Pomegranate trees are decorative and attractive inclusions in a home garden or landscaping. These gorgeous plants grow the most beautiful reddish-orange blossoms in the shape of trumpets, followed by healthy and sweet fruit that is popular around the holidays or any time of year. If you, a friend, or a neighbor have a pomegranate tree growing, it’s easy to propagate new trees from the cuttings. It’s among the least expensive ways to multiply your grove of pomegranate trees or to start new plants to share with friends and family. Even if you’ve never propagated new plants from an existing plant, we promise it’s easy to do. If you know the basics. Some plants are finicky about propagation. This isn’t the case for pomegranates. You can start a new pomegranate plant from cuttings for commercial sale. There are a few tricks to achieve success the first time you try. That’s why we’ve prepared a complete guide that shows you the step-by-step process for taking the cuttings, getting them to root, and nurturing them into a healthy and ready-to-transfer plant that will bring years of enjoyment for you or for someone else you’d like to share with.
Why propagate pomegranates?
According to Grit, there are enormous benefits associated with pomegranates. Nutrition experts consider fruits a healthy and nutritious superfood. Pomegranates contain compounds that help to boost the immune system. They’re also a delicacy containing 83 aromatic notes with essences that mimic lemon, cranberry, and grape all rolled into one food. If you price pure pomegranate juice at the supermarket or health food store, you’ll see that it is a costly beverage. As a plant, pomegranates that become established produce fruit early and are not prone to issues with pests or disease. There are over 1,000 cultivar types not available commercially.
Aren’t pomegranates hard to raise and harder to eat?
Few grow pomegranates in North America. While it’s true that they are sensitive to cold temperatures, and some do not tolerate humidity well, they’re easy to grow. Most people express frustration with the difficulty they experience getting through the tough rind and getting to the fruit. This is a good thing because it protects the fruit from pests and predators. Once you learn the trick of peeling and juicing pomegranate, they’re easy to peel and eat. Pomegranates are not hard to grow if you live in the right climate. They thrive in warm dry regions, and some varieties even do well in humidity.
What to know about growing pomegranates
Pomegranates do best when grown in a loamy soil. They are not fragile and can grow in areas where there is excess salinity or calcium in the ground. They can also grow in areas of dampness or drought. You must choose a cultivar that is hardy for the area you live in. If you live in cold areas, you can find some cultivars that are tolerant to up to negative 6 degrees Fahrenheit or heat up to 118 degrees. There is a cultivar for most climate conditions, but it’s up to you to match them.
How to take pomegranate cuttings
Taking pomegranate cuttings is not difficult but there are a few things to know. To get the best results and have the most success, there are a few steps to follow. Make sure that you use clean shears to take the cuttings. You will also need prepared soil in suitable containers.
Step 1: Prepare the soil for the cuttings
Before you take the cuttings, it’s best to have your containers and soil ready for planting. Use containers that have an excellent drainage system at the bottom and a moisture collection dish to avoid making a mess. Use potting soil that is sandy and loamy. You can also plant them outdoors but make sure that the soil is as mentioned above.
Step 2: Taking the cuttings
SF Gate recommends taking cuttings from sucker growth that springs up near the base of the tree from the previous year’s growth. Identify shoots that are between 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in diameter. The shoots should be 8 to 10 inches in length. Harvest them with pruning shears. It’s best to take the cuttings in the latter part of winter after the plants have frozen and gone dormant, while the temperatures are still freezing if you live in a cooler climate. Prepare the shears before cutting to avoid infecting the cuttings. It’s best to wipe the blades down with isopropyl alcohol. Use a clean cloth or paper towel. Wipe the blades after each cut.
Step 3: Plant the cuttings
After harvesting the cuttings, plant them in the sandy loam in a garden area or in a container in a window that receives full sun. Plant the cutting. Make sure the top node of the stick is above the soil line. Gardening Know How recommends that if you’re planting them outdoors, keep them between 3 to 9 feet apart or shrubs, and 18 feet in circumference if you plan to allow it to grow into a tree. You can prune your pomegranate to grow as a shrub or a tree. If you’re starting the cuttings in the house, put one cutting in each container.
Step 4: Water the cuttings
Your new pomegranate cuttings need regular watering. Set up a calendar to keep track of the schedule. Water them even 7-10 days. Each young plant requires 2 gallons of water for each square foot of soil. Check the soil periodically to ensure that it remains moist during the late summer months. During this stage of development, too much water is better than not enough.
