Hello to my subscribers and visitors! Today’s post is from nine years ago but is still a good one to read if you are considering planting an ornamental tree (with a bonus of bearing edible fruit) that will do well in North Texas. You see, I recently discovered many of my early blog posts had somehow fell off of my site. So, I’m slowly going through my former articles stored on my laptop and reinstating them to the blog. Unfortunately, they will not be in chronological order, so please forgive me. As I’ve done before, I’ll likely disable subscription notices after this post today so that I do not overwhelm your inbox while performing maintenance. Stay tuned for new “old” posts and thank you for your patience. Now, on with the article:
Originally posted 2011
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have a large pomegranate tree on the side of my driveway, next to my veggie garden. I planted it there about 7 years ago when it was a tiny sapling. The first year or two, it did not bloom and thus, did not produce fruit. It was an attractive, healthy shrub and looked nice regardless of its lack of blooms. It wasn’t difficult to wait patiently for it to mature.
The variety I have is called California “Wonderful.” Today it stands about 12 feet tall and is about 8 – 10 feet wide. It has reliably produced 25 – 30 pomegranates each year for the past five. Most of its fruit have been incredibly sweet (the way I like them) and then some have been typically tart (the way others seem to like them.) I have picked both sweet and tart from this tree in the same season so I do not know what environmental issues may cause the difference in the taste. My guess is that the opposing fruits may have matured at separate times when there was a varied amount of rainfall, temperature and/or sunshine.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to crack open and eat a fresh pomegranate, not only are you missing a tasty treat, but also the very interesting architectural display of the interior of this fruit. The fruit is divided by what I call honeycombed cellulose which supports and separates many small seeds. The seeds are each surrounded by wine-colored juice that is encapsulated in a gel sac. Speaking of wine-colored juice – pom juice indeed stains like wine – so beware!
You can eat a pomegranate in two ways – with or without swallowing the hard seed. Which in other words means – a “less messy” way or a “very messy” way. I prefer the very messy way as I am not interested in the somewhat chewy hard seeds (although I understand they are excellent sources of fiber and I have been told they taste pretty good in oatmeal.) Instead of swallowing the seeds whole, I chew the gel sac, swallow the juice and spit out the hard seed. This means I either need to be outdoors when eating or I must keep a discard bowl beside me when I eat the fruit. Sortof like when eating sunflower seeds. Even though it is an arduous task, it is well worth it. You see, not only is the pomegranate delicious, it is chock full of vitamins and antioxidants.
If you read the book of Song of Solomon in the Bible, you will find many references to the pomegranate. In fact, it may have been a pomegranate that Eve gave to Adam instead of an apple! For more information about the history and nutritional value of the pomegranate, go to http://www.medicinehunter.com/pomegranate-wonder-fruit.
Pomegranates are large deciduous shrubs that originate from the Mediterranean regions of Asia, Europe and Africa. I’d also like to add here that during the bare, winter months, the limbs of the pomegranate produce rather huge thorns. Just keep this in mind when you prune your tree come late winter or early spring. Incidentally, fruit is borne on new growth, so spring pruning is fine.
Well, let’s get to how to grow pomegranates! The good news is they are not fussy and are easy to grow. Poms will thrive in most any soil and are drought tolerant once they are established. They enjoy cool winters and hot, dry summers (one of the reasons they do so very well in California – and I must say, also in North Texas.) If you are in an area with such varied seasons, you are in luck! As with the Vitex, be sure to find a sunny area in your landscape to plant your sapling where the tree will have plenty of room to spread, again, up to 8 feet (see varieties at the link far below to consider smaller or dwarf versions.) It is best to wait to plant your pomegranate in the fall so that it is not stressed by the heat of summer, however you probably could get away with planting in early spring if you wanted to give it a try.
Please don’t be discouraged if your tree doesn’t bloom the first couple of years. It may take about 2-3 years for most pomegranate trees to mature to the point they will bloom and set fruit. Still, as I mentioned earlier, the shrub itself is quite attractive. However, as you can see below, the gorgeous pops of bright orange flowers that eventually emerge are very well worth the wait!
In conclusion, I encourage you to find an ample spot in your landscape for this beautiful biblical tree that also produces tasty and very healthy treats. For a descriptive list of pomegranate varieties, go to https://plantdatabase.earth/pomegranate. Surely there is one for you!
Until next time –