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Growing Pomegranate Trees in Containers

Know details on how to grow a pomegranate tree in a pot indoors and outside, from choosing the right variety and correct container size to providing optimal care to get huge harvest every year. Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a shrub,  known for its vibrant, jewel-like fruits and ornamental value. 

While traditionally grown in gardens, I am growing pomegranate tree in a pot in Australia, because I have limited space in a sunny spot. I had grown this pomegranate tree from a small cutting taken from my neighbor's tree and now enjoying delicious fruits every year.


How to Grow pomegranate tree in a pot Video

Pomegranate Tree Growing in a Pot
Pomegranate Tree Growing in a Pot

You can grow pomegranates in containers, but it requires regular care, specially be prepared to prune and trim it fairly often. However, pomegranate is an easy tree to grow in a container, once it becomes fully mature. 

Choosing the Right Pomegranate Variety

Selecting the appropriate pomegranate variety is crucial when growing them in containers. Make sure you buy a pomegranate variety that will produce fruit, and it is not an pomegranate Look for dwarf or compact varieties, the dwarf varieties grow to two feet high only. 

Some popular container-friendly pomegranate cultivars include Nana, Big red, Wonderful, Provence, State Fair, Midnight Velvet, Red Velvet and Kashmir Blend. These varieties typically reach a height of 2-4 feet, making them suitable for small spaces.

Selecting the Container

  1. The Size of the container depends on the variety of pomegranate tree. The pomegranate tree has a shallow non-invasive spreading root system so very deep contain is not needed, but it should have wider space to expand its roots.
  2. Choose a large container with a minimum diameter of 24 inches (60 cm) and of similar depth to provide ample space for the pomegranate tree's root system.
  3. Ensure that the container has drainage holes to prevent water-logging, which can lead to root rot. 
  4. You may opt for lightweight plastic containers to facilitate mobility if needed, but note that lightweight container with narrow base may topple down when the tree grows big., so always select a container that is wider at its base.
  5. It should be noted that even the tiny pomegranate variety may require re-potting when the tree becomes root bound or when the roots come out from the bottom of the container. Needless to say that you may need to transfer the tree to larger pot in a few years, if you have planted it in a small pot.

Soil For Planting Pomegranate Tree

The pomegranate tree grows well in a wide range of soils, but the best soil for growing pomegranate in containers is the potting mix that is well-draining with a pH level between 5.5 and 7.0.

A blend of equal parts peat moss, perlite or river sand and compost or cow manure can create an ideal growing medium for pomegranates. 

Sunlight

  1. Pomegranate trees require full sun to thrive and produce abundant fruits. Choose a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
  2. Place the pot in the hottest part of the garden.
  3. Pomegranate can be grown in indoors, if provided a good amount of light and heat. If you have limited access to sunlight, consider using grow lights to supplement the natural light.

Watering Requirements

Proper watering is crucial for pomegranate trees in containers. Young trees need lots of water to grow. 
  1. You may need to water your pomegranate tree growing in a pot frequently, even daily during the hot summer months. However, large containers will need the less watering frequency.
  2. Water the tree deeply whenever the top inch of the soil feels dry. 
  3. Avoid over-watering, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot.
  4. Regularly check the soil moisture level by inserting your finger about an inch into the soil.
  5. During fruiting period, water the tree regularly, the soil should stay moist but on wet.
  6. In winter season, the tree goes dormant, so watering frequency should be reduced.


Fertilizer Requirements

  1. Pomegranate is a heavy feeder. Pomegranates can benefit from an 8-8-8 (NPK) 
  2. A balanced 8-8-8 (NPK) fertilizer seems to be the best for pomegranate trees, feed in early spring. Sprinkle fertilize to the base of the plant, away from the stem.
  3. Feeding cow manure or compost once in a month is beneficial during spring to autumn.
  4. Feed a phosphorus-rich fertilizer during the flowering and fruiting stages to promote healthy fruit development. I feed a liquid fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season.
  5. Excessive fertilization, specially high in nitrogen can lead to excessive vegetative growth at the expense of fruit production.
  6. A deficiency of calcium, ammonium or magnesium may cause the leaf tips to turn brown and curl into a hook shape.


