Growing Persimmons From Seed homesteading

Persimmons are a delicious and unusual fruit to grow on your homestead. Persimmons like a warm climate but other than that, they are not particularly fussy about their growing conditions. You can buy them from reputable nurseries to put right in the ground or you can go the DIY route and propagate them from cuttings or grow persimmons from seed.

Introduced to the United States by Japan, persimmons offer a colorful splash to your winter landscape. In addition to their beauty, persimmons provide 55% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A and 21% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C.

The reddish-brown to orange fruits that hang like Christmas ornaments on a pretty little tree have antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. They promote healthy mucous membranes and skin. They are known to protect against lung and mouth cancers, and due to their high fiber content, are a perfect snack for those trying to lose a little weight. Not only are they good for you, but they are also a sweet and delicious treat, so delicious that persimmon in Latin translates to “food of the gods.”

There are hundreds of varieties of persimmons but the most widely available persimmon in the United States is the Hachiya, also called Japanese Persimmon. It grows to 3 inches in diameter and has a rounded shape with a slightly pointed base. The Hachiya has bright orange skin which dulls as it ripens. This variety of persimmon is extremely astringent and it will pucker your mouth until it is soft-ripe. At the right stage, it is sweet and creamy.

The Fuyu persimmon is a smaller variety and is tomato-shaped. Fuyu persimmons are not astringent at all because they have no tannins. They can be eaten while still quite firm and have a crisp, sweet flavor.

American persimmons are available and can bear fruit but they are generally considered ornamental. American persimmons also need both a male and female tree to produce fruit whereas Asian persimmons are self-fruiting. For prolific harvests and profitable crops, Asian persimmons are your best bet.

growing persimmon tree

Growing Persimmons From Seed

To grow persimmons from seed choose a fully ripe, unblemished persimmon. Remove the seeds and soak them in warm water for three days. Once they have soaked, rinse them under running water to completely remove any flesh.

Once you have soaked and cleaned the seeds, they need a period of cold stratification. The stratification process mimics the overwintering they need to sprout. Wrap your seeds in a moistened paper towel and place in a glass jar. Store the jar in your refrigerator for three months, spritzing the paper towel when it begins to dry out.

After the cold stratification process is complete, plant one seed in a tall, plastic container with drainage holes. The container needs to be tall because persimmon trees develop their long taproot very early. The seed should be planted 2” deep in sterile potting soil and placed in a bright location where the temperature is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Because persimmon seeds have a 25-35% germination rate, plant multiple seeds for the best chance of success. You should see persimmon seedlings in 6-8 weeks.

Keep your persimmon seedlings in bright, indirect sunlight with evenly moist soil. Once all danger of frost has passed, move your potted persimmons to a sheltered area outdoors. Harden them off over the course of two weeks by gradually moving them to an area with stronger sunlight. Water weekly to keep the soil moist, but persimmons don’t like soggy conditions, so let the top inch of soil dry out between watering.

Time to Transplant

Growing Persimmons From SeedAfter a full growing season, your persimmon trees are ready to be transplanted into your homestead orchard. It is easiest on the transplant if this is done in October or early November, after a soaking rain. Make sure you have allocated enough space (20 square feet per tree) to ensure your persimmons have enough growing space to thrive and produce an abundant yield.

Spread a thick layer of organic mulch around the base of your persimmon trees and be patient. Persimmon trees grown from seed can take 3-5 years to bear fruit. Trust me, it is worth the wait.

What Can You Do With Persimmons?

Persimmon trees are beneficial to self-sufficient homesteading because they are said to give maximum fruit yield per square foot. Trees can be expected to produce 35-75 pounds of fruit per season. That is a lot of fruit!

They are healthy and delicious eaten fresh from the tree, but they are extremely perishable. The delicate fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for three days before they begin fermenting in their skins. Because of that, it is important to have a storage plan for personal use and a product plan if you plan on selling this fruit.

For personal use, persimmons can be used in puddings, smoothies, and baked goods. Simply peel and chop persimmons. Spread chopped fruit in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen. Transfer frozen fruit to freezer bags and label. For puddings and baked goods, let the persimmons thaw before using. You can use frozen persimmons in a smoothie for a frothy, ice-cream-like smoothie.

Growing Persimmons From Seed

Persimmon Recipes

Another quick snack that makes a unique and side to all types of meat is pickled persimmons. To make these refrigerator pickles clean, peel and chop 6-7 Fuyu persimmons into bite-sized pieces. Place the chopped persimmons in a sterile quart-sized jar. Combine 1 cup apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar, ½ cup water, 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 cinnamon stick in a small saucepan on medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the vinegar mixture over the persimmons and let it cool to room temperature before capping. Refrigerate.

The next two recipes can also be made for home use, but they are extremely popular at farmers markets and specialty grocers. Persimmon Butter is very simple to make and can help you quickly work through an over-abundance of fruit. Hoshigaki is labor-intensive but produces the most delicious product you can imagine that carries a price tag of $40 per pound.

