Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is an Asian native. Plants are trainable as trees or bushes, growing on average height of 15 feet. Cultivars are deciduous or evergreen, growing well throughout USDA planting zones 8 to 11. It fruits best in areas experiencing dry, warm summers and cool winters, where temperatures do not drop below 12 degrees F. Trees usually start bearing red or yellow-green fruit at three to four years, depending upon the cultivar grown. Pomegranate trees are long-lived and produce fruit for many years if gardeners meet their basic requirements.
Consider where you live within the pomegranate's planting zone and your local weather conditions when selecting a variety. Choose a cultivar well-adapted to grow in your local environment.
Grow the pomegranate tree in a planting site situated in full sun. Trees grow, bloom and fruit best when living in full-sun conditions for the majority of the day. The pomegranate will not perform well planted in shady sites.
Plant the tree in soil that drains well and does not have a tendency to retain water. Pomegranates tolerate a wide variety of soil mediums from sandy to clay and acidic as well as alkaline.
Water the pomegranate tree regularly every seven to 10 days for best growth. Pomegranate trees are relatively drought-tolerant and suffer more from overwatering, which causes the tree to drop fruit. Consider your local weather conditions when watering.
Prune the pomegranate tree annually and lightly while it is in its dormant stage. Remove any suckers growing up from the root section, as well as any sprouting along the main stem. Flowers and fruits form on the plant's new growth, and pruning encourages it to branch out.
Fertilize one- to three-year-old trees with 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of an 8-8-8 blend spread evenly underneath the canopy in November and again in March. Fertilize older trees at the same time with 4 to 6 1/2 pounds. Using too much fertilizer and applying it late in the season reduces the fruit quantity, color, quality and how long it takes it to mature.
Harvest pomegranates just before they ripen on the tree and begin to split. Ripening continues when the fruits are stored in the refrigerator. Store them up to six months.