Step 5: Maintain the proper pH balance
Keep the pH balance of the soil for a pomegranate tree between 5.5 and 7.0. This doesn’t mean that pomegranates are a high-maintenance tree. You can pick up a home soil pH kit at your local home and garden store. Maintaining the right pH will give you the best results for growing fruit. These trees will survive growing in pool soil conditions. There is one important maintenance task to observe, however. You must prune them regularly.
Step 6: Pruning
Pomegranate trees require regular pruning as needed to prevent the overgrowth of the plants. They put off sucker growth that requires removal. You can either use them to propagate new plants or discard the prunings. You can shape your pomegranate into shrubs or train them to grow as trees. Failure to prune this tree regularly will quickly lead to a tangled mass of sucker growth that will take the energy away from other parts of the tree, and reduce its visual appeal.
Step 7: Fertilization
Pomegranate trees or shrubs do best when they’re properly fertilized. The suitable type is an 8-8-8 formulation. You should apply the fertilizer just before there is frost. Ideally, you spread the fertilizer late in the fall. Repeat the process in the early part of the spring after it stops frosting. You should fertilize the cuttings for the first two years after propagating. Fertilizer for young pomegranate trees calls for one pound of fertilizer spread over the top of the soil twice yearly. These are the seven steps for taking cuttings from established pomegranate trees to grow new ones. Your new trees or shrubs should be solid in the ground and growing strong by the time they reach two years of age. If you opt to start them indoors, transfer the seedlings from indoor containers to their permanent outdoor locations after the threat of frost has passed in the spring.
How to maintain mature pomegranate trees
Mature pomegranate trees need fertilization twice a year. Large trees require the same 8-8-8 fertilizer formulation, but they require more. Dress the top of the soil with 2 to 3 and a half pounds of fertilizer. This amount is how much to use for each tree. Follow the timelines for cuttings. Spread the fertilizer in the late fall and early spring. It is all the fertilizer that your pomegranate tree needs. Only fertilize fall and spring and avoid over-fertilizing your plants.
When do you prune pomegranate trees?
The best time to prune the large stem of the pomegranate tree is after the plant has gone dormant for the first year. Take care to develop a central leader if you choose to grow a tree. Allow five leaders to grow along with the central leaders, pruning them back and shaping them into the desired configuration. These will become the scaffold branches of your new tree as it grows and matures. Try to visualize what you want the tree to look like when it is mature, and prune accordingly, making allowances for fresh growth. Shoot for a symmetrical appearance for the best results. Be sure to remove all suckers as soon as they appear. It’s best to remove them from the roots or they will continue to grow.
Can you prune sucker growth with shears?
Using pruning shears to remove sucker growth is not recommended. Cutting the growth causes a wound that could be unhealthy for the tree or shrub. It’s best to wind the suckers around your hand and twist them out. It gets the roots out and prevents them from coming back. As soon as you see the sucker growth sending offshoots, remove them because they’re easier to twist out at this stage of their development. If you wait until they are large in diameter, they will be more difficult to twist off. You may not have any choice but to cut them. It’s essential to know that the roots will remain in the ground and continue to put off sucker growth.
How do you make a pomegranate shrub?
If you prefer to grow your pomegranate into a shrub instead of a tree, you can begin shaping it during the first two years of its growth to accomplish this goal. Start by pruning your pomegranate tree when the lowest branch is higher than 10 inches above the ground. It’s important to maintain lower branches as your shrub continues to grow and mature. These will become the higher branches of your tree or the shrub gets taller. As your plant grows, the trunk continues to rise. Start by topping the plant off when it is two feet tall. Continue to top the tree, pruning the branches that grow into the shape of shrub you want it to form. Trim each of the limbs back by 3/5 of its total length. It’s best to do this after the plant has gone dormant for the season. If you live in a warm climate where the weather doesn’t get cold, you can still prune your plants during the coldest time of the year for your region.
Pomegranates are beautiful plants that are also versatile. You may grow them as a shrub or a tree, depending on how you choose to prune and shape them in the early stages of their growth and development. The pruning is ongoing and must happen every year to stop the sucker growth from taking over and ruining the health and appearance of your pomegranate plant. Contrary to popular belief, pomegranate plants are not hard to grow. It’s easy to start them from cuttings that are taken from n established tree or shrub. The complete guide on how to take pomegranate cuttings walks you through each of the steps involved in taking the right size cuttings to successfully propagate one or more new pomegranate trees. Although you can start new plants indoors, it’s just as easy to place the cuttings outdoors in their permanent locations to avoid the need to transplant them. You don’t need to use growth hormones or do anything complicated to start your new pomegranates. Follow the steps provided to create new pomegranate trees to enjoy and share with your friends and family.