The Date Plum, Diospyros lotus, is a deciduous fruit tree that has been cultivated in Europe and Asia for thousands of years. It is a beautiful upright tree with luxuriant, glossy, dark green foliage that turns golden in the fall. D. lotus is a species of persimmon and, like other persimmons, it has flavorful, bright orange fruits. The fruit has an exquisitely rich flavor when it is fully ripe. The flavor has been compared to a combination of dates and plums, hence the common name date plum. Unripe fruits are very astringent and inedible. The abundant fruits are eaten fresh or made into jelly when fully ripe. It is native to subtropical areas of southwest Asia and southeast Europe. It usually grows up to 30-40 feet tall in cultivation but it can grow up to 100 feet tall in the wild. D. lotus thrives in loamy soils and under some slight shade. The soils should ideally be well drained and have low acidity. It is used as a rootstock for the Asian persimmon, Diospyros kaki. Hardy in zones 5-9.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
- Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 2-3 months.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Fill a pot with a mixture of half potting soil and half sand or vermiculite. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the container and leave it to drain.
- Put the pot in a warm, sunny area.
- Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet.
- The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.