Diospyrus kaki (Kaki or Persimmon or Sharon Fruit)

A fine deciduous specimen tree with a nice rounded shape and broad leaves and fine autumn colour thrown in – and easy to grow. The crowning glory is the delicious fruit which is best known as Sharon Fruit in Britain but is also known as Persimmon or Kaki. Sharon fruit is a name given by an Israeli grower and it seems to have caught on. A write-up in The Guardian described this choice of name as ‘slightly unfortunate’. I wonder why. As with most fruit, there’s a bewildering number of different forms and Sharon is just one – but has the advantage of being perfectly edible even when not entirely ripe. The others are not. This one’s not. They need to be entirely ripe and in this country need to be picked around the end of November and kept indoors. At their most delicious, the fruit has the consistency of – brace yourself – very sweet snot. Sorry about that but it’s true.

This is rare in this country but I know of a specimen in Warninglid in West Sussex that stands on its own, is about 40ft tall x 30ft wide and in early winter is entirely leafless but covered in hundreds of bright orange fruits 3″ or 4″ in diameter. An extraordinary site.

It seems to be happy in any reasonably well drained soil but benefits from a bit of protection from the very coldest weather.

The tree originates in Japan and East Asia and our plants are propagated from cuttings – a good eater and for those who are wood minded, this is very closely related to Ebony, the black wood supplied by several tropical species of Diospyrus.

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

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Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.

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