Pomegranates are a fantastic addition to a garden or fruit orchard, but not if the season doesn’t yield the harvest you want. Here are some tips for planting, growing, and caring for your tree that will be sure to grant you a fabulous pomegranate season!
Pomegranate flowers are one of the most beautiful flowers to grace your garden or orchard. Their lovely, abundant, deep red-orange flowers beautifully contrast their small, green leaves, making it a spectacular looking plant all on its own.
As if that weren’t enough, its fruit is even more spectacular. Pomegranate seeds are juicy, delicious nuggets packed with sweet and sour flavor that makes the mouth water. In addition, they are antioxidant-rich, also high in vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber, and they make the best pomegranate juice you could ever have.
If you haven’t yet delved into the world of growing pomegranate, this article will give you a brief overview of how to do so.
Plan an Awesome Pomegranate Season
In warmer climates (zones 7-10), the pomegranate tree is pretty easy to grow. Since this tree is drought-tolerant, it is perfect for areas with dry climate and warm summer heat. However, it does need cool winters in order to get the 150 chill hours they need to remain healthy and productive.
When choosing a pomegranate tree to plant, think of your purpose. Likely you will want fruit, so make sure to check to see if the plant you are purchasing is ornamental only. A good cultivar option is ‘Wonderful’. It is the cultivar that provides most of the pomegranates you can purchase in the produce section, and it’s also the one we grow here at Stone Family Farmstead.
Plant in Fall or Spring
Bare root trees should be planted after the last frost, but potted poms can be planted at any time of the year. It’s important to remember those 150 chill hours, so you might want to plant in fall and see what happens for you. Chances are it won’t produce in the first year, but you’ll get a nice jump start on fruit production in the end.
Choose a spot in full sun and loamy soil. Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball, but just as deep as the root ball. Plant at the pre-existing soil’s level. Water well.
If planting more than one pomegranate, space them 15-20 feet for regular sized trees, and 3 feet. Mature trees will grow to 10-15 feet tall x 5-10 feet wide, with dwarf trees being more like a bush (2 feet tall x 2-3 feet wide).
Since pomegranate trees are self-pollinating, there is no need to plant more than one if you prefer not to, however, planting more than one increases fruit set.
Planting in Pots
It is possible to grow pomegranate in pots, and choosing a dwarf is probably your best bet. Plant it the same way you would as in-ground, only using a 10 gallon container. Set the root ball in the center of the container, then fill in with soil around the root ball.
Growing in a container is a good idea if you are trying to grow pomegranate in zone 6 and below, because you can move your tree indoors to protect it from the frost.
WATERING: Newly planted trees should be watered every two to four weeks during dry periods; mature trees will do well with one deep watering per month. Skip watering once fruit has set on the tree even if it is a dry spell–it will cause the fruit to split.
FEEDING: Pomegranate trees don’t need much by way of fertilizer, mostly nitrogen. However, do not fertilize your tree in the first year of planting, and after that, only when it doesn’t look like it’s doing well.
PRUNING: Pomegranates require pruning each year during the winter months. Pruning too little or too much can affect harvest yields, but between the two, lighter pruning is the better choice. For more information on pruning pomegranate, click here.
PESTS: Pomegranates can develop many pests and diseases, depending on where you live. Aphids are most common, but there are more issues that can befall your tree. PlantVillage (by Penn State University) has a greatly informative page on this topic.
Harvest when fully colored and when tapped, makes a metallic sound (usually late summer or early fall). Pick only one at a time to test until you know they are ripe, as they don’t continue to ripen off the tree. However, if you leave them on too long, they will split.
What to Do with Your Pomegranate Seeds
Now that you’ve harvested and you’re ready to start processing them, I thought you might like a couple of recipes from my blogger friends!
Pomegranate Salad Dressing Recipes: Top 4 You Must Try by Original Homesteading
The Perfect Pomegranate Martini by Mirlandra’s Kitchen
Keto “Sugar Plums” by Homestead Lady
And if you’d like to preserve them, check out my friend Darcy’s article:
How to Dehydrate Pomegranate Arils by The Purposeful Pantry
- How can I tell if a pomegranate is ripe?
A pomegranate is ripe when it is fully colored, and when tapped, it makes a metallic sound. Depending on the cultivar you are growing, the seeds will be deep red.
- How do you juice a pomegranate?
Juicing pomegranate seeds is really easy. Just put the seeds into a blender and pulse to release the juice. Strain with a fine mesh strainer and use a spoon or silicone spatula to press the pomegranates and get as much juice out as you can. Not sure how to remove pomegranate seeds from the fruit? Here’s some instructions, including a printable page for your recipe notebook!
- Can dogs eat pomegranate?
Unfortunately, no. If they eat a few, it would be alright, but their digestive system cannot break down the seeds, and can give your pup a tummy ache. Best to steer clear.
Fun Fact About Pomegranates
You may have noticed that pomegranates have rich Biblical symbolism if you’ve ever read about the building of the Jewish tabernacle or Temple. Pomegranates were embroidered onto the fabrics used inside in these buildings. They were also used on the ephod that the priests wore. It is believed that the pomegranate is a symbol of righteousness because it has 613 seeds, which is also the number of commandments in the Torah.
The symbolism doesn’t end there. The pomegranate carries symbolism for many different religions and spiritual people. It ranges from being a symbol of life and fertility, to power, blood, and death. Who knew?