Pomegranate Tree Types – Tips On Choosing Varieties Of Pomegranate


By: Amy Grant

Pomegranates are centuries-old fruit long the symbol of prosperity and abundance. Prized for the succulent arils inside the various colored leathery skin, pomegranates can be grown in USDA growing zones 8-10. If you are lucky enough to live within those regions, you may be wondering what pomegranate tree variety is best for you.

Pomegranate Tree Types

Some types of pomegranate fruit trees bear fruit with a rind of yellowish pink all the way up through the color spectrum to a deep burgundy.

Varieties of pomegranate come in not only different exterior hues, but they may have soft to hard arils. Depending upon what you plan to use them for, this may be a consideration when choosing a plant. For example, if you plan to juice the fruit, hard or soft doesn’t matter, but if you want to eat it fresh, softer is the more likely choice.

While pomegranates natural habit is that of a shrub, they may be pruned into small trees. That said, severe pruning may affect fruit set. If you wish to grow the plant as an ornamental, then this is not a consideration.

Pomegranate Tree Types

Of the pomegranate tree varieties, there are several that mature earlier, which are recommended for gardeners growing in the coastal regions of USDA zones 8-10 since summers are mild. Areas with long, hot dry summers can grow almost any type of pomegranate fruit tree.

The following are some of the varieties of pomegranate available but by no means a comprehensive list:

  • Sienevyi has large, soft seeded fruit, sweet in flavor much like a watermelon. The skin is pink with dark purple arils. This is one of the most popular of the pomegranate tree types.
  • Parfianka is another soft seeded variety with bright red skin and pink arils that are extremely juicy with a flavor akin to wine.
  • Desertnyi, a soft seeded type with a sweet, tart, mild citrusy hint.
  • Angel Red is soft seeded, very juicy fruit with bright red rind and arils. This is a heavy producer and a great choice for juicing.
  • Sin Pepe, which means “seedless,” (also known as Pink Ice and Pink Satin) is also soft seeded with a flavor like fruit punch from its light pink arils.
  • Ariana, another soft seeded fruit, does best in hot inland regions.
  • Gissarskii Rozovyi is very soft seeded, mildly tart with both skin and arils a light pink.
  • Kashmir Blend has medium-hard seeds. The rind is red with a yellowish-green tinge and tart to sour red arils born from a small size tree. Good fruit for cooking, especially for use with proteins.
  • Hard seeded types are the best for juicing and include ‘Al Sirin Nar’ and ‘Kara Gul.’
  • Golden Globe is a good choice for the coast, with softish arils born from bright red/orange blossoms that are prolific over a long season. Pomegranate types most suited for coastal regions (Sunset zone 24) are shorter season trees and are not recommended for warmer climates.
  • Eversweet is a red rinded fruit with clear arils that do not stain. Eversweet may be a biennial bearer depending upon the region.
  • Granada is sweet to lightly tart with dark red skin and fruit that is medium in size.
  • Francis, hailing from Jamaica, is frost-sensitive with large sweet fruit.
  • Sweet is a large fruiting variety with light red/pink pomegranates. Sweet is sweet, as its name implies, and is an early bearing, extremely productive variety that is also frost-sensitive.

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Pomegranate Trees grow into beautiful, rounded large shrubs or small trees that reach 15 to 25 feet tall. So when looking for a different tree to grow in warmer regions, this often-overlooked tree is a great choice. Its small, glossy green leaves are always attractive, the bright red flowers are colorful and worth growing for their effect alone and the fruits are a dramatic addition in fall and early winter.

Pomegranate Trees can be grown as background plants, single specimens or in a large shrub border, or as a screen for summer privacy and shade. The trees have a very long life and become more attractive with age as they develop the gnarled trunks and furrowed bark similar to that seen in Olive Trees. They can also be grown as an attractive hedge which if not pruned too frequently will still flower and fruit. Hedges become dense and twiggy, making great barriers as well as privacy screens.


Pomegranate Tree Varieties: Common Types Of Pomegranate Fruit Trees - garden

Pomegranates are native to Iran and the drier half of south Asia. In addition, they have been extensively cultivated in Caucasia, other parts of the Middle East, and the Mediterranean basin. Rainfall within their native region is near 0" for 4 months (in the middle of the grow season) and 1" to 1.5" per month during the rest of the year. While established plants can tolerate severe drought and extreme heat, irrigation is necessary if you wish to get a good crop. However, heavy irrigation during bloom may encourage the flowers to drop. It will also encourage mature fruit to split if done after a dry spell.

