Growing Texas persimmon (D. texana) in the PNW

I’ve got a batch of Texas persimmon (Diospyros texana) seedlings that are about one year old or younger (some were very slow to germinate), and I haven’t seen much information about growing this species outside its native range, especially in our cool mediterranean/maritime climate. I figure it’s worth having a thread for this, and hopefully I’m not the first person to give this a try? I’d love to hear other experiences with it.

I do assume @Marta has grown it in the Sacramento Valley, since she sold scionwood this year, but unless I’ve missed it I don’t think she’s blogged about this species yet. And while that’s closer to our climate than the native climate, it’s still pretty different in temperatures, winter sun, and rainfall/humidity.

There are a few threads on this species generally, including this one where I’ve shared photos of my seed germination journey for this batch:

Here’s a post in that thread with my discussion of the ripe fruit that were sent to me by a now-former forum member in Texas:

This older thread has also had some good discussion:

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The one year-old seedlings that I planted out last year seem to be only slightly damaged by our recent hard freeze, where I had a minimum of 14.7°F. Here are a couple of those:


The real test will of course be how well they grow this coming season after a full winter of very unusual weather compared to where they evolved.

I have about a dozen seedlings in total, with long-term plans to try to hybridize the species with the black sapote (D. digyna), which has the same ploidy and non-overlapping native range. I haven’t been able to find any reported attempts to make the cross. I’ll need the black sapote to be indoors, which may be challenging because those trees get huge. But that’s a future-me problem.

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Yes, my trees are doing fine in my new orchard. I grafted them in spring of 2020 with the wood from two females that was sent to me in one bag. This means I don’t know if I have one or two unique females grafted. I have 3 grafts, and each goes under its number. Hopefully, in few years I’ll taste the fruits and will know how similar they are. The trees could be larger by now, but they had a difficult childhood. I had to move them from one orchard to another. In between the orchards, for over a year they had to sit potted in 30 gallon bags in my yard waiting for the new ground to go in. Anyways, I just posted a short https://youtube.com/shorts/NGCIHzfuqNI?si=ntp_PmEU5GOaoQmx

and attaching some pictures here



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Those look great! That’s more growth than I would expect for this species in 4 years, that’s promising. Everyone talks about how slow-growing they are.

Do you also have a male specimen for pollination?

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No, I don’t have a male. They should make the fruits without pollination, but if in a couple years I still see these not holding the fruits well, I’ll graft a male.

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I’m hoping they do not produce seeds in the absence of pollination, though, as that would complicate my hybridization plans. My thought was to only have female texana and hit them with pollen from a bisexual digyna cultivar.

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Correct, I’m hoping they are seedless but making good amount of fruit without male.

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I have never encountered them without seeds. I believe they require pollination. Have you had someone tell you otherwise?

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I believe most Diospyros species will produce seedless fruit in the absence of pollen. Have you ever tried bagging a branch to prevent pollination?

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I’m not growing it on my place, but i had not encountered a seedless one in the wild. Maybe it’s because they receive plenty of attention from pollinators though.

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I was told they can be seedless without a male around

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That would be preferable. They are tasty but overly seedy

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I am happy (and somewhat surprised) to report that even the very smallest texana seedlings that I thought had been killed by our January freeze are starting to bud out now. These were planted outdoors with no protection from rain or freezing weather all winter. First, the largest one, which didn’t fully defoliate so I had hoped it was OK even before it recently started budding out:

And here’s the smallest one, which I thought was surely dead and the only reason it hadn’t been replaced with a new tree was because I hadn’t gotten around to it yet:

Earlier this spring, I grafted a scion from Marta on a (suspected) lotus seedling in my yard, and that appears to be budding out as well:

The bench grafts (on virginiana seedlings from MDC), which have been in the greenhouse, are much further along:

I’ll probably keep them outdoors all winter before planting one or two next year, and giving away the rest.

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Good to know they are graft compatible with D.v. My seedlings did not survive the winter. They were a little smaller than your’s.

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What was your winter low? I assume lower than my 14.7°F?

-8°F. However, the seedlings were buried under 7" of snow. Other than that one cold blast, I don’t think it ever got colder than maybe +10F when the seedlings were exposed directly to cold air. They were in a large pot, so that may have contributed to their demise.

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Just comparing the range map to the zone map, I’d say it’s probably a solidly zone 8b at best plant, its range ends pretty fast as you enter 8a. I bet 10°F would cause some serious damage to even a mature tree, but I’m just guessing.

Range map:

Zone map (2023 version):