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Pomegranate plants (Punica granatum) are diverse in their growth habits. They can range from small shrubs to trees reaching 20-30 feet tall. Native to northern India and the Middle East, these fruiting plants are naturally adapted to growing in regions where winters are cool and summers are hot. In the United States, they are cold hardy to USDA Zone 7.
Pomegranate trees have narrow, glossy green leaves and produce scarlet red flowers that are attractive to hummingbirds. The bulbous fruits are up to 4 inches in diameter, and are covered in leathery yellow or red skins. The fruit contains several walled sections containing a generous amount of seeds from 200 to 1400 seeds in total. Each seed is surrounded by a small sac of juice which, when released, gives the pomegranate its sweet-tart flavor.
Watering: Once established, pomegranates can tolerate long periods of drought. Even so, its best to maintain a uniform level of soil moisture, especially after fruit set. Excessive water fluctuations during late summer while the fruit is maturing may result in cracks or splits in the fruit. After planting, mulch the site and keep it free of weeds. As seedlings, its normal for pomegranate trees to undergo severe fruit drop during the first couple of years.
Fertilizing: Once the trees are planted and settled in (new growth appears), its time to start a fertilizing regime. Apply a slow-release organic fertilizer formulated for fruit trees once each year in the spring. Rates can be difficult to determine, so start with a soil test and make adjustments each year according to the trees response. Depending on soil fertility, mature trees may require from ½ to 1 pound of fertilizer per plant per year. If youre unsure of application rates, its always best to apply less fertilizer than you think the plant will need. Excessive or late applications of nitrogen may cause excessive vegetative growth, reduce fruit production and delay fruit from reaching maturity. Mulching with a layer of organic compost once or twice a year will help maintain soil fertility and fruit production.
Papershell: A round fruit, small to medium or large in size. The fruit is bright-red in color, with a thin rind, and a juicy, reddish-pink pulp that is sweet tasting and contains soft seeds. Heavy bearer.
Spanish Ruby: Round, small to medium or large; bright-red, with a thin rind and fleshy, rose-color. Has a sweet, aromatic pulp, and small to medium, fairly soft seeds. Considered medium in quality.
Wonderful: The fruit is very large and dark purple-red in color, and contains a juicy, winey, deep-red pulp and medium-hard seeds. Plant is vigorous and productive.
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We planted a pomegranate tree over 50 years ago. Birds nesting in our windbreak trees have planted many more over the years.
If you grow your own pomegranates this is a fun way to juice them. All you need is the fruit and a hand held citrus squeezer. Plant the leftover seeds and grow more. Learn about juicing and growing your own pomegranates.