By: Teo Spengler
Pomegranate trees are lovely additions to your garden. Their multiple stems arch gracefully in a weeping habit. The leaves are shiny green and the dramatic blossoms are trumpet-shaped with orange-red ruffled petals. Many gardeners love the luscious fruit. It’s such a delight to have a pomegranate tree in your garden that it only makes sense you might want two, or even three. Luckily, growing a pomegranate tree from cuttings is cost-free and relatively easy. Read on for information about how to root a pomegranate tree from pomegranate tree cuttings.
If you’ve ever eaten a pomegranate, you know that the center contains hundreds of crunchy seeds, each in its own fleshy covering. The trees propagate readily from seeds, but there is no guarantee that the new trees will resemble the mother tree.
Fortunately, there are others methods of pomegranate tree propagation, like using pomegranate tree cuttings. If you are propagating pomegranate trees from cuttings, you get a tree of the same species and cultivar as the parent. In fact, growing a pomegranate tree from cuttings is the preferred method of pomegranate tree propagation.
Growing a pomegranate tree from cuttings requires a hardwood cutting taken at an appropriate time. You should take pomegranate tree cuttings in late winter. Each cutting should be about 10 inches long and taken from year-old wood that is ¼ to ½ inch in diameter.
Dip the cut end of each pomegranate tree cutting in a commercial growth hormone immediately after taking the cutting. You can allow the roots to develop in your greenhouse before planting. Alternatively, you can plant the cuttings immediately in their permanent location.
If you plant the cuttings outside, select an area in full sun with well-draining, loamy soil. Insert the lower end of each cutting into the worked soil. Arrange the level of the cutting so that the top node remains above the soil.
If you are multiple propagating pomegranate trees, not just one tree, plant the cuttings at least 3 feet apart if you wish to grow a shrub. Plant them 18 feet apart or more if you intend to grow the cuttings into trees.
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Read more about Pomegranates
The pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree in the family Lythraceae. It grows between 5 and 8 m tall. Know-How to Grow Pomegranate in Pot, Growing Pomegranate tree, Pomegranate plants Propagation, Punica granatum care, varieties of the pomegranate tree, and all brief information here.
Pomegranate plants are best suited to grow in containers because their roots are shallow compared to other plants. However, a larger tree is easier to care for than trees planted in containers.
|Scientific Name||Punica granatum|
|Height & Spread:||16′-20′ tall as tree, often kept under 6′|
|Soil||Fertile loam, well-draining|
|Water:||50-60″ per year (about 1″ per week)|
|Pests & Diseases:||Pomegranate butterfly, mealybugs, scale, thrips, whiteflies, mites. Susceptible to leaf spots, fruit rots, and botrytis.|
Pomegranate plants can be propagated by cuttings or by seeds in spring to summer when the temperature remains in the range of 68 F (20 C), but it is better to buy a 2-3 years old plant from nursery or online. This way you don’t have to wait long for fruits.
Buy as ripe pomegranate as possible. Separate and clean seeds from the pulp by rubbing them from paper towel, let them dry up for a few days before sowing.
Plant the seeds no more than ¼ inches deep in light seed-starting mix. Place the pots in a bright location, optionally inside a plastic bag or greenhouse that maintains a temperature around 68 F (20 C). Always keep the soil moist. Seeds will germinate within 1 – 6 weeks depending more on the variety and climate.
Take several 8 to 10 inch-long cuttings. Plant the cutting in a well-drained potting mix. It roots easily and quickly at the ambient temperature of 20 degrees Celsius and high humidity.
*If you’re living in tropics, growing pomegranates is extremely easy for you. You can grow pomegranate in any season except peak summer. All other growing requirements given below are similar.
Pomegranate Growing Information © Frances Michaels
Botanical Name: Punica granatum
Common Names: Pomegranate
Plant Family: Punicaceae
It is widely grown in the subtropics and tropics for it's ornamental beauty and leathery fruit, in colder climates it will often fail to fruit. It is an attractive plant with glossy green leaves and scarlet flowers. Trees do not bear well until 5 or 6 years old. Flowering starts in late spring and continues into summer under suitable conditions the fruit should mature 5 to 7 months later. High temperatures are essential during fruit development for a good flavour. The fruit mature between March and May and can be picked a little before full maturity and ripened in storage. In areas where rain occurs during harvest, pick the fruit before they are fully ripe to avoid the skin becoming waterlogged and splitting. It can be stored for several months if hung to dry in a cool, airy place. Pomegranates should be planted in full sun and like long, hot summers although it sets more fruit after a cold winter. It is very drought resistant but grows better with a good supply of water it also tolerates a period of wet feet. Pomegranates prefer well-drained loam, pH 5.5 - 7, but tolerate considerable amounts of alkalinity and sodium in the soil. It should be mulched annually with rotted manure or compost. Pomegranates fruit on spurs of mature wood, prune the tree lightly in winter to encourage new spur growth and remove any limbs causing crowding in the centre of the crown.
