How to Grow Pomegranate Trees From Seeds or Cuttings
If You Choose to Grow Promegranate From Seeds
You can (and should) start your Pomegranate seeds indoors over the winter and then plant them outside in the spring after the last threat of frost. They germinate pretty easily and this will be a much-less-frustating route to take, giving them a few months to grow before planting season begins; start several just in case.
- Buy a pomegranate at your local grocery store and scoop out some of the seeds. You will need to rinse them in tap water and rub them with a paper towel, which will remove the pulp.
- Let the seeds dry for a few days, then plant them about 1/2" deep in Miracle Gro Potting Soil (that's what I use).
- Place your pot in an area where they can get some sunshine, but remember to keep the soil moist so they can properly germinate. One thing you can do during the winter, is cover your pot (loosely) with a clear plastic bag just until the seeds sprout. This will give added humidity and warmth and will help speed up the process somewhat.
- In the spring, begin moving your pot outside for a few hours a day (then back inside) for a few weeks. Then, you can move them outside permanently, but make sure the freezing weather is over before you plant your little seedlings. This is called "hardening off" your plants.
Or, Preferably, From Cuttings
- To make your cuttings, select a section of healthy growth that's about six inches long.
- Remove all of the lower leaves, leaving a clean stem that will be inserted into your potting mix.
- Dip the clean stem in a rooting hormone and pot it. That's it!
Using cuttings is by far the most effective way to anticipate the fruit your tree will bear, as seeds will be quite unpredictable, especially if you bought your fruit from a grocery store and picked the seeds out yourself.
Hardening Off Your Pomegranate Seedlings
If you want to give your pomegranate the best chance to grow from a seed to a healthy, fruit-bearing tree, you need to start the seeds indoors during the late winter months, then transplant them outside in the spring when temperatures are warm enough to support the best plant growth. The process of starting the seeds inside, then moving them outdoors for a few hours a day is called "hardening off" the plants. Moving them outside gradually exposes them to the direct sunlight, air and cold evenings and gives them a much better opportunity to survive and thrive. Follow these tips for successful results.
- It is best to harden off gradually, so plan on moving your pots outdoors for at least a week or so.
- Start placing your pots outside with a few hours of sun in a sheltered area, protecting them from wind, hard rain and strong sunlight, as well as cool temperatures.
- You can increase your plants' exposure to sunlight a few hours at a time each day, then gradually begin watering less.
- Don't fertilize your seedlings while they are potted, and don't allow them to wilt.
- Exposure to cold must be done gradually.
- Once you have transplanted your Pomegranate tree to the garden, it is okay to use a weak fertilizer solution to help them begin growing again, and to avoid any transplant shock that might occur.
- Water your plants.
Where a Pomegranate Tree Will Grow and How Long It Will Take
- Pomegranates, preferring a semi-arid mild-temperate to a subtropical climate, grow well in regions that have hot summers, but cool winters.
- A terribly humid climate will adversely affect the formation of the fruit.
- It is actually a deciduous bush that typically grows from 12 to 20 feet tall and wide.
- It will take the tree two to three years before it begins to bear more than a couple of pomegranates, and it also takes about 6-7 months for the fruit to become mature.
Health Benefits of Pomegranates
Although the outside skin of a pomegranate is inedible, the inside is filled with hundreds of seeds called arils, which are either eaten or processed into pomegranate juice. However, one cup of arils is equal to about 24 grams of sugar and about 145 calories, so a cup a day should be plenty.
- Not only are pomegranates a great source of fiber; and vitamins B,C,K and potassium, they are rich in antioxidants (in fact, they have more antioxidants than green tea or cranberry juice) increasing the health and anti-cancer benefits. It's no wonder, this miracle fruit has been regarded for its medicinal properties since ancient times.
- The pomegranate has two unique substances that are responsible for most of their health benefits - a potent antioxidant called Punicalagins which cause it to lessen inflammation (which drives many killer diseases); and Punicic acid, also known as pomegranate seed oil, which is made by cold pressing the seeds of the pomegranate fruit, creating a soft amber color and a fruity fragrance. The Punicic acid is used in many anti-aging products.
Studies have shown the following to be possible and probable benefits of pomegranate (juice, fruit and extracts):
- The fruit has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, which may be useful against common diseases of the gums like gingivitis or periodontitis.
- Pomegranate can have benefits against heart disease by improving cholesterol.
- Though there has been no human research, pomegranate extract may be beneficial against several forms of arthritis.
- Pomegranate juice can lower blood pressure in as little as 14 days.
- Pomegranate extract can help in fighting breast cancer cells (breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women).
- Pomegranate juice can potentially inhibit cancer growth in men with prostate cancer, thereby lowering the risk of death.
- Could even help improve your memory.
Pomegranates and Heart Disease
The polyphenol-rich juice from pomegranates might help to prevent atherosclerosis, according to studies by both American and Italian scientists, as reported in the Saturday Evening Post (Sept./Oct. 2005).
Mice bred to have the disease, which clogs the arteries, had a 30 percent or greater reduction in atherosclerosis when given pomegranate juice. The pomegranate juice produced 50 percent more nitric oxide, known to relax blood vessels.
Pomegranates are usually only available for a few months during the year but concentrated pomegranate juice is available year-round in stores.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2017 Mike and Dorothy McKenney