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Punica granatum

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Granatum punicum
  • Punica nana
Phonetic Spelling
PU-ni-kuh gran-AY-tum
Description

If you have ever eaten a pomegranate, then you know the allure and curiosity of this unique fruit.  The sweetly tart juice from the “seeds” makes a delicious and nutritious snack high in potassium and vitamin C.  The origin of the pomegranate is not completely known; however this fruit is commonly grown in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.  Although pomegranates can be grown in the Southeast, commercial production is almost exclusively in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

The name pomegranate translates to “seeded apple”. This fruit is usually about the size of a large orange.  Once the leathery outer skin is removed, hundreds of red “seeds” are revealed.  Although we may call these little fruit “seeds”, they are botanically known as arils.  An aril is a fleshy, juicy, brightly colored tissue, which covers the actual seed.  Animals are attracted to these tasty morsels will help disperse the seeds. 

Pomegranates grow on a shrub-like tree.  Although this plant prefers warm, arid regions, it can be grown in some parts of North Carolina.  It works well as a specimen or accent plant in borders, in a hedgerow or as part of a Mediterranean themed garden.  The pomegranate is considered cold-hardy from zones 8 to 10, so plants grown in our area may need to be planted in a protected area or in a container that can be brought indoors for the winter.  The plant usually survives the winter but will be killed to the ground at temperatures below 10 F.  In addition to being a delicious, nutritious snack, pomegranates can be used in holiday wreaths and centerpieces.  Be creative – you can use them fresh or dried to add a touch of brilliant red beauty.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems though caterpillars, whiteflies, mealybugs, and scale may be present.  Leaf spot, fruit blotch and root rot may occur.  In the southeast, pomegranates do not fruit reliably due mostly to poor pollination and the humid climate.  However, this does not negate the ornamental value of the plant. 

 

 

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Nana' - Compact/dwarf form grows to 3' tall
'Nana' - Compact/dwarf form grows to 3' tall
Tags:
#hummingbirds#red#showy flowers#small tree#small spaces#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#red flowers#nectar plant#accent plant#playground#showy fruits#hedges#children's garden#red fruits#Mediterranean#long bloom time#edible fruits#borders#ccp#papery#pollinator plant#edible garden#early spring flowers#mid-summer flowers#early summer flowers#late summer flowers#early fall flowers
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Nana' - Compact/dwarf form grows to 3' tall
'Nana' - Compact/dwarf form grows to 3' tall
Tags:
#hummingbirds#red#showy flowers#small tree#small spaces#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#red flowers#nectar plant#accent plant#playground#showy fruits#hedges#children's garden#red fruits#Mediterranean#long bloom time#edible fruits#borders#ccp#papery#pollinator plant#edible garden#early spring flowers#mid-summer flowers#early summer flowers#late summer flowers#early fall flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Punica
    Species:
    granatum
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Traditionally it was used medicinally to treat disorders of the ciruclartory system. Native Americans also used the blossoms in jewelry making.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    NE. Turkey to Afghanistan
    Wildlife Value:
    The brilliant flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Edibility:
    Juice from seeeds high in potassium and vitamin C and other antioxidants. Select a fruit that is heavy for the size and does not have cracks or splits. Pomegranates are hand-harvested at peak ripeness. Store whole fruit at room temperature for a few days or place in the refrigerator in plastic bags for up to 3 months. Arils can also be refrigerated or frozen in a single layer than placed in bags in the freezer for a quick snack later. Grenadine is a red syrup used to flavor beverages that is made from pomegranate seeds.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Multi-stemmed
    Oval
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Aggregate
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    This fruit is usually about the size of a large orange 2"-4" in diameter. Once the leathery outer skin is removed, hundreds of red “seeds” are revealed. Although we may call these little fruit “seeds”, they are botanically known as arils. An aril is a fleshy, juicy, brightly colored tissue, which covers the actual seed. 2 to 3.5 in. edible fruit in fall; thick rind, seedy and tart
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Trumpet
    Flower Petals:
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    1 in. orange, red, pink, yellow, or white flowers 1 1/4" wide with crepe paper-like petals cluster at the ends of branches in early summer to fall.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Opposite
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblanceolate
    Oblong
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, opposite or whorled lustrous dark green leaves; 1 to 4 in. long; yellow-green fall color
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Pool/Hardscape
    Recreational Play Area
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Hedge
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought