Punica granatum
Common Name: pomegranate
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Lythraceae
Native Range: Eastern Mediterranean to Himalayas
Zone: 8 to 11
Height: 6.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Orange-red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-11 where it is best grown in organically rich, dry to medium moisture, well-drained, fertile loams in full sun. Plants fruit best in areas with long, hot and dry summers (90s F) and cooler winters. Water plants regularly. Remove root suckers as they develop. Root mulch helps control unwanted weed growth. Prune as needed in late winter. In St. Louis, plants may be grown in containers in a rich fertile soil mix. Take containers outdoors into bright, mostly sunny locations in summer with regular application of moisture. Plants must be overwintered indoors in bright, cool locations with reduced watering.

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.

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.

Species plants generally do not perform well as indoor plants. ‘Nana’ is a compact/dwarf form that may perform well in a sunny window, and is considered to be a much better alternative for indoor use. ‘Nana’ grows to only 3’ tall with scarlet flowers and 2-inch fruits.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Species plants require dry, somewhat arid conditions with temperatures in the mid 90s in order to produce fruit. Species plants will not produce any fruit when grown in areas such as St. Louis (although some cultivars such as ‘Nana’ may fruit). Potential disease problems include leaf spots, fruit blotch and rots. Potential insect problems include scale, stem borers, caterpillars, whitefly and mealybugs. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Garden Uses

Where winter hardy, site in beds and borders. Specimen/accent. Hedge. Mediterranean style gardens. Where not winter hardy, grow in containers which are overwintered indoors.