seedless. The fruit matures early making it a good choice for regions with short growing seasons. It is also self-pollinating.
  • ‘Early Golden’ is a popular, easy-to-grow variety. It produces fruit early in the season and is hardy to USDA Zone 5.
  • ‘Eureka’ is the type of persimmon you would most likely find in the grocery store. But this is a Japanese variety of persimmon, not an American one.

If you would like more information on the American Persimmon, check these two links:

Edible of the Month: Persimmon – National Gardening Association

Persimmons – Texas A&M Extension

Source: GardeningChannel

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American Persimmon Tree Facts – Tips On Growing American Persimmons

The American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is an attractive native tree that requires very little maintenance when planted in appropriate sites. It’s not grown commercially as much as the Asian persimmon, but this native tree produces fruit with a richer taste. If you enjoy persimmon fruit, you may want to consider growing American persimmons. Read on for American persimmon tree facts and tips to get you started.

American Persimmon Tree Facts

American persimmon trees, also called common persimmon trees, are easy to grow, moderate sized trees that reach about 20 feet tall in the wild. They can be grown in many regions and are hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 5.

One of the uses for American persimmons is as ornamental trees, given their colorful fruit and intensely green, leathery leaves that purple in the fall. However, most American persimmon cultivation is for the fruit.

The persimmons you see in grocery stores are usually Asian persimmons. American persimmon tree facts tell you that the fruit from the native tree is smaller than Asian persimmons, only 2 inches in diameter. The fruit, also called persimmon, has a bitter, astringent flavor before it ripens. Ripe fruit is a golden orange or red color, and very sweet.

You can find a hundred uses for the persimmon fruit, including eating them right off the trees. The pulp makes good persimmon baked products, or it can be dried.

American Persimmon Cultivation

If you want to start growing American persimmons, you need to know that the species tree is dioecious. That means that a tree produces either male or female flowers, and you’ll need another variety in the area to get the tree to fruit.

However, several cultivars of American persimmon trees are self-fruitful. That means that one lone tree can produce fruit, and the fruits are seedless. One self-fruitful cultivar to try is ‘Meader.’

To succeed in growing American persimmon trees for fruit, you’ll do best to select a site with well-draining soil. These trees thrive on loamy, moist soil in an area that gets ample sun. The trees do tolerate poor soil, however, and even hot, dry soil.

Common Persimmon

Additional information:
Common persimmon was introduced into the landscape in 1629. It is often found along fence rows and in abandoned fields. The tree suckers profusely and often forms naturalized stands. Before ripening, persimmon’s fruit is not edible.

The fruit is edible, but it is not ripe until the skin is wrinkled.Ripe persimmons are said to taste a great deal like dates. They are used to make cakes, puddings and beverages. Native Americans used the fruits to make bread, and also dried them. Fruit is an important wildlife food. However, the fruit can present a litter problem in the landscape. It is slimy, so when used in the city the tree should be planted where fruit will not fall on sidewalks, where it can cause people to fall. The plant is dioecious, so a male (fruitless) tree would be a much more acceptable landscape plant than the female.

Immature fruits contain a large amount of tannin and are astringent. They have been used to make tea for use in gargling for sore throats. The tea was also used to treat warts, cancers, heartburn, diarrhea and stomach aches.

Cooking oil, with a flavor like that of peanut oil, can be extracted from the seeds. Confederate soldiers boiled persimmon seeds as a coffee substitute during the Civil War.

Persimmon wood is very hard and nearly black. It is used to make golf club heads, billiard cues and parquet flooring.

Diospyros means “fruit or wheat of the gods;” virginiana means “from Virginia.” One common name, possum wood, was given to the tree because opossums love its fruit.

