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Versatile pomegranate can be a tree, espalier, shrub, hedge, or container plant

Jan 11, 2013 -

The pomegranate can play many roles in your edible landscaping

Pretty in three seasons, you’ll enjoy its shiny leaves and crinkly red-orange flowers in spring, and uniquely shaped rosy fruits in summer and fall.

*  Prune it as a single-trunk or multi-trunk tree

*  Train it along a sunny fence or wall as an espalier

*  Plant it in a container

*  Let it follow its own course as a shrub

*  Grow a useful, fruitful hedge

Left to their own devices, pomegranates want to be shrubs, but with their narrow branches they can be trained and pruned into other shapes.

Gardeners rejoice at the prospect of a fruitful plant that doesn’t need major pruning. Traditional fruit trees are grand but there’s annual work in managing a classical orchard of apples, peaches, and pears.

With shrubby producers like pomegranates you can intervene by quickly removing suckers and doing some thinning, and save most of your pruning time for the trees that really require it.

However you train it, you’ll have a hummingbird magnet in the springtime.

Light annual pruning required

All pomegranates need some pruning

Pomegranates fruit at the ends of 2-3 year-old branches, so harvesting is easy (which is nice, since the branches are somewhat thorny). This means that annual thinning of the branches is important, to generate “fruiting wood”. Remove suckers at the base of the pomegranate, to maintain vigor.

In our latest video, Tricia shows how to plant in a container, and explains the basics of pruning pomegranates as trees or shrubs.


Tricia is training her new pomegranate as a single-trunk tree in our video. To maintain that shape, be diligent about cutting off suckers as they rise up.

For this kind of multi-trunk tree, choose several strong suckers and let them mature, then remove other suckers every year. Protect your pomegranate from being killed outright by a hard freeze—grow it as a multi-trunk tree or as a shrub, so that if part of the plant is killed, part will survive. [Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Side (Turkey) by Georges Jansoone on 20 April 2005]


Since the pomegranate really wishes it were a shrub, use a simple espalier style (like this six-arm cordon) instead of attempting strict geometry. Lee Reich gives good instructions about starting and maintaining espalier, with many kinds of fruit trees and bushes, in his beautifully photographed book, Landscaping With Fruit.


Use a container to place your pomegranate anywhere on your hardscape or in your garden. Train it as a single-trunk or as a small shrub.


If you prefer a shrub, let the pomegranate sprawl, but do the annual maintenance pruning shown in the video to keep the shrub healthy and fruitful. This shrub is growing on a hillside in Spain.


Whether you have a farm that could use some hedges as windbreaks, or a large garden that needs hedgy walls to create garden rooms, look to the drama of the pomegranate. Imagine the glossy hedges, studded first with the scarlet flowers, and then with the distinctive fruit. Plant the pomegranates 6’-9’ apart. The shrubs will spread their branches, and suckers will also grow between the original plantings, to form a hedge.

If you live in USDA zones 7b-12, check out our wide range of pomegranate choices.

Tip: Want all the lusciousness and nutrients of pomegranates, without the red juice? Try our Eversweet pomegranate with clear juice!

Categories: Fruit Trees, Pomegranate Trees, Edible Landscaping

Anne Says:
Jan 11th, 2013 at 11:33 pm

My neighbor gave me a tiny seedling started from a pomogranite seed from a tree he had long ago started from seed. My little shrub is now about 4 years old. People gave told me i will need to graft to the tree if i want good fruit. Is this true?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Jan 12th, 2013 at 9:35 am

Anne, Pomegranates don’t need to be grafted. Growing from seed is fine, but you won’t get the same cultivar as the parent plant. To have the same cultivar you need to grow from a hardwood cutting. Pomegranates need good irrigation to produce fruit.

Anne Says:
Jan 18th, 2013 at 8:01 pm

So i need to wait and see if the fruit it naturally produces is tasty? Is the variation similar to apples or am i more likely to get something edible? Can i wait until the tree fruits and then decide if it needs to be grafted?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Jan 22nd, 2013 at 11:03 am


The universities say that the pomegranates grown from seed will possibly be less tasty than a named cultivar (obtained by growing from a cutting) but they don’t speculate on *how* different the flavor will be. If your neighbor can do a hardwood cutting from his tree you will get the same fruit that he has (poms don’t like grafting).