Many varieties are hardy down to 12F (-11.1C), but the most cold hardy can survive temperatures down to 7F (-13.9C), possibly lower. Young trees may be more sensitive to winter cold, and temperatures around 28F (-2.2C) will often kill pomegranate trees if they are awake from dormancy. Since they are propagated through rooted cuttings rather than grafting, you'll retain the same variety, but they may not fruit again for a few years. Bud break seems to happen quite early considering those grown near – but still some distance away from – the east coast often die back to the ground (where the large body of water helps suppress the temperature swings often seen further inland). The fruit of those that do manage to survive in the east often suffer from fungal problems due to the wet climate, but some of them manage to be spared.

Disease

Heart rot, predominantly caused by the fungus Alternaria alternata, is the most serious pomegranate disease. Spores infect the pistils of open flowers and grow down the tunnel to reach the inside of the fruit. From there, they remain latent until later in the ripening process, when the fungus begins to rot the arils. [1] From the outside, the fruit looks healthy, but infected fruit are lighter in weight and emit a hollow sound when knocked, rather than the dull sound of healthy fruit. It may also cause a slight discoloration of the skin. [1][2]

Colonization of A. alternata in the pistils of asymptomatic pomegranates can be significant, with some found in the tunnels as well. [1] The reason why the arils are spared from infection is not entirely known, but it's possible that this situation is similar to core rot in Red Delicious apples. Apple core rot is also caused by A. alternata and was noticeably worse in light yielding trees. Trees that produce a lighter crop have heavier shoot growth and larger fruit, and, as a result, a lower calcium concentration in the fruit. [3] Calcium is believed to inhibit an enzyme produced by A. alternata needed for the fungus to grow. [1]

Heart rot in fairly dry climates seems to infect roughly 10-20% of the fruit on untreated trees in well established orchards, [1][4][5] but an incidence of up to 50% has been reported. [6] In wet climates, it's difficult to say, but for home-growers who occasionally experience serious die-back due to late frosts or cold winters, incidences of heart rot appear to be significant, at least some years, possibly due to light cropping.

Incidences of heart rot have been reduced by various fungicidal treatments. In Cyprus, Wonderful pomegranates from control trees in two different orchards had an average heart rot infection rate of 8.8%. [7] Trees sprayed twice with copper oxide, 7 weeks apart, before bloom had an infection rate of 4.2%, and trees sprayed twice during bloom with a Propiconazole + Difenoconazol mix, 2 weeks apart, had the lowest infection rate of 2.4%. Copper oxide is used before bloom since it is known to cause negative effects on the flowers and fruit set. [7]

Pilidiella granati, also known as Coniella granati, has recently become a fungus of high concern in various parts of the world. It can infect the fruit, leaves, twigs, stems, and the crown of the bush. Mycelial growth is most significant between the temperatures of 77F/25C and 86F/30C, and, as a result, infected fruit will begin to show symptoms when they are at least half-grown. [8] They will develop dry, dark brown lesions that expand quickly and ultimately lead to the mummification of the fruit. Heavy losses can be attained before harvest and in storage, [8] [9] [10] since the disease can be spread to undamaged pomegranates if they are in contact with infected fruit. [11] The disease, however, spreads slowly when stored at the temperature of 41F/5C, showing no signs of infection on inoculated fruit during the entire 42 day duration observed, in one study. [12]

Orchards with good sanitation practices may have considerably lower incidences of disease from P. granati. In the Solan district of India, where mummified fruit were often seen on the orchard floor, the percentage of diseased fruit was roughly double of the other two districts observed (

10%), however, the weather may have played a role on both years studied. [10] Further evaluations have indicated that overwintering pycnidia (asexual fruiting bodies) were found at a higher rate on mummified fruit than on blighted shoots and trees with symptoms of crown rot (77%, 25%, 19%, respectively), [8] implying mummified fruit are the greatest source of infection.

