Pomegranates are a delicious fruit, but have you ever thought about using the seeds to grow a tree? Not only do they produce fruit, the trees have beautiful orange flowers that add a nice pop to your garden. When it comes down to how to grow a pomegranate tree, the process is pretty easy. All you need are some seeds from the fruit, time, patience, and a willingness to experiment.
Gathering seeds from the fruit of a pomegranate tree is fairly simple. Cut the pomegranate in half and remove the berries inside as if you were going to eat them, and wash gently under cold water. Clean the pulp off of the seeds and set them out to dry. This is where a willingness to experiment comes in.
Unfortunately, pomegranate seeds are fairly unpredictable and you aren’t guaranteed to have trees you grow bear the same flavored fruit as the one the seeds were from. You won’t know for sure what the fruit will taste like until the tree produces, so it may be beneficial to try growing more than one in case you have a tree with less than desirable pomegranates.
Start the pomegranate seeds indoors, ideally in midwinter so that you can transplant them either to larger containers or outdoors when the last frost passes in spring. When starting the pomegranate seeds, they should be planted 1/4 inch deep in the seed starter. Be sure to only plant one seed per starter cell.
As they sprout and grow, the seeds should be kept in a place with bright lighting and the soil should stay moist. If you live in a place that doesn’t have a lot of natural bright lighting, you may need to purchase grow lights to help the seedlings along. Viable seeds should begin to sprout within six weeks. Unlike other plants, you’ll also need to get the pomegranate seedlings ready to be moved outside. As it gets closer to spring, bring the seedlings outside when you can, gradually increasing the amount of time spent outdoors.
Pomegranate trees are suitable for outdoor growing in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11. If you live outside of these zones, you may want to look into how to grow pomegranate trees in pots. It won’t be vastly different, but you won’t have to go through the steps of prepping them to be planted outdoors and transplanting them into the soil.
However, if you are growing outdoors, you should make sure to water your newly planted trees (and this goes for any new tree) frequently until its roots become established. During warmer summer months, they should be watered deeply to help prevent the roots and plant from drying out. It’s often recommended to shorten the shoots of your pomegranate trees for the first few years of their lives in order to encourage strong growth.
Similarly, if you’re considering pruning your pomegranate tree to create a certain shape or remove any branches that interfere with each other, you should do so right before they’re about to leaf in the spring (though they can be lightly pruned during the year). When your pomegranate trees begin to bear fruit, you should thin them out to one fruit per six inches. This will help keep the branches from getting too heavy and encourage the fruit to grow larger.
Where you should plant your pomegranate tree
Your pomegranate seedlings should be transplanted outdoors ideally during the spring; however, you can plant them outdoors during the fall if you live in a warmer area. The goal is to avoid transplanting them during both the warmest months of the year and the coldest.
Pomegranate trees will be happiest in an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight a day, so avoid more indirect locations that get a lot of shade. If you aren’t sure where that spot is in your yard, pay attention to the light cycle for a few days to monitor where the sunniest vs. shadiest spots are. In addition to lots of sunlight, pomegranates also prefer spots with good drainage as they don’t tend to enjoy soaking in water.
Aside from starting with seeds, some growers will propagate pomegranate trees by taking eight- to 10-inch cuttings. These should be harvested with sterile pruning shears and started indoors just before the final frost of the winter. When they’re ready to be transplanted outside, follow the same guidelines mentioned for the ones started from seeds (six hours of bright sun, good drainage, avoid heavily shaded areas). Cuttings should be planted in the ground at least 18 feet apart so the roots of the trees will have room to grow and expand as the plant gets older.
The biggest unknown when growing pomegranates will be whether or not the fruit will be of good quality. It’s a bit of a commitment and may require you to grow more than one until you have a tree with fruit whose flavor you enjoy. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to enjoy the fruit your pomegranate tree bears for years to come. It’s worth it, we promise.
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