How to Grow Pomegranate in Pots

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growing pomegranate tree in a pot

Pomegranate is a deciduous shrub that can be successfully grown in pots as it has a shallow root system compared to other fruit trees. To grow a pomegranate tree, you can either germinate the seeds (takes very long to get fruit) or just buy an old pomegranate tree from a local nursery. To grow pomegranates in a container, you will need about a 20 inch pot having about 15 inch diameter.

 

In terms of care, pomegranate needs a very well draining loamy soil, keeping the soil moist at all times, full sun of at least 6 hour, and organic fertilizer every 15 days. Pomegranate also needs support (stake, cages, trellis) once it reaches a height of 1.5 to 2 ft. Prune the dead or thin branches to promote new growth which in turn produces more buds and fruit.

 

Another important factor to consider when growing pomegranate is to know exactly what variety you are growing to understand the “special” requirements of the cultivar. Some are drought tolerant and others aren’t, some varieties survive frost and some actually need certain hours of frost period in order to bear fruit, while most varieties just shed leaves in the winter and go dormant. So yeah, know the variety that you are growing.

 

In this article, we are discussing the care of the most common varieties of pomegranates that apply to a majority of pomegranates out there.

Pomegranate General Info

 

General Info

Native

Middle East (Iran) and South Asia

🌵Type

deciduous shrub

🌵Climate

tropical and temperate

Pot Size

Diameter: 15 to 18 inch

Depth: 16 to 20 inch

🌡️Temperature

45°F to 118 °F (7°C to 48°C)
USDA Hardiness Zone 9b to 11

Propagation🌱

Air layering, seed, stem cutting

🌼Growing season

Spring to Summer

💧Watering

Keep the soil moist

Soil

Well draining permeable soil.

Soil mix: garden soil, compost, fine sand or perlite

☀️Light

Full sun, 6-8 hours

Fertilizer

every 2 weeks with an organic compost during the growing season

🧴Use

Fruit, ornamental

Height📏

Upto 6m (20 ft)

Time it takes to get fruit

Depending on variety, 6 months to upto 3 years

Air Layering Method

Air layered propagation method is recommended for pomegranate because an air layered plant starts to bear fruit in just 6-8 months, while plants grown from seeds will take 5 to 7 years or more.

 

If you already have a pomegranate plant, you can propagate the pomegranate plant by air layering propagation method where we wrap a damp moss on a stem while the stem is still attached to the parent plant (no cuttings), and encourage roots to form on the stem.

 

Growing from Cuttings

  1. Take several 8-10 inch cuttings or rooted air layered cuttings and plant them into the soil. Add more soil to cover the root but do not cover the trunk with soil.
  2. Gently press the soil to remove any air pockets.
  3. Water thoroughly. Keep the soil moist for the first 15 days.
  4. Keep the plant in shade for the initial 15 to 30 days and gradually introduce full sun.
  5. In 3 to 4 days, new growth will be seen.
  6. When the plant is 1.5 to 2 ft tall, provide some support with sticks or stakes.

Growing from Seeds

  1. Buy a ripened Pomegranate. Take the seeds from the pulp, remove the juicy covering to reveal the seeds. Let the seeds dry for a few days.
  2. Sow the seeds in the soil in a 4 inch pot or seed tray.
  3. Add a ¼ inch fine layer of potting mix. Do not sow the seeds too deep.
  4. Water the potting mix until it feels wet at a depth of 1 inch.
  5. Place the container in a bright location and maintain a temperature of around 68 degrees F (20 C). Use a plastic bag or greenhouse to achieve the required temperature.
  6. Seeds will germinate in 7 days to 40 days; depending on the climate and the variety.

How fast does Pomegranate grow

If a pomegranate plant gets optimal climatic conditions, it can live upto 200 years. Pomegranate tree can grow upto 6m (20 ft)

 

Here is a table that explains the rate of growth for Pomegranate that you can expect:

 

Event

Timeline

Germination

7 to 40 days

Fruiting (Seed germinated plant)

Upto 3 years

Fruiting (Air Layered cutting)

6 to 8 months

How to water💧

Seed germination up until the first 6 months, Pomegranate tree should be watered regularly and deeply. The soil should remain moist but not waterlogged. At least for the first few months, do not let newly planted pomegranates dry out and keep the soil moist at all times.

 

Once the plant is established, cut back on watering gradually as they become drought tolerant with age. If it's cold, cut back on watering. If you live in a hot arid climate and your pomegranate tree is producing flowers, water frequently and do not let the soil dry out as it can lead to flowers dropping.

Sunlight Requirements ☀️

Pomegranate is a warm weather fruit and needs full sun, ideally 8 hours of sun. If you have repotted the plant into a container, keep the plant in partial shade for at least a month, and gradually move it to a location that receives direct sunlight. 

 

Pomegranate also grows well if it is kept in partial shade, however it does bloom and fruit less compared to the one that receives full sun. The more sun it will receive, the more it will fruit. 

 

It is also possible to grow a pomegranate tree near a windowsill if it receives full sun.

Temperature Range🌡️

Ideal temperature for growing most varieties of pomegranate is between 45°F to °90F (7°C to 32°C)

 

Pomegranates are best grown in USDA Hardiness Zone 9b to 11, although it can also be successfully grown in containers in zones below 9. Some cold hardy varieties are provence and nana. If you live in a tropical climate, you can grow pomegranates in any season except peak summer.

