Growing Persimmon from seed

Yesterday The sapling-In-Chief shook a fair number of fruits out of the tree. Does anyone have direct experience growing persimmon from seed?

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Put it in the fridge for the winter (in damp soil or not), pot them in spring, enjoy! They were easy for me this spring.

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Yea, cold stratification was my intended plan. I have to visit my local farmers market again toshop for more persimmon, as I don’t have as many as I will need for autumnal seed give away.

And, frankly I feel better with more than one source for my seeds.

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I’ve grown them in root pruning containers (Rootmaker) and have direct seeded them. 60 days of cold stratification are required. They are not highly susceptible to mold, but I like to use long-fiber sphagnum as a moisture source since it has antifungal properties just to be safe. Take a handful and soak it then make a fist and squeeze out all the water you can. That is about the right level of moisture. Place it in a ziplock bag. Remove all of the pulp from the seeds. In nature they are eaten by animals and pass through the digestive tract. You can use acid to scarify them or do it physically by gluing sand paper to the inside of a bucket and then shaking them in the bucket. In general, I’ve had good germination rates without scarifying so I don’t bother with it. Place the seed in the ziplock bag with the damp long-fiber sphagnum. Only zip it closed half way. Then fold it over in the middle and place it in your vegetable crisper. They need about 60 days minimum of stratification for good germination rates.

For direct seeding, you don’t have to bother with the fridge. You can seed them in the fall and let nature stratify them.

They have a deep tap root, so if you are going to start them in containers, you need to use root pruning containers, Otherwise you will end up with J-hooking or circling roots that need dealt with. My approach is to place the seeds in mesh flats lined with newspaper and filled with a professional mix. Then cover the seeds with a quarter inch of mix or so. You can start them indoors under lights. When I see a little red stem loop sticking up, I pull them out and transplant them to Roomaker 18 express trays filled with a professional mix (I use promix bx but others will work). They can grow in these under lights for 12 to 16 weeks. I then transplant them into 1 gal Rootbuilder II pots filled with a 50/50 mix of promix and mini pine bark chunks. This saves on mix cost and makes the mix even better drained allowing lost of room for root growth. Root pruning container cause a lot of upstream branching and an amazing root ball. When the roots fill these pots but early summer, I transplant again to 3 gal Rootbuilder II pots and then plant them in the fall.

Note, these containers produce a great root system and a lot of early top growth because of the root pruning but the trees don’t have a tap root to act as drought insurance. They need supplemental water during dry periods that first year after planting until the root system is well established.


I grew some last year by putting the seeds in some small pots, then putting the pots in the ground. After they sprouted this spring I moved them to some bigger pots, and then ultimately put the healthiest ones in the ground in the middle of the summer. Probably way too much work when I could have just direct seeded into their final location and cut down the weaker seedlings. These were American persimmons, probably the 60 chromosome ones. Here’s a picture of this year’s fruit from those same trees. I’ve got some seeds from these if anyone wants them. I can’t take credit for the taste, since they’re wild, but they are absolutely delicious.

If direct seeding, be wary of squirrels.

The squirrels didn’t bother mine, but that’s probably because they were busy eating all the pecans, acorns, and buckeyes. Also, there’s a couple of helpful neighborhood cats.

Jack, I have some Anderson root band pots. Do you think they will root prune? I wanted to use them for persimmons and especially pawpaws. I think they are 3x9".

I’m not familiar with them but after a quick look at the web site, they don’t look like root pruning pots. They look like regular hard plastic pots.

The Rootmaker Express tray 18s I use for the initial pruning of long tap root type trees are injection molded plastic and are tapered. The taper is such that when a root hits the sides of the container they are directed downward. There are holes at the end of each taper. In the middle of the bottom there is a sharp inward V with 4 more holes. A tap root that hit the peak of that V would be forced to choose a side. At the bottom of V, it would find more holes. The plastic tray that the cells sit in hold them so the bottom of the cell is elevated from any surface and the sides of the tray have holes for air flow. The container is designed so that any root hitting the side will not J-hook or circle, but be directed to a hole exposed to air where the root tip will desiccate forcing early up stream branching.

If you go to this page: Express Trays and look at the product in the upper left you will see the one I use. I like the express trays because I start trees indoors under lights. I use inexpensive fluorescent shop lights to start trees because they are cool. Since light intensity diminishes with the distance squared, keeping lights close to the trees is a real advantage. The express trays allow me to reorganize the cells so I can keep trees of the same height adjacent and adjust the light accordingly.

At any rate, if you look at all the pictures associated with the product, one shows a view of the tray from the top down. It is filled with cells with one missing. You can get an idea of how it is designed to force roots to the holes.


Anderson root-band pots are what I use for saplings. They and a tray sized for them work for pawpaw. I’ll let’cha know how they work on persimmon next year.

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Here are my little persimmon trees, I put three in one hole and will probably remove one or two over the next couple of years


If you still are here, how is that tree today all these years later? How was the fruit?