The Q&A Archives: Persimmons and Pears in Chicago

Question: In Los Angeles, my Dad grows bumper crops of juicy, sweet<br>persimmons. His trees are all grown in large tubs cut from a 55 gallon drum. I live in Chicago, and would love to pot-grow persimmons here; can I do it (and produce fruit)?<br>Heck, while I'm on persimmons, can I do this with peaches too? My concern is that the low winter temperatures could<br>penetrate the pot and kill the roots. Can persimmons grow<br>in this climate even if planted firmly in the ground?<br>

Answer: You're right about the threat of cold killing roots of container-grown plants - even the hardiest plants can't make it unless their roots are insulated somehow. American Persimmons are hardy in Zone 4, but they grow quite large, probably too large for containers. Since male & female flowers appear on separate trees, you need to grow one of each to get fruit. If you're interested, Raintree Nursery (391 Butts Rd., Morton, WA 98356; ph# 360/496-6400) carries "Early Golden" American persimmon and "Male", a pollinator. Stark Brothers Nursery (PO Box 10, Louisiana, MO 63353; ph# 800/325-4180) offers "Sensation" peach, a mini variety that grows and produces well in a pot when it's less than 3' tall (according to the photo in the catalog). It can grow in zone 4 if you protect it during the winter. Have fun!

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