Pomegranate fruit trees were first brought to the New World in 1769 by Spanish settlers in California. While pomegranate fruit trees can live to be hundreds of years old, they typically start to decline at about the age of 15. Pomegranates are native to areas in and around Iran and the Himalayas.
Pomegranate fruit trees can grow to a height of 20 to 30 feet. The bark is red/brown; the branches are stiff and angular and sometimes have spines. The leaves have a glossy look and a leathery feel, and are narrow and shaped like a lance. Pomegranate fruit trees produce red, white or variegated flowers, generally with between five and eight crumpled petals. The fruit can be anywhere from 2 ½ to 5 inches in diameter with a tough skin. It takes the fruit from 5 to 7 months to mature.
Pomegranate fruit trees need an environment that ranges from one that is semi-arid with mild temperatures, to subtropical. They can adapt to cool, but not cold, winters and hot summers, but humidity will cause damage. While the tree can grow as far north as zone 5, it will not produce fruit. Pomegranate fruit trees do best in well drained soil, but can take rocky ground as well.
Pomegranate fruit trees should be planted in the place in the garden where it will get the most sun and warmth. Pomegranate fruit trees are most often grown from cuttings that are available from nurseries. They should be about 15 inches in length. Treat with rooting hormone and plant in regular garden soil. It will take about 3 years for the tree to produce fruit.
New pomegranate fruit trees should be given water every 2 to 4 weeks during the dry season. Once they are established, they can go a long time without water. For the first 2 years, the pomegranate fruit trees should be given just 2 to 4 ounces of a nitrogen fertilizer in the spring. After that, they need even less. Mulching with mulch of rotted manure or organic compost is often all they need.
When the trees are about 2 feet tall they should be cut back, and only four or five shoots should be allowed to grow from the trunk starting at about the 1 foot mark. Any other branches or suckers should be removed.
Pomegranate fruit trees are relatively problem-free. They may develop a minor case of leaf or fruit spot and the leaves can be damaged by insects such as white flies, thrips, mealybugs and scale insects.