Mulberry and Persimmon Recommendation - Deep South

I’ll call the deep south the southern half of the gulf states, including SETX. Sorry to all those still living in colonial times… :grin:

I’ve read through a lot of threads for both fruits but didn’t really see one asking for my regional climate.

Looking to add to my mini orchard.


On the smaller size if possible. Dwarf or semi - dwarf. Rootstock?

Don’t care for color be it white, pink, red, purple, or black as long as it tastes good.

Not sure if ever bearing is better than others. Hot wet summers (or nowadays several dry weeks followed by a day or two of copious rain!) cause more issues with ever bearing?

A bit wet soil tolerant? Alway plant in raised mounds in my yard for crown drainage.



Smaller size if possible

Tolerant of wet soils


Worth eating.

Any recommendations would be appreciated

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Pakistan for mulberry
Izu for persimmon

Would be my choice, but I have never believed that my opinion is more informed than anyone else’s.
Good luck

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Don’t worry, I have no inclination to hold someone else responsible for my decisions!

I see you are in SWGA. Can I also assume you have or are growing both these varieties?

I have an unknown variety persimmon that I believe to be Izu from the descriptions I have been able to find, that has fruited for several years.
I gave several young Pakistan Mulberry growing that I grafted with budwood from a friends tree. It has nice long fruit that is easily picked. His other varieties are smaller and often damaged trying to pick them, The stems are tougher than the fruit. High winds might knock the Pakistan off the tree, but I prefer the easy picking. I can afford 3lose some to winds for the quality of the fruit.


I ended up ordering a Black Beauty mulberry. I had nursery store credit for some failed trees.

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I was going to recommend Florida Giant since you have similar temperature to Florida.

At the end of the day I think anything I picked would fine.

I’ve never tasted a mulberry…nor have I ever even seen one, so I’ll be happy with whatever variety grows here.

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I see you’re in South LA with me. I’ll give you a couple Pakistan mulberries if you’re ever on the Northshore. I’m finding they root easily and grow like weeds here.

Guy in New Orleans has some good size tananashi persimmons for $40. Mine ripened 2 fruit in the second year in ground and was very good. Lost all fruit to the late freeze this year :confused:

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If you can successfully grow Morus nigra in Southern Louisiana, that species of mulberry would fit your requirements well. It is slow-growing and even if let to grow unrestricted, will not approach the size of a the other major species (white, red, or Pakistan mulberry) save for dwarf cultivars like Gerardi. Also, the fruit of Morus nigra is not only generally considered to be easily the best of all mulberries, but is often cited as one of the very best of fruits generally. There does not appear to be much difference, if any, between the fruit of the various nigra cultivars.

However, Morus nigra is relatively intolerant of humid conditions and, when young, is very susceptible to fungal infection. There are scattered reports of people growing them in the Deep South, but the majority decline and die. To attempt one in Southern Louisiana would be a risky proposition.

This year, in North Georgia, I planted Noir of Spain and a couple King James (all Morus nigra cultivars). The Noir of Spain promptly declined and died. However, the two King James are so far doing well, and are continuing to put on new growth into the summer. However, I will be surprised if I am able to keep them alive indefinitely (we shall see).

Pakistan mulberries have a unique, large fruit that is reported to be very sweet and less tart. The trees are very vigorous and will become quite large fast. They are very susceptible to late freezes. I planted several in North Georgia, and they were all taken out by a relatively mild late freeze after their second leaf.

Silk Hope is what is doing best for me in North Georgia. It is believed to be a red x white (Morus rubra x alba) hybrid, and has the more flavorful fruit of the red mulberry together with the productivity and vigor of the white mulberry. Like Pakistan, it is very vigorous and you will have your work cut out for you if you want to keep it small. The fruit is considered to be very high quality for a non-nigra mulberry, similar to Illinois Everbearing, a cultivar that should be avoided in your area because of its susceptibility to popcorn disease in hot, humid climates.

