Plain Gardening: Persimmons

Plain Gardening: Persimmons (Image 1)

Today’s episode of Plain Gardening finds Bill Finch of Mobile Botanical Gardens in a tree, trying to steal his persimmons from the birds.

Bill calls persimmons the “Apple of the Deep South”, but adds that they’re better than apples.  He says folks underestimate their importance in our Gulf Coast gardens.  They’re lovely, soft, and delicious.  There are small varieties of persimmon that are fairly common, and can make you pucker if they’re not ripe enough.

Japanese persimmons, though, won’t make you pucker.  They’re larger (about tomato size) and even sweeter than the small variety.  Bill says they’re incredibly delicious—one of the most delicious fruits ever! 

This time of year, you may find fall caterpillars called webworms or tent caterpillars in your persimmon or other tree.  Don’t worry.  To remove them is simple; grab a stick that’s long enough to reach the web—bamboo works nicely, but any stick will do—poke it in the web and twist.  It tears the web up, with most of the webbing and caterpillars wrapping around the stick.  With the web gone, any lingering caterpillars will be eaten by birds.

Oh, and if you just leave them alone, they probably won’t hurt your tree.

Now, back to persimmons!  To find a nice, ripe persimmon, look for bright orange color and soft texture.  Twist them gently off the tree.

Once you’ve acquired your persimmon, pull the green top off, grab a spoon, and dig right in!  Wonderful!

Learn more at or call Bill’s radio show Sunday mornings from 9-11am on 106.5FM.

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