Question of the Week
Answer: Thank you for requesting information from ATTRA on persimmon production in Iowa. Please refer to ATTRA's Persimmon Production publication.
There are two types of persimmon in the U.S.—the native Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon) and D. kaki (or Oriental persimmon). Common persimmon grows in a humid climate throughout its range. Its best commercial development is in areas that receive an average of 1220 mm (48 in) of precipitation annually, about 460 mm (18 in) of which normally occurs during the growing season. Over the range of persimmon, the average maximum temperatures are 35° C (95° F) in the summer and -12° C (10° F) in the winter. (1)
Iowa State University Cooperative Extension publishes Native Woods of Iowa. Twenty-four species are listed. Common persimmon is not among them. This species has not been improved to make it commercially feasible even in its native range.(2)
Purdue University Extension advises against trying to plant Oriental persimmon in Indiana. The same advice would apply to Iowa and all of the Midwest. The oriental persimmon, Diospyros kaki, is not native to Indiana and is not adapted to Indiana conditions. Hoosier winters are too cold to permit cultivation of this species, except in rare and very protected situations. It is not hardy below about 10 F. This is the species of commerce and is grown commercially in southern areas of California. The fruit ranges to 3 inches across and is seedless in most varieties. Nursery catalogs frequently advertise this species, but Indiana gardeners are cautioned against purchasing plants of D. kaki.
2) Holdeman, Quintin Lee. 2000. Persimmons for Louisiana’s children—Young and old. 26 p.
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