Pomegranates are known for their strong health benefits, tangy red seeds and resistance to most pests and diseases. This tasty and popular fruit grows on trees, which can range in size and appearance from a squat, 3-foot shrub-like tree to a more traditional-looking, 30-foot-tall tree. Pomegranate trees grown commercially are cultivated by grafting or from cuttings, because trees grown from seed sometimes do not fruit, whereas cuttings take root very easily. Pomegranate trees do not produce fruit until they have been established for about three years.
Pomegranates are deciduous trees in all but the warmest climates. Their leaves are dark green and glossy, and they are drought resistant. They can grow in almost any type of soil as long as it is well-drained. The pomegranate tree blooms in the spring. The flowers are small, one-inch long, tube-shaped red flowers with four or five petals. The fruit develops slowly over the course of about six months.
The fruit of the pomegranate tree, or the pomegranates themselves, are usually ready to harvest in September, when they turn a dark reddish brown color and make a metallic sound when tapped. They should be harvested before they become overly mature and preferably before the autumn rains, or they tend to crack open on the tree; an interesting fact, considering that the rind itself is so tough and difficult to open by hand. Pomegranates can be stored for a long time: up to seven months if the temperature is kept between 32 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit.