Persimmon trees are handsome ornamental trees with drooping branches and glossy green leaves. They produce fruit that tastes great when eaten at the right stage. They grow best in areas with moderate winters and relatively mild summers, generally from the central Midwest on south. The trees are deciduous, and orange-red fruit often remains on the tree after the leaves fall.
There are 2 basic types of persimmons: astringent and non-astringent. The more astringent fruits can only be eaten when they are ripe to the point of becoming soft. Some non-astringent types are sweet enough to eat when they are still crisp like an apple. All persimmons should be harvested when fully colored, then allowed to soften slightly after harvesting. Cut them from the tree with pruners, snipping the stems close to the fruit.
Persimmons grow best in full sun, in well-drained, loamy soil, such as Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Trees and Shrubs. Feed the trees with a balanced plant food, such as Miracle-Gro® Tree Spikes in late winter or early spring. They can tolerate short dry periods, but will produce larger, better fruit with regular watering or rainfall. With proper care, persimmon trees can grow as tall as 25 feet, with an equal canopy spread. You will need male and female persimmon trees to cross-pollinate and bear fruit.
There are good reasons for growing persimmons, but be forewarned: the trees can be messy. Fruits left on the tree in the late fall or winter will get mushy and leave a slimy mess when they drop, especially if they fall on a hard surface. So when planting a persimmon, try not to let the tree's canopy hang over pavement or a deck.