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Pomegranate

May 1, 2016

QuestionCan pomegranate plants be grown in Arkansas?  My grandmother had one with bright orange blooms but it never produced anything edible.  I would love to grow my own pomegranates but I was wondering if I would ever get any fruit?

 

AnswerPomegranates (Punica granatum) have seen a huge surge in popularity as one of the super fruits. Pomegranates are native to the Middle East and were brought to the United States by early Spanish settlers.  Pomegranates have been grown as an ornamental plant for years in Arkansas with very showy orange blooms.  Many set small fruit, but with our humid summers, rarely did we see great fruit production.  Today, a new series of Russian pomegranates have shown good results with fruiting and winter hardiness. They need full sun and a well-drained soil.  Pomegranates flower on new growth, much like a fig, so if any pruning is needed, it should be done before new growth begins in late February to early March.  The fruit is produced on short spurs found on 2- to 3-year-old stems. Light annual pruning will encourage new fruiting spurs to develop, but avoid heavy pruning which can reduce fruiting.


 


(June 2010)

QuestionCan you please tell me what this plant is?  I grew this bush from a cutting off of a huge bush next to my duplex in the Heights.  The mother plant is about 11 ' tall, has tea/Camellia like leaves that stay on the bush until late in winter, then drop the leaves and quickly grows new leaves.  The bush puts out new shoots clustered around the base.  New growth is green but becomes woody after about a year. This bush flowers twice a year...once in spring and once late summer.  The flowers bloom from hard waxy buds.  These buds look similar in shape to the Persimmon flower bud but not in color.  These buds are NEON ORANGE and about 1 inch x 3/4".  The blooms are about 1 1/2" in diameter. The bloom petals are form ruffled double flowers most similar to typical Pink Camellia japonica(s).  No fruit are produced after flowering.  There is very little scent to the flower. I have found this bush described online in North Carolina and New Orleans.  I have found an 8' bush in Russellville.  No one that I talk to can agree what type of bush this is.  This is an incredible bush.  Do you have any ideas what this bush is?

 

AnswerThe plant in question is a pomegranate - Punica granatum. It is an old-fashioned shrub with beautiful orange flowers.  The edible fruit can range from pea size to almost apple size depending on the variety.  While the small fruits are edible, there isn't much to eat. Many grow it simply as an ornamental.


(March 2010)

QuestionI am interested in growing ornamental pomegranates in my yard and want to know what you can tell me about this plant--where I can obtain some and what are the best kind to get.  If they are good for birds to eat, then I want the fruiting kind; if not, then I want the flowering kind.

 

AnswerI don't know if birds eat them or not, but they sure are pretty.  Punica granatum is the plant in question and there are numerous varieties.  Most produce bright orange flowers, although there are cultivars with white and pink flowers, but I like the bright orange.  Fruit can vary from small reddish fruits to the large ones seen in grocery stores. 'Granada' is the hardiest of the pomegranates and it does set fruit.  Most are only winter hardy through central Arkansas.  As to availability, check with your local nursery and see if they can get it for you.


(October 2007)

QuestionLast fall I was able to get a start from a pomegranate bush, babied it till now and it is hardy. The tallest part is about 3ft.  I now need to move it because the location will not be good for the size it will hopefully grow to.  When should I do this and what is the best way?

 

AnswerThe pomegranate bushes are gaining in popularity again.  Their bright orange flowers are great in the summer.  I would let it stay where it is for the winter and move it as it is beginning to break dormancy next spring.  Pomegranates are marginally hardy north of Little Rock, so I would leave them intact for the winter and then move them.  Since they have only been in the ground a year, you should get the bulk of the root system when moving.  Make sure you plant them at the same depth they are currently growing and give them a sunny location with good drainage.


(October 2006)

QuestionMy mother has a Pomegranate plant that she started from a seed.  She wants to know if she should set the plant in the ground for the fall planting season or if she should keep the plant indoors for the winter?

 

AnswerAt this point, I would treat it as a houseplant.  The weather is turning cool, and if the plant has already been inside, it has not hardened off enough.  It may also not have a very strong root system.  Once all chance of frost has passed in the spring, plant it outdoors. Pomegranates should be hardy from central Arkansas south, once they become established.


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