As for dwarf non-nigra mulberries, the first variety to investigate is Gerardi. It is a true dwarf cultivar and can be easily kept as a small tree or bush. If planted in a sunny spot, it is incredibly productive and will likely produce a greater weight of fruit per unit volume of tree than 95% of other mulberries. It grows well throughout the South and should probably do well in Louisiana. Reports on fruit quality are more variable, with some saying that it is as good as the best non-nigra mulberries, and others saying that the fruit is inferior to cultivars such as Silk Hope, Illinois Everbearing, and Oscar. You can find many detailed reports here on this forum from more experienced growers. (I have two of them but the birds swiftly got all the fruit of my tiny trees this year.)

Non-astringent persimmons

Currently, all non-astringent persimmons are Asian (kaki) persimmons, so Americans and American hybrids would be ruled out by your conditions.

If non-astringent is your goal, you have two major categories of kaki: PCNA (pollination-constant non-astringent) and PVNA (pollination-variant non-astringent). The first category is always non-astringent, and the second category is non-astringent if it is pollinated. The first category (PCNA) includes Jiro (commonly sold as “Fuyu”), Fuyu, Izu, and several others. Many report that the fruit quality is pretty much the same between all PCNA cultivars, and so people make their selections based on when they want the fruit to ripen. One of the newest cultivars is Suruga, which some have reported to be of better quality (although perhaps more susceptible to cracking), but it is one of the latest-ripening cultivars and needs a long season (which you should have in Southern LA).

PVNA varieties have the disadvantage that they require two trees (for pollination) and that your fruit will necessarily be seeded, but many advocates claim that the fruit quality is better than PCNA. Notable varieties include Coffee Cake, Giboshi, and Chocolate, the latter of which makes many male flowers and works as a pollinator). I’m not sure if they are worth the additional hassle, but my PVNA’s are just coming into production, so I’ll be able to make my personal decision on the issue soon.

All kaki are smaller trees and should be relatively easy to adapt to your size requirements with moderate pruning. Kaki on D. lotus rootstock will likely be smaller than those on native (D. virginiana) rootstock, but the latter is considered to be the best for health and vigor, especially outside of the West Coast.

If you have not tried some of the astringent persimmons, you might consider trying some of the fruit. Like you, I figured that I would only want the easier PCNA varieties and planted many, but then I later discovered that I liked the fruit of the astringent varieties better. My favorites of the astringents are Saijo and Giombo. Also, American and American-hybrid persimmons are worth considering – the flavor profile is quite different than Asians (richer and more complex) and many greatly prefer them. Most Americans grow quite large, but many of the hybrids are smaller and would be worth consideration.



A very thorough and thoughtful post and I thank you.

Though I have a pre-order for Black Beauty mulberry, I might change or cancel it. A fellow forum member near me is willing to give me a cutting of a mulberry he is growing in this environment, so I may just go with that.

As for the persimmon I’m still thinking since I can’t get a tree shipped until late fall anyway unless I look around local nurseries for trees in soil.

Thanks again for the information.

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I probably would cancel it because the name is particularly vague. Unless you are ordering from a very reputable nursery, you have idea what you’re getting when you order a “Black Beauty” – the name has been applied by nurseries to everything from a certain Morus nigra cultivar (which is a great tree but is hard to grow in a non-Mediterranean climate) to random white mulberry seedlings and everything in between. I myself ordered a “Black Beauty” from a random nursery when I first started out and ended up getting a trashy (and soon ginormous) Morus alba seedling, which was great at making lots of tree but not great at producing its low-quality, insipid fruit.

You might try talking to Lucille at Whitman Farms. She is very knowledgeable and can help you select a proper mulberry and her trees are top-quality. Personally, I think your best bet, given your preferences, would be Gerardi. I would love to grow Pakistan (the cutting you are considering) because of its unique fruit, but bear in mind that it is going to quickly become a massive tree – the ones I planted in Georgia, before they were taken out by the frost, grew from sticks to 12+ feet tall in their first season in the ground. Also, if you like some tartness in your fruit, Pakistan might not be to your taste – their fruit is described as tasting almost like pure sugar balls (although I’ve never heard of anyone who said that they aren’t good).

