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All About Pomegranate Bonsai

Growing and maintaining bonsai trees is a hobby that many enjoy for their personal satisfaction. Some practice this hobby as a way to relieve stress and develop patience. Growing a bonsai tree is a long-term investment and hobby that will require a steady commitment for years to come.

A pomegranate bonsai with ripe fruit.

When you have a bonsai tree, you are taking part in a beautiful Japanese tradition. These small trees are a mini version of more giant trees that embrace thick trunks and bright, vibrant leaves. A bonsai tree represents art, beauty, and peace. One of the best trees for bonsai is a pomegranate bonsai tree. 

Why Choose the Pomegranate Bonsai Tree?

When it comes to bonsai, the pomegranate tree fits all the boxes. The pomegranate bonsai tree has bright colors, thick trunks, and the tree bears fruit. For several centuries, this tree has been cultivated for bonsai use so that miniature versions exist.

The pomegranate itself worked its way to Japan and China through the route of the Silk Road, making it one of the first internationally traded for both fruit and ornamental purposes. The pomegranate tree does have a native Mediterranean climate around the countries of Iran, India, and Northern Africa along the Mediterranean Sea.

Locating a Pomegranate Bonsai Tree

If growing a bonsai tree is right for you, you have a couple of options for locating and growing the pomegranate bonsai tree. If you are ready to take on the pomegranate bonsai, then you can look to your local nursery in a temperate growing zone for several selections. You can find some trees that have already started but need to be shaped and planted so that the trunks. You will need to shape your tree and prepare it for its bonsai container. 

If you are looking for the all-natural approach from start to finish, you can opt to grow your pomegranate tree from a seed. Keep in mind that while it is easy to grow from seed, shaping the tree and developing that thick trunk will take time and not nearly as quickly as one already growing at a nursery. 

Fatten Up Your Pomegranate Bonsai

A pomegranate bonsai with yellow leaves and fruit.

While you may get a tree that is already cultivated with the correct thick trunk, in most cases, you will need to do a little fattening to your tree to get it bonsai ready. You can fertilize it with a particular type of fertilizer for bonsai trees, meant to thicken the trunk while it is being pruned.

You also need to ensure that your tree is getting plenty of water during this time so that the trunk continues to grow. Once you place your pomegranate bonsai tree in its bonsai container, the trunk will stop growing. 

Caring For Your Pomegranate Bonsai

A 75 year-old pomegranate bonsai in an outdoor Asian garden setting.
A 75 year-old pomegranate bonsai.

Unlike many other trees and plants, the pomegranate bonsai tree requires quite a bit of care and consistency to maintain its shape. These trees are known to live for many years, with one of the oldest being nearly 1000 years old. This means that stead consistency and commitment are at the core of a bonsai tree. You may seem overwhelmed at first when you get your bonsai tree, but do not fear. There is a method to keeping your tree healthy and continuing to thrive. 

When you choose fertilizer, opt for one that has approximately 40 percent organic material and the rest in an aggregate mixture. This is explicitly designed for trees in bonsai and gives them the nutrients they need to maintain their shape and health in their condition. 

Pruning Your Bonsai

When you get your pomegranate tree, it is often taking on its shape. You need to make sure that you start turning the bonsai to manage the fruit that it will produce as it continues to grow. When you start shaping them, plan for them to be either medium or large, depending on the variety you have chosen and the amount of fruit you are planning to harvest from your bonsai tree annually. 

While you are keeping your pomegranate tree from growing to its full potential, it does still have the ability to grow to produce. It’s okay for these trees to grow some pomegranates during the growing season, but you don’t want them to produce at the same level as a full-grown tree. Your bonsai tree cannot handle this pressure, and it can hurt your tree. 

Styling Your Bonsai

After you prune your bonsai, you will need to style the tree to fit your theme and aesthetic preference. Styles that are informal and have a multi-trunk appearance are suitable styles for pomegranate trees.

A dwarf pomegranate used as a bonsai specimen.

You can do a cascading look to the trees or even a semi-cascade. Many style their bonsai so that the leaves are cascading down one side or the other of the pomegranate tree like a waterfall of red leaves. 

Wiring the Pomegranate Bonsai

The larger bonsai trees can be shaped and bent via wiring. With the wiring process, these larger or medium-sized pomegranate bonsai trees can transform into your desired shape. You want to do this during the cooler months when there is less growth, and the tree can focus on making the shift it needs with the wire. Over time, you will see the pomegranate tree start to take shape and reflect the bonsai design you want. 

Protecting Your Bonsai Tree

A pomegranate bonsai tree needs a warm, mild environment. If you are keeping the bonsai tree out in your garden, make sure that it is located in a place where it can receive direct sunlight for most of the day. It thrives the best with natural sunlight, and since it is often the centerpiece for most gardens, that location should be open.

If you are in one of the warmer climates in the country, you can safely keep a bonsai tree outside for most of the year. You must bring this tree indoors where the heat is available once your temperatures outside get close to freezing or 32 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Dry Air is Better

Pomegranate bonsai can manage some humidity, but they prefer a dry climate. If you live in a high-humidity area, you can expect your pomegranate bonsai to grow, but do not look for much, if any, fruit production. High humidity levels harm the fruit of pomegranate trees, making it difficult for them to start that process.

If you are in an area with high humidity, place your bonsai in the path of a breeze or steady airflow. This will reduce the moisture around the plant and possibly improve fruit production for the growing season. 

Keep Your Bonsai Tree Watered

If your pomegranate bonsai tree is still in the growing stages, you want it in a well-draining pot. They do require water at least twice daily, with moist soil surrounding the tree.

Once the weather cools off and the harvest season has passed, you can still water your bonsai tree, but they do not need quite as much. While their water intake has slowed, the need for moist soil hasn’t changed. 

Repot Your Bonsai Tree Regularly

A pomegranate bonsai with red leaves.

Periodically, your bonsai tree will need to be repotted so that it has more room to grow and get access to new nutrients. Young bonsai trees require annual reporting, but adult bonsai trees can get a new pot every other year since their growth rate is much slower.

Shade Your Bonsai in the Winter

Once the leaves have fallen, and you see that your pomegranate bonsai tree is preparing for a winter slumber, make sure you move it indoors to manage the environment, but also give it a little shade through the winter. Too much sunlight will confuse the tree, and it will not enter the dormant stage that it needs to prosper in the spring. 

Protect Your Bonsai From Disease and Pests

While pomegranate trees, in general, are pretty resilient to disease, pomegranate bonsai trees undergo much more pruning and shaping than regular pomegranate trees. If the pruning is not done correctly, then you could expose your bonsai plant to infection. 

Some pests like to take advantage of the beautiful leaves and shapes of a bonsai tree. The Pomegranate Butterfly is known to take over and try to bed up in the tree, taking out nutrients and impacting the tree’s health. Make sure to use an insecticide regularly to keep these pests away from your bonsai tree. 

Harvesting Your Pomegranate Bonsai Fruit

A pomegranate bonsai with immature fruit.

Since many of these bonsai trees are known to produce whole-sized pomegranates, many with a pomegranate bonsai tree question whether or not they should eat this fruit. The truth is that the pomegranate on a bonsai tree is just as edible as those growing in full-grown pomegranate trees everywhere else. You can eat this fruit, but do not expect to have as many as you would from others in your garden. 

Conclusion

A pomegranate bonsai may be just what you’re looking for if you want a bonsai specimen with the little extras of blossoms and fruit. If you have question or a tip to share about using pomegranates as bonsai, leave it in the comments section below!

Want to know more about pomegranates? Visit this link to read our other pomegranate-related blog articles (including recipes for the tasty fruit).