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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - May 23, 2013

From: San Angelo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Planting, Trees
Title: Planting Texas Persimmon in enclosed planter from San Angelo TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to plant a Texas Persimmon (in West Texas) in an enclosed planter 4' X 4' X 2.5' deep. What would be a good planting medium. Does it need to be deeper?

ANSWER:

As you can see from this USDA Plant Profile Map, Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) grows natively in several counties around Tom Green County and would probably do all right there, too. If you follow the above plant link to our webpage on this plant, you will learn that its growing conditions are:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained, limestone loams, clays, and caliche.
Conditions Comments: North of the Rio Grande Valley where winters are cold, will usually be deciduous. From the Rio Grande Valley southward, will be semi-deciduous-to-evergreen, losing its leaves all at once in early spring like live oaks, with no period of bareness."

Since probably most of West Texas soils are alkaline, and have clay or caliche or both, it appears the native soils in your area would do very well. We would suggest you add some good quality compost to the soil to assist tiny new rootlets in accessing nutrients and moisture from the soil. Since this is basically container gardening, we suggest you read our How-To Article on Container Gardening with Native Plants.

We are, however, concerned about the concept of putting this plant in any container but the ground. It can grow 35 to 45 ft. tall, although the more common height is 10 to 15 ft. Since any tree will have larger structures below ground than above, the roots might outgrow the container. Good drainage in the container is absolutely essential; failure to provide an outlet for excess water could cause the roots to rot or fungi to develop.

However, we did find this information from the USDA Forest Service on this plant: "Uses: Bonsai; container or above-ground planter." So, it apparently has been tried and will work. If you are planning to do this, we urge you to either get it done quickly or wait until late Fall. We recommend that woody plants  (trees and shrubs) be planted in cool weather, preferably November to January, while the plant is dormant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

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