Diospyros virginiana

  • Attributes: Genus: Diospyros Species: virginiana Family: Ebenaceae Uses (Ethnobotany): The inner bark and unripe fruit has been used in the treatment of fevers, diarrhea, and hemorrhage, indelible ink made from fruit, flowers used for honey. The fruit was used for food and medicinal purposes by Native Americans. The wood is extremely hard and is used to make golf club heads, billiard cues and shoe lasts. Life Cycle: Woody Recommended Propagation Strategy: Seed Country Or Region Of Origin: Central and eastern U.S.A., NC Distribution: From Pennsylvania west to Nebraska south to Texas east Florida Utah and California Fire Risk Rating: low flammability Wildlife Value: The fruit of the persimmon is a food source for birds, small mammals, white-tailed deer, foxes, raccoons, and black bears. Deer browse the leaves and twigs. Play Value: Edible fruit Fragrance Wildlife Food Source Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems): Resistant to fire in landscape. This tree is moderately deer resistant. Edibility: The fruit is astringent when green, but sweet when ripe and may be eaten raw. Used in syrups, jellies, ice cream and pies. Dimensions: Height: 30 ft. 0 in. – 80 ft. 0 in. Width: 20 ft. 0 in. – 35 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits: Plant Type: Native Plant Tree Leaf Characteristics: Deciduous Habit/Form: Oval Pyramidal Rounded Growth Rate: Slow Maintenance: Low Texture: Medium
  • Fruit: Fruit Color: Gold/Yellow Orange Fruit Value To Gardener: Edible Display/Harvest Time: Fall Fruit Type: Berry Fruit Length: 1-3 inches Fruit Width: 1-3 inches Fruit Description: Yellowish to orange fruit on female trees in fall. Globular berry, 1 – 1 ½” long, yellowish/peach/pale orange, edible.
  • Flowers: Flower Color: Gold/Yellow Green Orange White Flower Inflorescence: Cyme Insignificant Flower Bloom Time: Spring Summer Flower Shape: Bell Tubular Flower Petals: 4-5 petals/rays Flower Size: < 1 inch Flower Description: Persimmons are usually dioecious (separate male and female trees) but some trees have perfect flowers. Fragrant, small, white to greenish-yellow flowers bloom in late spring, with the tubular male flowers appearing in clusters and the female flower appearing solitary and bell or urn-shaped with 4 recurved petals.
  • Leaves: Leaf Characteristics: Deciduous Leaf Color: Gold/Yellow Green Deciduous Leaf Fall Color: Gold/Yellow Purple/Lavender Red/Burgundy Leaf Type: Simple Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Shape: Elliptical Oblong Ovate Leaf Margin: Entire Serrate Hairs Present: Yes Leaf Length: 3-6 inches Leaf Width: 1-3 inches Leaf Description: Leaves are simple, alternate, ovate to elliptic or oblong with smooth edges or some serration. They are 2-6 inches long and 3/4-2 inches wide with an acuminate apex and rounded base. The lower surface usually lighter-colored and may have hairs, especially on young leaves. Stems are pubescent. The fall color is yellow to reddish-purple.

  • Bark: Bark Color: Dark Gray Surface/Attachment: Fissured Bark Plate Shape: Square Bark Description: It is one of the easiest trees to identify in winter because of its distinctive thick, dark grey bark that is divided by furrows into square blocks (cobbled).
  • Stem: Stem Color: Brown/Copper Gray/Silver Red/Burgundy Stem Is Aromatic: No Stem Bud Scales: Enclosed in 2 scales Stem Form: Zig Zags Stem Surface: Hairy (pubescent) Stem Description: Buds are single, sessile, 2 overlapping scales, 1/4″ long, dark reddish – almost black, no terminal bud. Branchlets slender, zigzag, at first light reddish-brown and pubescent. They vary in color from light brown to ashy gray.
  • Landscape: Landscape Location: Lawn Meadow Naturalized Area Recreational Play Area Woodland Landscape Theme: Children’s Garden Edible Garden Native Garden Rain Garden Design Feature: Flowering Tree Specimen Street Tree Attracts: Butterflies Small Mammals Songbirds Resistance To Challenges: Deer Fire Wind

American Persimmon

People across America are searching for native trees that bear healthy fruit and bring an exotic flair to their yards. Enjoyed for many thousands of years by the Native Americans for fresh eating, as well as a cooked and dried food staple, the American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is coming back into vogue.

The Persimmon offers ornamental bark, wonderfully robust foliage, tremendous fall color and delicious edible fruit on an easy-care plant. What’s not to love?

People are really starting to value our native trees and discovering the thrill of growing their own food. What a joy to have a plant that gives you food!

Nature Hills is seeing a huge trend in home gardening called ‘edible landscaping’. It’s the idea of mixing fruit and vegetable plants in with your ornamental perennials and flowers.

Cousins to the Asian Persimmon, American Persimmon trees produce round fruit that starts out green, then turns to orange, deep red or even soft purple. Ripe fruit has a uniquely sweet but nutty flavor. With a soft texture, American Persimmon fruit has been baked into puddings and pies for many centuries.

American Persimmon trees look great all year.

From the brilliant bright green leaves of spring to the wonderful mixed red and orange fall colors, the American Persimmon has wonderful display value in a naturalized landscape. When they’ve gone dormant even the bark is pretty! The bark is thick dark gray and corky, broken into even rectangular blocks. You’ll love the very distinctive look in winter.

Don’t miss this chance to own a piece of American history.

How to Use American Persimmon in the Landscape

Native Americans and the first European settlers immediately saw the value in this incredibly versatile plant. Few other plants offered so much as the American Persimmon. From food to medicine to tool making and dyes, the American Persimmon could provide like no other native plant.

