Persimmons in Maine

Exciting exotic fruit find, gifts from another grower, these Meader Persimmons are my first taste of diospyros virginiana. Came off the tree just yesterday, picked by the original breeder’s son. Despite the lateness of the season, the first one I tried was still tongue-binding astringent! But others which were softer tasted wonderfully rich…a nice preview of what I hope my own seedlings, yet to be grafted, will produce. I would like to hear others’ d. Virginiana experiences. Thanks for looking.


I was eating some wild(?) ones about a month ago, tasty! I’ll be doing some grafting too next spring, between kaki and virginiana persimmons I’ll be set.

All seem to be seedless, btw.

How seedy were the Meader persimmons you sampled, Jesse? Mine are fully seeded, but I understand they’re sometimes seedless (apparently in the absence of pollinators.)

Just answered that! I was told by John Meader that at least one grower uses the seeds from open pollinated Meader for cold hardy rootstock. The tree my fruit came from saw temps below -20 F this past winter, a good test winter that proves this varietys cold tolerance. As you know,I am quite interested in testing out other cultivars in my z5a location, sadly my early efforts at grafting these haven’t met with success…but at least I have some trees in the ground, some of which came from improved cultivars seeds.

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I wonder if there’s any way to grow persimmon trees from root cuttings. The ones that have gotten established in my pasture where they’re regularly mowed seem to have formed large colonies, if that’s any indication of any potential. If you have access to the original Meader tree, maybe you wouldn’t have to graft, and there might be other advantages besides, but I think you’ll find success with grafting before long, too. What kind of graft did you use?

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I’ve tried to eat them many times hoping I could grow to like them but I just cannot find a single thing appealing in them. I really want to like them because they bring back good memories from childhood…but I despised them then also…lol.

They’re best when they get wrinkly.

Rumor is that the seedy varieties actually taste better than the seedless ones, but I have not yet had the opportunity to compare. Those I’ve found to eat around here are either wild or the cultivar is unknown (all seeded). The smaller ones seem to taste the best.

I had a Meader but the scion split down the middle two winters ago. It was in a really cold windy site, but I was surprised it died as it can survive in Maine/ New Hampshire. The D.Virginiana roots survived and resprouted. I will eventually graft them over again.

I am eyeballing the cultivars: Meader, Early Golden, and Garrettson.

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Just thought of this today, might be useful to you Jesse. John Gordon’s book on nuts and some fruits, there is a section on persimmons and the challenges of growing them further north:

Here is an excerpt on varieties that have worked:
"Several native persimmons matured their fruit locally, even during recent short cool seasons.
Pieper persimmon produces ripe fruit even though it overbears and should be thinned. It is
worrying to see Pieper going into winter loaded with ripening fruit. Such treatment is known to
kill persimmons, but Pieper returns to bloom with no sign of winter injury. Its foliage becomes
ornamentally yellow in October before frost. A seedling of Pieper, SAA Pieper, may be an
improvement on Pieper because of earlier ripening and larger (blue plum) size fruit. Slate is the
equal of SAA Pieper.
Richards from Indiana, and Meader from New Hampshire
remain mysteries to us. The description which came with them said they were extra early
ripening and high quality. Richards has only ripened once, Richards ripened as early as any in the
long hot summer of 1991 but proved to be too soft. It was good eaten off the tree in early
September, but would not store except as mush, Meader has never ripened except in a poor
freeze dry form.
Yates is a winner. It is from the hills of southern Indiana. It ripens large, Japanese-plum-size
fruit, sometimes in mid September. When seemingly ripe, Yates is fully ripe without astringency.
The latent astringency has been a fault of NC-10 persimmon. However, in exceptional 1991
NC-10 started ripening in August completely free of astringency. Geneva Pumpkin (the Geneva
selections were bred by Prof. George Slate) is also very early. NC-10, Yates, and Hess have the
best foliage. It is a lustrous, leathery, dark green from early June until October. Other selections
have lighter green foliage which is often marked with black streaking. Hess has a long fruit, large
like Yates, identical to Geneva Long, but too late ripening most yearn.

Geneva Long is
unusual because its fruit looks and tastes like oriental persimmon. Even green, Geneva Long has
a bland, not-too- astringent fruit. The whole plant seems to invite eating because aphids and leaf
hoppers love it. It is mid October ripening. The fruit retains texture so it can be sectioned like a
tomato to be put in a salad or desert. Geneva Long’s atypical lack of astringency may be why it
fails to reach the semi-apricot flavour of the other natives.
Szukis (pronounced Sue kiss) is a
bi-sexual persimmon which yields pollen and fruit. It is early ripe like Yates, over productive like
Pieper, and its fruit size ranges from small like Pieper and NC- 10 to almost the size of Yates.
Because you need one male tree to produce good persimmons (seeded fruit are higher quality),
Szukis satisfies that need plus produces good fruit. All other persimmon trees (except oriental)
are typically totally male, producing pollen, or totally female, producing fruit.
Seedless persimmons mature before persimmon fruit with seeds. Because they often have
poor flavour it is easy to think of them as degrading rather than truly ripening. Pieper and NC-10
often produce seedless fruit. Persimmons with one or two seeds will ripen before persimmons
with five or six seeds. Seedless
persimmons are smaller than the same variety’s fruit with seeds.
Early ripening persimmons
bloom early. Farther south any male tree will pollinate an orchard. We need male trees with extra
early bloom to get bees gathering persimmon nectar before the females come into bloom or we
lose the earliest part of our crop."


I tried chip budding persimmons, no takes:(

That is some good info, thanks Kelby. Szukis, Prok, EG are on my wishlist of other cold hardy, early american persimmon cultivars…always open to suggestions, of course!