Plant Type: hardy, deciduous, shrubby, small tree.
Plant Height: 4 to 7 metres.
Germinates best at 24 - 26°C soil temperature. Temperate Areas: Spring - with extra heat.
Subtropical Areas: Spring, early summer.
Tropical Areas: unlikely to do well, as it dislikes humidity.
Seed Preparation: pre-soak in warm water overnight.
Planting Depth: 5 mm deep.
Spacing: 5 - 6 m in an orchard 2.5 m for a hedge.
Position: full sun to semi-shade.
Soil Type: tolerant of wide range of soil types but needs good drainage pH 5.5 - 7 add compost and mulch annually.
Harvest: 5 - 7 months after flowering, fruit quality improves in storage.
Food: fruit flesh is full of tender, edible seeds that are easy to eat with a nutty flavour. The flesh itself is juicy and sub-acid it is used as a traditional garnish for Middle Eastern food. Pomegranate juice is refreshing and can be used in soups, sauces, jellies, ices or made into a sweet syrup called grenadine that flavours drinks, ice cream, cakes and baked apples. The dried seeds are used as a seasoning in dhal, fried samosa, stuffing and chutney. It is important to remove every piece of skin surrounding the seeds, as this is bitter.
Hedge: plants have a suckering habit and can form a dense impenetrable fruiting hedge.
Container Plant: useful grown in a tub as an ornamental.
Dye: the rind of the unripe fruits and the flowers are used as a dye.
Available seasonally as plants: Pomegranate plantsHome
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If you are after some fodder for your next pub trivia night, this factsheet on pomegranates has it in droves. One of the oldest cultivated fruit trees in the world, the pomegranate has appeared in Greek mythology and hymns dating back to the 7 th century BC – a feat not matched by any other berry or fruit. In fact, there are some schools of thought that suggest the pomegranate was in fact the “forbidden fruit” in the Bible, rather than the humble apple. Either way, the pomegranate is a backyard beauty, and a must have in your “Garden of Eden”.
The fruit of the pomegranate is incredibly attractive, but the real winner here is the fleshy seeds inside. Tart, citrusy and incredibly juicy, pomegranate seeds have suddenly become hip again, and have appeared in dishes and desserts from Masterchef to Michelin starred restaurants.
Originating from Persia, Afghanistan and thereabouts, the cultivated pomegranate (Punica granatum) translates as “seeded apple”, but is in fact a true berry…and a tough one at that. A deciduous tree growing to around 5m x 4m, with an attractive, somewhat shrubby habit, the pomegranate will tolerate a range of soils, from lovely and loamy to tough and clayey. Seriously, these things are so easy to grow that everyone should have a go.
Pop your pomegranate in a warm sunny spot where you can enjoy the gorgeous, glossy spring/summer foliage as it changes from red to apple green with the seasons. As long as the tree is protected from any spring frosts it should be fairly trouble-free pomegranates are extremely cold tolerant and love a hot, dry summer – perfect for growing in your part of the world! In fact, I reckon pomegranates are pretty good in almost all parts of Australia.
Water is important for pomegranates, so prevent from drying out over spring – it will improve growth and fruit set in the long run. Water for the rest of the year can be fairly limited – they don’t need too much, especially not in heavier clay soils.
Don’t be afraid to prune your pomegranates, and this is best done over winter. The idea is to clear out the middle of the tree a bit to prevent over-crowding. Remember though that pomegranates bear their fruit on mature wood, so don’t go too silly with the secateurs.
Oh, if you live in an area that is susceptible to Queensland fruit fly, think about enacting a control program, as these little pests LOVE a pomegranate.
Pomegranates are ready to harvest in autumn to winter, and the secret here is to grab the biggest, brightest fruits first. If picked at the right time, pomegranates can be stored successfully for a couple of months in a dark, cool place or the fridge.
Variety is the spice of life, so, if you are in the hunt for some delicious pomegranates, try these out for size:
Wonderful – Possibly the most popular pomegranate in the world, Wonderful is, simply put, wonderful! Beautiful, medium to large, deep red fruit is borne on a vigourous, attractive tree. The seeds are juicy, sweet, fragrant, and perfect for juicing, eating fresh, and bunging in a recipe.
Gulosha azerbaijani – Ugly fruit, but the flavour of the seeds is something else! This variety produces medium to large sized, slightly elongated fruit with a pinkish hue, but the internal seeds are deep red, large and very juicy.
