Deciduous, Edible fruit, Shrubs, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries
Native from Iran to the Himalayan region of northern India; naturalized throughout the Mediterranean. For flowering kinds, see Punica granatum. Naturally grows as a rounded plant to 15–20 ft. tall and broad, though it is often kept pruned to about 10 ft. high and wide. Showy red flowers appear at branch tips in spring; thick calyx persists as a projection at base of fruit. Roundish fruit to 5 in. wide is yellow overlaid with pink or red; it contains hundreds of sacs of seedy, sweet-tart, juicy pulp. Self-fruitful.
Best-known variety is –Wonderful–, with orange red flowers and burnished red fruit with red pulp. Other varieties are increasingly available, including the following. All have red or orange red flowers. –Ambrosia– bears huge fruits (up to three times larger than those of –Wonderful–), pale pink skin, and purple pulp. –Fleishman–, –Granada–, and –King– have pink flowers and pink pulp. –Eversweet– ripens very early and bears virtually seedless fruit with transparent red pulp and clear, nonstaining juice. –Red Silk– bears medium to large red fruit with excellent sweet-tart, red pulp on a small 6–8-ft. tree, ideal for containers. –Sweet– has yellow flowers and pink pulp. –White– bears pink fruit with sweet, transparent pulp.
Pomegranates ripen in fall; harvest them when they reach full color. Fruit left on the tree is likely to split and rot, especially if weather is rainy. Can be stored for up to 7 months in the refrigerator. To eat fresh, cut into quarters or eighths and pull rind back (starting from the ends) to expose the juicy sacs; eat them, seeds and all. To remove juice for drinking fresh or for use in jams, jellies, or sauces, cut fruit in half and ream with a juicer. Or roll fruit firmly on hard surface; then cut a hole in stem end and squeeze juice into a container.
In cool zones where pomegranate grows and blooms but may not fruit, locate against south or west wall for best chance of getting a harvest. Tolerates a wide variety of soils, growing well even in alkaline soil. Resistant to oak root fungus. Can take considerable drought but produces better fruit with regular moisture. For ornamental pomegranate varieties, see Punica granatum.
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