Pomegranates are one of the earliest recorded fruits of the ancient world, with references dating back to ancient Persia. This delicious plant was originally brought to America by the Spanish in 1769. While pomegranates are a hearty plant and can thrive in alkaline soils, the majority of commercially-grown pomegranates are produced in California and Arizona.
The Wonderful pomegranate was originally produced in Florida in 1896. This is the most common commercially-available breed due to its tough protective outer skin and its vinous flavor. This variety also produces the largest fruit, but takes the longest to ripen, sometimes requiring harvest as late as October. Currently, Wonderful pomegranates are the leading variety grown commercially in California.
The Early Wonderful variety of pomegranate matures two weeks ahead of the Wonderful pomegranate. When fully matured, it is a medium-sized bush that blooms late but is still quite productive. The flowers on this variety are a stunning orange-red color and very fertile.
The Sweet pomegranate's juice is much sweeter than the Wonderful varieties, and lighter in color. The juice is so sweet, in fact, that it is commonly used in fruit punches. The fruit is a bluish-red color when mature. This variety has thinner skin, matures earlier and has softer seeds than the Wonderful pomegranate.
Grenada are an extremely early maturing variety, with its fruit maturing an entire month before Wonderful pomegranates. The fruit and flowers of this bush are a deeper red and the final bush can mature to the same height as the Wonderful, but it produces a slightly less tart fruit.