Pomegranate

The pomegranate is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub in the family Lythraceae, subfamily Punicoideae. The pomegranate was originally described throughout the Mediterranean region. The botanical name of pomegranate is Punica granatum. The pomegranate tree is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India



It has been widely cultivated throughout India and drier parts of southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies and tropical Africa. The most important growing regions are Egypt, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, India, Burma and Saudi Arabia. There are some commercial orchards in Israel on the coastal plain and in the Jordan Valley.


Table of Contents


Height(Avg)

10 - 30 feet


Width-Circumference (Avg)

6 - 8 feet


Approximate pH

5.5 - 7.2


Varieties of Pomegranate Tree


There are many cultivars to choose from, including some that are more cold hardy. Some of the popular types include:


  • Nana: A dwarf form that is cold hardy to zone 7 and typically grows to just 4 feet tall.

  • Sweet: Produces fruit earlier than some cultivars and, as the name suggests, has a very sweet flavor and usually provides a prolific harvest.

  • Wonderful: The most popular cultivar grown in the U.S.; produces large, flavorful, red fruits in abundance late in the season.

  • Purple Heart: This cultivar is also known as ‘Sharp Velvet.’ Fruits are large and red, with sweet arils and low acidity. They’re typically ready for harvest in October.

  • Muscat White: It is large, creamy-white tinged with pink; thin rind; fleshy, cream-colored, sweet pulp; seeds medium-hard. Bears well. Desirable for commercial planting in Delhi.

  • Paper Shell: It is round, medium to large, pale-yellow blushed with pink; with very thin rind, fleshy, reddish or pink, sweet, very juicy pulp and soft seeds. Bears heavily.

  • Red Silk: The ‘Red Silk’ variety is known for having a pericarp that is more pink than red, and a medium to large fruit size.


Planting pomegranates


When to Plant


Before you plant the pomegranate tree, you need to ensure that the last frost has passed, especially for trees that are still really young. The soil around the tree should be loose so that the tree and its roots can become established.


If the soil is too compact, take a hand or rake cultivator to the ground where you are planting the tree and break it up a bit. If you plan to plant a row of these trees, you may want to get an electric tiller to break up the soil in a row.


Either way, make sure that the ground is loose, and the temperature is starting to rise. You do not want to shock pomegranates by putting them in the ground and forcing them to go through an unexpected frost. This could leave the pomegranate tree vulnerable to diseases and pests. The shock could also stunt the growth of your trees for several weeks, even if they are able to survive the weather snap.


Space Out The Trees


If you are planning to plant multiple trees, you want at least 15-20 feet between each tree, especially if harvesting the fruit is the goal. If you have the smaller ornamental shrubs that you are using as a border, your spacing can be anywhere from six to nine feet apart. These trees need enough room to spread out above ground, but the roots also need space below the dirt so that each tree has its own space.


Growing Pomegranate Tree


Light


Pomegranate shrubs may be grown in part shade but ideally should be placed somewhere with as much sun and warmth as possible. For a good harvest, your tree should get at least six hours of full sun per day.


Soil


The pomegranate needs well-drained soil, though it is able to thrive in a wide variety of soils from acid loam (preferred) to poor quality alkaline types.


Water


The pomegranate tree is drought tolerant, though irrigation is needed for proper fruit production. Water deeply every two to four weeks during the dry season when you are establishing new trees.


Be careful, however, not to overwater. Excess water and soggy conditions can lead to a poor harvest. The fruit will also be more prone to splitting, increasing the chances of problems with pests and fungal diseases.


Pomegranate Tree Care


Fertilizer


During the growing season, fertilize the plant using a liquid 8-8-8 fertilizer. You can also go for the blend formulated for citrus trees or tomatoes.


A pomegranate tree in a pot often becomes zinc deficient, indicated by yellowing leaves. To overcome this, you can spray diluted zinc solution on foliage.


The application of compost or manure is also beneficial. Take care not to overfertilize with nitrogen-rich fertilizer as it can cause the tree to produce more foliage and comparatively fewer flowers.


Pruning


Pruning is necessary to maintain the desired shape of your pomegranate tree and encourage flowering and fruiting. It is best done after all danger of frost has passed when the tree is about to start growing in spring.


Prune off weak, dead, and undesirable branches to direct the shrub’s energy to the right parts and shorten long branches to encourage flowering.


Some of the varieties have thorns; wear gloves before pruning for your safety.


Temperature and Humidity


They appreciate cool winters and hot, dry summers. They thrive when growing season temperatures are above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.


Pomegranate trees are more cold tolerant than citrus trees, but the levels vary depending on the cultivar. Some can cope with winter temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when they dip this low, it would be prudent to grow them in containers so they can be moved into a garage or other sheltered location to minimize the chance of frost damage occurring.


