The Green Thumb Guide: How to Grow Pomegranate From Seed
If you like tasting the sweet, tangy flavor of pomegranates and also enjoy gardening, why not combine the two? There’s something very rewarding about growing your own fruit at home, and pomegranates are particularly fascinating to grow from seeds. In this guide, we will go step-by-step on how to grow pomegranate from seed.
Choosing and Preparing Your Seeds
Firstly, you need a pomegranate. Choose a mature fruit that is ripe and ready to eat. Once you open the pomegranate, you will find hundreds of seeds inside. These seeds are technically arils—they comprise of a seed kernel surrounded by a juicy coating. Rinse and dry a handful of these arils, and remove the juicy coating to reveal the seeds within.
Next, take the cleaned seeds and soak them in warm water for about 24 hours. This helps soften the tough outer layer and makes it easier for the seed to sprout in soil. Drain the water after soaking and you are ready to plant your seeds.
Planting the Seeds
Fill a small pot with seed-raising soil and press down to make it firm. Place the seeds evenly spread on top of the soil, you can put multiple seeds per pot to increase your chance of successful germination. Don’t worry, pomegranate trees are self-thinning so the most dominant seedling will outgrow the others.
Once you have placed the seeds, sprinkle a thin layer of soil on top— they don’t need to be buried deeply. Water the freshly planted seeds lightly and place the pot in a warm area, ideally around 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit. Covering the pot with a plastic bag can also help maintain humidity.
Nurturing Your Seedlings
You should start seeing seedlings sprouting from the soil in about two to six weeks. At this stage, you need to keep the soil slightly moist but do not overwater as this could make the roots rot. Rotate the pot regularly to ensure the plant receives even sunlight and grows straight.
Once your seedlings are about 3 inches tall, you need to re-pot them into a bigger container. Gently remove the young plant from its original pot and ensure you don’t disturb the young roots too much. Use compost-rich soil for the new pot and make sure it has good drainage.
Transplanting to the Garden
After about a year or when your pomegranate tree reaches about 1 foot tall, it is typically ready to be transplanted into your garden. Choose a sunny location with well-drained soil and enough space for the tree to grow (remember, it could grow up to 20 feet tall!). Plant it at the same depth it was in its pot.
Ensure you water it thoroughly after planting and continue to water regularly throughout the first year. Also, consider adding a layer of mulch around the base of the tree to preserve moisture and control weed growth.
Maintaining and Harvesting your Pomegranate Tree
The tree may take about 3-4 years to begin fruiting. In the meantime, prune the tree during winter or early spring to encourage new growth and maintain shape. Moreover, a balanced fertilizer could be used to promote healthy growth and fruit production.
Once your tree starts fruiting, wait for the fruits to ripen on the tree for the sweetest taste. You can gauge ripeness by the color and firmness of the fruit – a ripe pomegranate should be a vibrant red and feel heavy for its size.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I grow a pomegranate tree indoors?
Yes, pomegranate trees are well-suited for growing indoors as long as they receive sufficient sunlight and are kept in a room with a moderate temperature.
2. How long does it take for a pomegranate tree to bear fruit?
It typically takes about 3-4 years after planting the pomegranate seed for the tree to start bearing fruit.
3. How often should I water my pomegranate tree?
Young pomegranate trees should be watered every other day. Once established, they are quite drought tolerant and will only need watering about once a week, or when the top 3 inches of soil feel dry to the touch.