Punica granatum var. nana
Common Name: dwarf pomegranate
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Lythraceae
Native Range: Europe to Himalayas
Zone: 7 to 11
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Orange-red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Dwarf pomegranate needs full sun and a well-drained soil mix. Use a soil mix consisting of one part peat moss to one part loam to two parts sand. The plants thrive in a semi-arid atmosphere and once established need very little water. Fertilize on a monthly basis. Once flowering has begun in mid to late summer, the plant should be watered more frequently to produce lots of flowers. The plants will bear miniature fruit if grown in areas with year-round temperatures that rarely fall below 40° F.

To grow indoors, moderate night-time temperatures should be given (50° to 60° F). Keep at 40° to 45° F in winter until new growth appears. In the growing period, keep moderately moist. Water sparingly from August on. This plant requires good drainage. Plants will bear fruit indoors if grown in a sunny exposure.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Punica granatum, commonly called pomegranate, is a multi-stemmed deciduous (evergreen in tropical areas) shrub or small tree that grows to 6-20’ (less frequently to 30’) tall. It has long been cultivated for its orange-sized edible fruit and its attractive ornamental plant features. It is native from southern Europe to northern India, but has naturalized over time around the Mediterranean and in a number of additional warm weather climates throughout the world including parts of the southeastern and southwestern U. S. In proper growing conditions, trumpet-shaped, orange-red flowers (to 1 1/4” wide) bloom throughout the summer singly or in clusters at the branch ends. Flowers give way to orange-sized, leathery-skinned, globose fruits (pomegranates to 2-4” diameter) that ripen to yellow tinged with red. Fruit interior is divided into compartments packed with fleshy, juicy, edible sacs (arils) that surround the seeds. The juicy sacs (along with the seed inside each) are edible fresh or may be incorporated into jams or jellies. Grenadine is a syrup (concentrated juice) that is used to flavor drinks. Narrow, pointed, oblong-lanceolate, glossy green leaves (to 4” long) are opposite or in whorls. In fall, foliage turns yellow in non-tropical areas.

Var. nana originated as a natural dwarf variant first described in 1803. It generally grows two to four feet high and wide, rarely to six feet high, while with skillful pruning can be restricted to one foot. It is not only small in stature, but even the flowers and fruit are dwarfed. The dwarf pomegranate is a deciduous, thorny shrub. The flowers have an orange-red corolla and the edge of the petals is flesh-colored. When cultivated outdoors, the deciduous leaves start out the year bronzy, develop to a brightly shimmering green and end the year an attractive shade of yellow.

Genus name comes from the Latin name contracted from punicum malum, the Carthaginian apple, in turn derived from Poenus, Carthaginians, Phoinikes, Phoenicians.

Specific epithet means many seeded.

Pomegranate comes from the Latin words pomium meaning apple.

Problems

Foliage and fruit will drop if exposed to frost conditions. For the most part pomegranate is trouble free.

Garden Uses

The dwarf pomegranate is a good species to use as a bonsai. It makes an excellent container plant that moves easily from the house to the garden in the cooler climate of St. Louis. In areas a zone or two warmer, this shrubby plant does well in the garden year round.