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Monday, December 22, 2014

Can I Grow Persimmon From Seed?

Q. I had a couple of persimmons from a friend's tree in California. Can I plant these seeds from this fruit and if so do the trees thrive here?

A. Yes, persimmons will grow in the desert with a little bit of extra care. Our desert soils must be amended with compost before planting. After planting, persimmons will perform best with a surface mulch of 3 to 4 inches of wood chips. Persimmons perform very well if you fertilize with compost once a year.
Persimmon leaf size with organic fertilizers like compost applied to our desert soils.
You can grow persimmon from seed easily but these trees will not be exactly the same plant as your friend’s. A tree from these seeds might have better fruit or the fruit might be worse.

To germinate, persimmon seed must go through about two months of cold, wet conditions,Similar to the conditions it would find in nature. In nature the fruit matures in late fall or early winter and drops to the ground in a layer of natural surface mulch or debris. In this surface mulch it spends the cold winter. In its native environment this surface mulch would stay relatively moist compared to our dry desert winters. 
Hachiya persimmon grown in the desert that is nearly mature. At this stage the seeds can be harvested but the fruit will not be quite at its peak of ripeness and will still be astringent.

You can simulate this by using a refrigerator. Refrigerator temperature is fine but the seed should be kept moist but not wet. These conditions remove inhibitors in the seed coat that may keep it from germinating. Make sure the seed is clean and pack them in ever-so moist sand before putting them in the fridge. This should not be in plastic bags but something that can "breathe" while in storage. You need to moisten the seed's environment periodically.

After the two months and freezing temperatures have passed, you can plant these seeds directly into amended soil in the garden area or in a container.

Alternatively, plant them directly into amended soil in the garden or container, moisten the soil, mulch it with 2 inches of wood mulch and water about once every 3 weeks during the winter. They should germinate in the spring in the spot where you planted them when the weather warms.

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