Punica granatum RED RUSSIAN

Common Name: pomegranate 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Lythraceae
Zone: 6 to 10
Height: 8.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil


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 (90°F+) and cooler winters. Allow the soil to dry out almost completely before watering thoroughly. Remove soil suckers as they develop. 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 and may defoliate.

RED RUSSIAN offers improved cold tolerance and can be grown in Zones 6b(0°F)-10. Site in a location protected from winter winds if grown in the colder end of its hardiness range.

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.

RED RUSSIAN is a compact, cold hardy pomegranate cultivar that features full-sized, red-orange fruits. Mature plants will reach up to 10' tall with an equally wide, densely branched canopy. Red, tubular flowers bloom on the ends of the branches in summer. The fruits mature in early fall.


Species plants require dry, somewhat arid conditions with high temperatures (90°F+) 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). Deer tend to avoid this plant. Potential disease problems include leaf spots, fruit blotch and rots. Potential insect problems include scale, stem borers, caterpillars, whitefly and mealybugs.


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.