MariBeth Says:
Mar 4th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I am in zone 6a.  We have a 120 day growing season with summer highs in the 80s (sometimes 90s) and lows in the low 50s.  Will a pomegranate do well here in a container if I move it inside in the winter?  Or does it need more heat in the summer?  And if it will do well, what size container?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 5th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

MariBeth, Pomegranates do well in containers. The most cold-tolerant one we have now is Sweet, which is hardy to zone 7 http://www.groworganic.com/pomegranate-sweet-standard-2-3-potted.html You might be able to cheat one zone if you plant it in a warm, sheltered spot on your property (or against a south or west facing wall or fence) but your chill hours are probably much higher than the 100 hrs. it prefers. If you have higher chill hours, plan to move it inside for the cold season. Use a 30 gallon container, like a Smart Pot, to give it root room.

MariBeth Says:
Mar 7th, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Thanks!  I’d love to experiment planting it outside but sadly our chill hours are much, much more than 100.  1000 actually.  I’ll try it in a container ... once I can figure out where to keep it in the winter!

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 8th, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Brrr! Indoors it is grin

Lisa Says:
Apr 28th, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I live in Minnesota, if i brought it in during the cold months would it thrive? Also, can you start it out in a smaller container and transplant to bigger ones as it grows?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
May 3rd, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Lisa, Pomegranates do well both indoors and out as long as they are provided with a sunny location.

Usually anything under a 5 gallon pot will stunt the growth.  It will try to keep growing and it is likely to get root bound in a container.  You can certainly change pot sizes over time, but realize that each transplanting creates stress where leaves and/or fruit may drop.  Giving it our Organic Liquid Kelp or Thrive B-1 during these stress periods will help.

Miss Cellany Says:
Jun 25th, 2013 at 6:03 am

I bought a small pomegranet plant and planted it in a 9 inch pot on my roof terrace.
I will wait for the roots to fill the pot before repotting again, but how large should the final pot be?
I live in southern Spain, will the climate here be too warm for good fruit (my lemon tree doesn’t do too well in the summer here) or are pomegranets more heat tolerant?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Jun 26th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Miss Cellany (nice name!), Pomegranate are mediterranean plants so when you think of treating your plant keep this in mind. You can always add shade or, having it in a pot, you can move it to a placement where full sun is eliminated.

A nine inch pot is rather small and should fill quickly. You can go as small as a 5 gallon pot to start (if you want to repot and replenish soil in a few years) or to a more suitable 10 gallon or larger pot. Remember that container plants sometimes need their soil replaced and by using pots that slope toward the base and do not curve inward near the top, it is easier to make that transfer.

christopherhobel@gmail.com Says:
Nov 17th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

chris from long island

i grew a pom from seed during last winter-i kept in a 3 gal pot and it enjoyed the south east exposure of summer til mid october. the leaves on my pom changed during the october shift. i had left it out til nights were 45 ish, i brought it in and the leaves turned yellow and fell off .is this natural that at seasons end they lose leaves and hybernate? its hedge style and branches appear to still be green and not dead or brittle stems.
will this resprout at a later time if kept moist and with sun?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Nov 21st, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Chris, Yes, the pomegranate is deciduous (loses its leaves in the fall). Keep it moist and in sun until springtime when you put it outdoors again. I wonder if you could leave it outside all year round since you are on Long Island—poms tend to do fine in climates as cold as USDA Zone 7b. Take a look and see which zone you are in http://groworganic.com/organic-gardening/articles/find-your-usda-growing-zone

Jeff Tayloe Says:
Jan 11th, 2014 at 6:06 pm

I live in Zone 8a, Wilmington, NC.  I live in a patio home.  I have a Meyer Lemon with a grow light that I keep in a South-SW facing window.  I am wondering how cold tolerant a pomegranate in a container would be?  How cold could it go down before damaging the plant?  Any varieties that would thrive in my heat (100 degree) and my cold (18 degrees last week).

