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Pomegranate Growing Information Frances Michaels

Botanical Name:Punica granatum
Common Names: Pomegranate
Plant Family: Punicaceae

Plant Description
It is widely grown in the subtropics and tropics for it's ornamental beauty and leathery fruit, in colder climates it will often fail to fruit. It is an attractive plant with glossy green leaves and scarlet flowers. Trees do not bear well until 5 or 6 years old. Flowering starts in late spring and continues into summer; under suitable conditions the fruit should mature 5 to 7 months later. High temperatures are essential during fruit development for a good flavour. The fruit mature between March and May and can be picked a little before full maturity and ripened in storage. In areas where rain occurs during harvest, pick the fruit before they are fully ripe to avoid the skin becoming waterlogged and splitting. It can be stored for several months if hung to dry in a cool, airy place. Pomegranates should be planted in full sun and like long, hot summers although it sets more fruit after a cold winter. It is very drought resistant but grows better with a good supply of water; it also tolerates a period of wet feet. Pomegranates prefer well-drained loam, pH 5.5 - 7, but tolerate considerable amounts of alkalinity and sodium in the soil. It should be mulched annually with rotted manure or compost. Pomegranates fruit on spurs of mature wood, prune the tree lightly in winter to encourage new spur growth and remove any limbs causing crowding in the centre of the crown.
Plant Type: hardy, deciduous, shrubby, small tree.
Plant Height: 4 to 7 metres.

Sow When
Germinates best at 24 - 26C soil temperature. Temperate Areas: Spring - with extra heat.
Subtropical Areas: Spring, early summer.
Tropical Areas: unlikely to do well, as it dislikes humidity.

Planting Details
Seed Preparation: pre-soak in warm water overnight.
Planting Depth: 5 mm deep.
Spacing: 5 - 6 m in an orchard; 2.5 m for a hedge.
Position: full sun to semi-shade.
Soil Type: tolerant of wide range of soil types but needs good drainage; pH 5.5 - 7; add compost and mulch annually.

Harvest: 5 - 7 months after flowering, fruit quality improves in storage.
Food: fruit flesh is full of tender, edible seeds that are easy to eat with a nutty flavour. The flesh itself is juicy and sub-acid; it is used as a traditional garnish for Middle Eastern food. Pomegranate juice is refreshing and can be used in soups, sauces, jellies, ices or made into a sweet syrup called grenadine that flavours drinks, ice cream, cakes and baked apples. The dried seeds are used as a seasoning in dhal, fried samosa, stuffing and chutney. It is important to remove every piece of skin surrounding the seeds, as this is bitter.
Hedge: plants have a suckering habit and can form a dense impenetrable fruiting hedge.
Container Plant: useful grown in a tub as an ornamental.
Dye: the rind of the unripe fruits and the flowers are used as a dye.

Available seasonally as plants: Pomegranate plants

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