Pomegranate is well adapted to mild desert climate. The tree grows 5m to 8m, native to the Middle East, south Asia and live over 150 years.
They prefer neutral soil, USDA Hardiness zone 9b-11. Pomegranate is known by different names like Shi Liu Gen Pi, Pomme HGranade. Other are Fruit du, Anar, Melagrana, Grenade and Punic apple.
The fruit is cultivated in North India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Spanish America and Iran. It is cultivated in Asia, Africa. Others are Armenia, Azerbaijan, China and Bangladesh. The fruit is edible but has a sour flavor because of high concentration of polyphenols.
- North India
- Spanish America
Health Benefits of Pomegranate
The fruit has important nutrients and many health benefits. The fruit has edible seeds, used to produce juice. It contains 12% potassium, vitamin K 36%, Protein 3 gram, vitamin C 30%, Fiber 7g and folate 16%.
Benefits include anti-inflammatory activity, reduction in obesity, type 2 diabetes. Others are lower blood pressure, helps fight arthritis, treat erectile dysfunction, fight bacteria, fungal infections.
- Sweetened pomegranate juice
Pomegranate is a small tree or shrub that grows 6 m tall. They live extremely long lives and have spiny branches. The flowers are bright red, 3cm in diameter with at least 4 petals. The leaves are narrow and oblong about 5cm long, 1.5cm broad.
The fruits are red-purple with a hard outer pericarp, spongy inner mesocarp. The mesocarp have nonsymmetrical inner chambers loaded with seeds inside arils. The fruit is regarded as a berry and some hybrid varieties are fruitless.
There are different varieties of based on appearance and applications. There are hybrid, ornamental or fruiting varieties.
Ornamental varieties are the punica granatum, flore pleno. Punica granatum have dense double flowers while flore pleno have beautiful orange flowers. Fruiting variety are the state fair, Provence and nana.
- Punica granatum
- Flore pleno
How to Grow Pomegranate from Seeds
You can propagate the plant from seeds or cutting. The fruit is full of seeds and germinate easily. To ensure propagation of fruiting plant cutting is the best option. This is because most varieties bought in grocery stores are hybrid with not guaranty of fruiting.
Buy ripe pomegranate then separate seed from the fruit and wash with clean water. Remove any pulp residue, rub with tissue paper and allow to dry. Leave to dry for a week before planting.
Then plant the seed in potted soil in sandy soil ¼ inch deep. This is because they have shallow rooting system. Make sure the plant has adequate sun, regular watering and well-drained moist soil.
The best time to plant is mid-winter and introduce additional warmth during winter. Ideal temperature is in the range of 69F. The seeds will germinate in 3 to 6 weeks depending on type and growth conditions.
To harden the plant carry it outside for a few hours and return indoors. Gradually extend the process before permanently planting them outdoors. The plant are cold hardy but will not do well in frost. Transplant in warm weather and It takes about 3 to 4 years for the plant to produce fruits.
Steps to Grow Pomegranate
- Buy ripe pomegranate
- Then separate seed, wash and clean water
- Paper dry seed allow dry
- Sow in potted soil in sandy soil ¼ inch
- Provide adequate sun
- Watering regularly
- Use well-drained soil
- Ideal temperature is in the range of 69F
- seeds will germinate in 3 to 6 weeks
- harden the plant before transplanting
- It takes 3 years to mature.
- 6 months to produce flowers
Propagating through Cutting
Start by choosing a large pot and add rich organic material, loamy- sandy soil mix. To propagate cut 8 to 10 inch long cutting and sow in well-drained soil.
Ideal growing condition is 68F, high humidity and adequate sun. Water requirement is medium to high but reduce in winter periods. Avoid waterlogged soil or the plant will die.
Care for Pomegranate
The plant need adequate sun and moist soil. Overwatering will kill the plant and frost is bad. Keep temperature above 57F indoors with 4 to 6 hours sun. Prone dead branches to encourage flowering and fruiting.
Fertilize regularly at a ratio of 8-8-8 fertilizer. Make sure you use appropriate amounts of manure and compost. Spray diluted zinc solution to combat zinc deficiency. Report when the plant is root bound into larger pot or garden.
It takes four years for the plant to mature and bear fruits. It takes 3 to 6 months for flowers to appear. Cut with a knife or sharp shears when the fruit is intense red. Uses include sweetened pomegranate juice, syrups, vinegar, molasses, soup and as a garnish.