Stephanie Brown Says:
Jan 15th, 2014 at 9:35 am

Hello Jeff,

Any pomegranate variety we carry is hardy to your zone. Pomegranates love the heat so they will be quite happy with a 100 degree heat. If you want one that is hardy to zone 7 to compensate for being a container look at: Sweet, Wonderful, Ambrosia, and Eversweet. You might need to move it under eaves in fall because lots of rain can make the pomegranates split when they are close to ripe. Good luck with your tree!

CherGoes Says:
Jun 22nd, 2014 at 8:34 pm

I have a grocery store variety of pomegranate sproutlings I started from seed.  I have successfully achieved at least an 85% sprout rate out of the 75 total seeds I planted!  I used green house 9 plant flats that I cut into threes.  My question is, when should I transplant them into individual pots, and how big a pot should I transfer them to?  Also, I plan on braiding several together, and pruning the ones I braid as topiary, when would I transplant the 3 or 4 seedlings that I want to use into their pot and begin braiding and training?  The seedlings are approximately 4-6 inches at this point (they sprouted within 5 days, and as far as I can tell, they’re growing fast, and well!!).

Stephanie Brown Says:
Jun 23rd, 2014 at 9:01 am

Hello CherGoes,

Check out this detailed fact sheet from the University of California, it’s very thorough: http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/rics/fnric2/crops/pomegranate_factsheet.shtml

Tani Says:
Jul 19th, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Help! We had a pomegranate tree guttet in our new back yard and now all the existing roots are sprouting. I have remorse for cutting it down, so is there any way to wrangle it back via one of the outter “legs”?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Jul 21st, 2014 at 9:50 am

Yes, the pomegranate tree will re-grow from the crown. Give it some time and you will even have a new tree!

Joe Says:
Aug 26th, 2014 at 1:25 pm

How do I get rid of stink bugs on my Pom trees?  The tree is literally infested.  I would like to use something natural.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Sep 4th, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Well there are a couple of approaches, you can blast them off with water and cover your plant with a row cover like Agribon. This is just a physical barrier to the bug. If you want to use organic insecticides, there are quite a few available that are listed for stink bugs. Another approach is to buy traps that attract the bug which then gets stuck to the sticky surface. Hope this helps.

From_seattle Says:
Oct 7th, 2014 at 4:29 pm

We recently bought a potted pomegranate tree from a local nursery and we were advised to put it against the wall.
How far or close from the wall should it be planted? Also, we were told to put Xmas lights on it in winter. Does that help?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Oct 10th, 2014 at 2:52 pm

If you live in an area that has very cold winters, planting up against a wall will help keep it warmer. These bushes can get pretty big so I wouldn’t put it any closer than 18-24”. You can wrap it with a frost blanket for insulation or yes, use lights. But remember, the type of lights that puts off heat.

verma Says:
Nov 23rd, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Hi there. I just bought a tree. While google…stumbled on this site! Quesrion is…temperature in summer at worse is ars 42c for a couple.of days then avg out to ard 35c. Winter low is ard 2c at night. Can I plant the pom outdoors? I wannt to espalier it on my fence.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Dec 1st, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Pomegranates are hardy to 10F once they are established. The time to give your tree extra protection is when it is small. These trees like arid regions and will grow in USDA zones 7b - 12. During the first couple of years, use a frost blanket during the coldest periods through the winter. Did you watch our video on planting pomegranates? Very informative.

Gregg Says:
Mar 12th, 2015 at 1:06 pm

I have one growing in my greenhouse in Brooklyn I purchased in costal VA and they said its OK to zone 7. Our past 2 winters in Brooklyn NY have damaged the fig trees. Will this be OK planted in my courtyard if I cover it and provide lights on cold days. At its worst, winter, although zone 7 can have several days in a row of 4 thru 15 degrees lately.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 16th, 2015 at 9:25 am

The pomegranate will need to be protected until it is big enough to withstand freezing temperatures. As the blog suggests, allow the plant to grow as a bush form, in case it gets hit by freezing temps, it will be able to put out new growth. During cold weather, cover it with a frost blanket (maybe several layers).

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