The pomegranate has long held a special place in human history, being grown in regions of the Middle East and India and being a fruit that sustained caravans as they went across the desert. This especially long-lived tree and fruit is also beneficial to modern man. It serves as a source of income for some living in warmer regions. For others, its fruit is especially valuable, being considered a deterrent to certain types of cancer, especially prostate cancer.
The pomegranate tree starts its life cycle out as a seed, which comes from the pomegranate fruit. These seeds are generally planted in the spring, or whenever there is little chance of a late freeze. In cases where freezes do not happen, they can generally be planted year round. They tend to germinate and grow very quickly in warmer weather.
The stage of the tree immediately after germination is called the seedling stage. It is at this point the tree will experience its most vigorous growth not only vertically but also horizontally. Those who do not want it to look like a shrub should take the time to prune the tree thoroughly during that first year.
The tree reaches adulthood usually about the same time, or shortly after the time, it bears its first fruit. For some pomegranates, this can be as short as a year. In most cases, it is likely to be 2 1/2 years or a little longer before the first fruit is seen. The prime fruit bearing period lasts until the tree turns the age of 15.
Later Adult Stage
The pomegranate tree can live an exceptionally long period of time. Some in Europe are known to be 200 years old. After the age of 15, however, the pomegranate tree begins to lose some of its ability to put the desired flavor in the fruit. This will continue throughout the trees decline into advanced age. During this stage, the vitality of the seeds, at least from healthy fruit, should remain relatively unchanged.
Certain conditions can reduce the lifespan of the pomegranate tree considerably. The most notable one is weather. As a tropical and subtropical tree, the pomegranate has an unusual resistance to cold temperatures. Still, prolonged exposure at 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or less will cause the tree extreme amounts of stress and could be fatal. Termites eating the bark could also kill the tree.