How to Grow Pomegranate Trees - Backyard Boss
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How to Grow Pomegranate Trees

Pomegranate fruits are known for their leather-like skin and vibrant crimson color, though they come in colors from light pink to yellow, brown, and orange. The sweet, edible seeds are perfect for topping fruit salads, making juices, and pairing with chocolate desserts.

Unfortunately, finding pomegranates at the store isn’t always the simplest task. So why not grow a pomegranate tree? As a bonus, the shiny green foliage and beautiful blossoms make a stunning addition to your yard.

Learn how to grow your own pomegranate trees successfully so you can harvest and enjoy the tasty seeds.

Tools You’ll Need

gardening tools and pot
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Before you can begin growing your pomegranates, you’ll need a few tools.

  • Pomegranate sapling
  • Gardening gloves
  • Sunny spot
  • Large container
  • Well-draining soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Watering can

Growing Pomegranate Trees

With the right tools under your belt, you can get to growing your pomegranate trees.

Step 1: Choosing a Cultivar

Pomegranate seeds
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The first step in planting a pomegranate tree is choosing a variety. The variety you choose depends on the flavor of fruit you prefer and the height of tree you want. Pomegranate trees can range from 3 to 20 feet, though they are commonly 12 to 16 feet in height.

The ‘Wonderful’ variety, which has large, flavorful red fruits, is easy to find in many garden centers. With that said, ‘Nana,’ a dwarf ornamental cultivar, and ‘Sweet,’ which has a sweet flavor and produces well, are also popular.

Step 2: Planting

male gardener digging a hole with a shovel in a vegetable garden
Image credits: Paul Maguire via Shutterstock

Pomegranate trees grow well in zones 7 through 10 and prefer the sunniest, warmest location in your yard. They will grow in partial shade but only produce fruit sporadically, so at least six hours of sun is best. You can either transplant your sapling into the ground or keep it in a container. Use loamy, well-draining soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0.

If your area reaches temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, plant the tree in a container 18 inches or wider so you can easily bring it indoors over winter. If you are planting in the ground, dig a hole three times wider and deeper than the current pot. Loosen the roots by hand and place them in the transplant hole. Top with more soil to ensure the root ball is properly buried.

Plant pomegranate trees in the spring to ensure they get plenty of warmth and sun during the summer as they acclimate. Also, ensure they are about 15 feet away from other trees to allow the roots to grow and the tree to reach its full potential. You can plant shade-loving plants and groundcover nearby for dimension and texture, but avoid planting around the trunk so the plants aren’t competing for nutrients.

Step 3: Watering

Pomegranates on pomegranate tree
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When it comes to care, the most important thing to consider is watering. Pomegranate trees are drought tolerant, but you should water them immediately after planting. Then, add a 2 to 3-inch layer of organic mulch to maintain moisture levels, provide insulation, and prevent weed growth.

Continue to water the tree every other day for the first two weeks after planting. Afterward, reduce watering to once per week, depending on the weather and temperature of your area. To check if the tree needs watering, insert your finger a few inches into the soil. If it is still moist, withhold watering. If it is dry, it is time to water. As a general rule, container plants require more water since they dry out faster.

Pro Tip: To reduce the chance of infection or pests, always water at the base of the trunk and avoid wetting the foliage. Water in the morning or evening to prevent the water from evaporating too quickly.

Step 4: Pruning and Fertilizing

Pruning pomegranate tree branches with secateurs. Close-up of hands visible
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Use a sharp and clean pair of pruning shears to prune the suckers as they appear to maintain a tree-like shape. Otherwise, the pomegranate tree will take on more of a bush appearance. Prune in the fall to ensure you are removing old growth since the tree flowers on new growth, which appears in spring.

Fertilize the pomegranate tree with an 8-8-8 garden fertilizer, applying 1 pound per foot of tree. Apply the fertilizer in March and July to encourage new growth and bud development for the best harvest by fall. You can also water with compost tea to provide extra nutrients.

Step 5: Harvesting Pomegranate Fruits

pomegranate harvest
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In the first year of planting, your pomegranate tree will flower sporadically and probably only produce one to two fruits. Generally, you should notice fruit growth within three years once the tree becomes acclimated to its new home. After that, the tree should produce pomegranates for the next 15 years.

The flowers bloom from late May through fall, which is attractive to hummingbirds. Fruit ripens from August through October, reaching 2 to 5 inches in diameter and ranging in color depending on the variety.

Harvest fruits when they are ripe. You can determine the typical size, time, and color depending on the variety of trees you have. For example, the ‘Wonderful’ variety will be dark red in color and ready for picking in September. In general, pomegranates become more hexagonal as the seeds swell. It is time to harvest if you notice fruits splitting or falling from the tree.

Step 6: Repotting and Pest Prevention

Potting and repotting
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If your pomegranate tree is in a container, check the roots every spring to confirm it is not root-bound. If you spot any roots shooting out the bottom or notice a lack of growth, it is likely time to repot. Use a pot 2 inches larger than the current pot and replenish the soil with a well-draining, loamy mix.

You should treat the tree with pest treatment annually. Spray with insecticidal soap in the spring to prevent aphids or mites.

You’re the Pom!

Pomegranates are a wonderful fruit to grow and eat. The stunning trees and unique foliage add visual interest and dimension to your garden. You can give them all they need to grow with a proper watering routine and lots of light. Remember to prune, fertilize, and harvest as necessary!

Do you have any tips for growing pomegranates? Share in the comments below!