persimmon-fruit-season

When Is Persimmon Fruit Season?

When persimmon trees’ fruit begins ripening to flaming shades of orange or red, you know winter is moving in. Persimmons start the summer as hard, bitter green berries. With proper care, they spend it becoming much larger, softer and sweeter. The time they need to get there varies among different varieties, but the season for picking persimmon fruit always occurs in fall and winter.

Wild Persimmons

American persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) grow wild from New England south to Florida and west to the Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas prairies.

American Persimmon Fruit

It’s not unusual for an American persimmon tree’s ripe, bright-orange fruits to begin dropping in mid-September and continue until February. When fully ripe, they’re 1 to 2 inches around, with pudding-soft pulp that requires straining through a potato ricer to separate its seeds and skin.

American Persimmons for the Home Garden

Plant breeders have largely ignored American persimmon trees, but the semi-dwarf ‘Meader’ cultivar is a popular choice for home gardeners. Like the wild trees, it’s hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. ‘Meader’s’ fruit begins ripening in late September. Even better, it begins fruiting just two to three years after planting. With occasional pruning, ‘Meader’ remains 10 to 12 feet tall.

Oriental Persimmons

Oriental persimmons (Diospyros kaki) arrived in America in 1856 after having been cultivated in China, Japan and Korea for centuries. Two cultivars now account for most of the U.S.’ commercially grown persimmons.

‘Hachiya’

‘Hachiya’ (Diospyros kaki ‘Hachiya‘, USDA zones 7 through 11) produces tomato-red, acorn-shaped fruit. It ripens on the tree from late September through late November. Commercial growers, however, harvest the fruit early so consumers must ripen it at home. Until it’s custard-soft, they’ll bite into a mouthful of mouth-puckering bitterness.

‘Fuyu’

‘Fuyu’s’ (Diospyros kaki ‘Fuyu’,USDA zones 7 through 10) squarish- to tomato-shaped fruit ripens in late October to early November. Its unripe fruit is sweet enough that, once its skin is deep orange, it can be picked early and eaten straight off the tree.

Prolong Your Persimmon Season with Other Cultivars

Extend your persimmon season with early-. mid- and late-ripening varieties:

  • Non-bitter ‘Matsumoto Wase Fuyu’ is ready for picking two weeks before ‘Fuyu,’ around the first week of September.
  • ‘Hana Fuyu’ has large, round dark-red fruit ready in late October.
  • Exceptionally sweet ‘Hyakumi’ (aka Brown Sugar) persimmons are in season from late October to early December.
  • ‘Suruga’s’ small, orange-red fruit ripens between mid-November and December. It’s sweeter than ‘Fuyu’s’.

All these cultivars are hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10.

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