Learn how to grow pomegranate tree in pot. If you’ve grown citrus in pot, growing pomegranates in containers can not be difficult for you. Moreover, pomegranate is more cold hardy and easy to grow.
Pomegranate tree if grown under optimal conditions, live up to 200 years. It is native to Middle East (Iran) and South Asia. It is a shrub or small tree that might grow up to 6 m (20 ft) but usually reduced to 2 m.
USDA Hardiness Zones — 9b – 11, *can be grown below zone 9 in containers
Difficulty — Easy
Soil pH — Neutral
Other Names — Punic apple, Granatapfel, Granada, Grenade, Melograno, Melagrana, Anardana, Anar, Dadima, Fruit du, Pomme Grenade, Punica granatum, Roma, Shi Liu Gen Pi and Shi Liu Pi.
The exotic container plant is adorned with five to eight centimeters long lance shaped leaves that are shiny and bronze in color from the bud, which later turn green.
Pomegranate flowers are delicate, bell-shaped and show up in the wild bright red. Its flowers are up to 3 centimeters wide. Ornamental varieties can have flowers in pink, cream, and even white.
In addition to the decorative foliage and flowers, it is mainly the fruits that make the pomegranate tree so desirable. They have the size of apples and a yellow-brown to reddish-brown shell. The juicy, red pulp inside the fruit enveloping the countless seeds that tastes aromatic and sweet.
Dwarf Pomegranate Varieties
- ‘Nana’ – The most interesting variety among the pomegranates trees is the dwarf variety ‘Nana’. It grows compact, floriferous and is considered robust and cold hardy, it grows in USDA Zones 7 to 11. As a container plant it grows up to only about 1 m tall, forms orange to garnet red flowers that produce small fruits with viable seeds.
- ‘Provence’ – When most of the pomegranate varieties are not much cold hardy, provence is one you can look at. It can tolerate temperature down to 5 F (-15 C) and can be grown in cold climate.
- ‘State fair’ – State fair is manageable variety for containers. It grows up to 1 . 5 m tall and grown in USDA Zones 7 to 11.
- ‘Flore Pleno’ – It is fruitless variety of pomegranate, the name translates as “double flower”. In summer, it produces countless beautiful orange-red flowers.
- Punica granatum ‘Madame Legrelle’ – A well-known ornamental variety. Special thing about this variety of pomegranate is its extraordinary, dense double flowers that come in shiny orange to salmon colors with white border.
Pomegranate is a manageable plant, you can also try large varieties.
Propagation and Growing Pomegranates in Containers
Pomegranate plants can be propagated by cuttings or by seeds in spring to summer when temperature remains in range of 68 F (20 C) but it is better to buy a 2 – 3 year old plant from nursery or online. This way you don’t have to wait long for fruits.
Propagation by seeds
Buy as ripe pomegranate as possible. Separate and clean seeds from the pulp by rubbing them from paper towel, let them dry up for a few days before sowing.
Plant the seeds no more than ¼ inches deep in light seed-starting mix. Place the pots in a bright location, optionally inside a plastic bag or greenhouse that maintains a temperature around 68 F (20 C). Always keep the soil moist. Seeds will germinate within 1 – 6 weeks depending more on the variety and climate.
Propagation by cuttings
Take several 8 to 10 inch-long cuttings. Plant the cutting in a well drained potting mix. It roots easily and quickly at ambient temperature of 20 degrees Celsius and high humidity.
*If you’re living in tropics, growing pomegranates is extremely easy for you, you can grow pomegranate in any season except peak summer. All other growing requirements given below are similar.
Choosing a pot
Pot should be appropriate to the size of plant, increase the pot size by repotting as your plant grow. Also care about to have sufficient holes in the base of pot you’re using for proper drainage.
If you’ve grown citrus in pot, growing pomegranates in pot can not be difficult for you. Moreover, pomegranate is more cold hardy and easy to grow. It requires a lot of water and fertilizer. It is also frost sensitive but after all of this care it rewards you with iron rich, fresh juicy fruits.
Choose a sunniest location to keep your pomegranate plant happy and healthy. The more sun it will receive, the more it will fruit. However, it also thrives in partial shade but it makes the plant to bloom and fruit lesser. It is also possible to cultivate pomegranate tree near a windowsill if it receives full sun.
Soil should be loamy, rich in organic content, loose and permeable.
In the growing period its water requirement is medium to high. Therefore, it should be watered regularly and deeply. Soil must be kept moist but not wet or waterlogged.
In the winter watering should be reduced.
Pomegranate Tree Care
During the growing season pomegranate tree is fertilized regularly, fertilize after every two week using half strength liquid 8-8-8 fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Pomegranate tree in pot often becomes zinc deficient, which is indicated by yellowing leaves. To overcome this, you can spray diluted zinc solution on foliage.
Application of compost or manure is also beneficial. Take care not to over fertilize it as it can cause the tree to produce lots of foliage and comparatively less flowers.
Overwintering pomegranate is similar to citrus. It is a deciduous tree that worships sun. Most of its species are sensitive to frost. But to low temperatures, the plant has developed a protective mechanism.
It sheds its leaves and become dormant below freezing temperature. There are only a few pomegranate tree varieties that survive really freezing temperatures with more than -10 C without damage.
If the pomegranate is cultivated in a pot in a cold climate below USDA Zone 9, it is important to prune it in the fall. Best place to keep pomegranate plant in winter is the garage or basement that remains warm. Temperature while keeping it indoors should not fall below 37 F (3 C). However, the optimum low temperature for most of the pomegranate varieties is 7 C (45 F).
If you’re able to keep your pomegranate tree in temperature around 55 F (15 C) indoors and allow it to take at least 4 hours of sunlight, it will not shed its leaves and go dormant. During the period of dormancy the pomegranate hardly needs fertilizer or water. However, the plant in winter should not dry out completely.
In spring, bring back the plant to a warm and bright place so that it’ll gradually acclimate the climate. A window that is oriented to South is good. Just when the plant show the first sign of growth and forms a few fully developed leaves, you can again start to fertilize it and give more water. Once the temperature comes in range of 7 C (45 F) place it outside.
Pruning is necessary to give and maintain desired shape of your pomegranate tree and encourage flowering and fruiting. Pruning it best done after all danger of frost has passed when the tree is about to start growing.
Prune off weak, dead and undesirable branches to direct tree’s energy to right part and shorten long branches to encourage flowering.
Repot your pomegranate tree when it becomes slightly root bound. Right time to repot is when there are no flowers or fruits on the plant, especially when it start its growth in the beginning of growing season.
Diseases, pests and other problems
Pomegranate tree is not very vulnerable when it comes to pests and diseases. It is mostly attacked by fruitflies, whiteflies and pomegranate butterflies.
Fruit crack is one problem that is common in all pomegranate varieties. It occurs due to fluctuation or lack of moisture in substrate at the time of fruiting.
If pomegranate is grown from seeds fruits will begin to form in third year.
Generally the fruit will ripen in three to six months after the appearance of flowers.
Harvest pomegranate when crust of the fruit is of an intense red color. Simply cut the fruit’s stem using sharp pruning shear or knife.