The pomegranate is an ancient fruit native to Persia, in what is now modern day Iran. Over the years, it became known as the fruit of royalty. It belongs to a family of plants that has only one genus and two species.
The name pomegranate – pōmum “apple” and grānātum “seeded” derives from medieval latin – possibly stemming from the old French word for the fruit, pomme-grenade. The pomegranate was known in early English as “apple of Grenada.” It is known that pomegranate has been cultivated since 3500BC. For a more complete history of the pomegranate, check out POM Wonderful’s History of the Pomegranate.
The Romans declared it an apple. However, when we talk about growing pomegranate from seeds, we need to recognize that this fruit is actually a berry. Inside the hard rind are sections called locules. These locules are separated by a thin white, bitter-tasting membrane. Inside the locules are the arils, jewel-like pearls of sweetness, each carrying both juice and a seed which is the edible part of the fruit.
I LOVE POMEGRANATES. So I have decided to try to grow a tree.
There are several varieties of pomegranate, all of which do not need much attention and can be grown in various weather and geographical conditions. This is a plant that can easily be grown in big containers/pots making it suitable for terrace gardening, or in the ground.
I found so many different ways of growing pomegranate that it boggled my mind. I will try to make it simple because I want to grow one for my family. If you want to start it from seeds, here is basically where to start:
- Choose a big-size, healthy pomegranate fruit.
- Cut the fruit to get the seeds out.
- Now, crush the seeds to remove all the juice and pulp.
- After crushing, wash the seeds thoroughly and strain the water.
- Now keep them aside in a semi-shaded area away from direct sunlight.
- After 4 – 5 days, your seeds are ready to be germinated and sowed
- To germinate the pomegranate seeds, put them in a small dish, cover them with warm water and leave them there overnight. Check them until they start to sprout.
- Another option for germinating your seeds is to place them inside of a damp coffee filter and then place the filter inside of a plastic bag, such as a Ziploc sandwich baggie. Place the bag somewhere warm and check the seeds every few days.
- When the seeds start to sprout, transfer them to pots. Be sure the pot has good drainage.
- If you are germinating the seeds in pots, you can plant several per pot, using regular potting soil. Water them thoroughly without flooding the pot. Then water them again when the soil feels dry. Put pot in semi-shaded place. After they sprout, you can remove some of the sprouts keeping only the strongest seedlings.
- If you are using pots indoors – after they are growing good, place them wherever they can get the most sun.
- OTHER OPTION: Put the seeds directly in the soil outdoors. Plant them at a depth of 5 millimetres (0.20 in). If planting outdoors, you only have to scatter the seeds over the soil and slightly push them down or cover them with a thin layer of more soil. Don’t worry about spacing at first. Later, you can remove seedlings so that only the strongest stay in the ground. If going from pot to ground outdoors – keep it away from direct sunlight for 2 days to avoid any transplant shock. Afterwards they can be in full sun for about 4 – 6 hours of the day. Flowering and fruiting can only be seen during the summer and spring seasons. Once 2 months old, they should be kept in direct sunlight. The Pomegranate plant starts flowering and fruiting once it is 3 – 4 years old.
I will probably plant them in pots until they get of good size and then transfer them to the yard. They are considered a shrub, however, this picture looks more like a tree. Maybe pruning is what would keep it shrub size.
I live in Florida so what I am telling you pertains to warmer climates. If you live in a cold climate the directions may be different. You will have to research it.
Now for the maintenance.
- Water newly-planted trees more often until established. Water pomegranates deeply during the heat of the summer.
- Fertilize pomegranates just as they leaf out (around February) with a large covering of compost (preferred) or use an organic fertilizer 2-3 times per year.
- For the first 3 years, it is recommended to shorten shoots to encourage a strong, sturdy plant.
- Pruning pomegranate trees is not necessary. However, if desired you can prune pomegranates for size, to remove crossing branches and suckers, or to train against a wall or trellis.
- The best time to prune pomegranate trees is after they have dropped all their leaves, just before they begin to leaf out in the spring.
- Right Nutrients for Healthy Plant – in the beginning stage, pomegranate plants do not need any additional nutrients in the form of fertilizer. The pomegranate plant is not a heavy fertilizer consumer, but it is recommended to add a handful of organic compost once 20 – 30 days for healthy growth. During the flowering and fruiting period, NPK fertilizer should be added every 15 days for healthy fruit growth.
Things to remember:
- The pomegranate plant has tender stems and branches. At an early stage external support should be provided for better plant structure.
- If planted in a pot or container, the soil should be dug every month to develop better aeration and root system.
- Pomegranate plants should be kept in full sunlight.
- Excessive watering will cause rotted roots. Plants should be watered only once the topsoil is dried up.
- During the time of flowering and fruiting, fertilizer should be added every 15 – 20 days.
This will be quite an experience. I was not aware when I decided to start this project that it would be 3-4 years before I could enjoy the fruit. If I have missed anything, and you are an experienced gardener you will probably know what I have missed and rectify it. If you are not an experienced gardener – like me, you will need to do more research as I will be doing.
POMEGRANATES have many health benefits. I will go into that with a follow-up blog.
WISHING US ALL WELL – AS WE PURSUE THIS – AND PRAYING THAT GOD BLESSES OUR EFFORTS!