Populate Your Property with Pomegranates

This tasty fruit has powerful medicinal qualities and is easy to grow, whether in home gardens or market farms.

Photo by Adobe Stock/Grafnata

The best way to appreciate the berry some cultures call “the fruit of paradise” is to taste it. With up to 83 aromatic notes, pomegranate’s flavor profile combines the syrupy sweetness of Concord grapes, the refreshing astringency of cranberries, and the cooling quality of lemons. Each bite pops like tapioca.

Recent studies support historical claims that pomegranates promote health as much as they delight taste buds. For gardeners, the benefits are easy to harvest. Pomegranates bear early and suffer from few diseases or pests. Orchardists seeking a market niche can choose from among more than 1,000 diverse cultivars, nearly all of which are unavailable to grocery store customers.

Gardeners in cold climates can try growing pomegranates in containers that can be moved indoors, or against a south facing wall to provide a microclimate and reduce wind exposure. From the top to bottom, photos by  Adobe Stock/Irene_Rebrova; and Ian Scott, respectively. 

Growing Pomegranates

Pomegranates should be on all lists of the best fruits for organic gardeners, because they’re so easy to grow. Animals and insects leave the fruit alone thanks to its tough rind. Unlike peaches and cherries, these tall deciduous shrubs rarely require spraying in small orchards or home gardens. Pomegranates can tolerate high temperatures of up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit, and a few cultivars can handle exposure to minus 6 degrees without dying back to the ground. The shrubs prefer good garden soil, but will produce despite excessive salinity, calcium, and alkaline soil, and do well in drought or damp conditions.

For growers in Zone 7 or lower, though, pomegranates (Punica granatum) are a lesson in microclimates and cultivar selection. The best strategy is to buy the most cold-hardy shrub you can find, and plant it close to a building in a location that receives full sun. The difference between a plant that survives winter and one that dies can come down to its proximity to a stone or brick wall that absorbs the heat of the sun during the day and releases that energy at night. Alternatively, you can grow pomegranates in pots and bring them inside during winter.



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