I Didn’t Know I Could Grow: Pomegranates

by Daisy on 05/22/2016

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Somewhere along the line I was brainwashed into thinking there was a list of certain plants I could grow.

Frustratingly, that list included things I can’t grow: European pears, sweet cherries, and most stone fruits; at least not without a lot of fuss and spraying and disappointment.

However, over the years as I’ve whittled down that list of ‘should-be-able-to-grows’, I’ve created a new list of ‘plants-I-didn’t-know-I-could-grow’. This list contained plants that fell into one of two categories: “exotics” that seemed out of the question and “old-timey,” local, overlooked or forgotten plants.

Today, because it’s started to bloom for the first time in three years, I want to talk about my pomegranate trees/shrubs.

While it may be premature to call it a success since I only have blooms, not fruit (yet), I’ve really enjoyed watching this plant grow.

I started thinking about growing pomegranate when I read it requires winter chill hours in order to be productive, and appreciates hot summers as well. Since we have both, and seldom experience temperatures below 12 deg. F (the temperature below which they can be severely damaged) our climate here in zone 7b seemed well-suited for pomegranate to thrive.

I planted three of them on the south-facing side of a brick wall to provide them with extra freeze protection and watched them grow.

I surrounded them, permaculture-guild fashion, with daffodils, chives, and echinacea for their pollinator-attractant and vole deterrent qualities.

As luck would have it, its first two winters were particularly brutal (for us) with temps uncharacteristically falling repeatedly in the teens. One plant, the largest of the three, died back to the crown, but regrew from the roots.

It’s that plant that’s flowering this year. When I first saw the little bloom buds I thought they were baby pomegranates. They look just like what I imagine a baby pom would be.

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But in a week or so, one of these “babies” began to open and reveal a tightly gathered skirt of bright red, crepe-like petals.

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The next day, it bloomed.

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For those of you who are familiar with pomegranates, it may seem unremarkable, but I’d never before seen one.

It was an exciting event, this first glimpse of the fabled blossoms of this iconic plant, the star of ancient mythology.

You may remember the story of how Persephone was tricked into eating six (the number varies) seeds of the pomegranate, condemning her to six months in the underworld, causing her mother Demeter (goddess of the harvest) to mourn and visit six months of infertility on the earth.

I’ll let you know how it grows, so to speak, and I’ll surely have pics of the fruit if I am so lucky as to have some.

Have you ever grown pomegranate?

 

 



{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Karmen Paterson May 22, 2016 at 9:24 am

Oh my goodness that flower is gorgeous! I am going to have to try growing pomegranate now. Of course, first I should probably have a successful veggie garden… 🙂

Debbie May 22, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Beautiful pictures! I have 2 of these and this year I finally got one flower which, unfortunately, fell off the tree. I diddiscover they love oak leaves.

My zone is 9a and I was told that naval oranges wouldn’t do here, but I bought one by accident and it makes hundreds of oranges every year now for the past 6 years. And most recently I discovered that a Haas avocado tree has grown up behind my orange tree unnoticed until it grew taller than the orange tree. My guess is that a squirrel put the pit in that spot after swiping it from my compost bin. And supposedly those won’t do here either, so we shall see.

Hopefully next year it will put on fruit. Congrats on your pomegranate. I look forward to seeing if yours will make fruit.

Debbie…(0:
>

Sue Anderson May 22, 2016 at 9:57 pm

Our house came with a pomegranate bush. The pomegranates are not as bright ruby red as the ones in the store but they are just as tasty. Unfortunately we had a very bad cold snap the winter before last and it did a lot of damage. Then this winter a limb came down on it and did more damage. ???? But it has a few flowers on one side so I am hopeful.

nancy May 23, 2016 at 3:43 am

Our pomegranates are infinitely more sweet and red than any grocery store variety. We actually wait until they start to split – OMG – SUBLIME! (“Wonderful” variety)

We had one at a rental – my twins were 2 years old and learned to ‘climb a tree” on it and then would hang out in their bathing suits…or naked…and eat pomegranates. Bellies, faces and hands stained red with VERY happy smiles. Easy clean-up with the hose.

