Growing pomegranate (Punica granatum) in a pot is possible because it has a shallow root system compared to other fruit trees. Plus, it doesn’t take years to fruit, and in a pot you can control its environment by moving it indoors when it’s cold. Its compact size is also suitable for balconies and terraces, so here are all the details on growing pomegranate in pots and caring for them.
Pomegranate Basic Information
Pomegranate trees, if grown in optimal conditions, live up to 200 years. Native to the Middle East, it is a medium-sized tree that can reach 6 meters, but usually stops at around 2 or 3 meters when grown in a container.
The fruit is the size of an apple and has a hard shell that is yellow to reddish brown, pink or dark red. The heavenly taste of the pomegranate fruit is unique and cannot be compared to any other fruit in the world: sweet, aromatic, juicy and crunchy.
Pomegranate plants can be propagated by cuttings or by seed from the from spring to summer, when the temperature stays in the 20’s range, but it’s best to buy a well-grafted 2-3 year old plant from a reputable nursery or online. This way you won’t have to wait long to see the fruits.
In this read, we will focus on growing pomegranate in pots, but if you want to learn how to plant and propagate it, you can read the following article: How to plant and grow pomegranate organically.
Grow pomegranate in a pot
Choose the sunniest spot to keep your pomegranate tree happy and healthy. The more sun it receives, the more fruit it will bear. However, it also thrives in partial shade, but this causes it to flower and fruit less.
It is also possible to grow a pomegranate tree indoors, near a windowsill, if it is in full sun. Also, there should be good air circulation around it, but make sure the place isn’t too windy or the flowers will drop prematurely.
Pomegranates have a shallow root system that extends sideways. The size of the pot should be at least 40 cm wide and 30 cm deep (38 liters).
But oversized containers can be difficult to move, so we recommend using a pot on wheels to move it to a sheltered location when winter arrives.
Pomegranate grows best in loamy, sandy and clay soils. It tolerates moderately acidic to slightly alkaline soils and does best in a pH range of 5.5 to 7.2.
Choose a growing medium that drains well and add plenty of organic matter for the best fruit. Adding compost or well-rotted manure to the soil is also a good idea to improve soil texture and beneficial plant elements.
Water the plant well and keep the soil slightly moist at all times. Do not allow the culture medium to completely dry out.
It is best to water the plant when the top layer of soil is a little dry to the touch. On the other hand, avoid watering above the foliage and wetting the leaves, as this will attract fungal problems.
Potted Pomegranate Care
During the growing season, feed it with an 8-8-8 liquid fertilizer. You can also opt for the blend formulated for citrus fruits or tomatoes.
A potted pomegranate usually has a zinc deficiency, which manifests itself in yellowing of the leaves. To solve this problem, you can spray the foliage with a diluted zinc solution.
Applying compost or manure is also beneficial. Be careful not to over-fertilize with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, as this can cause the tree to produce more foliage and relatively fewer flowers.
The pomegranate tree is a deciduous tree that worships the sun. Most of its species are frost sensitive. But for too low temperatures, the plant has developed a protective mechanism.
It loses its leaves and goes dormant below freezing. Only a few pomegranate varieties survive freezing temperatures above −10 C (14 F) without damage; For this, it will be necessary to investigate and experiment.
To grow the pomegranate in a pot in a very cold climate, with temperatures below -10 C, the best place to keep it alive is the greenhouse, the garage, the cellar or any protected place without heating.
The indoor temperature should not be lower than 3 C. However, the optimum low temperature for most pomegranate varieties is 7 C.
If you can keep your pomegranate tree at a temperature of around 15°C indoors and allow it to receive at least 4 hours of sunlight, it will not lose its leaves and go dormant.
During the dormant period, the pomegranate hardly needs any fertilizer or water. However, the plant should not dry out completely in winter, so weekly watering is ideal.
In the spring, return it to a warm, bright place to gradually acclimatize to the weather. When the average temperature is above 10 C, you can take it outside. At that point, take the opportunity to start fertilizing it and giving it more water.
Pruning is necessary to maintain the desired shape of your potted pomegranate tree and promote flowering and fruit set. This is best done after all danger of frost has passed, when the tree is about to start growing in the spring.
Prune weak, dead and unwanted branches to direct the bush’s energy to the right parts and shorten long branches to encourage flowering.
If the pot gets too small, you should transplant your pomegranate to keep it growing. A good time to repot is when there are no flowers or fruit on the tree, especially when it begins to grow in late winter or early spring.
Diseases, pests and other problems
Pomegranate is not very vulnerable to pests and diseases. It is mainly attacked by fruit flies and white flies. You also have to watch out for scale insects and aphids, especially during the flowering period.
Fruit cracking is a common problem with all pomegranate varieties. This happens due to fluctuation or lack of moisture in the substrate during fruiting.
If the pomegranate is grown from seed, fruits will begin to form from the third or fourth year. Generally, the fruits ripen between three and six months after the appearance of the flowers.
It may also be interesting to read: How to grow a fig tree in a pot and its maintenance.
Harvest the pomegranate when the rind of the fruit is dark red. Cut the stem of the fruit with a sharp pruner or a knife.
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