Growing Persimmon Trees in Alabama: A Guide for Gardeners

Persimmon Tree

Persimmons are a unique and delicious fruit that can be a delightful addition to any Alabama garden. Known for their sweet, honey-like flavor, persimmons can be eaten fresh, dried, or used in various culinary dishes. Alabama’s warm climate is well-suited for growing certain varieties of persimmon trees, making them a great choice for local gardeners looking to expand their fruit tree repertoire. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to successfully grow and care for persimmon trees in Alabama.

Choosing the Right Variety

There are two main types of persimmon trees that are suitable for growing in Alabama: the native American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) and the Asian persimmon (Diospyros kaki). The American persimmon is hardy and can handle colder temperatures, while the Asian varieties, such as ‘Fuyu’ and ‘Hachiya’, prefer milder conditions and produce larger, sweeter fruit.

  1. American Persimmon: This variety is highly adaptable and can thrive in various soil types, though it prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It is more tolerant of cold and can withstand brief periods of temperatures as low as -25°F.
  2. Asian Persimmon: ‘Fuyu’ and ‘Hachiya’ are among the most popular Asian varieties grown in Alabama. ‘Fuyu’ produces sweet, non-astringent fruit that can be eaten like an apple. ‘Hachiya’ is larger and heart-shaped, known for its astringent flavor until fully ripe, at which point it becomes wonderfully sweet.

Planting Your Persimmon Tree

The best time to plant persimmon trees in Alabama is during the late winter or early spring, allowing the tree to establish roots before the heat of summer sets in.

  • Location: Choose a sunny spot with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Persimmon trees need full sun to produce the best fruit.
  • Soil Preparation: Ensure the planting site has well-draining soil. If you have heavy clay soil, consider raising the bed or adding organic matter to improve drainage.
  • Planting: Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and just as deep. Place the tree in the hole so that the root collar (where the roots meet the trunk) is level with the soil surface. Backfill the hole with soil and water thoroughly.

Care and Maintenance

  • Watering: Young trees need consistent moisture to establish a strong root system. Water them deeply once a week during dry spells. Mature trees are more drought-tolerant but still benefit from occasional deep watering.
  • Fertilizing: Feed your persimmon tree in early spring and mid-summer with a balanced fertilizer to support healthy growth and fruit production.
  • Pruning: Prune in late winter to remove any dead or crossing branches and to shape the tree. Persimmon trees generally require less pruning than other fruit trees.
  • Pest and Disease Management: Keep an eye out for pests such as scale, mealybugs, and aphids. Diseases like leaf spot and blight can also occur, particularly in humid conditions. Proper spacing, air circulation, and keeping the area free of debris can help manage these issues.



Persimmons are typically ready to harvest in Alabama from late October through November, depending on the variety and weather conditions that year. Harvest the fruit when it’s fully colored but before a hard freeze. For astringent varieties like ‘Hachiya’, allow the fruit to soften on the tree to develop sweetness.

Growing persimmons in Alabama can be a rewarding endeavor, yielding delicious fruits that are both nutritious and versatile in the kitchen. With proper care, your persimmon trees can become a beautiful and fruitful part of your landscape for many years to come.

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