Pruning and Training

  1. Pruning helps maintain the pomegranate tree's shape, improves airflow, and encourages fruit production.
  2. Perform pruning in late winter when the tree is dormant.
  3. Young tree grows lots of stems from the base, allow only a few of them to allow an open center structure for light penetration and air circulation.
  4. Prune out suckers growing at the base and inward branches at the middle to prevent over-crowding.
  5. While pruning note that the pomegranates flower on new growth and bear fruit on branches that are 2 or 3 years old.
  6. Prune only lightly, heavy pruning reduces fruits.
  7. Remove the dead, damaged or crossing branches in early spring.
  8. Trim back excessive long branches encourage the blooming and to maintain a compact size.

Pest and Disease Management

  1. Pomegranate tree does not have any major pest or disease problems. But still you should monitor your tree regularly for common pests such as aphids, white flies, pomegranate butterflies and mealybugs.
  2. Use organic insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils to control common pests.
  3. Additionally, practicing good sanitation, such as removing fallen leaves or fruits, can help reduce the risk of disease.
  4. I enclose the fruits in fruit bags to protect them from fruit flies.
  5. Too much water can cause fungal diseasesPut a thick layer of mulch on the soil to prevent weeds and spread of fungal disease.
  6. If you see  black spots on leaves, it is due to fungal disease. Spray a copper fungicide to treat fungal disease on the pomegranate tree. The fungal disease can split the fruit. Irregular watering can also be reason of fruit splits.
  7. High humidity during summer may deteriorate the fruit quality.

Re-potting/Transplanting Pomegranate Tree

To repot the tree in a larger container, Tap the pot all around to loosen soil and carefully take out the plant. Remove any damaged roots.

Fill the new container with the potting mix, leaving sufficient space for the root ball. Gently place the pomegranate tree in the center of the container, making sure it is planted at the same depth as it was in its nursery pot.

Harvesting Pomegranates Growing in Pots

  1. Pomegranate trees grown from seed do not bear well until years old. However, a pomegranate tree grown from a cuttings will start producing fruits in less than 2 years.
  2. Only one pomegranate tree will produce fruits. 
  3. Pomegranate fruits typically mature within 6-7 months after flowering. Harvest the fruits when they develop a rich color and make a metallic sound when tapped. 
  4. It should be noted that the fruit will not ripen on the kitchen table, so picking the fruit at right time is important. In Australia, pomegranates ripen in late summer to autumn months (January to May), while they are ready to pick up in August to October in India and other parts of the world .
  5. Cut the fruit from the tree with sharp shears or knives rather than pulling it, as pulling may damage the branch. 
  6. Store the harvested pomegranates in a cool, dry place or refrigerate them for extended shelf life.
  7. In refrigerator, it can be kept for more than 6 months.
Harvesting Pomegranates Growing in a Container
Pomegranates Growing in a Container


Pomegranate Care During Winter

  1. During the winters, the tree will drop leaves and becomes dormant when the temperature go below 5°C.
  2. Some varieties of pomegranate trees sensitive to frost but some are winter tolerant and are not damaged by freezing temperatures. The Russian red pomegranate tree can thrive even at -18°C (0°F).
  3. You may move your pomegranate container indoors and provide with 2 to 3 hours of sunlight.
  4. Water less during winter but don’t allow the soil to dry completely. Also do not fertilize at all.
  5. Once the temperature begins to rise, shift the container in outdoors.
Growing pomegranate trees in containers allows gardeners with limited space to enjoy the beauty and taste of this remarkable fruit. With the right variety, container, and proper care, you can successfully cultivate pomegranate trees in containers and relish their attractive foliage and bountiful harvest.

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