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Pomegranate Tree Care – In this post, I answer often asked concerns about how to effectively cultivate pomegranates, such as how to plant and care for pomegranates, how to consume pomegranates, and questions about common pomegranate issues, such as dried out or rotting fruit and what to do about leaf-footed bugs.
Pomegranates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits, with literary references reaching back to the Old Testament and beyond. Pomegranate fruit has a smooth leather-like covering that varies from pink and green to red and brown and surrounds the arils.
Arils are the fruit’s edible portion, surrounded by delicious, luscious pulp. Pomegranates are a lovely tree that provides glossy green foliage, red flowers, and brilliant golden foliage each year just before the leaves fall, even without the nourishing fruit.
Pomegranate trees are heat-loving and drought-tolerant, making them ideal for growing in dry climates such as Arizona and California. Learn how to cultivate a pomegranate tree and get the benefits for years to come.
5 TOP Questions about Pomegranate Tree Care
Is a pomegranate a tree or a bush?
Pomegranates are often planted as trees, but they may also be grown as a big bush by allowing suckers to develop and keeping it trimmed for size. Prune as trees by removing suckers deliberately and teaching it to become a multi-trunked tree.
Pomegranates (Punica granatum) are deciduous trees with a height and spread of 12 to 20 feet, depending on how they are grown. Large pots can be used to produce dwarf types.
What kind of pomegranate should I grow?
Choose a variety that is suitable to your region (some perform well in colder zones), and go for dwarf types for containers if you wish to relocate them to sheltered settings for the winter.
- Crab – Medium to big fruits with bronze color; acidic yet rich flavor; prolific. Balegal – Large fruits with pale pink skin; sweet tasting meat, hardy to zone 7.
- Early Wonderful – large fruits with thin red peel, acidic flavor, and a high yield.
- Granada — Medium fruit with red skin; semi-sweet; develops early; zone 7 hardy.
- Sweet — Medium-sized fruit with pink skin; green skin with a crimson flush; extremely sweet; prolific; bears young.
- Utah Sweet — Medium-sized pink-skinned fruit with a sweet taste and delicate seeds; pink blossoms.
- Wonderful — Huge red-skinned fruits; tangy, delicious, soft seeds; large red blossoms; prolific. This cultivar thrives in Arizona’s low desert.
How should pomegranates be planted?
- In warm climates, it is preferable to plant trees in the spring or fall.
- Pomegranates require a lot of sunlight to grow and produce fruit. Look for a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.
- Pomegranate trees require good drainage, although they may grow in virtually any soil, including poor or alkaline soil.
- Pomegranates should be planted in a hole twice the size of the nursery pot.
- Pomegranates should be grown in colder regions against a south-facing wall or in a big container that can be relocated to a sheltered position during cold weather.
How do you look after your pomegranates?
Pomegranate trees are typically easy to care for and require little upkeep once planted.
- Water freshly planted trees more frequently until they are established. During the summer, give pomegranates plenty of water.
- Fertilize pomegranates with a heavy coating of compost (recommended) immediately as they leaf out (about February) or with an organic fertilizer 2-3 times each year.
- It is advised to trim branches for the first three years to create a robust, sturdy plant.
- It is not required to prune pomegranate trees. However, pomegranates can be pruned for size, to eliminate crossed branches and suckers, or to train against a wall or trellis if desired.
- Pomegranate trees are best pruned after they have shed all of their leaves, just before they begin to leaf out in the spring. Pomegranate trees can also be softly trimmed all year.
- Pomegranate fruit should be thinned to 1 fruit every 6 inches. Thinning the fruit produces big fruit and protects the limbs from limb injury caused by heavy fruit.
How can I know when a pomegranate is ready to pick?
Pomegranates of several kinds become available from August to November.
- Learn about the average ripening time and color for your tree type.
- The color of the rind and arils indicate when pomegranates are ready to be picked.
- As the pomegranate ripens, its form shifts from perfectly round to hexagonal as the seeds grow.
- The fruit’s stem and bloom ends begin to flatten.
- The skin of the fruit transforms from a glossy sheen to a matte or gritty texture.
- Ripe fruits are readily removed from the stalk. (It is preferable to cut the fruit off the tree)
- Still unsure? Examine one to check whether it’s ripe.
- When the fruit begins to split, it is time to harvest!
- Ripe fruits left on the tree will frequently fall, signaling that it is time to harvest!
- When tapping the fruit, listen for a metallic sound to help you assess its ready.
- Once the fruits have ripened on the tree, do not leave them on the tree as they may split.