How to Take Care of a Pomegranate Tree
There’s really nothing like the taste of fruit you have grown in your own backyard.
People love keeping small gardens outside their homes, for the aesthetic and the ease of a tasty snack.
One such tasty piece of fruit is the pomegranate. These can be a lot of fun to eat, and it can be just as enjoyable to grow your own pomegranate tree. If you’re interested in learning more about the process of cultivating a pomegranate tree, just keep reading.
How to Begin Your Pomegranate Tree
To start growing a pomegranate tree, you will of course need a seed. This is easily obtained by purchasing a pomegranate from any grocery store.
Sprouting the Seed
Once you have the pomegranate, cut it into four quarters. Then remove about 8 seeds from the open sliced pomegranate.
Now you need to remove all the flesh from the seed. If you want to have some fun with this, you can eat this part of the fruit to get the seed clear. If you’d rather not, you can simply rub off the flesh with a paper towel.
Please make sure you remove all the flesh, otherwise fungus may grow on your seed. You do not want to ruin the seed before you even get a chance to plant it.
Once your seeds are thoroughly cleaned, they should appear white rather than the pinkish color they were inside the fruit.
Next, dampen a paper towel and place the seeds onto the sheet. Fold the paper towel over the seeds, and once again dampen the towel.
Place the paper towel containing the seeds into a small plastic bag labeled with the name of the fruit and the date. Blow some air into the bag and then seal it.
Keep the bag in a warm place for about 10 days so the seeds can begin to sprout. When you see a small sprout coming out of the seed, it’s the perfect time to plant. Make sure they do not grow too far out of the seed, because they will not have enough space to spread out in the paper towel.
Planting the Seed
Fill your planting container, whether it is a water bottle with the top cut off or a new clay pot, with potting soil. Make sure there are holes at the bottom of your container to allow for drainage of water. Poke small holes into the soil with a toothpick.
Gently pick up your seedlings and plant them into the soil with the root facing down.
After planting the seeds, remember to water them thoroughly. You do not want your new plants to dry out. This is also a good time to ensure your drainage holes are working properly.
Place your new plant in a location with full sun and make sure it has plenty of room to grow on the sides. Do not plant too closely together. Now you are ready to watch your new plant grow!
How to Take Care of a Pomegranate Tree
Your tree will grow best in loamy soil with good drainage, which you have already provided. You just need to know how to best care for your tree.
Keep it Watered
Luckily, pomegranates have relatively low water requirements. They can even survive drought conditions for a period of time, although of course your harvest will be smaller.
However, you do need to be careful to water your plants the right amount and to water them evenly. If you do not, your fruit may crack or not produce as plentifully.
Keep it Warm
As previously mentioned, pomegranate trees need to be a sunny area to grow to their best ability.
If the sun isn’t out or the temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, please move your plant to w well-light area indoors.
Fertilize Your Plant
Be sure to provide your pomegranate tree with fertilizer (either 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 formula) twice a year. The best times to do this are in March and November.
To fertilize, use a half cup of the mixture and spread it evenly atop the soil two inches away from the trunk.
Once your plant matures, you no longer need to use fertilizer. Instead, use compost or manure to achieve the same results.
Prune the Tree
Some will say it is not necessary to prune your pomegranate tree, but your harvest will be much more rewarding if you do. You will produce more and better fruit, and your tree will look more aesthetically pleasing.
To prune your tree, first select which trunks you would like to keep. Then prune the rest at the ground. This will encourage the remaining shoots to grow and produce a strong, healthy plant. Plants are also sturdier when left to their best trunks.
To make your tree look shapelier, you will want to prune away any crossing or dead shoots down to about three to five plants per branch.
You should also prune out suckers, which are unsuccessful attempts by the tree to produce more branches. Suckers come out especially when a tree is under stress and tries to biologically reproduce itself.
Remove any suckers as soon as possible, even if you are tempted to let them grow. They are bad for the structure of the tree, and could damage the health of the remaining branches if they are left to grow.
To remove suckers, just use gardening shears just like you would for a normal pruning job.
Keep in mind though, suckers may also come out if you over-prune your tree, so be careful to do this in moderation.
Keep Pests Away
Just as with any other plant you grow in your garden, you want to make sure pests do not come after your pomegranate tree.
Pests you need to worry about are the pomegranate butterfly and aphids. Aphids reproduce rapidly, so it is difficult to keep all of them away, but it can be done.
Rather than use a typical insecticide, you may want to use a homemade remedy. This mixture should consist of vegetable oil, water, and mild dish soap.
Once you have made your natural insecticide, spray the entire plant, including the underside of the leaves. This will repel bugs and larvae from feasting on your tasty plants.
Harvest Your Fruit
It will probably take about two to three years for your pomegranate tree to produce fruit ready for picking.
When your fruit is ripe, it is time to harvest it. The fruit will stop ripening as soon as you pick it, so you can even keep it for up to several months if you know how to store it correctly.
To decide if a pomegranate is ripe and ready for picking, just check its size. Pomegranates will be about two to five inches across. Their color should be a purplish-red or brownish-yellow.
If you can’t tell by the size, try checking the sound of the fruit. Tap on the outside and check for a metallic sound. If you hear this, go ahead and pick the fruit.
Your pomegranates may sometimes split open on the tree from growing too large. If this happens, you can still pick and eat the fruit, but you cannot store it whole so it will not keep for as long.
Remember not to pull to hard when picking from your pomegranate tree. You do not want to damage the branches by yanking on them. Instead, simply use gardening scissors. This will make for a more even cut and will keep you from straining your hands and muscles.
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Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor
Now that you have picked your fruit, it is time to eat and enjoy it! You may want to eat the seeds, squeeze out and drink the juice using a strainer or a blender, or use the fruit to make jams, jellies, or syrups.
You can also freeze the juice to drink it later, so you’ll always have a yummy home-grown treat to offer guests or enjoy on your own.
If you take good care of your pomegranate tree, which you now know how to do, you will surely be pleased with the yummy and rewarding results.