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How to Grow Pomegranate Trees in California

ripe pomegranate image by João Freitas from

The hot, dry climate in parts of southern California is excellent for growing pomegranates, an exotic fruit. The plant a pomegranate grows on is more similar to a shrub than a tree, but it is a commonly referred to as pomegranate tree. The trees are self-pollinating, so you only need one to get a harvest of fruit each year. You can plant a pomegranate tree from a seed, but they do not often grow to mature trees using this method. Instead, plant a pomegranate tree either as a cutting from a mature tree or a young tree purchased at a nursery.

Select a site for planting your pomegranate tree. Pomegranates will grow best in sunny spots. Choose the sunniest, warmest spot in your yard.

Remove any weeds from the planting site either by removing them by hand or applying a weed-killing herbicide.

Till the soil at the planting site to loosen up the top level . If you do not have a tiller, use a spade to loosen the soil.

Remove all the leaves from the pomegranate cutting if you are planting from a cutting. If you are planting a young tree, you will not need to alter it in any way.

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate either the cutting or the young tree. If you are planting a young tree, the hole should be both deep enough and wide enough to fit the entire root structure. If you are planting a cutting, 2/3 of the length should be buried in the soil.

Place the cutting or the young tree in the hole, setting it in gently and firmly. If you are planting a your tree, allow the roots to spread out naturally so they are not damaged.

Fill the hole back in with the surrounding soil and firmly tamp it down to prevent air bubbles from remaining in the soil. Air bubbles can prevent the tree from growing properly.

Water the pomegranate tree immediately after planting. Pomegranate trees grow quite well in hot, dry climates, but they should be watered every seven to 10 days when there is no significant rainfall.

Fertilize your pomegranate tree the first two springs after planting it using ammonium sulfate or another nitrogen-containing fertilizer

Prune your tree once it reaches 2 feet tall. Remove shoots so there are only four or five remaining evenly distributed around the tree. The shoots should be 8 to 10 inches off the ground--remove any shoots or suckers below that. Maintain this type of pruning for the first two years of growth.

Remove suckers and sprouts with pruning tools as they appear on the tree.

Prune all the dead wood and branches from the tree each winter to encourage new growth and healthy fruit production.


To increase the amount of nutrients in your soil, incorporate organic matter such as peat or compost to the soil after tilling it. Mix it well with the existing soil before planting.

Pomegranate trees can live for decades, but the fruit production typically declines after about 15 years.

A pomegranate is ripe with it has a consistent deep red color. Ripe pomegranates will also make a metallic sound when tapped. Once picked, store pomegranates in the refrigerator for up to seven months.

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