Persimmon Pointers


(Frank Corrigan) #1

When i was in Japan in November 2015, i purchased some Persimmon seeds. They were described as " Black Persimmon" . I successfully germinated the seeds in the spring 2016. The first year they struggled and dropped leaves and grew back several times. In the fall of 2017, i repotted them in a higher % mix of Akadama, pumice and lava. This spring they have responded with very strong growth and healthy foliage.
I have been unable to find very much information, particularly on "Black Persimmon"
So my question for those who have some experience with persimmon, what are the peculiarities i should watch out for?
I am considering some initial wiring in the near future. The plants are currently ranging from 8-14 inches in height.


(Jonas Dupuich) #2

I bought some of those seeds too, likely from the same vendor. I mixed them, however, with all of the other unusual varieties I have so I no longer know which is which :slight_smile:

The main thing I know about growing persimmon is that they’re best cultivated from root cuttings from known female trees. It could be that after growing one for 5-10 years that it turns out to be male.

I’ve also found that they die when repotted too soon. I talked to the persimmon seed vendor at Taikan-ten the following year and he mentioned that the trees should be allowed to root in for an extra year after germination. I wait more like three or more years - until the tree is growing fairly vigorously.

I’ve also found that they need to be wired fairly early on. They can be twisted pretty good when they’re young. If the bends come out good, at least the males among them will be attractive :slight_smile:

My oldest seedling (from a previous batch) is producing fruit this year for the first time! The seeds, as far as I know, are from a Kokufu Prize-winning tree. I think the seedling was planted in 2012.


(Frank Corrigan) #3

Thanks Jonas
Sounds like i should keep every one until i know which are female or male. Will pencil thickness be a good time to start.


(Jonas Dupuich) #4

That’s about when mine first fruited at 6yrs old. The wiring, if you want tighter bends, needs to happen sooner. My goal is to grow small-sized persimmons to use in medium displays.


(Frank Corrigan) #5

Thanks again, that explains why after three years mine are only half that thickness. I thought it was because they struggled so much the first year dropping leaves and restarting. They must be very slender in proportion normally. I can see i have a lot to learn about these plants. They are not like anything else i am working with. I will post a couple of pictures of the progress along the way.
I do remember you mentioning they were a slower growing species. They are regular turtles in comparison to Trident and JBP. Actually i believe Chojubai can outpace them.


(Jonas Dupuich) #6

Ha! If you do repot early you’ll be surprised that young seedlings have very few roots, just some long, thin black strands. The persimmon grower said it’s important to cut these back before too long but I have yet to figure out exactly when as it really slows them down.

Down the road, when they’re growing well, plant some in deep containers exposed-root style and let it go for several years. From there you can harvest many roots for cuttings.


(Frank Corrigan) #7

Here are a couple of pictures to baseline progress to date. There are eighteen seedlings and they have been transferred last fall into 1/2 gallon nursery pots. Medium size Akadama/Pumice/black lava/grit. 50% of the mix is akadama rest is equal parts. Using my organic bonsai brownies.


(mac4) #8

A couple of comments on Princess Persimmon.

You need at least one male tree to get your females to set fruit and hold them till they get ripe and stay on tree after the leaves drop. You have no idea what you are going to get when you plant the seeds, if the male that fertilized the tree is not from a black persimmon, and there is no way to tell that, you get a cross between what ever he is and what ever the seed was that you planted. This is one of the good features of fiddling with persimmon, you can get a bunch of different results from the same batch of seeds.

Be very careful monkeying with the roots, if you trim them back only take 10-15% and then only the long strings that may be circuling the pot don’t mess with the root mass around the trunk unless absolutly necessary. Keep in a slightly oversize pot, they like lots of water and you don’t want to take a chance of the planting medium drying out. If it drys out best case you only loose the fruit, worst case you loose the tree.

If your male tree and female tree don’t bloom at exactly the same time you don’t get any fruit. I have a male that blooms open about a week earlier than my females. I have to hand polinate the females. I take the blooms off the male as they mature and put them in a little containter. Then when the females start opening blooms I get a clamping forcep and grab the male blooms and rub them on the females. One male bloom can get me through 3-4 female blooms before it gets so raggidy that I have to toss it and get another one. It takes an hour or two to get one female pollinated by hand. I keep hoping I’ll my male will get it’s timing correct so I don’t need to do this but so far no go. Thinking about putting male in the dark for a few days when the blooms are starting to mature and see if I can slow it down. Don’t fertilize in spring until you have fruit established on the female then fertilize regularly, like weekly, all that fruit drains the energy from the plant, don’t fertilize and you’ll have the fruit drop off before it gets ripe.

Properly handled you can get fruit that stays on the tree in all it’s glory until February/March. It’s a beautiful sight when the plan comes together. If I could post a photo on here I’d show you what I’m talking about.


(mac4) #9

Just figured out how to do it. This tree is ca. 24" tall from planting medium surface.


(Frank Corrigan) #10

Thanks for the insights. Artificial insemination for persimmon, i am used to it for cattle and salmon, why not? Actually two years ago we used it on the Asian Pear tree while the bees were on vacation.
I intend to let these grow in the current containers for the next couple of seasons. They are responding very well with strong growth this year!
Thanks again.


(Frank Corrigan) #11

That is a stunning display! I am used to seeing them shown with a few fruit, nothing like that. Attention to detail in the extreme!


(mac4) #12

Thank you for the good words. It won the best display at the 2017 Winter Silouette Bonsai Show.

I made the display table of persimmon wood, the little leaf in the center front is an applied carving of a persimmon leaf from the tree. The cut outs in the table skirt are from a template I made from a leaf off the tree. The “scroll” is a copy of a cover that was on , “Nature” magazine somewhere around 1928.


(Frank Corrigan) #13

Well deserved! The judges understood the work that went into the display and the tree.


(Jonas Dupuich) #14

Here are shots of the tree that started fruiting this year and the fruit.


(Frank Corrigan) #15

Thank you
What percentage roughly of the seeds are female? Do you know if the seeds can be influenced either way by PH, Heat or specific nutrients. Or is it genetically programmed into the specific seed?
I had heard somewhere that the number of female plants is quite a bit lower.


(Jonas Dupuich) #16

I’ve heard that as well but I don’t know the numbers. As far as I know there’s no way to affect the outcome.


(Frank Corrigan) #17

They say patience is a virtue. I will just have to work on “Kaizan” continuous improvement.


(mac4) #18

My understanding is that you get an average of 80% male to 20% female. I can’t tell you where I read that.


(Frank Corrigan) #19

Thanks, i will keep every one for now. For this year i will focus on growth and some initial wiring for basic movement.
This is the first year i have seen more aggressive growth since germination. The forest year they really struggled and seemed to restart every month or so.


(mac4) #20

Once you get any bloom on any tree you can distinguish between a male plant/bloom and a female. At that point you can decide what to do with the trees you don’t want or need.