Pomegranate trees are usually fairly small and can be grown as either a tree or a shrub depending on how you choose to prune and train it. Pomegranate trees are also an ideal choice of tree to create a vibrant flowering hedge, as they can become quite dense when grown alongside each other.
The pomegranate fruit is a leathery skinned red sphere known as an aril. The thick aril contains several hundred juicy red edible fruits that are similar to berries. They are known for their antioxidant properties and many associated health benefits. Due to this, pomegranates have seen a rise in popularity in grocery stores and can be quite expensive to purchase, so if you are a fan of the fruit, a good way to save money is to grow your own pomegranate trees. But even if the fruit isn’t to your liking, the pomegranate tree is worth growing just for the bright red flowers it features (University of Florida).
Pomegranate Tree Overview
|Origin||Europe and Asia|
|Scientific Name||Punica Granatum|
|Type||Perennial, deciduous fruit-bearing tree or shrub|
|Common Names||Pomegranate Tree|
|Height||Up to 33 feet|
There are many varieties of pomegranate tree to choose from, and it’s good to know what the different varieties are capable of so that you can match up your requirements to an appropriate type. Some will be hardier than others if you live in a cooler climate, while others will be recommended for especially juicy fruit if you want to grow pomegranates to eat fresh.
This variety of pomegranate tree is renowned for producing an abundance of fruit. The fruit itself is exceptionally juicy, making it ideal if you want to make your own pomegranate juice from the fruit. As well as being flavorful, this variety is loved for its strikingly bright red fruits.
This variety of tree produces fruit with medium-hard seeds. It works well for cooking or juicing, though some people find the fruit a little hard to eat fresh. The find of the fruit is notable for being red with a slight lime green tinge to it. As a smaller variety, this could work well grown in a pot.
This is one of the most popular types of pomegranate tree, thanks to its large sweet fruits, which are juicy with soft seeds. These pomegranates are excellent eaten fresh from the tree and have a taste that can be compared to watermelon. The outside of this fruit is pinkish red with purple arils.
Caring for Your Pomegranate Tree
The pomegranate tree will adapt to either acidic or alkaline soil, though it prefers something in the range of 5 to 7 pH. Add plenty of organic well-rotted compost to your soil, as this will both improve drainage and also improve the quality of the soil, providing much-needed nutrients to the pomegranate tree.
Once you have adequately prepared the soil, you are ready to plant your tree. The distance between trees will be dependent on what look you are trying to create with your trees. To create a hedge. you can plant the trees in a row, leaving a distance of around 6 to 8 feet between each tree. This will allow the trees to reach each other and blend to create a hedge, while still giving them enough space to ensure good air circulation and room to thrive.
For an orchard, you can plant pomegranate trees at a distance of 15 to 20 feet from each other. Pomegranate trees also make ideal container trees, as they are relatively small and do not have a vast root system and therefore adapt well to life in a container. If you are looking for a fruit tree to grow on your balcony or in a small garden, then the pomegranate tree is a good option, provided it will be in a position of full sun.
Pomegranate trees like to be watered deeply and regularly. As an estimate, an average pomegranate tree should receive around 50 to 60 inches of water per year, though this will be affected by the amount of sun it receives, along with the size of the tree. As the tree enjoys lots of water, it’s imperative that you prepare a well darning soil for it to grow in, as it will not tolerate sitting in soggy soil.
Water your pomegranate tree deeply around every 7 to 10 days, though if your area has experienced heavy rain, you should cut back to account for this. Pomegranate trees grown in containers will need more frequent waterings, as moisture evaporates from a pot more quickly than ground soil, and roots are confined by the limitations of the pot, and so, cannot seek out moisture elsewhere if they become thirsty. Pomegranate trees will benefit from extra water during flowering and fruiting seasons.
Pomegranate trees need full sun to produce an abundance or large and juicy fruits. While the tree will grow in shade, it will grow at a slower pace, and the fruits it produces will be small and slightly dry. Ensure you plant your tree in a position where it will receive sunlight for most, if not all, of the day. If your pomegranate is grown in a pot, you can move it around as the seasons change to make sure it is always recieving optimum sunlight.
Pomegranates originally hail from tropical regions, and so, are best suited to warm and hot climates. An ideal temperature range for growing pomegranate trees is between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a suitably warm climate, then pomegranate trees are one of the most rewarding fruiting trees you can grow. If you live in a cooler region, you could try your hand at growing a pomegranate tree indoors, which should be reasonably successful provided you position it in a spot with plenty of light.
While the tree does prefer to be kept warm, it is mildly frost-tolerant. It can cope with temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit, but only for short periods of time. If it is kept in these conditions for too long, it will suffer from leaf drop and may even die.
Pomegranates enjoy high humidity, though this is difficult to control in an outdoor environment. Maintaining moist soil will help to increase humidity. As the water evaporates from the soil, it will increase the moisture content of the air. The tree is ideally suited to naturally humid climates, but if you grow the plant indoors, you can artificially increase humidity by misting the plant or using an electric humidifier.
If you have a pomegranate tree and would like to grow more of that variety, you can easily do so by propagating with cuttings. This is preferable to growing from seed as it takes less time, and the result is predictable. You can grow pomegranate trees from seed with success, but unpredictable genetic variations can occur, so you cannot reliably know what sort of pomegranate tree you will end up with. In some cases, you may end up with one that bears inedible fruits.
By growing from cuttings, you guarantee that the new plant will be of the same variety as the mother plant. To achieve this, take a semi-hardwood cutting of around 15 inches from your pomegranate tree. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone, remove any lower stems or foliage, and plant it into well-draining potting soil. You could plant it directly into the ground outside or into a container. The best time to do this is in very early spring, when the plant is just gearing up to have a period of increased growth. This timing will also mean that the plant has enough time to develop a good root system, so it is strong enough to get through a frosty winter (Royal Horticultural Society).
The type of pruning you need to undertake will be determined by how you want your pomegranate tree to grow. Their natural shape is that of a shrub, with several branches growing out from the ground. However, you can tame this plant to give it the look of a tree by removing all but one of the suckers and growing that as the main trunk.
Otherwise, you shouldn’t prune your pomegranate tree until it reaches about two feet in height. At this point, you should remove all of the weaker shoots, leaving the strongest 5 or 6 intact. This will help to ensure your pomegranate tree is as sturdy as possible. Over the coming two years, snip back new growth on the tree to encourage more new growth. Though this seems counterintuitive, the plant will respond well and you will end up with a much fuller, stronger shrub.
Once the plant reaches around three years old, you won’t need to do any more tactical pruning, simply limiting any pruning to periodically removing dead or damaged branches.
Tell us about your experience growing pomegranate trees or ask us a question in the comments. And don’t forget to share this page anyone else who might want to try growing their own pomegranates.