Gulosha rosavaya – From Russia with love comes this perfect pomegranate – light pink, large sized fruit bears masses of sweet, juicy, slightly acidic seeds that are truly divine.
Elche – A fab little fruit from Spain, Elche produces lovely pink fruit, the seeds of which are bursting with juice. May not be as cold tolerant as other varieties, but give it a go in a warmer spot.
Ben Hur – Purporting to grow fruit to 1.2kg, Ben Hur is a newer variety of Australian bred pomegranate with fruit resembling cricket balls. The seeds are reportedly juicy, sweet and flavoursome…give it a go at your place!
Pomegranate flower pic: Elaine Shallue (SGA)
Pomegranates are easily propagated either by seed or as cuttings.В There are many ways described on the internet to propagate pomegranates.В The following information is based on our limited, but growing experience with propagation in the UF project, reputable pomegranate experiences shared by others in Florida and elsewhere and a compilation of valid research studies.
Seed.В Propagation by seed is generally less desirable than by cuttings when trying to preserve the characteristics of a plant that produces fruit on a perennial tree or shrub like pomegranate. В В Seeds (with a few exceptions) are a sexual means of propagation cuttings are an asexual or vegetative method.В The importance of that distinction is the reason seeds are often not used to propagate perennial fruit plants.В Seeds, as a sexual method, can lead to genetic diversity and variability among seedlings.В Cuttings reproduce the plant without variability and are true-to-type.В The plants propagated from a single, original plant by asexual methods constitute a clone. That means that the resulting plants will essentially be identical to the original or mother plant.В
Seedling juvenility.В Another often overlooked aspect of seed propagation is juvenility.В Seeds are a stage in the normal sexual life cycle of a plant like pomegranate.В Therefore, when seeds are sown, they must grow for a while before they are capable of producing flowers.В That period of time is called the juvenile period.В When the juvenile period ends, the plant begins to produce flowers and is once again capable of undergoing sexual reproduction by producing a fruit with the enclosed seeds.В The length of the juvenile period varies form months to years among different plants.В Experience with pomegranate indicates it is relatively short (i.e., 1-2 years) however, seedling pomegranates may have a longer period to flowering than cuttings as with many perennial fruit crops.
Seed extraction and preparation. В Remember: the seed is the entire entity removed from the fruit.В It consists of the embryo and the aril together.В So, should the aril be removed?
Freshly extracted seeds can be sown, but the germination percentage may be lower than for seeds treated as follows.
Remove the aril.В Simply roll the seeds in a paper towel to break the aril and absorb the fluid.В Thoroughly rinse the seeds.
Dry the seeds 30 minutes to an hour or two, or longer.В
Refrigerate for up to a few weeks before sowing.
Washed, dried and stored seeds apparently tend to germinate better because the combined effect of the treatments is to remove germination inhibitors and maybe satisfy a dormancy requirement.
Seeds will germinate okay in just about any common potting medium as long as the seeds are kept moist and warm after sowing.В Sow the seeds about ВЅВ to 1 inch deep.
Warm temperatures (75 to 85°F) are important for germination.В
Seed pre-sowing treatment may be beneficial.В We are presently experimenting with an idea brought to us by a cooperator who dusted freshly extracted seeds with a commercial root-enhancement product commonly available in home and garden stores.В It may be important that the product contain at least 1000 ppm indole-3-butyric acid (IBA).В Also, dusting the seeds with a fungicide like BanrotВ®WP may help prevent any losses during storage and germination.
Transplant the seedlings when they are about 4 to 6 inches tall.
Expectations:В According to experience in pomegranate breeding, seedlings have flowered within one year with substantial flowering over the next year or so.
Cuttings.В It is usually recommended that cuttings be harvested when the plant is dormant, i.e., during the winter.В Our experience in cooperation with a commercial mist-bed propagator is that cuttings taken at any time of the year will root. В What may be more important is the diameter of the cutting.
Type.В Semi-hardwood to hardwood.
Size.В Quill to pencil diameter or about 1/8 to Вј inch caliper and 4 to 6 inches or longer in length.В We have successfully rooted cuttings 3/8 inches in diameter.
Time of harvest.В Cuttings can be harvested at any time of year in Florida.
Source.В Take cuttings judiciously.В Remove branches to thin out the canopy.В Suckers or sprouts from the base of the plant are an excellent source of cuttings especially when harvested in the winter when they are dormant.
Rooting medium.В Cuttings can be successfully rooted in just about any medium from sand to a peat mixture that drains well without becoming soggy.В Commonly used media contain some peat and other ingredients like perlite.
Rooting container.В The type or size of the container is not very important, thus, anything available will probably work just fine.В Cuttings can also be rooted directly in place as described below.В В
Handling/preparation.В We have not re-cut the stem or made a fresh angled cut.В Also, it is not clear whether it is critical to cut the stem in the internode region or close to a node, but having at least one node in the medium is recommended.В
Cutting one end of the stem at an angle is helpful to distinguish the top from the bottom of the cutting.