 

Care Tips for Winter

 

For most varieties of pomegranate, the temperature should not be too cold: it does not survive heavy frost and snow. However, there are some varieties that can tolerate light frost and keep growing during the winter season as well. As a defense mechanism, a pomegranate tree sheds its leaves and becomes dormant below freezing temperature. There are some cold hardy varieties like the provence that can tolerate temperatures upto 5 degrees F (-15 C).


 

The good thing about growing pomegranate in pots is that if you live in a climate that gets frost, you can simply bring the plant indoors where the temperature remains nice and warm. If you can keep the indoor temperature at least around 55 F (15 C) and keep the tree in a sunny location that receives at least 4 hours of sunlight, the tree won’t shed its leaves and keep growing. When spring comes, gradually introduce the plant outdoors so it can acclimatize and resume growing. Once you start seeing new growth, you can also resume the normal fertilization and watering schedule.

 

Soil

Most varieties of pomegranate trees are forgiving when it comes to soil and will grow successfully in any type of soil that drains well. The soil for pomegranate should be loamy, well-draining, permeable soil, and should not clog the roots. 

 

The best soil for pomegranate trees is the one with lots of organic matter as well as having very good drainage at the same time. The recommended soil mix for growing most varieties of pomegranate is Sand/Perlite + Coco peat + Garden Soil - all in equal proportions.

Fertilizer

Just like any fruiting tree, pomegranate needs adequate amounts of nitrogen to grow new leaves and branches that in turn produce more buds and fruits.

 

During the growing season (spring to summer), the pomegranate tree should be fertilized every 2 weeks with an organic compost like cow manure or vermicompost. These are the best fertilizers for pomegranate trees as they have an adequate amount of nitrogen. 

 

If you are growing pomegranate in containers, the plant often experiences zinc deficiency which is indicated by yellowing of leaves. To avoid zinc deficiency, spray a diluted zinc solution on the foliage. If you are consistently fertilizing your pomegranate with organic compost or manure, it is unlikely that the plant will suffer zinc deficiency.

 

If you over fertilize a pomegranate plant, the leaves production increases and flower production gets affected.

 

If you live in a cold climate that experiences frost, the plant will be dormant during your winter season and hardly needs any fertilizer or water. Once spring arrives and you start seeing new growth, that is when you can resume fertilization every 2 weeks.

Pruning

Pruning pomegranate is critical to maintain its shape, size, and to promote new growth that eventually leads to more flowers and fruiting.

 

Prune pomegranate tree during the growing season (spring to summer). You need to prune the branches that appear weak or dead. This will help the plant direct its energy towards the more healthy branches and shoot new growth. You can also prune pomegranate branches for size since it's being grown in a pot.

Not Producing Fruit?

Most varieties of pomegranates are self-pollinating and you only need one plant to set fruit. Young pomegranate trees blossom and may drop their flowers for the first few years and start producing fruit only after 2 to 3 years, so be patient and let the plant establish itself.

 

If your pomegranate is 2-3 years old and growing well but still there is no fruit, this could be due to overwatering, overfertilization, not enough sunlight or/and lack of pollinators.

 

  • Once the plant is established and it is 2 to 3 years old, it does not have much water except when it starts to fruit.
  • Overfertilization with organic compost can increase the Nitrogen content in your soil that can affect your soil biology that in turn affects the fruiting. 
  • Pomegranates need at least 6 hours of full sun in order to flower and produce fruit.
  • Lack of pollination could be one of the reasons. Plant pomegranate trees together to encourage cross pollination.
  • If all of the above is taken care of and still there is no fruit being produced, it is very likely that you are growing a pomegranate cultivar that is just an ornamental variety, which does not bear any pomegranate fruit in the first place. Ouch!

When to Harvest

If you have grown a pomegranate tree from seed, it will take upto 3 years for the fruits to form. Once the flowers are produced, they turn into fruit in 3 to 6 months.

 

Harvest pomegranate when the fruit turns intense red. The color can be different for different varieties so check the variety that you are growing to know what color you should expect before harvesting. To harvest, cut the stem which bears the fruit using a pruner. 

 

Once harvested, you can store pomegranates in your freezer (0 degrees C) upto 6 months.

Pests 🐛and Diseases🦠

Pomegranates are not vulnerable to pests and diseases. The most you can expect are fruit flies, whiteflies and pomegranate butterflies. You can easily get rid of these pests and diseases.

 

Fruit crack is a common problem in pomegranate trees that occurs due to inconsistent supply of moisture within the plant when it’s fruiting

Things to check before buying Pomegranate Plant

Look for the following attributes when buying your plant.

 

  • With pomegranates, the older the plant is the better. However, older plants tend to be more expensive.
  • Check if the plant was kept in a well draining soil and the roots are not wet and dying

Best Dwarf Varieties for Pots

  1. Nana

Compact and cold hardy. It can grow in USDA Zones 7 to 11. In a container, it only grows upto 1m tall and has orange flowers that produce small fruits.

  1. Provence

Another cold hardy variety that can tolerate temperatures upto 5 degrees F (-15 C).

  1. State Fair

Grows upto 15 ft tall and suitable for zones 7 to 11.

  1. Punica Granatum

Also called “madame le grelle” is a well known ornamental variety that produces orange colored double flowers with white borders.

 

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