Propagating


Propagation is best done through hardwood cuttings taken in winter as those grown from seeds may not stay true to type.


Harvesting Pomegranate


It takes around three years for a pomegranate tree to produce a proper harvest. You'll know the fruits are ready to be picked when the color has developed, they have a matte rather than glossy sheen, they change from a round to a more hexagonal shape, and they make a metallic sound when tapped. Use a pair of pruning shears to cut the stem above the fruit instead of pulling it off. They can be stored for a long time if kept between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.


Pests and Diseases


Pomegranate shrubs are one of the easier fruits to work with since they are not usually affected by many pests or diseases.


Possible occasional pests include pomegranate butterfly, thrips, scale, mealy bugs, and whiteflies. Diseases are rare in well-maintained trees but include leaf spot, fruit spot, twig dieback, dry rot, and soft rot.


Benefits of Pomegranate


Protects us from free radicals


Pomegranate is rich in anti-oxidants and thus protects our body from free radicals, which are responsible for premature ageing. Free radicals are formed by exposure to sun and due to harmful toxins in the environment.


It thins your blood


Antioxidants present in pomegranate act as a ‘thinner for your blood’. The seeds of pomegranate prevent your blood platelets from forming clots and coagulating.

There are two types of blood clots, first is the good one which speeds the recovery during a cut or an injury and second is when there is any internal clot, like in heart, arteries or anywhere else inside the body. These type of clots are not good and can be fatal.


Prevention of atherosclerosis


With increasing age and the type of lifestyle we live, the walls of our arteries become harder due to cholesterol, resulting in blockages sometimes. The anti-oxidant property of pomegranate prevents bad cholesterol from oxidizing. So, eating pomegranates removes the excess fat and prevents the hardening of artery walls.


It acts like an oxygen mask


Pomegranate helps to pump the level of oxygen in our blood. Due to anti-oxidants present in pomegranate, it fights free radicals, reduces cholesterol and prevents blood clot. All this eventually helps blood to flow freely and thus improve the level of oxygen in your body.


It prevents arthritis


Pomegranate can reduce the damage of the cartilage by fighting the enzyme that does so. Pomegranate also has the ability to reduce inflammation.


Fights erectile dysfunction


Though it is not a wonder drug but yes pomegranate juice can slightly improve erectile dysfunction. And a lot of theories prove this as true.


Fights heart disease and prostate cancer


Two studies claim that pomegranate juice has the ability to fight prostate cancer. An experiment showed that pomegranate juice slowed the growth and even killed cultured cancer cells. And as we have already mentioned in the second point, pomegranate juice thins the blood and thus improves its condition which in turn prevents cardiovascular diseases.


It lowers blood pressure


Punicic acid is one of the main constituents of pomegranate that help lower cholesterol, triglycerides and reduce blood pressure.


Helps in digestion


We all know fibre is good for digestion. But due to our lifestyle where we are inclined towards eating junk food, we miss the goodness of fibre in our vegetables and fruits. Adding pomegranate to your everyday diet can be one the best ways to include fibre in your daily routine. One pomegranate contains 45 per cent of your daily recommended intake of fibre.


Boosts immunity


Being rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, pomegranates are extremely healthy for those suffering from immune-related disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and osteroarthrits. They are also rich in vitamin C, which boosts antibody production and helps in the development of immunity. Pomegranates can thus help you maintain a healthy immune system and keep common illnesses and infections at bay.


Lowers stress levels


Apart from reducing body’s internal oxidative stress, pomegranates also help lower psychological stress that you go through in your personal and professional life. According to a study conducted by Queen Margaret University, people who drank pomegranate juice had lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that is increased under stressful situations.


A natural fertility booster


There's another hidden benefit to the red fruit. Pomegranates, with its rich antioxidant content, has been found to lower oxidative stress levels in the body. Oxidative stress has been linked to sperm dysfunction as well as decreased fertility in women. Studies are underway to understand other potent benefits it may carry for the reproductive system.


Apart from this, pomegranates could also power up your sex life. The fruit has been shown to increase testosterone levels, the sex hormone in both men and women. It also increases blood flow to the genital region. For this reason, the fruit also earns the nickname of being 'natural viagra'.


Pomegranate Uses


Ornamental Use:

  • The plant is also used for the ornamental purpose.

Medicinal Use:

  • Fruit contain Fiber, Protein, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium.

  • Note- Please consults your health advisor before application or consuming of plants or plant parts.

Culinary Use:

  • Mature fruits are used as the edible fruit and making the juice.

  • Note- Please consults your health advisor before application or consuming of plants or plant parts.


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