This guy is growing American Persimmons and has a few nice videos on the subject:

Here are a few more good ones:

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hello, @JesseS! do you grow persimmon commercially in Maine?

I’m kinda like you although I don’t despise them. They just aren’t nearly as tasty as any other mainstream fruit I’ve tasted. I enjoy the flavor complexity of native persimmons but the texture is god awful. The Asian persimmons have better texture but I find their flavor boring and bland.

No, I just have few young seedling trees that will be grafted over to named varieties. A friend nearby has a good sized Meader in his yard that I got to try the fruit from this year, not great eating quality however, but some were okay, and an interesting novelty to try.

cool, @JesseS. I love persimmon and am looking for places in Maine to get them from. thanks for the response!

You need to get Jerry Lehman varieties like 100-46, 100-47, and Ws8-10. These fruits are the size of a Greatwall Kaki 2-3 inches with excellent taste.


Working on it, thanks! I got some other varieties thanks to trades…
I just hope my grafts are more successful than last time, and that my scionwood is still dormant in May or June when my seedlings start leafing out.

This thread is due for an update…
It has been the best year ever for persimmons in Maine (for me that is).
A big part was the generosity of @Chestnut, @Barkslip sending me fruit from out of state-thanks again guys!
Those were fun to sample and gave me some additional incentive to keep trying with this species.
I took a trip down to Arnold Arboretum and gleaned a few fruit from a 120 yr old specimen there, pretty neat to see a mature bearing tree of that size. I was imagining what the fruit set would be like if it was a selected cultuivar, wow that would be a sight.
I got seeds from the fruit I received and have it stratifying for planting out next spring.
A visit in October to the ‘Meader’ persimmon tree located here in Maine was another source of inspiration, and a bag of very tasty fruit. It was in late October that I made the drive over Streaked Mountain to Buckfield where the tree is growing on a hilltop, prime orchard ground in an elderly fellow’s suburban-sized houselot. He has a diverse collection of stuff growing including this 18’ high persimmon. It was dropping some fruit, so I gave it a shake and gathered up the ones that looked in good condition from the ground, around 10lbs. Seemed like the ones that clung to the tree were unripe and this was still the majority of the crop. Sadly, those will likely go to waste as the owner doesn’t care for them. But he was happy enough to let me fill up my shopping bag and I’ll be back this winter to give back with some pruning help. These were good eating, some excellent, a few had some residual astringency- the best ones were just about on par, similarly sized with batches I got from out of state. All were seedless.
Since I’m the only one in my house who likes to eat these, I had quite a glutting of them…the remainder I pulped, froze and later made into persimmon pudding, which I thought turned out pretty good. I’d like to try drying some of them next time around, but wonder how that would work with the texture they have.
At my place, my persimmon project is gaining ground as well. My oldest trees are now five years old and getting taller than I am, these were seedlings purchased from Oikos. I grafted one lower limb over to ‘Szukiis’, which actually set a fruit that didn’t ripen, and the graft fizzled and died upon inspection this fall. Ihave some hope that these might make good fruit on their own as they came from selected parent stock, so I’m taking a wait-and-see approach until they flower and I can evaluate sex and hopefully fruit quality, ripening time.
As much as I enjoy these for their novelty and ornamental qualities, I do want fruit, and have realized ripening time is another factor along with cold-hardiness that could limit my success, so I’ve been trying to learn more about early ripening varieties suited for my location in inland Maine.
Three years ago I bought in some seedling stock for Lawyers. These were small (but not as small as Oikos’)somewhat slow to establish, they died back to the ground the first winter, and so I just let them grow until this past spring when I grafted in place them as low as I could. A mixture of varieties supplied by some helpful members took at a good rate- 75% and grew nicely up to 2-3’ tall. ‘Prok’ seems to be the most vigorous of the bunch. I buried the graft union and lower growth with a berm of woodchip mulch for winter protection. I figure that the tips will die back, but if I can protect the union for a couple years I am hopeful they will become more winter tolerant here. These need to get moved to new homes next spring, so a little top pruning might be beneficial to balance the inevitable root pruning that will occur when I transplant.
I have another nursery bed which consists of persimmon that I grew from seed planted in 2016 which I received from @Chestnut 's Twisted Tree nursery. These have grown to around a foot tall or a bit less after two seasons, and I think I’ll need to give them another year before I graft them over, and then one more to grow out that graft-so a total of four years from a seed to a potentially salable tree if thIngs work out. I want to get more folks trying this tree around here, it’s got potential that needs to be explored and it seems like more folks are getting interested in them.
Next year I will continue to plant seeds in pots and in the ground, mostly for rootstock. A half dozen or so grafted trees will get moved to permanent homes in my orchard for evaluation- H-118, Prok, 100-46, Szukiis and a few others. A couple others on my radar I’d like to add and graft are NC-10, I-115 as these are reportedly earliest ripening cultivars that might have an edge over varieties that ripen later and might not be able to yield the bulk of their crop here.

Thanks to all those who have helped me get this far with scionwood, seeds and tantalizing tastes, I hope to someday spread the persimmon-y goodness around and be able to recommend varieties to others trying to grow these in the northern fringe.


Excellent report and evaluation.

I believe Early Jewel (H118) and Prok are going to be the future for you and I115. You’ll have to wait to see if any of the 100- cultivars will have enough time to ripen. My buddy is somewhat doubtful they’ll ripen here but I sort of disagree because @tonyOmahaz5 is doing just fine in a similar climate. I honestly don’t know how H63A is going to perform here but again Tony has no problem ripening them. Again, my friend tends to think H63A may not ripen here.

Good luck Jesse!


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