A native Iran and Iraq, the pomegranate is a deciduous tree or shrub that has been grown since ancient times and  is widely cultivated for the juicy seeds of its fruit in warm dry areas of Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe, and South America.  Growing up to 33′ tall the plants have fine-textured, glossy green leaves that are opposite, narrow oblong,  and 1.25-2.75″ long.  From mid spring to the beginning of summer, showy red-orange  flowers  are borne singly or in clusters of up to five.  Each flower is up to 1.25″ across and has 3-7 petals . In the fall, the foliage takes on a reddish or bright yellow tint as the large almost spherical fruits appear. The fruits are 2 to 4″ across and  have a tough, leathery, pink to red skin and an interior divided into hundreds of segments by thick, cream-colored membranes. The segments are  filled with a seed surrounded by a sac of tart juice.   The plants are are extremely long-lived, up to 200 years old, and are grown as ornamentals as well as for fruit. Pomgranate is a member of the loostrife family, Lythraceae, that also includes crepe myrtle, henna, and Cuphea.  The genus name, Punica, is the Latin word for Carthaginian, an ancient civilization in the Africa.  The specific epithet, granatum, is the Latin word meaning having many seeds.

granatum leaves are opposite or subopposite, glossy, narrow oblong, entire, 3–7 cm (1+142+34 in) long and 2 cm (34 in) broad. The flowers are bright red and 3 cm (1+14 in) in diameter, with three to seven petals.[4] Some fruitless varieties are grown for the flowers alone.[10]

Type: Deciduous tree or shrub

Outstanding Feature: Fruit, flowers

Form: Vase-like

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Single or clusters of orange-red flowers in late spring to early summer

Plant Size: 10-33’H x 8-15’ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Deep loam, medium moist, well-drained, pH 6.5-7 but tolerate less; drought tolerant

Fertilizer: In late winter or early sprig apply a complete fertilizer such as 16-4-8

Hardiness: Zones 7-11 (but may not produce fruit in colder areas)

Care: Can be pruned to produce a single or multiple trunks by pruning suckers accordingly. Once established, prune lightly to maintain shape and remove suckers, damaged stems and to open the canopy. For maximum fruit production, remove small fruits leaving one on every 6-8” of stem.

Pests and Diseases: Leafrollers, aphids, citrus flat mite, leaf-footed bug, Alternaria fruit rot, Aspergillus fruit rot, and gray mold

Propagation: Seed; hardwood cuttings; air layering of suckers, grafting

Outstanding Selections: Over 500 cultivars are avaialbe

    • ‘Wonderful’ (extra large fruit, juicy and sharp flavor, ripens in September)

    ‘Grenada” (more colorful than ‘Wonderful’).

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By Karen