It was the first thing we planted when we bought our own house two years later.

I LOOOOVE having a pomegranate!

Cynthia Vlasiv May 23, 2016 at 6:45 am

Do you know if kunquats can be grown in zone 7/8?

Sallie May 23, 2016 at 7:09 am

You really should send me that list. I can cross off alot of things for you!

Kathy Davenport May 23, 2016 at 7:56 am

This was a fun little surprise to read about this morning. I would never have thought of growing them here either. The bloom is gorgeous! Thanks for posting about them.

Daisy May 23, 2016 at 9:11 am

Cynthia Vlasiv–I’ve never tried, but from what I read, it’s possible, particularly if you: 1. Locate it in a warmer microclimate such as near a southfacing wall. 2. Provide winter protection, especially during the first few years while it’s getting a solid root system established, and 3. Choose a cultivar recommended for colder climates. I’d love to have one, too, and may try it some day. Good luck.

Daisy May 23, 2016 at 9:14 am

Karmen Paterson–It is, I love it. Go ahead and start with the pom! You can watch it grow while you work on the veggies.

Daisy May 23, 2016 at 9:17 am

Debbie–Wow. I’m so jealous of your oranges. How exciting about the avocado, as well. Once you have all three can you imagine the beauty?

Daisy May 23, 2016 at 9:18 am

Sue Anderson–Such a nice bonus to have one already when you moved in. I’m glad someone like you bought the house who could appreciate it.

Daisy May 23, 2016 at 9:19 am

nancy–I love your story! I can see those pom babies! Mine are “Wonderful” as well. Fingers crossed.

Daisy May 23, 2016 at 9:20 am

Sallie–No doubt.

Cinnamon Vogue May 23, 2016 at 11:04 am

Wow!! Fantastic. That is is one beautiful picture and an interesting story. This brings back memories of pomegranate in my grandfather’s estate in Sri Lanka where we used to hop from tree to tree eating a huge variety of fruits. My grandmother had a green thumb and grew everything in a lush tropical climate. Those were the days.

Giselle May 24, 2016 at 4:48 pm

I grow pommegranates! I have learnt a few things… No 1: don’t pick them until they split open wide! Pommegranates sold in the shops are not ripe and will not ripen off the tree!!! you may end up with a few cobwebs in them but that’s ok. No 2: fill a bucket or bowl with warm water, then crack open the pommegrantates UNDER the water.. Wear an apron. This avoids too much staining of clothes. Break off the hard white bits of the shell and compost these. leaving in the bowl just the fleshy pips.. They are white and red. Then strain off the water. Freeze the pips in containers,until you have collected all your pommegranates as they don’t ripen at the same time. Then for jam making, defrost your pips, cook them with a bit of water, then press sieve the flesh from the pips. I usually freeze the resulting pulp as it can take all day. When you want to make jam, use the pulp as fruit and use your normal recipes. Amazing jam and worth the effort! You may not get fruit each year.. More likely every two years.. So make lots of jam. These make great gifts!

Daisy May 26, 2016 at 5:43 am

Giselle–Thank you for the benefit of your experience and for the excellent advice. I can’t imagine having enough pomegranates to make actual jam; I’m just hoping for one! I’d love to know what region of the world/hardiness zones all you successful pomegranate growers live in.

Daisy May 26, 2016 at 5:44 am

CV–Thanks! What a perfect way to eat. Can you recall some of the other types of fruits that grew along with the pomegranates?

steve g June 20, 2016 at 4:42 pm

what sort of plants will grow in Jagna Philippines?? I visit there from time to time, and have friends there. I am thinking I’d love to get them involved in growing some fruits and vegies of their own.But I need to find out what will grow well there.. will Pomegranates do well there?? its hot most of the year and never really gets below 60 or 70.

Daisy June 21, 2016 at 9:03 pm

steve g–I really have no idea. Anyone?

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