Persimmon Butter
  • 2 pounds ripe persimmons
  • ¼ cup apple or pear juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Peel and cut persimmons into equal-sized wedges. Place persimmons along with the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium heat until the fruit is soft, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.

Pour the mixture into a blender, or use an immersion blender, to blend until smooth.

Ladle the mixture into a sterilized quart-sized canning jar and apply lid and ring to finger-tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. (yields about 1 quart)

Hoshigaki (Dried Persimmons)

Hoshigaki is the traditional Japanese method of drying persimmons. Saveur magazine calls hoshigaki the Kobe beef of dried fruit. Making this gourmet treat is time- and labor-intensive, but the results are well worth the effort.

To make hoshigaki, choose unblemished, ripened fruit. Gently wash and dry each persimmon. Peel the fruit, leaving the stem area intact.

Tie a strand of twine on each stem. If there is no stem, you can carefully insert a small metal screw into the cap and attach the twine to the screw.

Hang the persimmons in a bright window, out of direct sunlight. In approximately one week the peeled persimmons will develop another skin. Once this happens gently massage each persimmon daily. Massaging the persimmons with a few squeezes each day drives away the moisture and redistributes the sugars to the exterior.

In 4-6 weeks you will notice a white coating on the persimmons. This is the concentrated sugar that has been drawn out by the daily massaging. It is a sign that your hoshigaki is finished. Remove the twine and screws from the persimmons and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

A Few Tips For Your Dried Persimmons

selling persimmonsIf you live in a damp climate, there are a couple of tricks you can use to help with the drying process. Once you have cleaned and peeled your persimmons, dip them in boiling water for 10 seconds before hanging in a bright window. Put an oscillating space heater in the area and leave it running on low until the persimmons are dried.

Hoshigaki is a truly delicious and healthy snack and it makes a wonderful holiday gift. If you want to market this specialty product to high-end grocers and restaurants, I suggest you do two things: First, take pictures of the entire process. Print them out and create a small portfolio to show your potential buyer. Second, chop and dry a few persimmons in your dehydrator. Allow your buyer to sample both products. Dried persimmons are good, but there really is no comparison between the two products.

If you are looking for an interesting, healthy and tasty fruit to add to your homestead, I encourage you to give persimmons a try. They are easy to grow, simple to maintain, fun to cook with, and can be profitable to your homestead business.


  1. Love persimmons–it’s such a beautiful color in the fall! My trees are still small, but I dream of the day when that bountiful harvest is at hand. I am curious about turning the seeds into buttons–they’re HARD, but maybe I can build a jig to hold them to drill the holes?

    I wanted to offer a quick correction to this article, though. It is true that the widely-cultivated Japanese Persimmon (Diospyros kaki ) was brought to the US from Japan, but there are at least three persimmon species that are native to the Americas–The American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana ), the Black Sapote/Persimmon (Diospyros nigra ), and the Texas persimmon (Diospyros texana). They were an important food to several native American nations.

    1. I believe it should be sealed. As part of the function of a fridge is to remove moisture from the air. I actually just wrap them in damp paper towels and put them in a zip lock bag. Then check the bag every once in a while to make sure there is no mold. You want to make sure your hands are thoroughly cleaned before prepping for stratification. Don’t want any germs to get in there.

  2. Even though a ripe persimmon chilled by a good hard first frost certainly tastes divine……
    and I could live on them if I could….the word persimmon does not translate to Food of the Gods
    in Latin.

    The Food of the Gods in Latin is “cibus deorum.”

  3. I live in Australia and have grown a persimmon from seed. It is about 4 ft high & I dont know if it is male or female. If I need to buy a 2nd tree , how do i know whether to buy a male or a female? Thanks Kel

  4. In regards to the note on name – the Latin name for persimmons is “diospyros”, derived from Greek. The literal translation is “Zeus’s wheat” but common translation would be “divine fruit” or “fruit of the gods” , as the author noted.

  5. It’s best to grow persimmon trees in spring or fall when there’s no frost. In spring, this timeframe would be around December to June, depending on your last frost date. In addition, it’s also possible to transplant persimmon trees six weeks before the first frost date in the fall. As for summer, the ideal months for growing persimmons are late June to early August.

  6. We have a large number of wild American persimmon trees (Diospyros virginiana) in the areas where I walk my dogs. The fruits they produce are small, full of seeds, but when picked at the right moment they are truly “food of the gods.”

    This year we have some seeds in the fridge preparing for planting in the spring. However, the other day, very near where two of the trees I frequent grow, I found a large pile of scat full of seeds. Either a racoon or opossum is my guess. Anyway, I gathered it up in a doggie poo bag and am thinking of just putting them out to see if they sprout in the spring. Should I cover them with soil or just leave them in a depression exposed? We are in Coastal Carolina and so the soil is naturally sandy.

    A paper in PubMed stated that “Gut passage did not affect sprouting success, but did tend to decrease time to sprout and increase seedling quality.” So we are going to be comparing them carefully.

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