Pomegranate

by

Pomegranate

full sun

moderate water

 

A native tree from Iran to the Himalayan region of northern India; naturalized throughout the Mediterranean. For flowering kinds, see Punica granatum. Naturally grows as a rounded plant to 15–20 ft. tall and broad, though it is often kept pruned to about 10 ft. high and wide. Showy red flowers appear at branch tips in spring; thick calyx persists as a projection at base of fruit. Roundish fruit to 5 in. wide is yellow overlaid with pink or red; it contains hundreds of sacs of seedy, sweet-tart, juicy pulp. Self-fruitful.

Pomegranates ripen in fall; harvest them when they reach full color. Fruit left on the tree is likely to split and rot, especially if weather is rainy. Can be stored for up to 7 months in the refrigerator. To eat fresh, cut into quarters or eighths and pull rind back (starting from the ends) to expose the juicy sacs; eat them, seeds and all. To remove juice for drinking fresh or for use in jams, jellies, or sauces, cut fruit in half and ream with a juicer. Or roll fruit firmly on hard surface; then cut a hole in stem end and squeeze juice into a container.

In cool zones where pomegranate grows and blooms but may not fruit, locate against south or west wall for best chance of getting a harvest. Tolerates a wide variety of soils, growing well even in alkaline soil. Resistant to oak root fungus. Can take considerable drought but produces better fruit with regular moisture.

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