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Grow a Pomegranate Tree!

Once considered a fruit for royalty, the pomegranate is a delicious addition to your backyard orchard or edible landscaping. Its beautiful, showy, red-orange flowers become decorative fruit in the fall, filled with juicy arils for you to enjoy all year long!

Getting ready to plant

Pomegranates are best grown from cuttings to ensure the quality of the fruit produced. There are many varieties of pomegranate trees to choose from, including the ever-popular Wonderful, yummy pink Sweet, and unique non-staining Eversweet. Select a location with full sun, and allow a 20 ft diameter space for your tree to grow into, unless you plan on keeping it smaller by pruning. If planting as a hedge, you can plant them as close as 10 feet apart. Learn more about shaping your pomegranate tree in this article. Pomegranates are adaptable to many soil types, though they grow best in loamy soil with good drainage. The ideal climate is zone 7 to 12, with short, mild winters and low humidity. They may be grown in containers in colder places, and kept indoors or in a greenhouse over winter. If your tree’s trunk is damaged or killed by frost, it will typically grow new suckers that can be trained into a replacement trunk. Ambrosia pomegranate

Caring for your tree

Pomegranates have relatively low water requirements, and can survive drought conditions for several years (although during that time, the harvest will be smaller). Too much or uneven amounts of water, either from irregular or over irrigating, heavy summer rains, or high humidity, can result in fruit cracking, decreased fruit production, and other problems. It is not necessary to prune your pomegranate trees, but it can help with ease of harvest, better fruit, and for a shapelier tree. Pomegranates naturally grow in bush-form, and produce lots of suckers. This is ideal for hedges or living walls, but not for most other situations. When your tree is a year old, select one to six trunks to keep; prune the rest at the ground. Most professional orchardists prefer five or six, because they will produce fruit sooner, need less care, and recover quicker if damaged by frost. When doing maintenance pruning as the tree grows, prune lightly, and never trim all the branches in the same year. Pomegranates fruit on short new shoots that come from wood that is more than one year old, so pruning all new growth back at once can result in nothing to harvest the following seasons. You should also prune back any new suckers that you don’t want to grow into trunks. For more on pruning your pomegranate, read this article.

Harvest Time!

Your pomegranates can begin to fruit within a year of planting. However, don’t be worried if the first few years’ fruits mature late, or drop before maturing. It will take 5 to 6 years for the tree to mature and produce large harvests. Fruits can be harvested as soon as they reach their mature skin color, feel heavy, and sound metallic when tapped. If left on the tree too long, they will split open; they may also split if it rains during harvest season. If this happens to your fruit, you can still harvest and enjoy it, but it cannot be stored whole. Fruit should be harvested with pruning snips, and not pulled from the branch. They can be stored whole in a cool place for several weeks, or in refrigeration for 3 months. For longer storage, you can de-seed and freeze the arils whole. You can also extract the juice by running the arils through a food strainer or a blender and straining out the seeds; the juice can be frozen for up to 6 months or made into a variety of canned foods such as syrup (also called grenadine), jelly, and more. For detailed growing information, watch our video, and for lots of great recipes, visit the Pomegranate Council’s website.

43 comments

  • Jill, you will need wires not so much for support but to tie the branches to as you train them. I don’t think that pomegranates are prone to any insect problems.

    Suzanne
  • I live in Tucson and thinking of planting a Pom Tree. To train as an espalier do I need wires or does it support itself? ( sorry-not a gardener!).
    Also I heard leaf bugs can be a problem…any comments?
    Thanks, enjoy your site.

    Jill
  • Teri, your tree just may not be mature enough to produce fruit to maturity. Make sure it is getting enough water and next spring you can give it a fruit tree fertilizer.

    Suzanne
  • I just bought a house and found we have two pomegranate trees that are already bearing fruit but not maturing before dropping. How can we get the fruit to full maturation?

    Teri L Minor
  • I heard pomegranate trees are tolerant to poor soils and dry conditions. I live in Tucson Az and I don’t water it much nor do I fertilize it either and it produces quite a bit of fruit. It hasn’t frozen either even with temperatures in the low 20’s.

    Cipriano A F
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