Thanks to Tony - Persimmon Bench Grafting

I just wanted to say Thanks to Tony who sent me some Nikita’s Gift scions. I grew some American persimmon rootstock from seed last year in rootmaker containers. I let them go dormant naturally and then placed them in my unheated garage until they had sufficient chill hours. I then brought them inside, warmed them up, and placed them under lights.

About a month before I expected them to leaf-out, Tony sent me some Nikita’s Gift scions so I could try some bench grafting. About 10 of the seedlings were recommended bench grafting size (about pencil diameter) and the rest were significantly smaller than recommended size in diameter. I brought in 25 seedlings in total. I did not graft one of them. I kept it as a control so I would know roughly when leaf-out would occur without grafting.

At first I really thought my bench grafting success would be very poor but things are now looking up. I had a number of grafts fail. I had some extra scions, so I cut those off below the graft and re-grafted them. On the pencil sized rootstock I used a Whip and Tongue graft and for the smaller rootstock, I used wedge grafts. I normally bark graft larger persimmons in the field with very good success. I’ve been told bench grafting persimmons is difficult, so I wrapped the scions in parafilm-M and used a little rooting hormone on the graft to encourage callusing.

It is still too early to determine final success rates, but here is where I am so far:

10 seedlings with a high confidence of success.
5 seedlings that look promising.
9 Seedling that were either re-grafted or show no signs of taking yet.

Here is a picture of a few of the seedlings that are the furthest along:

The seedlings in the background are pawpaw grown from seed. Most of the persimmon grafts were done in 1 gal rootbuilder II containers and when confidence level in success reached a high enough level, I transplanted them to the 3 gal rootbuilder II containers shown in the picture. I was pretty impresses with the root system when I did the transplant.

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Thanks for sharing! I hope to do this next year. Good luck on the rest.

I am glad that some of those NG scions took. The fruits are very sweet and tasty.


Nice work!

I’d really like to try this. Did you wait until the persimmons started to push new growth before you grafted them? Or did you just allow them to warm up for a few days?

I took a lot of dormant Saijo scion that I’d like to try this on. Might it work for pawpaws as well? How warm is your area where you have them? I have a basement where I propagate figs and I’m not sure that’d be warm enough (65 degrees or so).

I did not wait for the persimmons to leaf out but If I try it again, I probably will. They say you can bench graft dormant persimmons about a month before they leaf-out. That is what I was shooting for. I also grafted Jujube this way but I did wait until they leaf-out. (This was largely because It took me longer than I thought to close the loop with Roger Meyer and get the scions). At any rate, at my farm, my Jujube in the field leaf-out about a month before my persimmons. So, when the Jujube I brought in at the same time as the persimmons started leafing-out, I figured the persimmons were about a month behind. That is when I grafted them.

I brought them inside on December 20th and started grafting the first persimmons on January 10th. If you want all the gory details, you can check out this thread: Early Wake-up

That thread starts a year ago with my first failed attempt so there are plenty of lessons learned.

I keep my basement (finished) between 72 and 75 degrees and use a whole house humidifier vented directly in the basement to keep the humidity above 60%. I basically close off all the vents in my main floor and second floor and direct all of my heat to the basement. Heat rises and my main floor and second floor hold about 70 degrees.

For smaller plants (Rootmaker 18s and such) I have small enclosures with heaters inside that let me push the temperature up to the low 80s inside. When trees get large enough for 1 gal or larger Rootmakers like the persimmons, the go in the open part of the basement where you see them in the picture which is in the low 70s.

I don’t see any reason it won’t work on pawpaws. This is my first year growing pawpaws. I’ve started them from seed and they seem to be doing fairly well. Most of my seeds were 250x39 from Cliff England. I probably won’t graft those but I also got some seed from KSU which is pretty much VNS. I may consider grafting some of them in the future.



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Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to edit my existing post to add this:

If you look in the background on the right side of the picture, you can see some of those pawpaws I started from seed.

Thanks again for the info. I’ll try this on a few persimmons and try to report back how it does. I have some seedlings from last that aren’t in great shape but I’m hoping they’ll do. Not much lost if they fail!

I’m not sure if this is unusual or not. I already have a persimmon starting on one of the trees I grafted this winter:


That Nikita’s Gift scion must have a fruiting bud and you may get a fruit if it doesn’t drop.


I found another one of the Nikita’s Gift grafts with a persimmon starting. One more thing I find interesting. I grafted some scions from a promiscuous native female to some of my male trees 4 years ago. They are not showing flowers yet and I have not had any persimmons.

On the other hand, I grafted 2 named varieties that are in their third leaf and are showing flowers:

This one is a Prok.

This one is 100-46.


I’ve been thinking about this and scratching my head. If the persimmon was on the original scion, I could see it being a fruiting bud that was on the scion. I found two trees with one persimmon each. They are now a bit larger than cherry tomatoes. The thing is, both are on new growth far above the original scion.


Persimmon fruit forms from a new growth of previous year bud and so in this case is correct.


I’m still trying to figure out the details for grafting onto potted persimmons (which I guess is the same as bench grafting.) I brought some potted trees into a warm area earlier this year to get them to break dormancy early for bark grafting, but then I didn’t really know what to do with them after I grafted them, particularly what kind of temperatures would be optimal. Any ideas/recommendations on what’s best?


That was my understanding as well, but the scion was obviously hardened wood. The persimmons are on green wood that has not hardened yet. I’m still learning, but there is something here I don’t understand.

I can’t tell you what is best since I’ve only been doing this for a couple years, but I can tell you what I did. In general, I brought them in and warmed them up. I used the term bench grafting to mean that I was grafting (independent of technique) indoors on a seedling rather than in the field. I used a few grafting techniques. The primary techniques that worked, whip and tongue grafts and wedge grafts.

I have shop lights on a timer in my heated basement. I also had some heaters and a whole house humidifier vented into the basement. I adjust the lights as the plants grow to keep them a couple inches above the trees. I try to keep the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees. I try to keep the RH between 60 and 80 percent.

When my threat of frost was less than 10%, I moved my trees outside. I kept them in the shade for about a week to let them adjust before moving them to my upper deck where they get sun all morning.

If you want more details with pictures, check out this thread: Early Wake-up on QDMA
My first attempt was a total failure. This could have been due to the very small diameter of the root stock at that point (started them late from seed), or that I improperly overwintered them. I had fairly good success this past winter.

Just an updated picture of one with a persimmon.


Looking good . If the fruit grows pass the ping pong size then it will stick and not drops. I just went out and check on the Kaki grafts and look like they all take.


Tam Kam

Kasandra hybrid Asian persimmon

All these were grafted 2 weeks ago.

Well, the Nikita’s Gift persimmons dropped both of those fruits. They were about ping pong ball sized when dropped. I guess this is fairly normal for a young tree, but it would have been cool to have one mature this early.

That is OK. The 2 trees can concentrate on growing.


Yep. I was tempted to remove them anyway, but it would have been cool to see if such a small tree could support a fruit. These trees grew like crazy indoors but pretty much stalled when I took them outside. I have noticed that some of them are just now putting on a new growth spurt.