Pomegranates are low-maintenance plants that produce a delicious fruit perfect for inclusion in salsas, salads and juices. You can grow pomegranates from cuttings or seeds, and the plant is suited to regions with cold winters and hot summers. Young plants keep well in containers indoors, but mature trees thrive in outdoor, sunny locations. You can train pomegranates into tree form or leave them alone to develop into shrubs. Proper care of your pomegranate plants will ensure a healthy tree and an abundance of tasty fruit.
Plant your pomegranate tree in well-draining soil in full sun. Pomegranates will produce fruit in partial shade, but they need full sun to thrive and reach their full growth potential. Pomegranates are hardy and can tolerate cold weather. However, prolonged temperatures at or below freezing can damage the tree and reduce fruit production.
Water newly planted trees thoroughly every few days for two to three weeks. Water mature trees once each week to keep the soil moist and to ensure good fruit production. You may need to water outdoor trees more often during dry months.
Fertilize your pomegranate tree with a time release, high nitrogen product during its first two years. Young trees require about 2 pounds of 8-8-8 fertilizer during March and November. After two or three years, an annual application of manure or compost is typically sufficient to maintain nitrogen levels.
Remove dead branches and suckers during pruning. Pomegranate trees do not typically require extensive pruning, but you should remove diseased or damaged branches quickly to maintain your plant's health.
Train your pomegranate plant into a tree form by shaping the plant into a single trunk. Frequent removal of suckers is essential if you wish to train your plant into an upright tree form. Pruning should begin early in the plant's first year, or the plant will naturally develop into a bush.
Watch for scale, mealy bugs and thrips, and check your tree periodically for signs of disease. Pomegranates are susceptible to fungal diseases that affect the fruit and leaves. Severe fungal infection may cause premature leaf loss and fruit splitting. Apply a copper-based fungicide during late spring or early summer to treat fungal infections.
Tap the pomegranate fruit when it turns fully red. Ripe fruit will produce a metallic sound when tapped, and this indicates the fruit is ready for harvesting. Pick fruit before full maturity and store it at temperatures ranging from freezing to 41 degrees F and at humidity levels of about 80 percent.
Things You Will Need
- Nitrogen fertilizer
- Pruning sheers
- Copper-based fungicide