Japanese Persimmons are very popular these days, having come from being almost unknown a few years ago. Most varieties have to be ripened fully, until the are very, very soft, and almost liquid. Although they love the taste, some people would prefer a firmer flesh, for texture and also to be able to slice it and use it in salads, both sweet and savory. If you feel this way, then there is a perfect solution – the variety of Japanese Persimmon knowns as ‘Fuyu’, also sometimes called Fuyuhaki.
This unique variety, which has been a Japanese secret for centuries, has very little of the bitter tannin found in under-ripe persimmons of other popular varieties. This means it has that delicious persimmon apricot/plum/peach flavor that you love, but in a firmer fruit. Not only is that more useful, but you don’t have to spend days waiting for your fruit to reach just the exact degree of ripeness for eating – simply pluck one straight from the tree and enjoy it.
Growing Fuyu Persimmon Trees
The Fuyu Persimmon Tree is a spreading tree that can reach 20 or 30 feet tall in time, and as much across. It can be controlled by trimming in winter, if needed, to keep it smaller. It can also be grown by training it on a large wall, facing south. This is especially useful not just in smaller gardens, to save space, but also in colder zones to ensure a good crop of ripe fruit. The tree has large leaves, up to 8 inches long, which are deep green and glossy. The underside of the leaf is very different, covered in a soft brown fuzz. The tree itself is broad, with one or two trunks, and it needs no special pruning and training, as many other fruit trees do, so it is very easy to grow. It is also normally free of pests and diseases, which means it can be grown by anyone, without the dedication and time needed to succeed with many other kinds of fruits.
Harvesting Your Fruit
In spring you will see small white flowers developing. These produce the fruit, which develops steadily over the summer months. The fruit of the Fuyu Persimmon Tree is ripe in October and into November, around the time the leaves fall. It remains hanging on the tree, not only looking amazing, but safely ripening slowly in the cooler weather. Leaving it on the tree until you need it is the best and easiest way to store the fruit for a few weeks. Unlike varieties that need extra ripening indoors to be edible, this wonderful variety can just be picked and eaten. The first fruits are ready to eat as soon as they have developed a good orange color. The fruits are large, with a single fruit often weighing more than 8 ounces. They are very round, with a flat base.
Ensuring a Bumper Crop
The Fuyu Persimmon Tree is semi-self-pollinating. This means that it will produce a good-sized crop when grown alone, but a bigger crop when grown with another variety. So if you have room, want the biggest crop possible on your Fuyu tree, and enjoy eating a persimmon with softer flesh, grow the Hachiya Persimmon Tree for cooking. For eating fresh grow the Saijo Persimmon Tree, which is famous for its delicious flavor. Both these trees only grow 12 to 15 feet tall, and they are good choices for smaller gardens, as they are completely self-pollinating, and they can be grown alone.
Planting and Initial Care
It is best to grow the Fuyu Persimmon in full sun, especially in zone 7. This will help develop the crop fully over the summer. In warmer zones it can be grown in full sun or partial shade. It will grow best in moist, well-drained garden soil, that you have enriched with organic material. Once established it has some drought-resistance, but the best crop will develop if it is watered well during any longer dry spells.
Many fruit trees need a lot of spraying, but not this one. It is resistant to diseases and normally free of pests. No elaborate pruning is needed – another time and effort saver – beyond any trimming to control the size you might wish to do. Trim in winter, after the fruit has all been harvested and before new growth emerges.
History and Origins of the Fuyu Persimmon Tree
The Fuyu Persimmon Tree is highly-prized in Japan. The name ‘Fuyu’ is connected to the words Fuyuna and Yufuku, both of which mean ‘rich’ in both the sense of ‘wealthy’ and ‘richly-flavored’. The Japanese Persimmon (柿), Diospyros kaki, has been cultivated in China and Japan for thousands of years, although ‘Fuyu’ was developed relatively recently. It probably originated in the gardens of the Nikkatsu Iikura Imperial Palace early in the 19th century, and the name was given to it first in 1897. This variety is also sometimes called Fukukaki or Fukugari.
The Japanese Persimmon is related to trees that grow in the USA, both with edible fruit. These are the Texan Persimmon (Diospyros texana), and the American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), which grows in the eastern parts of this country. The fruit of these trees is used locally, but it is small, and not at all comparable to the Japanese Persimmon. The American Persimmon is, however, used to make the roots of your tree.
Our master growers take carefully-selected stem pieces from plants of the Fuyu Persimmon Tree, and they attach them to seedlings of the American Persimmon. Those seedlings become the root system of your tree, with the Japanese tree as the top, visible parts. This way the tree is adapted to our conditions, and grows into a vigorous, healthy tree.
Adding Fuyu Japanese Persimmon Trees to Your Garden
Japanese Persimmons are becoming increasingly popular, and they command high prices in the grocery store. The way to have an abundant supply is to grow your own. Stores rarely carry the Fuyu variety, so by growing it at home you will have easy, direct access to as much as you want, throughout the season. Any surplus fruit can be turned into baked goods and delicious jams. This tree is highly sought-after, so our stock will be gone very quickly. Order now while our limited supply lasts.