Furthermore, our propagator has been using a knife to scrape the bark before sticking the cuttings (Fig. 1)
|Fig. 1. Each cutting is about 6 inches long, the diameter of a thin pencil and has 3-4 nodes. The base of the cuttings is to the left and was cut about midway between nodes, or in the middle of the internode. The top cutting has square-cut ends the middle cutting has the bark scraped to reveal the underlying green color in 4 places around the circumference and. The bottom cutting has an angle cut at the base. The base of each cutting would be dipped in a growth regular (hormone) compound from the tip to just below the first node then stuck in rooting medium with that node just below the surface of the medium. |
Environmental conditions.В The trick is to control moisture so that the base of the cutting is not constantly soaking wet.В
The same temperature range for germinating seeds is suitable for rooting. В
Our commercial propagator uses a mist bed with misting for 10 seconds every 20 minutes in a peat-heavy rooting medium.В В
Also, as cuttings are usually rooted leafless, they can be in the dark if that is the only warm place available.В After they strike roots and begin to produce new leaves, move them to a place with light or sunshine.В
Rooting hormone.В Are hormone dips essential?В Probably not, but dipping or dusting cuttings with a commonly available rooting hormone powder or solution containing indole-3-butryic acid (IBA) helps insure good rooting. В
Our propagator uses a dip in Hormodin 2, a compound containing 0.3% IBA or 3000 ppm.
Rooting will take place under warm conditions in 4 to 8 weeks (Fig. 2).
|Fig. 2.В Plant development of a 6-inch, thin, pencil-sized cutting after 6 weeks in a mist bed.В TheВ bark of the cutting was scraped and dusted with indole-3-butryic acid growth regulator prior to sticking. Excellent rooting is evident along with shoot development illustrating the positioning of the nodes opposite each other.|
Our experience has been that the percentage varies according to cultivar and size of cutting with 60% to 85% common and the larger diameter cuttings rooting better than the smaller sized ones.
Cuttings taken from young seedling plants may not root as well as those harvested from older, more mature plants.
Rooting Cuttings: An Enthusiast's Experience in Mississippi
The following relates to a location about 2 miles inland from the Mississippi coast near Biloxi and cuttings being received there from the U.S. National Clonal Germplasm Repository during the dormant season.В The instructions are for placing cuttings directly into a planting site and essentially to root them in place.В
If time is a factor after the cuttings are received, place them in a zip-lock bag with a damp (not soggy) paper towel for moisture.
Procedure to root pomegranate cuttings:
Use cuttings 8 or 9 inches long and the diameter of a pencil (1/4 inch), but cuttings of the recommended length and 1/8 inch in diameter also root well.
В When ready to stick, cut the cutting in half and re-cut as necessary to distinguish the top from the bottom of each cutting".
Dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone, e.g., Dip-N-Grow.
В After preparing a planting hole and re-cutting the cuttings, prepare the cuttings for rooting hormone by removing a thin layer of bark on bottom end of cutting on two sides about one inch in length. Do this by placing a knife blade on cutting about one inch from end and scrape with slight pressure just enough to remove the bark. Just do not put enough pressure to remove hardwood with the bark.
Apply rooting hormone.В If Dip-N-Grow is used, pour the entire contents ( 2 oz) and do not dilute use it at full strength. Submerge bottom of prepared cutting into rooting
concentrate not to exceed 5 seconds.В Immediately place cutting into place prepared site or medium.
Do not fertilize cuttings when starting them.В About 3 months after stuck, use a weak solution (1/2 strength) of a water soluble fertilizer to water cuttings. This could be continued every month. В No shade for cuttings required.
Preparing the site. В If planning to root dormant cuttings and field plant in the spring, in September, I spray with a grass/weed killing product containing the ingredient glyphosate. In October or November, prepare the holes where cuttings to be placed/stuck. В В Use an ordinary post-hole digger that will produce a hole approximately 4 inches in diameter and 7 inches deep.В Put the soil removed in a container for later use. В Place one measure of the soil removed in a container and one measure of Perlite, mix thoroughly and fill the hole with this mix. В В We get 60-70 inches of rain/year. В In a drier area, it would probably help to add a measure of peat to the mix. After the hole is refilled with the mix, use the remaining soil to build a ridge about 18 inches from center from the hole to retain water.В If no rain occurs for two weeks once the cuttings are in place, water them thoroughly every 7 days until it rains.
Rooting Cuttings: Procedure Used at The National Clonal Germplasm Repository
Click here to see a collection of photos illustrating the equipment and method that has been used at the repository.