If you love eating fresh pomegranates in the fall, owning a fruit tree will allow you to enjoy pomegranates for years to come without that price tag at the grocery store. After planting a pomegranate tree, many gardeners’ first question is: when will I be able to pick pomegranates from my tree?
Several factors affect when a pomegranate tree will produce mature fruit, such as age, variety, and season.
Keep reading to determine when to pick pomegranates from your tree!
Factors that Affect When to Pick Pomegranates
The Age of Your Tree
As you observe your new pomegranate tree from the kitchen window, you may wonder if and when you’ll get any pomegranates this year. Chances are, you probably won’t see more than a few fruits in your tree’s first year.
The exciting reward of harvesting pomegranates usually doesn’t come until your tree is two to three years old. Sometimes, it can be even longer.
First-year fruit trees aren’t mature enough to produce fruit, but as the tree develops, it will gain the ability to flower and grow pomegranates. Once it begins to flower, your tree will likely produce more and more fruits every year until its fully developed at around year 10.
The key is to be patient and keep your pomegranate tree healthy as it grows. That means ensuring your tree is in full sun and planted in healthy, well-draining soil.
Time of Year and Climate
When considering when to pick pomegranates, time of year is the largest factor. Pomegranate trees are typically only hardy in southern USDA zones eight through 11, save a few special cold-hardy varieties. These zones have similar climates, so they will see pomegranates develop at the same time.
From the time your pomegranate tree flowers, it takes between five to seven months to see your first fruits. Pomegranate trees will typically bloom from April to June, so pomegranate fruits will start to mature from September to November.
Luckily, pomegranates ripen in stages, so you’ll have those delicious fruits on your counter for a few months before it’s time to wait for next year’s harvest. It’s the perfect fall snack!
Did you know that pomegranates ripen at different times, depending on the variety? While most pomegranates are ready to be picked by September or October, don’t be discouraged if your fruit is not ready by that time. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for some varieties to not ripen until early to mid-winter.
To increase your harvest, plant pomegranate varieties that mature at different times, so you’ll be harvesting pomegranates all fall long. For example, combine early-ripening variety Sverkhranniy with late-season variety Pink Satin.
Tips on When to Pick Pomegranates
Count Down the Days
Similar to vegetables in the garden, you can use the estimated days to maturity to determine when to pick pomegranates. Observe your tree in the spring. Once it flowers, you’ll have an estimated wait of five to seven months for mature pomegranates. Go ahead and add it to your calendar if you tend to forget!
Monitor Your Tree Often
Once the fall season rolls around, it’s a good idea to start monitoring your tree every day. If ripened fruit is left on the tree for too long, it could ruin.
Make it fun. Add visiting your fruit tree to your late afternoon walk, so you can check your tree while getting some exercise during the cool evening hours.
Another reason to visit your pomegranate tree often is to watch for any potential pests or diseases. If spotted, you could catch it before it attempts to hurt the tree or ruin your harvest.
Inspect for Common Signs of Ripeness
You’ve been visiting your fruit tree every day, and you have a feeling it’s time for harvesting pomegranates. There are some common signs of a ripe pomegranate that will let you know for sure. Take a fruit and inspect it for the following:
- Swelling – Pomegranates will become more square in shape and flat at the stem as they ripen.
- Heaviness – As pomegranates mature, their flesh will get juicier, and the fruit will become heavier. To notice this sign, you may need to periodically weigh your pomegranates as they develop. The longer you grow pomegranates, the better you’ll be at picking this out.
- Changing color – Ripe pomegranates will move from red with green streaking to deep red or deep pink, depending on the variety.
- Sound – Flick a pomegranate and listen for the sound it makes. It should sound slightly hollow, similar to how it would sound if you flicked a piece of wood.
- Texture – Along with the signs mentioned above, a ripe pomegranate’s texture will change from smooth to leathery. You may even notice some skin splitting, which can happen as a pomegranate matures on the stem.
Why Your Pomegranate Tree Isn’t Producing Fruit
Poor Growing Conditions
It can be extremely frustrating if your tree isn’t producing any pomegranates. There are a few common causes for this occurrence. The first is poor growing conditions.
A healthy tree equals a healthy harvest. Is your tree getting enough sun and being sufficiently watered? Is your soil healthy enough to provide essential nutrients? If you’re unsure, take a soil test to see what your pomegranate tree may be lacking.
Pomegranate trees typically bloom off of last year’s wood, so be cautious when pruning your pomegranate tree. When in doubt, only remove this year’s growth from the tree. For a more detailed explanation of how to prune pomegranate trees, check out this post.
As previously mentioned, pomegranate trees that are less than two years old will likely not produce fruit. The same can be said with an old tree. After so many years, some pomegranate trees will start to produce less and less fruit due to old age. If your tree is between 15 and 25 years old, this could be the problem.
FAQs on Harvesting Pomegranates
Is there a certain technique for harvesting pomegranates?
Harvesting pomegranates is the best part of owning a pomegranate tree! You get to reap the rewards of all your hard work and patience.
To harvest a pomegranate, use sharp pruning shears to cut the pomegranate at the stem. This will enable you to make a clean cut and avoid the risk of the tree getting a disease. Check out this post for more details on how to pick pomegranates.
Can I store pomegranates?
Yes! Pomegranates left at room temperature only last about a week. To extend the life of your pomegranates, they can be kept refrigerated for up to two months. Pomegranate seeds can be stored in the freezer for up to one year.
Know When to Pick Pomegranates From Your Tree!
Determining when to pick pomegranates will help you know when to watch your tree for ripened fruit. With enough time to grow and the right growing conditions, you’ll be harvesting more pomegranates than you know what to do with. You may just have to share with family and friends!
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!