Cultivating pomegranates

Cultivating pomegranates

Pomegranate Cultivation by Robin Gale-Baker

Robin Gale-Baker from Sustainable Macleod covers pomegranate cultivation, writing articles on fruit tree cultivation, general gardening practices, herb and vegetable cultivation, and various gardening practices, including those listed in the right-hand sidebar.

Pomegranate Popularity

The pomegranate, a popular fruit in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine, has gained popularity due to its shiny green leaves, beautiful red blossoms, tart ruby seeds, and refreshing juice. Despite its high cost, planting one offers a healthier alternative, providing a refreshing and nutritious option.


  • Plant in the garden’s hottest area.
  • For the first six months, provide regular deep watering.
  • Cut sparingly.

Location and the soil

The hottest area of the garden is where pomegranates should be planted. The trees require the most sun exposure possible in Melbourne’s environment for the fruit to fully develop. They thrive in a variety of soil types, including heavy and poor soil, although they especially like slightly acidic, well-drained soil.

Garden planting

Dig a hole that matches the depth of the root ball and is twice as wide as the tree. Pull out the roots. Insert the tree and backfill with dirt. Water thoroughly. Trees can grow to 5–7 meters tall and often 5 meters wide, especially if neglected for years without sucker trimming or crown thinning. The tree will take three years to bear fruit.

For most gardens, one pomegranate tree is enough; however, if you plant two, ensure they are at least five meters apart. To grow them as a hedge, space them two to three meters apart.

pot planting

A dwarf pomegranate variety that works well in a pot is called “Nana.” The pot’s diameter must be at least 40 centimeters. “Nana” It will reach a height of one meter. Put it in the garden’s most sunny place.


Depending on the heat, water deeply two to three times a week for the first six months. Water once a week after that, deeply.

That being said, I am aware of a massive tree that is more than a century old that receives its only source of water from rain and yields an abundance of fruit every year. It is likely that its roots go far enough below the surface to extract water.

Mulching and fertilizing

Apply compost or well-rotted manure fertilizer in the spring. To assist preserve moisture in the ground, mulch the area surrounding the tree with any kind of mulch, being careful not to get any in the trunk. Wood chips are effective.


Pomegranates are relatively pest-free, simplifying maintenance. However, Queensland Fruit Fly attacks them despite their leathery skins. Due to their sharp spikes, netting pomegranates is difficult, so I recommend either dusting the fruit with kaolin clay or covering each fruit with a large net sleeve. Ensure thorough spraying of the fruit on all sides when using kaolin. Kaolin clay can be easily washed off with hot water. Any remaining residue can be scrubbed off with a brush.

[Editor: King parrots have a fondness for pomegranates, so if these beautiful birds frequent your yard, you may need to protect at least some of your pomegranates. Typically, I wrap each fruit in a bag or sleeve.]


Establishment pruning: select a tree whose main stem may be trimmed to have four to five branches extending from it to create the frame.

Editor: It is assumed that you want the pomegranate to grow into a tree when following Robin’s trimming advise above. It can also be cultivated as a multitrunked shrub, in which case you should base your establishing pruning on choosing no more than, say, six trunks.]

Pruning Tips

Annual pruning is essential for pomegranate trees, removing suckers as soon as they emerge to reduce energy and fruit yield. After harvest, lightly prune in autumn without tipping, ensuring every branch is trimmed for optimal fruit yield. Winterly, remove damaged, dead, or infected wood. Thin out thin, whippy branches and wood that has produced fruit for years to allow new growth. If fruit is crowded, thin it out to make the remaining ones larger.


Pomegranates are harvested in the fall from March to May and are ripe when their color deepens, their skin takes on a matte appearance, and their shape shifts from a ball to one with slightly more than six sides. The fruit also starts to split, which can cause grey fungal rot if split, damaged, or left on the tree for too long. It is crucial to wait until ripe to avoid further maturation and ensure the remaining portion is safe to harvest.


I suggest growing the variety “Wonderful” in your garden. When completely ripe, the pomegranates have huge, deep-crimson skins. In Melbourne’s climate, I find it challenging for other types to ripen. Plant Nana in pots.


Some people struggle to remove seeds from pomegranate capsules. You can use a quick and simple method by cutting the capsule and using a small spoon to scoop seeds from each segment. To preserve juice, you should omit skin, pith, and segment membrane. Grinding seeds for juice or molasses may result in a bitter aftertaste. Use a press to extract bitterness from membranes and pith, making sure not to apply too much pressure.

Uses of Pomegranate Juice and Seeds

People use pomegranate juice for both cold drinks (including Grenadine cordial) and for making pomegranate molasses (for which there are plenty of recipes on the internet). They use the seeds to flavor and garnish Middle Eastern and Moroccan dishes, both savory and sweet.

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