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Feb 9, 2010 06:31 AM

fuyu persimmon from seed?

a batch of persimmons i got in chinatown had about 4 seeds each (usually mine are seedless) and since i thought i'd try my hand at gardening this year, why not give persimmons a go?

from what i read most suggested that they required stratification to get going. some people had window sill dried with good growth success and all offered that a thorough soaking for a few weeks is what was needed to get them going. well i've got a handful in the fridge, a handful dried out, and a handful in a continuously replenished cup for water and guess what... sprouting already! perhaps chinese persimmons are keen on warm weather and don't need stratification vs northern US ones?

i haven't tried to sprout the dried or the cold ones yet... i'll probably do that this week. i think it only took about 2 weeks to get something poking out of the seeds and after that it was fairly rapid growth if i kept them buried in wet soil a good couple of inches.

does anyone have any experience or thoughts on growing fruit trees of this type? i generally have a black thumb, so this is very exciting. i believe i can't expect it to fruit for a good 5 years and considering the awful temps of toronto i'll be keeping it potted to bring it in during the winters.

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  1. A friend gave us *several* fuyu persimmons from her tree this past year and I was all giddy when the first one I cut into had EIGHT seeds in it. I immediately put them to dry thinking I struck a super prolific momma of a fuyu, but needless to say, all her fuyus were like that -- loaded with seeds. This completely ruins ones eating experience because the seeds occupy space that would otherwise be fruit. So, here I have her seeds drying up, and am hesitant to
    do anything with them ... these seeds are pretty big, btw.

    Another person I spoke with has a tree that bears fruit alternate years. Two years ago, his persimmon tree yielded probably close to 100 fruits, and this past year only 4 fruits. I have no idea why, and neither does he.

    A third tree by yet another gardener, yielded two fruits after only 5 years and the fruit was very very bitter tasting. I had read somewhere that trees will usually start to bear fruit after 7 years.

    So far, store bought fuyus have been the best tasting. ... Have fun trying with yours.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cheese Boy

      thanks for relaying those experiences!

      this might be the most inappropriate climate for it so we'll see how it goes. right now i'm just excited that something is growing under my black thumb.

    2. These folks are mighty helpful. They have a paper catalog and sell online too. They ship bare-root dormant trees to the continental states during the late winter/early spring depending on your location.

      They look to be sold out this year, but may have some alteratives for you.

      1. just thought i'd update.

        first sprout in february (sprouted straight out of the fruit) died after reaching a pretty pathetic size of 2" and barely putting out other leaves.

        about when it died i had soaked a few cold seeds and a few dried seeds. the cold ones keep forming this thick translucent white goop around it but nothing else, whereas i've been able to get the dried seeds to sprout after a several week soak (seeing nothing after 3 weeks was killing me). one seed was buried in a 6" pot and soon a 4" long root formed. within another 2 weeks a 2" stem loop was protruding from the soil and then a 4" plant was up with 5 leaves waving about in no time. currently it is 6" tall and has a nice sturdy 1/4" stem. i think the warmer temps (though it is indoors, my building is stuck on heating and not A/C) may have helped quite a bit in producing this awesome looking plant. so far the cold stratified seeds are doing nothing... but this may be because it is a chinese fuyu seed vs one from northern US and may not need stratifying at all. i can't wait for 6 years from now!

        3 Replies
        1. re: pinstripeprincess


          the tree hasn't accumulated much more height, just a little here or there as new leaves shoot off from the top. i currently have 7 leaves (ranging from 1 1/4" - 3" in length) with the most recent leaf really sprouting out in a matter of a week.

          i haven't fertilized the thing much... just a little kelp water which i feared afterwards might have been too salty. i think the initial soil i used had some light fertilizer in it.

          now my concern is... some of the older leaves are developing a little yellowing at the tips (one has a light brown spot). since this is barely even a sapling.... any idea what any of this means? do the leaves fall off seasonally for such young trees? i know it's not over watered... i leave it alone compared to all my other plants.


          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            Yes, a perismmon is deciduous. It will lose its leaves and go dormant in fall during which time it will use less water (since yours is growing indoors, the timing may be off a bit,) but It will releaf in spring. Persimmons, even two or three years out from the graft (grafted onto a special rootsotck), will sometimes take 6 or more years to bear. So this may just become an excercise in husbandry.

            Sometimes tip yellowing is a symptom of micro nutrient deficiency, maybe too little iron, too much boron, etc.

            Sometimes tip scorch can mean a build-up of mineral salts from domestic water supplies. Try leaching your pot well every month or so--place in bathtub, fill pot, let it drain out, repeat three or four times to flush the salt from the soil. Avoid chemical fertilizers like Miracle (not!) Gro as they are loaded with salts. A low-analysis all-purpose organic fertilizer like one from Happy Frog or Fox Farm would suffice.

            Did you use a bagged potting soil to start? does your container have adequate drainage? Have you inspected the underside of the foliage for tiny stipple marks and tiny webs? (spider mites--rinse the leaves several times a week with a water spray) You could always take a leaf (in a plastic bag) to a local independent nursery for help identifying the cause. It could just be going dormant early. My deciduous trees are already coloring and dropping; at least 8 weeks early.

            1. re: toodie jane

              thanks for all the suggestions! i'm expecting it to take quite a few years before it will bear fruit but wasn't sure if a naked spindly twig over the winter was something that would survive.

              my container definitely has adequate draimage, the water seems to seive right through with even less than a cup if it. i tend to water about once a week or less sometimes. i used a mix of bagged potting soil and coir, so i suspect it's also at it's end of it's nutrient usefulness. no spider mites. the tips have remained at about the same level of yellowing (barely and only at the tips/tip edges) so i'm less concerned now. i emailed a garderning mag editor for suggestions on tree books and she also mentioned that at this point i shouldn't try to fertilize to let it go dormant, but i will definitely try to leach the pot in case there are lingering salts.

        2. Three things:

          1. Your persimmon had seeds because it was grown with other persimmon varieties. When grown in isolation (as all commercial growers do), they do not set seed.

          2. Seeds are, as I'm sure you noticed, not a good thing. Makes them hard to eat.

          3. Growing any fruit tree from seed is a genetic crap shoot you'll likely lose. The fruit tree varieties we know and love are highly selected clones. Fruit trees will not breed true. This is especially true of persimmons where the vast majority of varieties are, well in a word: bad. They are highly astringent, even when ripe, and the flesh is an ugly brown color. This is what you'll almost certainly (99+%) get from your seedling tree.

          If you want to grow a persimmon, buy a tree. You'll have years invested in it to get fruit. Why waste those years on an unknown and likely bad fruit tree? Finally, a grafted tree from a nursery will bear fruit in a few years. Your seedling? Expect it to take 6 or 7.

          Lastly, after writing this I see you're in Toronto. No way you're going to grow a persimmon in toronto. Might as well try to grow oranges or mangoes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

            thanks for the thoughts. growing this tree was really more for fun than for any real expectation of fruit production as i suspected much of what you have written. it has required hardly any time to upkeep but i like seeing it on my table with it's 10 or so leaves now.

          2. My parents have grown a couple persimmons from seeds, but they live in Silicon Valley which used to be a fruit haven. Their trees have done well. The last two years they had big crops.