You will probably end up with a Jiro (possibly mislabeled as a Fuyu) if you buy a potted non-astringent kaki persimmon from a brick-and-mortar nursery in the South, which is fine. One poster upthread mentioned Tanenashi, which is astringent. Tastes and effects of growing regions differ, of course, but I have a Tanenashi (one of my first trees) and although it is very productive, I like the fruit the least of my persimmons – for me, the fruit is notably more watery and bland.

One thing that is nice about all kaki is that they are particularly attractive trees, with a graceful growing habit and pretty foliage, including fall colors. I’m very happy with mine and glad that I planted them – the fruit is great and the trees take basically no work and need no sprays or other special care in my location.


I’ve not grown any ‘dwarf’ mulberries (grafted Gerardi last year, but I don’t think any survived my neglect last summer or the winter)… but someone on the old NAFEx discussion list once likened pruning Illinois Everbearing to try to control size to trying to drink from a firehose. I’d say they weren’t far from the truth.
‘Silk Hope’ - which originated in NC - may be your best bet - it’s my favorite. I’d considered it immune to Popcorn Disease infection, but found a few infected drupelets on fruits this year, so it may have some resistance… or it may have just taken this long for the fungus to find it.
Dr. A.J. Bullard (Mount Olive NC) tried M.nigra on multiple occasions at his place and found that it just would not tolerate the humidity of the Southeastern US (which you would definitely have in LA).
Knowing this full well, I bought Noir de Spain and James II from Lucille Whitman, because my wife WANTED black mulberries; both struggled, and neither woke up the next spring. She’s still on that kick, so I’ll probably be trying to find some scionwood to attempt grafting next spring - knowing it’s likely to be an exercise in futility.

Kaki persimmons… if I could grow them here, long-term, Saijo would be my top pick. I managed to get it big enough to fruit a couple of times before a KY winter took it out. Haven’t tried pure D.kaki again.

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The Black Beauty is from Tyty.

I’ll mul(berry) it over a bit more…


As chance would have it, so was my “Black Beauty.”

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If you graft Girardi onto another variety, it doesn’t retain it’s dwarfing does it? Or is the dwarfing not affected by the rootstock?

I am not sure (mine are on their own roots) but I’m pretty sure that the dwarfing is retained (although if grafted to a well-established rootstock, it would probably grow out to its maximum size much faster). Gerardi is characterized by having a very short distance between internodes relative to other mulberries. This is the likely cause of its dwarfing habit (and for its extreme amount of fruit production per branch), and it retains that quality of short distance between internodes when grafted.

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable will chime in.

That makes complete sense for it’s dwarfing characteristics.


It’s just I may end up starting different tree this summer but decide on the Girardi (sp?) if/when I can get some wood or a young tree.

I’ve been looking at Mulberries for FL zone 9b as well. We have root knot nematode here so that has been a consideration for me and thought I’d mention it since it’s an issue in many regions. I have looked at varieties found growing wild in areas simular to mine (FL and GA) so that I know they are resistant and can handle the heat/humidity. Shangri-la, wacissa- just fruits and exotics has info on several as to where they were originally found. However, the ones I’ve found get larger. Also, I have a nigra in a pot as it is slow growing but it is very new so can’t speak to how it will work in the long term.

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As far as non astringent persimmons, I have a suruga which looks like it enjoys my area and is supposed to be very tasty, but it needs longer to see if it will give me fruit and it supposed to get 12-14 ft tall. I also have a starter izu which is doing well, non astringent and dwarf, but it is discribed as mild in flavor. The Asian types do well here (humid 9b) from what I’ve seen and read. I wish I were further along to give better info… and to enjoy the fruits! :yum:

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