Last Updated on November 30, 2022
When you accept a pomegranate shrub into your life, you become part of a proud and long history that humankind shares with this tree. Praised in history books, the Bible and mythology, the pomegranate’s popularity is still going strong. Today, this fruit tree is kept in the garden, as a container plant and they can also be cultivated as bonsais. Ready to give your pomegranate all the TLC that it deserves? Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- The Benefits of Choosing a Pomegranate Tree
- Origins and Appearance
- Temperature and Humidity
- Watering and Feeding
- Soil and Repotting
- Pests and Diseases
The Benefits of Choosing a Pomegranate Tree
- Easy to care for.
- Evergreen in warm climates.
- Produces exotic and sweet fruit.
- Different varieties to choose from.
- Easy to propagate at home.
- Can live 15 years and beyond.
- Attracts important pollinators like bees and hummingbirds.
- Older trees require less care.
Origins and Appearance
The true origins of the pomegranate are a little hazy but experts agree that the tree probably comes from ancient Persia, the region that is now known as modern Iran. Once people realized that the fruit was quite tasty, it spread throughout the world and at one point was called the “Chinese apple.”
A Bushy Tree
When left to its own devices, the pomegranate does not resemble a classic tree. You know, a trunk adorned with branches and all that. Nope. At times considered a large shrub, it grows branches directly from the root mass. It is common to see a trimmed and maintain tree to reach 6 feet (1.8 m) high. However, when allowed to reach its full height, a pomegranate can tower past 30 feet (9 m).
In the US, the tree flowers around July and August. The blooms are orange-red in color and only the female flowers will transform into fruit when September and November arrive. The leaves are also exotic-looking. They are long, dark green and glossy. If you live in a warm region, you can also look forward to the leaves remaining evergreen.
Temperature and Humidity
When it comes to enduring good health, your tree needs three things. The correct amount and type of sunlight, the right temperature range and suitable levels of humidity. This pretty much counts for any plant but let’s see what your pomegranate tree needs to flourish!
A Sunny and Sheltered Location
A pomegranate tree can survive in dappled light but ideally, it needs direct sunlight. But wherever you plant it, make sure that the tree receives at least 6 hours of sunshine a day. Also, the tree’s location must also offer shelter against windy weather. When these two conditions are met, your tree will produce plenty of fruit.
Mild to Hot Temperatures
Most pomegranate tree cultivars love a hot and dry summer. They are in their element when temperatures soar above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius). That being said, a pomegranate can also tolerate the colder seasons.
When it comes to the frosty side of things, the tree can weather anything up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 degrees Celsius). However, when temperatures drop below that, your tree is at risk of complete dormancy or even frost damage.
Low to Average Humidity
Pomegranate trees do not fare well when they grow in regions where the humidity levels are consistently high. While the shrub is certainly adaptable and can survive in high humidity, the fruit yield will be reduced or show poor quality.
Watering and Feeding
Once again, if you want a good harvest of fruit, it is essential to water your pomegranate tree correctly. The latter is not fussy when it comes to water. In fact, this large shrub is very resistant to drought. But the less water it receives, the lower the fruit yield will be (if any).
For the best results, water your tree with plenty of water every 2 to 4 weeks. Only do this when the weather or season is dry. As long as your tree receives rainwater, you do not need to add any more H20 to your favorite fruit tree. The sad truth is that when pomegranates are overwatered, they can suffer from several maladies. One severe condition is root rot and another is split fruit prone to disease and bug infestations.
By now you have probably noticed that most of your pomegranate’s care requirements are all about finding a balance between keeping the tree healthy and producing a good harvest. This also counts for fertilizer.
Even if you use a safe and organic feed, over-fertilization will lead to poor fruit production. The golden rule here is less, not more. If you live in the United States and have just planted a young tree, then give it a good feeding in November and then again in March. Do this for the first two or three years. Your pomegranate tree will flourish without fertilizer in subsequent years.
Soil and Repotting
The good news is that a pomegranate tree is very adaptable. It can settle down and grow in almost any climate and soil. The pH of the soil is also not a dealbreaker but the tree performs better when the pH is more acidic. Either way, your tree should be happy in a pH range of 5.5 to 7. This basically covers everything, from neutral, acidic to alkaline.
But whatever type of soil you use, make sure that the blend is well-draining. Otherwise, the waterlogged roots can suffer from fungal infections and root rot.
How to Repot or Plant a Pomegranate
If your pomegranate is a container plant, then repotting is a simple matter. When you notice that the plant is getting too big for the pot, get a slightly larger container and a bag of well-draining soil. Fill the bottom of the new pot with several inches of soil. Remove the tree from the old pot and clear as much soil as you can (but keep the rootball with its soil intact). Place the tree’s rootball on top of the layer you previously added to the new container and fill up the pot. Give the plant a good soaking.
Get all the best tips on how to re-pot your house plants.
Most people prefer to plant a pomegranate tree directly in the garden. Choose an area that has loose soil, plenty of sunlight and is sheltered from the wind. Dig a hole and plant your tree. If you want to plant several pomegranates, make sure that they are spaced at least 6 feet (1.8 m) apart. Give your newly-planted trees a deep watering.
When to Prune a Pomegranate Tree
Owning a pomegranate comes with a degree of maintenance. When left unchecked, the tree will produce suckers and side branches until the whole shrub looks like a mess. While your tree is still young remove these suckers during the first few years. This will encourage the bush to produce healthy growth and a more attractive form.
You can also continue to trim the tree throughout its lifetime whenever you notice any dead, damaged, diseased or unsightly branches. Always use shears that are sharp and sterilized. This will prevent more damage or the transmission of diseases.
Pests and Diseases
Are you tired of coddling sensitive plants and trees? Then the pomegranate shrub is a good fit for you. This tree is very resistant to pests and diseases – especially when you provide it with the correct care.
When pests do make an appearance, the most common include scale, mealy bugs, thrips, whiteflies and the pomegranate butterfly. These can be treated with a good organic insecticide. When diseases strike, most are bacterial or fungal-related. Examples include dry rot, leaf spot, fruit spot and soft rot. You can prevent most of these problems by treating your tree with organic fungicides every now and again.
Yes, you can use a pomegranate seedling to create a bonsai. However, not all varieties of pomegranates are suitable. The best variety is the Dwarf Pomegranate, also known as “Nana.” They make stunning, gnarly bonsais.
When given the correct care, you can look forward to your first fruit during the tree’s second or third year. This counts for both outdoor and container trees. However, it can take as long as four years.
Yes, you can store pomegranate fruit in dry, cool conditions. When kept in ideal conditions, the fruit can stay viable for up to seven months.
Pruning should happen every spring. Be careful, as pomegranate trees do have thorns! But when you notice a diseased branch, you must remove it regardless of the time of year.
It can be both! When trimmed down and the suckers are allowed to grow, your pomegranate is technically a large bush. But when landscaped as a tree and free to grow to its full height of 30 feet (9 m), then this tall customer is most certainly a tree!
If your tree is still under four years of age, then it is probably too young to bear fruit. However, older trees that have lots of blooms but no fruit is experiencing a problem somewhere. This can be poor draining, being given too much water, receiving too much shade or too much fertilizer.