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Don’t judge a book by its cover! If you saw Kikusui Asian pears at your local supermarket, you’d probably pass them by. These weird, lumpy, yellow-green orbs look none too appetizing, and the hefty price tag they would wear would drive away any second thoughts you might have about buying them. However, to people in the know Kikusui pears are a delectable treat. Not soft like a European pear, the Kikusui pear is crisp and crunchy but exceedingly juicy, with a wonderfully sweet flavor and a touch of tartness to give it a little zing. You’ll never see this treasure in your local supermarket, though, because it bruises very easily and is difficult to ship. You’ll have to grow your own to enjoy it!
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
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Asian pears, also called apple pears, originated in China, and they’ve been cherished in China, Japan, and Korea for centuries. Chinese laborers brought the trees to the U.S. during the California Gold Rush in the 1850s, but why the fruits never caught on beyond the Asian-American population is a mystery. Kikusui is a classic selection from Japan introduced in 1927. This rather homely fruit has a beautiful name that means “Chrysanthemum Floating in Water.” The floating chrysanthemum is also the crest of the Japanese royal family. Kikusui is sometimes called the 21st Century Asian Pear, in reference to its similarity to another commonly grown variety, the 20th Century Asian Pear.
Yummy Kikusui Asian pears may not be the prettiest things you’ve ever seen, but the sparkling white flowers they emerge from are gorgeous. Pear blossoms have been a popular motif in Chinese and Japanese art for ages, and when you see them lighting up your landscape in early spring, you’ll understand why.
How to Grow
Kikusui Asian Pear demands an open site in full sun and freely draining soil. It won’t tolerate “wet feet.” This tree is partially self-fertile, which means that it will set some fruit on its own, but harvests will be much more prolific if another variety of Asian Pear is in the vicinity. Some European Pear Trees, such as Bartlett, will also do the job. Good pollination will result in such an abundance of fruit that the pears will need thinning when they are cherry-sized. Asian Pears are appealing not only to humans, but to a few pests and disease organisms as well. Our expert growers are standing by at email@example.com to help you every step of the way should you need some guidance in preventing or dealing with any Pear Tree problems that may occur.
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