The pomegranate is one of the deciduous fruit trees most loved by all those who live in hot and dry climates, as it withstands high temperatures and drought without problems. In fact, once established it can survive to fruition on as little as 350 liters of water per year.
Its growth rate is quite fast, but it is not invasive. As if that were not enough, it can be pruned to keep it controlled, or to give it the shape that we like best: either as a tree or as a bush. In this special I am going to tell you, not only how you can do it, but also its characteristics, its care, and much more.
- 1 Characteristics of the Pomegranate
- 2 Care to have a healthy pomegranate tree
- 2.1 Location
- 2.2 Irrigation
- 2.3 Subscriber
- 2.4 Transplantation
- 2.5 Pruning
- 3 Pomegranate reproduction
- 3.1 By seeds
- 3.2 By cuttings
- 3.3 By suckers
- 4 Pomegranate pests and diseases
- 4.1 Pests
- 4.2 Diseases
- 4.3 Other problems
- 5 Uses of pomegranate
- 6 The pomegranate as bonsai
Characteristics of the Pomegranate
The pomegranate is a tree native to the Mediterranean Region that grows up to 5 meters high, and whose scientific name is Punica granatum . It has small leaves, about 2cm long, dark green; and some red flowers that sprout in spring which measure around 1.5 or 2cm. The fruit, the pomegranate, measures up to 12cm, and is spherical in shape, red or reddish-yellow in color; inside there are numerous red-pink seeds.
Naturally, it grows from sea level to 1100 meters. In Spain we can find it in the east and south of the country, also in the two archipelagos (Canary and Balearic Islands).
Care to have a healthy pomegranate tree
Would you like to have a tree or several of this species? Take note of these tips:
Our protagonist must be placed outside in an area where it receives direct sunlight. It supports frosts of up to -12 degrees Celsius, so we will not have to worry about the cold, unless we live in an area where temperatures drop more clearly.
It resists very, very well the drought. As he mentioned at the beginning, once it has been planted in the garden for one or two years, it can grow even if days or even weeks go by without rain. Even so, if you want it to bear fruit and give an excellent harvest, it is important to water it twice a week, three times in the summer.
It is not very necessary, but, as happens with irrigation, so that the pomegranates can develop stupendously well, the subscriber is not superfluous. For this reason, I advise you to fertilize it in spring and summer with organic fertilizers , such as animal manure , or with algae extract; yes, do not abuse the latter because it is very alkaline.
Whether you want to move to the garden or to a larger pot, it should be done in spring , after the risk of frost has passed.
It supports pruning very well, so much so that it is often used as a bonsai (more on this subject below). To prune it, you have to wait until spring arrives, or fall if you live in a mild climate.
The following must be removed/trimmed:
- Remove the basal suckers that come out around the trunk.
- If you want to make it a tree, remove the lower branches, so that the trunk is almost clean; If, on the other hand, you want to make it a bush, cut the main branch so that secondary twigs grow out of it, and give the crown a ball shape.
- Cut back those branches that have overgrown, and remove those that are weak or diseased.
Use pruning shears or a small hand saw previously disinfected with pharmacy alcohol, and put healing paste on the wounds to avoid infections.
reproduction of pomegranate
You can reproduce your pomegranate tree either by seeds, by cuttings or by shoots. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:
In spring, the seeds must be cleaned with water and sowed directly in seed trays or in pots , putting a maximum of 2 in each one. We will use a porous substrate for this, but it will not be necessary to complicate ourselves much: with a universal culture substrate mixed with 20% perlite we can be sure that they will germinate without problems.
We will fill the seedbed with the substrate, almost completely, we will place the seeds, and finally we will cover them with a thin layer of soil, enough so that they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Then all that remains is to water, place it in full sun, and wait about 2 months, which is how long it will take for them to germinate if we keep the substrate moist but not waterlogged.
Towards the end of winter, cut semi-woody stems that are 0.50cm thick and about 25cm long . Later, they are planted in pots with a universal growing substrate mixed with 30-40% perlite, watered, and the following spring we will have a new tree.
The pomegranate bears many shoots, which can be removed in spring or summer by digging around them with a depth of 30cm, and levering them up a bit with a spade (a kind of straight shovel).
They are then planted in pots with a universal growing medium and kept there for at least the entire year.
Pomegranate pests and diseases
Despite being a very resistant tree, it can be affected by different pests and diseases, which are:
- Mealybugs : treat with paraffin oil.
- Aphids : they can be combated with Neem Oil .
- Borer : 40% dimethoate is used, but it is not a natural insecticide, so the product label must be read carefully.
- Botrytis fruit rot : treat with systemic fungicides.
- Screening : treat with copper.
In addition to what we have seen so far, our plant can also have other problems that are:
- Open Pomegranates – Occurs when you water a lot when the fruit is growing and a little when it is ripening. It also usually occurs in dry climates, where it can go weeks without rain.
The best solution is to install drip irrigation.
- Sunny pomegranates: occurs when the fruits receive strong sunlight. Thus, black spots appear and the pomegranate is no longer edible.
uses of pomegranate
This is a tree that is used as an ornamental, medicinal and culinary plant.
- Ornamental plant : both in gardens and orchards, for its delicious fruit. Also as bonsai.
- Medicinal : reduces fever, stops diarrhea, relieves colic symptoms, and also has diuretic and antihypertensive properties.
- Culinary : the grains are used from the pomegranate, which can be eaten fresh or used to make drinks, sorbets or grenadine syrup.
The pomegranate as bonsai
According to the Classical School of Bonsai, a plant must be woody and have small leaves so that it can become a bonsai, characteristics that the pomegranate fulfills. But how do you take care of yourself?
- Location : outside, in full sun.
- Style : Casual Upright.
- Substrate : Akadama.
- Irrigation : frequent in summer, and somewhat less the rest of the year.
- Fertilizer : every 20 days in spring and autumn, it is recommended to pay with specific fertilizers for bonsai, or with liquid organic fertilizers such as guano.
- Pruning : at the beginning of spring, the branches must be pinched, letting 4-5 pairs of leaves grow and cutting 2-3.
Towards the end of summer or the beginning of autumn we have to trim or remove those branches that we do not need.
And, of course, you have to remove the shoots that come out of the base of the trunk.
- Wiring : in spring or autumn.
- Transplant : every 2 or 3 years at the beginning of spring, trimming the healthy roots a little, and removing the rotten ones.
And with this we end this your special. What did you think of the pomegranate?