The pomegranate is a handsome, round, red fruit with a regal little crown on top. When you open it, you’ll find four to six sections, each packed with dozens of gorgeous arils containing the fruit’s many seeds.
The flavor of the pomegranate is also exquisite. Each aril is bursting with tart, sweet, delicious juiciness that people enjoy in many ways.
Whether it’s eaten alone, as a salad or yogurt topping, or as a juice, there are plenty of reasons a person may want to try growing pomegranates. So, in this article, we’ll teach you how to plant a pomegranate.
Planting a pomegranate is not hard or particularly involved. In addition to laying out the step-by-step “how-to” process, we’ll also give you interesting pomegranate tips and background information.
Cultural and Historical Significance of the Pomegranate
The pomegranate is indigenous to Iran but has long been important across Arabia, the Levant, India, China, and beyond.
Pomegranates often appear in religious texts. From the Islamic scriptures to the Jewish Talmud to the myths of ancient Greece, the fruit appears in many different contexts.
Today, they are found everywhere as people across the world have learned how to plant pomegranates.
There are many different kinds of pomegranates that you can grow. There are Wonderfuls, Eversweets, Golden Globes, Red Silks, Kashmirs, and many more.
Now, ultimately, there’s no real difference in how to plant a pomegranate between different varieties. Whether it’s a Salavatski or a Texas Pink, a Kazake or an Eversweet, you can apply the same steps that we’ll lay out to end up with a healthy, productive plant.
That said, the differences between the cultivars may still be worth investigating before you acquire just any pomegranate seeds. We’ll briefly cover a few pomegranate varieties to help you decide which is best for you.
The “Wonderful” pomegranate is the most commercially popular in this country. If you find a pomegranate at your local grocery store, it’s likely this variety, which makes it a very convenient choice for planting a pomegranate.
It’s easy to find and offers a great balance of sweetness, tartness, bitterness, seed hardness, and color. The “Green Globe” and the “Phoenicia” pomegranates are great alternatives if you can’t get your hands on a “Wonderful.”
The “Eversweet” is a great option for those who prefer sweetness in a pomegranate’s flavor profile. It’s an attractive fruit that is edible and tasty even before it’s fully ripened. For more information check out our full guide on the Eversweet pomegranate.
If you don’t have a lot of space, or if you intend to grow your tree indoors, the “Red Silk” pomegranate may be what you’re looking for. It’s a dwarf variety that you can maintain at around six feet. It handles pruning well and provides abundant fruit yields.
The “Kashmir” pomegranate has a pretty pink rind and deep ruby red arils as well as a strong flavor without too much acidity. The tree also is also rather small, so it’s unlikely to get out of hand given proper pruning.
Most pomegranates are cold-hardy in USDA agricultural zones 8-10. If you live outside of those zones, you have to either hope for a mild winter, try to grow your pomegranates indoors, or harvest a little prematurely.
The “Kazake” variety is tough though. It’s highly disease and cold-resistant and can withstand temperatures down to -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Plant a Pomegranate Seed
Preparing the Seed
Before planting pomegranate seeds, you’ll need to remove them from the arils.
After you’ve removed the seeds from the arils, clean them well. Then, fold them in a paper towel. Dampen the paper towel with water until it’s well-soaked, but not dripping.
Store the paper towel in a sealable plastic bag and set it aside. Check on it every couple of days until the seeds have sprouted.
Planting the Seed
Fill a pot, bottle, or something similar that has drainage holes in the bottom with potting soil. Pomegranates like alkaline soil so you can add a little garden lime to your soil to raise the pH if you’re worried it’s too acidic.
Use a toothpick to create small holes and gently place the sprouted seeds inside. The seeds should be close to the surface of the soil, no deeper than a half inch.
Water them well and check back every day to make sure that the soil is damp. After a few weeks, your young pomegranate plants should be a few inches tall. When it gets to be too big for the pot that it’s in, gently remove it and place it in a larger pot with fresh potting soil.
Continue to water and monitor your plant over the next year, making sure it has lots of access to sunshine, at which point it should be a foot or two tall.
This is about the size your pomegranate would be if you bought it from a nursery. At this stage, your pomegranate will be ready for its permanent home.
How to Plant a Pomegranate Tree From a Nursery
If you don’t want to raise your tree from a seedling, (or have raised already raised one from a seedling), keep reading for tips on how to plant a pomegranate as a juvenile nursery tree.
Browse the selection of pomegranate trees available at Nature Hills Nursery and pick your favorite!
When To Plant
After you’ve decided on a pomegranate cultivar, one of the first things you should be thinking about when planting a pomegranate is what time of year to plant.
The late fall or early winter is the best time for planting pomegranates. It allows your tree to develop a robust root system by the time the fruiting season arrives the following year.
Of course, you can plant your pomegranate any time, but it is better to have your plant as established as possible to maximize its growth, development, and productivity during the growing season.
Choosing a Site
Successfully planting a pomegranate begins with the right location. Find a place where the pomegranate will get at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. The soil around your site should be well-draining.
Digging and Planting
Dig a hole roughly two to three times the size of the root ball. Then, carefully remove the young tree from the nursery pot and loosen the soil around the feeder roots at the bottom. Finally, place it in the hole.
Once the root ball is placed in the hole with the base of the pomegranate level with the surrounding soil, fill the hole with the soil you removed while digging.
If you feel the native soil quality is poor, you can mix in some potting soil or mulch.
While filling in the hole, be careful not to cover the top of the root ball with soil as doing so might suffocate the root system.
It’s a good idea to form the soil into a sloping shape around the root ball so that a shallow runnel surrounds the base of the plant. Especially when first planting a pomegranate, you’ll need to give it lots of water. Having this sort of basin helps direct more water towards the roots.
Mulching and Watering
Place a mulch, (preferably one that’s been aged for at least a year), over the soil, but don’t let the mulch touch the base of the tree.
The final step of planting a pomegranate is watering. Depending on the soil type, it should be watered at least once a week, but keep an eye on it.
Additionally, like any plant, you don’t want to overwater it. Keep the soil moist without drowning the roots.
Caring for Your Pomegranate
Now that we’ve gone through how to plant a pomegranate, we’ll share a few tips on caring for your tree.
Pomegranates shouldn’t be fertilized at planting or during the first year following planting. (Definitely want to lead with this!) After the first year, fertilizing your pomegranate tree is a good idea, especially if the soil isn’t the most nutrient-dense or your tree isn’t as productive as it should be.
Pomegranates are hardy plants provided they have enough water and sunshine. They do well in most soils and are resistant to pests and diseases but it’s not a bad idea to be prepared.
Sulfur fungicides are a great preventative measure. For something more organic, try neem oil or a mixture of water, baking soda, and dish soap. Either of these will work for diseases as well as pests that target pomegranate trees.
Read More on Pomegranates
So, now that you’ve learned how to plant a pomegranate, the real growing begins. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered there too.
Excited to learn more about this magical fruit? Then check out our pomegranate trees page for information on pomegranate planting, growing, harvesting, cooking, and more!