1. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are part of the rhizome/underground vegetable layer, are easy to grow, and can produce an excellent crop the first year in a new food forest system. Sweet potato plants can also produce up to 30 feet of vines that sprawl across the ground, crawling up tree branches and over fences. They simultaneously help open up the ground for the slow-growing roots of the fuyu persimmon tree and shade the ground by acting as a living mulch to preserve moisture throughout hot summers.

2. Earth Apple

The earth apple or yacon is also part of the rhizome/underground vegetable layer of a permaculture food forest.

They grow tall and have bright green, fuzzy leaves that can help to shade the young trunks of your fuyu persimmon tree(s). As they grow, they will also act as a living mulch and the tops can be chopped and dropped for additional nutrition for your growing persimmon tree, though not recommended if you plan on actually harvesting your earth apples at the end of the season.

Get an up close look of what a flowering Fuyu Persimmon Tree Looks like

3. Goji Berries

Goji berry plants are a type of fruit bush or fruit shrub with a wipsy, spreading habit. Their quick growth in any sort of soil makes them an excellent companion for fuyu persimmon trees as they help to get as many roots in the ground as quickly as possible.

The little goji berry plants I planted in my own food forest in the winter grew to be nearly 4 feet tall in just one season. Their reddish berries are not only high in antioxidants but will look beautiful paired with the red orange color of your ripening persimmons.

4. Raspberry Bushes

Raspberry bushes are easy to grow and fast-growing allowing you to get a harvest sometimes just a few months after planting, depending on which season you plant them and what kind of raspberries you’re growing. Raspberry bushes send out runners beneath the ground to spread and grow more raspberry bushes. This process helps put as many roots as possible into the ground to make space in the soil for your persimmon tree roots to grow into it.

5. Comfrey

The ultimate permaculture plant, comfrey has a strong root system that dives down deep and wide to help break up heavy soils. Comfrey is considered a dynamic accumulator so those deep tap roots bring up far away nutrients 10 and 12 feet down into their leaves, which can then be used as a chop and drop mulch around your persimmon tree or to make a compost tea as an organic fertilizer.

A lovely video to show you how to use companion plants to support the growth of your Fuyu Persimmon Tree

6. Asparagus

Asparagus plants have deep, spreading roots that are vigorous and seem to grow in even the heaviest of clays even without fertilizing. As the asparagus plants fern out for the summer, they will act as a living mulch that shades young tree trunks and protects the ground around your fuyu persimmon trees from drying out.

7. Strawberry Bushes

Strawberry bushes are one of the best food-producing living mulches for any permaculture food forest. They produces quickly, sometimes even within the same year that they were planted. They work well with persimmon trees for protecting the soil from the hot sun in the summer and as strawberry bushes send out runners, you’ll still be able to get excellent harvests from your strawberries even as your persimmon trees grow and start producing a thicker shade. Until then, having a field of strawberry bushes as companions for your persimmon trees will be beautiful, easy to care for, and extremely productive.

8. Buddha Belly Bamboo

-Freshly planted and waiting to see just how fabulous this combination will be.

9. Horseradish

Horseradish, like comfrey, has some thick roots that help destroy hard-packed, sinister clay and make space for your Fuyu Persimmon Tree roots. It grows amazingly in sun and shade and is truly a worry-free companion plant to pair with the persimmon tree…as long as you don’t plan on harvesting it too much as horseradish, like comfrey, will grow an entire new plant from small pieces of root cuttings. Though, given how much space and air for earthworms, nutrients, and water all those horseradish plants will make, it’s not the worst idea to get a horseradish patch established around your Fuyu Persimmon tree.

10. Sugar Cane

This is my first time pairing sugar cane with the Fuyu Persimmon so let’s wait til spring to see if this truly was a good decision.

11. Golden Oregano

Golden Oregano is actually quite shade tolerant, which is fortunate for us as that means we can plant an entire field of it beneath a Fuyu Persimmon tree for a low-growing ground cover that will help hold in moisture during the hot summer months. Here in zone 7b, Golden Oregano actually stays green year round, which means it is always here to add visual interest to the food forest and protect the soil beneath the Fuyu Persimmon tree.

12. Giant Leaf Bamboo (Indocalamus Tessellatus)

Although the Giant Leaf Bamboo will only grow to be about 9 feet tall in good soil, it makes an excellent shade plant for a new Fuyu Persimmon Tree to protect it from harsh summer sunlight and prevent leaf scorch. This bamboo, with its vigorous root system also makes a great habitat for Red Wrigglers and European Nightcrawlers which will happily live around and within the root system of the bamboo plant, quickly improving the soil for both, the bamboo, and the Fuyu Persimmon tree growing next to it.

13. Royal Fern

Currently growing! Will update soon!

14. Grape Vine

Grape vines are truly large and vigorous plants. You can put these plants to use for your Fuyu Persimmon tree by planting them around your Fuyu Persimmon Tree, where the roots of the tree will reach out into the soil. The grape vines will cut through the heaviest of clay soils, breaking it up and making space for the Fuyu Persimmon tree’s less vigorous root system.

I’ve also trained a grape vine across and up my Fuyu Persimmon Tree to give the fruit tree some shade from the summer sun. It grows from about 3 feet away from the Persimmon tree, up once branch, across the tree and into an apple tree. This is to prevent the weight of the grapes from being too heavy on the Fuyu Persimmon as the neighboring apple tree will take some of the weight off the Fuyu Persimmon.

I’ve found that grape vines also make an excellent green material for chopping and dropping to help soften the soil around your Fuyu Persimmon so that it can put out roots further and have a soil that is more consistently moist to help ripen your persimmons.

15. Apple Tree

Apple trees seem to have the ability to grow in even the worst of soil conditions, cutting through clay and making space for other roots in the ground. Since some apple trees also grow to be very tall, the canopy of apple trees can provide shade for the more sun-senitive Fuyu Persimmon tree. This shade helps to keep your Fuyu Persimmon tree from baking like a fruit cobbler in the summer sun.

By growing your apple trees as part of the upper canopy and your Japanese persimmon trees as part of the lower canopy, you can also increase the amount of fruit trees you can grow in a space, shade your Fuyu Persimmons, and underplant all your fruit trees with additional companion plants to support the growth of your fruit trees and provide additional food.

16. Mekong Giant Banana Plant

I added this lovely, large banana plant in order to grow more mulch for the food forest, provide a daily source of greens to my waterfowl flock, and increase the humidity around the duck pond for my fruit trees and tree collards, including the Fuyu Persimmon tree.

As the Mekong Giant Banana grows in, it provides more and more soil fertility to its companion plants as I chop and drop whatever the ducks don’t eat around its trunk to speed forward its growth. This improves and deepens the humus layer of the soil, making it a better environment for the Fuyu Persimmon and making it better at wicking up water from the duck pond and improving the wetland filtration system that the Fuyu Persimmon tree is part of.

17. Peedee Gold Ingot Liriope (Golden Monkey Grass)

Freshly planted and currently growing!

18. Ice Cream Bean Tree

So far so good! Let’s give it the summer and see how it goes. The intention here is to add a fast-growing tree that provides even more shade and humidity to the Fuyu Persimmon while also fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil. Here in zone 7b, growing an Ice Cream Bean tree will also be a great zone push, but I’m hoping that the evergreen bamboos, tree collards, duck pond, and other evergreens will be enough to protect the Ice Cream Bean and give the food forest and my greedy little ducks, another reliable food source for years to come.

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