The Japanese Persimmon is a newer fruit that is not as widely appreciated as it should be. Among people who love the fruit, few realize how easy it is to grow your own persimmons, or how versatile this fruit is. It can be eaten fresh, or baked into many different dishes, from muffins to jam. If you want to grow a persimmon, the first thing to consider is what you enjoy doing most with this fruit.
If you like to both eat it fresh and cook with it, then the Hachiya Persimmon Tree is your best choice. This variety is known for the large size of its fruit, which are often over 8 ounces each, the richness of its flavor, and the soft texture of its ripe flesh. Because the fruit are large, you get lots for cooking, although of course this is also a great variety for eating fresh. Once you get to know this delicious fruit, you will simply love it.
Growing Hachiya Japanese Persimmon Trees
The Hachiya Persimmon Tree is not as cold hardy as some other varieties (such as the Saijo Persimmon, a good choice for zone 6). ‘Hachiya’ grows best in zones 7, 8 and 9 and into zone 10. It develops into a small, spreading tree, no more than 12 feet tall and across. The very large fruit is round and slightly pointed at the bottom, and a rich, deep, orange-red color. The overall shape is a bit like an acorn. It ripens in late October and into November, and it can be left on the tree until wanted, and then brought indoors to finish ripening. This type of persimmon fruit should be ripened until it is completely soft and almost liquid.
When under-ripe and still firm it has a bitter, ‘fuzzy’ taste from tannins in the flesh. These disappear when the fruit is fully ripe, and the flesh is transformed into a delicious sweetness, with flavors of apricot and plum. Baked goods made with the flesh of this persimmon have a beautiful moisture, and an almost pumpkin-like flavor that is utterly unique. Persimmon jam is delicious and easy to make, and a great way to finish using all your crop. If you want a persimmon that lacks tannin, and can be eaten before turning soft, choose the variety ‘Fuyu’, a special low-tannin form, highly prized in Japan and famous for being good to eat when still crisp.
This deciduous tree has large, leathery leaves with prominent veins and a glossy, rich green upper surface. The lower surface is covered with a soft, light-brown felt. In fall the leaves turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red, and once the leaves fall the fruit is fully exposed, making a spectacular display. In spring small flowers are produced, some white and some pink.
The white flowers produce fruit, and this tree develops fruit by itself, needing no other tree of a different variety to pollinate it as, for example apples, usually do. This is another reason why this lovely tree deserves a place in even a very small garden. It can even be trained onto a wall, taking up almost no space at all. The lack of pollination also means the fruit has very few seeds, which makes it very easy to eat or to remove the flesh for baking.
The Hachiya Persimmon Tree grows best in full sun, although in the hottest areas it will also grow in light shade. Plant it in any well-drained soil, with added organic material. Once established it has moderate drought resistance, but it does best with deep watering during long dry spells. Unlike many other types of fruit trees, it needs no elaborate spraying, since it is normally pest-free and resistant to diseases. It doesn’t need annual or specialized pruning either, so it is very low-maintenance.
History and Origins of the Hachiya Japanese Persimmon
The Japanese Persimmon (柿), Diospyros kaki, has been cultivated in China and Japan for thousands of years, and many different varieties have been developed from wild trees. It is often called the Asian persimmon, or the Kaki Fruit, to distinguish it from its relative the American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), which grows in the east, and the Texan persimmon (Diospyros texana). The name ‘Hachiya’ is probably related to the Japanese word ‘Hachi’, which means a bowl, in reference to the large, rounded shape of the fruit.
To create your tree, our skilled growers take stem pieces from correctly identified plants and attached them to young plants of the American persimmon, which form the roots. These develop into a sturdy, hardy, and vigorous tree, that will be fruiting within 3 or 4 years of planting. As you may have noticed, persimmons command high prices in the stores, because they are difficult to handle, and fragile. By growing your own you can have an abundant supply, in perfect condition, and ripen them fully with ease. Growing these trees has become very popular in recent years, so our stock of this top-quality variety will soon be gone. Act now while we can still satisfy your order.