Anthracnose, caused by the fungus Colletotrichum spp, is another serious pomegranate disease that may attack the fruit, leaves, shoots, or twigs to varying degrees, depending on the species complex. When the fruit is vulnerable, it is fairly common for dark lesions to begin at the calyx of immature fruit, and as the season progresses, sunken spots will form throughout, provided the conditions are right. The disease thrives in humid climates and is most active between the temperatures of 68F/20C to 86F/30C. [13]

In a three year survey in the southeastern United States, anthracnose was the pathogen identified to have the greatest impact on yield loss, destroying as much as 90% of the crop, if left unmanaged. Colletotrichum related anthracnose is also known to infect the fruit and leaves of many other species, some of which have been verified to cross infect one another. [13]

Pests

The leaffooted bug appears to be the most significant pomegranate pest, primarily because they create entry points for pathogens when they feed. The adults look fairly similar to stink bugs but are more elongated and are roughly an inch in length. They are strong flyers, long lived, and produce bright orange-red nymphs that look quite similar to those of the beneficial assassin bug. Feeding may cause the arils to wither, and in some regions or years with warm winters, high population numbers can overwhelm the fruit. Temperatures around 21F/-6C will begin to kill some of the more exposed bugs. [14]

The omnivorous leafroller may occasionally be a significant pest, especially if grapevines or other more desirable hosts, including various weeds, are nearby. They, too, are largely a concern for creating entry points for pathogens.

Seed Firmness

"Hard seeds" may not be edible, but "medium hard seeds" should be (assuming the label is accurate). Sometimes soft and hard seeds are the only two labels used. Medium soft to medium hard seeds are often placed in the hard seed label, so this creates some confusion.

Storage

Pomegranates can be stored for roughly 2 - 3 months, if the temperature is around 45F (7.2C) with a relative humidity between 85 - 95%. Temperatures below 41F (5C) will eventually cause chilling injury to the fruit. Regardless, people still freeze the arils, so injury is likely insignificant outside of decreasing its ability to sell.


'Wonderful'

The Clemson University Extension advises that 'Wonderful' is the pomegranate variety against which all others are judged. The most common pomegranate in cultivation in the United States, 'Wonderful' grows 8 to 12 feet tall and bears a profusion of large, deep-red fruits that ripen in September. Its red-orange flowers attract hummingbirds, and its small, glossy leaves make this pomegranate and attractive landscape tree in hardiness zones 8 and 9 in addition to its value in producing fruit. Texas A&M University Extension adds that while 'Wonderful' is the most common commercial pomegranate variety in California, other varieties such as 'Purple Seed' and 'Spanish Ruby' excel in Florida, where more humidity would make 'Wonderful' less productive.


Punica granatum

  • A fruit-bearing deciduous with fruit typically in season from September to February
  • One of the easiest fruit trees to grow and well suited for growing in arid climates
  • Pomegranate fruits are full of antioxidants and are great for juicing
  • Beautiful, showy red pomegranate flowers attract hummingbirds
  • Self-fruitful

Pomegranate, botanical name Punica granatum, is a small, fruit-bearing deciduous with the super healthy fruit typically in season from September to February. From Iran and northern India, these are also attractive, small landscape trees with shiny foliage, and they can produce showy pomegranate flowers that attract hummingbirds and add wonderful color to any landscape. Their smaller size makes them ideal for small spaces!

The Pomegranate tree is also one of the easiest fruit trees to grow and thrives in our local climate. Since they are well-suited for arid environments, once established, they have low to moderate water requirements and are drought tolerant. Plant them in a spot with full sun exposure, and they can flourish. Once they have been established in your landscape, we like to apply Moon Dust fertilizer so it can enhance fruit quality and the overall health of the plant.

We like to plant a Pomegranate tree in any backyard garden or a front yard as an accent. These are an attractive small tree no matter where you choose to plant one! Of course, the added benefit of the healthy fruit helps to make these an attractive option for our area. Homegrown fruit always tastes better!

Moon Valley Nurseries takes the guesswork out and only carries the best varieties for our area. Call or visit your nearest nursery location to find what we have in stock. We are the growers so that we can assure their quality is the best you will find anywhere! Plant and enjoy the many benefits Pomegranates can bring to your life!


Pomegranate Trees or ‘Punica granatum’ are a deciduous tree to small shrub that have decorative and edible fruit. A small tree reaching a height of around 5 – 8m depending on variety, conditions and soil. They do have attractive orange to red flowers in spring, followed by the wonderful pomegranate fruit.

Perhaps the two best fruit varieties of Pomegranate for sale to the home gardener are Gulosha Rosavaya and Gulosha Azerbaijani, these are less bitter than many others. Wonderful is one of the most widely grown commercial varieties.

Pomegranates are one of the oldest cultivated trees.New Dwarf pomegranate trees that will grow to only 1-2 m are now available.

