If you are thinking of planting some shrubs in your backyard garden, then growing pomegranates could be worth considering.
With their amazing red flowers that cover most of the tree for many months, the semi-desert, continental climate pomegranate has a profound impact, yet has very minimal maintenance needs.
The pomegranate traces its history to the ancient civilizations, and is one of the most enduring plants in the world. It grows as a bushy shrub, or trained into desired shape, and is resistant to both drought and low winter temperatures. Though it remains less productive during these adverse climatic conditions, the pomegranate resumes productivity once the conditions improve.
If you are in the UK or somewhere with a similar temperate climate, the shrub will be more useful for it's decorative qualities rather than its fruit-producing abilities as these cooler climates will not bode particularly well to the pomegranate shrub producing fruit. It does need a lot of sunshine to make the produce, however the shrub itself will do well in normal UK weather if it's in a protected area, and can tolerate the occasional short dip down to about -10 degrees.
Preliminary preparations for growing your pomegranates
The first thing that you need to plan for in your growing pomegranates endeavor is choosing the area for planting and purchasing the pomegranate cuttings. Despite the fact that these shrubs are resistant to high temperatures, they deserve some form of shade for optimum growth.
The cuttings can be acquired from nurseries, and are the best way of starting off a pomegranate plant. They are treated with a rooting hormone, and before they start their first yields, they take about 36months.
Pest and disease control for growing pomegranates
As it is a hardy shrub, the pomegranate does not necessarily have many predators or pests, and is resistant to most diseases. However, some predators like hummingbirds love the pomegranate due to the scarlet bloom produced, although I'm sat here thinking that if something is attracting hummingbirds to your garden, it's not necessarily a bad thing? Other animals like deer can also eat the leaves of this shrub, but they are not a major threat. Gophers may routinely chew on roots, but is not usually a cause for alarm.
Possible pests include the thrips, scale, mealy bugs, pomegranate butterflies and white flies. Common diseases are leaf and fruit spots, dry & soft rots and twig die-back.
Harvesting the pomegranate
The pomegranate is not a seasonal plant, thus has variable months of harvesting. The fruits are known to have ripened once they have developed a unique color, and produce a stinging sound when tapped. The fruit is mainly used to make juices, or can be eaten raw. Similarly, when it comes to storage, the pomegranate fruit can be stored for very long periods without losing its freshness as long as the right temperature and humidity is observed. In fact, the longer it stays the more flavorful and juicier it gets.
Some handy tips for growing pomegranates
These tips will offer more information on how you can increase the yields of this shrub:
- Despite the fact that pomegranates thrive in a wide variety of soils, they prefers well drained soils.
- Irrigation done every 2-4 weeks ensures proper fruit production and survival for young plants.
- Add fertilizer in November and March for the first two years, the reduce feeding over subsequent years.
Thus, growing pomegranates does not require too much of your involvement. With these simple steps, you will keep your pomegranate bushes productive for as long as you wish to have them.
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