Today, it’s value is both edible and ornamental. We no longer make tools or golf club heads from the wood, nor dyes from the bark or a coffee-like drink from the dried ground seeds. (Although, heck, you could try it!)

In the wild, mature trees typically grow as a thicket. Try a natural look by planting several trees together. This is a perfect plant to adorn the back of the garden or to help anchor a border in the landscape.

They love full sun and look great in a mixed border. Try one with an underplanting of Daylilies and Catmint.

One thing is for sure. You’ll ALWAYS have something to talk about with your guests who are new to your garden when you plant a heritage tree like this one.

#ProPlantTips for Care

American Persimmons are widely adaptable and grow in a wide range of soil types. They prefer moist, sandy locations with well-drained soil. They are drought tolerant in dry locations once established. The American Persimmon requires a pollinator, so plant at least two for fruit production.

Unripe fruit is astringent and is best after it’s soft and fully ripe in fall. You can also pick unripe fruit after it takes on its fall color. You’ll then let it fully ripen to soft for best flavor.

Persimmon fruits are low in calories and fat, but high in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. The fruit is commonly eaten fresh off the tree where it will hang until after the leaves drop. The fruit is also used in making breads and puddings as well as ice cream, syrups and Persimmon pies.

These plants have no serious insect or disease problems. The plant requires very little maintenance.

Persimmon is a lovely ornamental that also gives us outstanding fall fruit. Quite simply, this tree is an attractive option with many benefits.

Don’t miss having one of these in your garden this year!

The botanical name for persimmons, Diospyros, means “fruit of the Gods.” If you haven’t had the privilege of tasting the American persimmon in particular, imagine that you can stand under a tree, and dessert will fall from its branches right into your hands. In this case, dessert is in the form of a bite-sized, succulent, honey-sweet burst of flavor that is healthy for you.

Does this sound too good to be true? We promise this is not gardening mythology. It’s fact. And you can grow this divine treat in your own backyard. Just be sure to wait until the fruit is ripe to sample it — unripe persimmons are incredibly bitter.

The American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) tree has grown for thousands of years in the wild from as far north as Connecticut and south down into Florida. They grow naturally as far west as Nebraska. The tree is very adaptable and can be grown in the US Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 5 to 11. You will most likely find a cultivar appropriate for your region.

The appearance of the American persimmon tree is pleasing to the eye. It boasts bluish-green leaves in spring and summer, and fall leaf colors range from yellow to blazing red depending on variety and climate. Its branches and leaves droop giving an overall relaxed appearance to the tree. The ripe fruit provides a burst of golden color and adds to the languid look. It can grow to be a very tall, long living tree reaching up to fifty feet and higher. A young American persimmon tree will grow rapidly, but its growth will taper as the tree matures and begins to bear fruit.

How To Plant American Persimmon

American persimmon trees are some of the easiest fruit trees to grow and maintain. However, they are not as easy to come by as other fruit trees. You might have to search a few local nurseries to find a young, healthy seedling to transplant into your landscape. There are several online sources for the American persimmon tree if you are unable to find one locally.

Make sure you purchase a variety that will grow well in your region. A transplant from the wild is not recommended because the tree has a long tap root. If the tap root is disturbed, the tree will often not survive. The fruit from a cultivated variety is likely to be more appealing than that of a native tree, too.

Many varieties of American persimmon trees are not self pollinating, so planting a male and a female plant will be the only way to guarantee that your trees will fruit heavily. If you only have space for one tree, you can graft a male branch onto a female tree. Or, you can purchase a seedling that is self-pollinating.

American persimmon trees are not fussy about soil conditions. However, they do not like extremely wet or dry conditions. Maintain a slightly moist soil around your young tree. Fertilize your young tree once in early spring and once in midsummer with a regular lawn fertilizer. Prune your tree to maintain its shape as it matures. You should also prune branches that are crossing over other branches or branches that have broken or died.

Pests and Problems

American persimmon trees are resilient to most diseases. The most troublesome problem you will have with your persimmon tree will be your competition with the local wildlife over your fruit. The wildlife may be able to tolerate the tartness of the fruit before the fruit is ripe enough for you to enjoy, so be on guard.

Varieties to Try

  • ‘Meade’ is the hardiest of all American persimmons, and it can withstand temperatures to -30° F. Its fruits are seedless. The fruit matures early making it a good choice for regions with short growing seasons. It is also self-pollinating.
  • ‘Early Golden’ is a popular, easy-to-grow variety. It produces fruit early in the season and is hardy to USDA Zone 5.
  • ‘Eureka’ is the type of persimmon you would most likely find in the grocery store. But this is a Japanese variety of persimmon, not an American one.

For more information on the American Persimmon, check out the following links:

Edible of the Month: Persimmon – National Gardening Association

Persimmons – Texas A&M Extension

CC flickr photo by Dendroica cerulea

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