Speaking with an elderly friend today, I asked about how to get around some issues of growing persimmon trees. He launched into a long story about an abandoned grove he recalled in south Georgia with a long aside about his old friend who’d discovered the grove in full fruit. At one point he said, “It was twenty acres of Charlie Brown Christmas trees. You know, I haven’t talked to that fellow in a long time. Well,” he paused to think, “well not since he died.” He didn’t pause, no sadness, went right on with the story, as if they might catch up next week.
I love Fuyu persimmon because you eat it, now. Just pick it and eat it. It’s sort of like an orange apple with little, cinnamon specks in the fruit. You just pick them and eat them of the tree or add them to a salad. There are two classes of Japanese persimmon. The first class, the eat off the tree type, is called non-astringent. I imagine most people prefer these.
My taste runs toward the more complex, more sweet more, “Oh that’s gross’ side of things.” The other class, the astringent persimmon is best left hanging on the tree to get cold on them. Then they turn into tiny water balloons full of intensely sweet jelly. I like to poke a hole in them, pucker up and suck the insides out. (Ok, you don’t have to do this; there are probably other ways to eat them.)
Either way, Japanese persimmons normally grow on small trees or shrubs about 18 or 20 feet tall. So they work great in small spaces. They’re nice in containers. Persimmons have lovely yellow/orange fall color. It takes a bit of care to get persimmon trees to take off. (Watch for borers in the trunk for the first year) But after two years or so, they are tough, spectacular garden trees you’ll enjoy until….. Well, until you die.
Many local nurseries carry Japanese Persimmon trees. Or mail order from one of my favorite plant stops in northern Florida: Just Fruits.