Learn how to grow pomegranate tree. Growing Pomegranates in Containers is not difficult, and it is more cold hardy and easy to grow than other tropical fruits.
Pomegranate is one of the nicest fruit trees and perhaps the easiest to grow in pots because it has a shallow root system when compared to other fruit trees.
Pomegranate tree if grown under optimal conditions, live up to 200 years. It is native to the Middle East (Iran) and South Asia, Himalayan Northern India. 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
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 are of the size of apples with a yellow-brown to a reddish-brown or pink or rich red hard shell. Inside, the fruit consists of countless tiny sacs that are transparent in color. They are juicy and have beautiful pink or red pulp and one hard seed in each, which is completely edible. Overall, the taste of pomegranate fruit is a sweet and juicy, and crunchy and little tart. Without a doubt, this is the best tasting fruit full of nutrients.
Also Read: How to Grow Indian Gooseberry ‘Amla Tree’
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 can get up to 1.5 m tall and grown in USDA Zones 7 to 11.
- ‘Flore Pleno’ – It’s a 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. The special thing about this variety of pomegranate is its extraordinary, dense double flowers that come in shiny orange to salmon colors with a white border.
Note: 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 the temperature remains in the range of 68 F (20 C), but it is better to buy a 2-3 years 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 the 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 the 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.
Requirements for Growing Pomegranates in Pots
If you’ve grown citrus in a pot, growing pomegranates in a pot cannot 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 the 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, the pomegranate tree is fertilized regularly. Fertilize after every two-three weeks using 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 overfertilize it with nitrogen-rich fertilizer as it can cause the tree to produce lots of foliage and comparatively fewer flowers.
Overwintering pomegranate is similar to citrus. It is a deciduous tree that worships the sun. Most of its species are sensitive to frost. But for too 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. The 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 shows 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 a range of 7 C (45 F) place it outside.
Pruning is necessary to give and maintain the desired shape of your pomegranate tree and encourage flowering and fruiting. It is best done after all danger of frost has passed when the tree is about to start growing. Between early to mid spring.
Prune off weak, dead and undesirable branches to direct shrub’s energy to right parts and shorten long branches to encourage flowering.
Caveat: Some of the varieties have thorns, wear gloves before pruning for your safety.
Repot your pomegranate tree when it becomes slightly root bound. The right time to repot is when there are no flowers or fruits on the plant, especially when it starts its growth at the beginning of growing season.
Diseases, Pests, and other Problems
The pomegranate tree is not very vulnerable when it comes to pests and diseases. It is mostly attacked by fruit flies, 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 a substrate at the time of fruiting.
If pomegranate is grown from seeds fruits will begin to form in the third year.
Generally, the fruit will ripen in three to six months after the appearance of flowers.
Harvest pomegranate when the crust of the fruit is intense red. Simply cut the fruit’s stem using sharp pruning shear or knife.