Edible PlantsFruits

How To Grow a Pomegranate Tree?

pomegranate tree

Pomegranate tree, scientifically named Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing shrub that can grow to be 16 or 33 feet (5-10 m) tall. This fruit tree originates from Iran and its neighboring countries. The tree or shrub itself is small and can fit well into gardens.

Leaves of pomegranate tree are smooth and radiant green and flowers are red or orange. The flowers appear in late May and early June. Fruit, however, fully ripens in September or October. Pomegranate fruit is red and has a stiff outer layer called the husk, consisting of two layers.

The first layer of the husk is called the epicarp, which is hard in texture; the second layer is soft and called the mesocarp. The inner layer, the mesocarp, is what holds the bundles of seeds in place. The seeds are fleshy, tiny, angular, and red.

The only edible part of this tree isn’t just the fruit, leaves, and flowers are also edible. Pomegranate trees will start growing fruit after five or six years of growth. 

How To Grow?

You can plant and grow the pomegranate tree outside in the USDA Hardiness zones 7 through 11. During their growing season, from spring til autumn, the best temperatures would be over 85 °F (29 °C). The lowest temperature they can bare would be 10°F (-12°C), some tougher trees can even survive temperatures as low as 7°F (-13.9°C).

The tree enjoys warm temperatures but dislikes humidity. Avoid placing it in spaces that fog up easily, if needed use a dehumidifier indoors. 

Unripe pomegranate fruit growing
Unripe pomegranate fruit growing

Watering

The pomegranate tree is drought tolerant. During warmer seasons you should make sure the soil surrounding the tree doesn’t dry out completely. During their growing season, they should be watered minimally.

The pomegranate will need to be watered one inch (2.5 cm) at least once a week. When first planted into soil they should be watered thoroughly once or twice a week, depending on the climate. Watering should be done in the morning. 

Light

This shrub loves direct sun and will be needing at least six hours of it in a single day. Even in the winter the minimal amount of direct sun it needs is still six hours.

Make sure to place the shrub in a spot where it can get direct sun all year around. Its sunlight needs need to be fulfilled to get healthy fruit and flower growth. 

Soil and Fertilizer

The best soil for your pomegranate tree would be sandy loam soil. The tree can grow well in sandy and clay soils. The deeper the soil the better. The soil pH levels should be in between 5.5 and 7.2, meaning moderately acidic or very slightly alkaline. The soil needs to be well-draining. 

A good fertilizer to use would be the ones made for citruses or tomatoes. To increase the fruit size and health of the tree you can feed it with a potassium fertilizer. If the tree is growing in sandy soil the only extra feed it will need is nitrogen. During the first year of the pomegranate tree’s life make sure not to fertilize the tree at all. 

Small pomegranate trees
Small pomegranate trees

Propagation

Propagation can be done with hardwood cuttings:

  • Use clean and sharp scissors or sheers;
  • The cuttings should be cut in the winter;
  • Cut about 5.9 to 7.9 inches (15 to 20 cm) cuttings. 
  • Plant the cutting in the proper soil;
  • Leave the uppermost bud showing from the soil;
  • Place the new plant under warm conditions;
  • After planting make sure the soil is moist;

New roots should take place in four to eight weeks.

Repotting

Repotting should be done in the winter when the shrub is dormant. So repot the plant when it does not have any new fruit forming or flowers blooming. You will know to repot your pomegranate tree when it becomes slightly root-bound. You will also need to repot the plant if you see it get bigger. The pot you grow your tree in needs to have drainage holes. 

Pruning

Pomegranate trees usually do not need much pruning. Pruning can be done to maintain an aesthetic look for the tree or to contain its size to fit in a particular place in the garden or indoors. Pruning should be done when the tree is dormant, meaning it has no fruit or flowers on it.

The tree is usually dormant in the winter. Pruning can also be done to help the tree spread its nutrients around evenly. Remove crossing branches, excess growth, and light growth. Helping nutrients spread around the tree this way will also make sure that your future crops won’t be damaged. 

Diseases

The most common diseases you might come across while growing a pomegranate tree include gray mold, blue and green mold, fruit rot, and Coniella Stem Canker. The most serious disease you might have to deal with is bacterial blight.

To cure your tree from these diseases you must use insecticide fairly often until you are certain all the symptoms are gone. Make sure to remove any infected or diseased leaves and parts of the tree. Keep an eye on your plant to spot the diseases early on for easy treatment.

Pests

Quite a lot of pests love the pomegranate tree because of its sweet leaves, flowers, and fruit. You might come across pests including ants, cotton aphids, citrus flat mites, grape mealybugs, and more.

To remove these pests you can pick them off your tree by hand, spray the tree with pesticides, or dust the tree and its leaves regularly. Keep an eye on your plant to spot the pests early on for easy removal. 

Varieties

There are many varieties of pomegranate trees that you can also easily grow indoors. 

  • Toms Red: this variety’s fruit usually ripens the earliest out of the other varieties. This varieties fruit is ideal for juicing because of its sweet yet tart taste. 
  • Surh Anor: this variety is a Russian variety. This variety’s fruit can be whitish-yellow or even pink. The seeds are known to be sweeter and tougher in texture. 
  • Red Silk: this variety is great to grow indoors because of its small height. It can grow to be only eight feet (2.4 m) tall. This variety’s fruit taste resembles the taste of red berries. 
  • Kazake: another Russian variety. This one can withstand extreme cold and can even bounce back from the cold in the spring. The fruit can range from orange to light red. This variety is very compact because its mature height is six or eight feet (1.8-2.4 m) tall. 
  • Wonderful: this variety is most commonly found being sold at shops. This variety has crimson-red flowers which then grow to be beautiful red fruit. Wonderful can grow to be ten to fifteen feet (3-4.6 m) tall.

Conclusion

The pomegranate tree is quite an easy plant to keep happy as long as it gets its needed sunlight. Not only will it gift you with beautiful blooms in the spring it will also present you with tasty fruit in the fall.

The only hard paths you might encounter while caring for this plant would be diseases and pests, which can be avoided with the correct care. A pomegranate tree can spark up any garden or living space because the tree is also very aesthetically pleasing to look at. 

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