Growing Pomegranate Trees

Pomegranate Trees are used both for their fruits and as ornamental trees. Different species have different qualities, some pomegranates are very bitter, others are sweet. Pomegranate trees are long lived and will grow to 5-6m depending on conditions.

Pomegranate trees in flower

Although seem as being grown for the fruit, they also make good hedging plants, and an interesting ornamental specimen in the garden, good glossy foliage, attractive red flowers followed by the classic shaped fruit, which will remain on the tree after the foliage has dropped.

The pomegranate tree in flower (pictured right) is growing in a sunny position in the Dandenong ranges in Victoria.

It does fruit, and it certainly copes with cold wet winters, in its well drained position.

In Australia, pomegranates will grow in most areas, they do not like extreme cold, however they will happily grow and fruit in the Dandenong ranges near Melbourne and grow well in Queensland as well.

Propagation

Although pomegranates can be grown from seed, it you are after good quality fruit you are best to look for named cultivars that have been developed for this purpose.

From a small seedling to a size where it will bear fruit the pomegranate tree will take a few years. In the first two years you will be lucky to get any fruit. At 3 – 4 years you will get a few and then the tree will begin to produce more fruit.

Basic Care

It is not difficult to grow pomegranates given the right climate. A sunny warm position is best. A deep humus rich loamy soil is best.

  • Pomegranates will grow from temperate areas through to sub tropical.
  • Best in full sun
  • Frosts can be a problem. In cooler areas pomegranates are semi – deciduous.
  • Prune in late winter to very early spring to maintain a bushy habit
  • Once established, these are really drought tolerant, however like most fruit trees they need adequate water to ensure a good crop of fruit.
Pomegranate Fruit

Dwarf Pomegranate Fruit Tree Varieties

Dwarf pomegranate (Punica granatum ‘Nana’) trees have been around for over 200 years, and are now available in Australia, some of these have cultivars these are grafted onto the dwarfing ‘nana’ rootstock.

Remember to ask what type is grafted onto it, try looking for the sweeter pomegranate varieties such as ‘Gulosha Rosavaya’ and ‘Gulosha Azerbaijani.

Pomegranate Tree Varieties

Remember that different varieties and cultivars have some very different characteristics, like sweetness and final size. Some of the better varieties include Wonderful and Gulosha Azerbaijani . The first of these is widely grown commercially, the second does not have a great looking fruit, however taste is superior to most, very sweet and juicy.

  • Achik Dani
  • Anar shirin Mohamed Ali
  • Bassein Seedless
  • Big Red
  • Chawla
  • Eche
    Very high in antioxidants and developed in Spain as the name suggests.
  • Elcite
  • Ganesh
  • Griffiths
  • Gulosha Azerbaijani
    Very deep red fleshy seeds, juicy and well worth growing.
  • Galoshna Rosavaya
    A slightly elongated fruit with a very good flavour.
  • Isseka
  • Jalore Seedless
  • Jativa
  • Johdpur Red
  • Jyothi
  • Kandahar Kabul
  • Kazake
  • Nabha
  • Veles
  • Wonderful
    One of the best commercial varieties. This variety has deep crimson red flesh and softer seeds compared to many others.


Planting and Care

For best growth and fruit production, pomegranates need deep, slightly acidic, moist soil. Plants need irrigating every 7 to 10 days when there isn’t significant rainfall. It’s important to maintain adequate soil moisture in late summer and early fall to reduce potential fruit splitting.

These plants naturally grow into a multi-trunk bushy shrub with many suckers growing in the root and crown area. If you prefer, you can encourage your plant to grow into a tree form by pruning off the suckers and allowing only one trunk to develop. It’s best to remove suckers from around the main trunks regularly. When you plant your tree, let it grow the first year without pruning. During the second year, select four to six strong sprouts that will make up the main structure of the tree. Remove any excessive branches and sprouts frequently during the growing season. During the first two years of growth prune your plant to produce stocky, compact framework.

Pomegranate trees are self-pollinating, which means you only need to plant one tree in order to get fruit. You tree will produce more fruit if it is planted in full sun rather than in a shady area.

Leaf blotch and fruit spot are the diseases often observed on Florida pomegranate trees. Leaf blotch will appear as small, circular to angular dark reddish-brown to black areas on the leaves. Infected leaves are pale green and fall prematurely. Fruit spot looks like small, conspicuous, dark brown spots that are initially circular and become angular. These diseases can be controlled with a fungicide (conventional or organic). Check the label to be sure it is approved for use on pomegranates and safe to use on edible fruits.



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