Monday, October 12, 2009

Punica granatum

Pomegranates grow in the wild locally, though I believe the fruit is pretty sour. They are easy to grow from seed which is obtainable through the fruit, simply rinse or suck off the juice surrounding the seed, dry for a few days, and plant in a pot filled with compost to the depth of the seed. Germination takes from a few days to a few weeks, just be patient and keep the soil moist (I find it easier to just bung the seeds into damp compost in a plastic bag, seal and keep in a light place but out of direct sunlight).
I have a LOT of plants now, because I was unaware of the phenonemol germination rate. It must be near 100%.
I have some I grew last year that are about 3 feet tall now. They grow into tall bushes but can be trained into single stemmed trees, although you will have to spent a lot of time removing all the suckers they throw up from around the base.
They are self fertile so one plant is enough for fruit.
Plants grown from seed do not grow 'true', so there is every chance the plant will not be like the parent. It may have inferior fruit. Or it may have superior fruit. If the latter is the case, they can then be propagated by cuttings.
Inferior fruiting varieties can be used as rootstock onto which a cutting from superior stock can be grafted.
The pomegranate is deciduous and can also be grown as an ornamental as it's leaves vary in colour from deep red to green, to yellow, changing as the age of the leaf changes. It has spikes so can be used as hedging to keep out unwanted intruders. Just trim it into shape. It is drought-tolerant, likes alkaline soil and most can tolerate light frost. Some have been known to survive temperatures of -10C.
My two year old pomegranates are throwing out their first flowers which are a very attractive deep orangey/red. I wonder why no-one told them the normal time of year to flower is early spring, not autumn!
Perhaps they are confused because they are not from local produce, their parent having been bought in Tesco.

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