Difficulty
  pomegranates require high effort to manage.
∙ moderately wet climate
Ripens
  5 - 7 months after bloom
(hot climate)
Chill Hours
  0 - 200
Pollination
  self-fertile
pH
  5.5 - 7.2 (preferred), 4.5 - 8.2 (acceptable)
Yield
  2 - 4 years (clone), 3 - 4 years (seedling)
Tolerant
  saline soil (semi-tolerant)

Native Range and Climate



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][2][4] but an incidence of up to 50% has been reported.[5] 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%.[6] 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.[6]

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.[7] 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,[7][8][9] since the disease can be spread to undamaged pomegranates if they are in contact with infected fruit.[10] 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.[11]

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 (~20% vs ~10%), however, the weather may have played a role on both years studied.[9] 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),[7] 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.[12]

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.[12]


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.[13]

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.

Pomegranates do not ripen off the tree.
1.
2.
3. Effects of host physiology on the development of core rot, caused by alternaria alternata, in Red Delicious apples, .
4. Control of black heart caused by Alternaria alternata of pomegranate in California., .
5. Alternaria alternata fruit rot of pomegranate (Punica granatum) in Greece, .
6.
7.
8.
9. Incidence of Dry Rot of Pomegranate in Himachal Pradesh and Its Management, .
10.
11. Incidence and etiology of postharvest fungal diseases of pomegranate (Punica granatum cv. Mollar de Elche) in Spain, .
12.
13.




Read More

Pomegranate
Punica Granatum

AC Sweet

🔍
Developed in Beaver Dam, Arizona.
Zone
• 8a?
Color
• red skin, pink arils
Fruit
• sweet
• soft seeds

A few nurseries list AC Sweet as being hardy down to zone 6, but I highly doubt it.  can it survive zone 7b? no other soft seeded is that cold hardy.  no one talks about this variety.

Afganski

🔍
Zone
• 7b
Fruit
• sweet-tart? (tart)
• medium seeds? (hard)
• seedy

Agat

🔍
Developed in southern Russia.
Color
• red skin
Growth
• dwarf and spreading
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• soft seeds
Yield
• very productive

Al Sirin Nar

🔍
Originated in Azerbaijan or Turkmenistan.
Zone
• 7b
Color
• red skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• hard seeds
Yield
• very productive

Ambrosia

🔍
Developed in California.
Zone
• 8b
Color
• pink skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• medium seeds
• large fruit

Angel Red

🔍
Zone
• 8b
Ripens
🍎
• early
Color
• red skin, red arils
Fruit
• sweet?
• soft seeds

Ariana

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan.
Zone
• 8
Color
• red skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart to tart
• soft seeds

Austin

🔍
Originated in Syria.
Zone
• 7b? (8)
Color
• red skin, red arils
Fruit
• large fruit (1 lb or more)

Azadi

🔍
Originated in Persia.
Zone
• 8b
Ripens
🍎
• early-mid?
Color
• orange skin, pink arils
Fruit
• sweet and slightly astringent
• soft seeds

Cana

🔍
Originated in Palestine.
Fruit
• sweet

Chernaya Roza

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan.
Color
• dark purple skin
Fruit
• tart
• medium hard seeds

Chernaya Roza is Russian for 'Black Rose'.

Crimson Sky

🔍
Alias
• Nititski Ranni
Zone
• 7b
Ripens
🍎
• early-mid?
Color
• red or pink skin, burgundy or red arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• medium hard seeds
Afflictions
• Resistant to splitting.

Desertnyi

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan.
Zone
• 8
Ripens
🍎
• early-mid?
Color
• red or burgundy skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• soft seeds

Some images display an orange-pink skin color, but this does not seem to be the case when the fruit is fully ripe.

Eve

🔍
Developed in California.
Zone
• 7b? (8)
Ripens
🍎
• late
Color
• red skin, pink arils

Eversweet

🔍
Developed in California.
Zone
• 8b
Color
• red skin, yellow arils
Growth
• semi-dwarf, 8-10ft in height
Fruit
• sweet
• soft seeds

Eversweet develops a sweet flavor before maturity.

Fleishmann

🔍
Selected in Fallbrook, San Diego County, California.  Discovered in the 1950's.
Zone
• 8b
Color
• pink skin, pink arils
Fruit
• sweet
• soft seeds

Gissarskii Rozovyi

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan.
Zone
• 8
Ripens
🍎
• early-mid?
Color
• pink and yellow skin, red arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• soft seeds

Golden Globe

🔍
Developed in California.
Zone
• 8b
Color
• yellow skin, pink arils, red arils
Fruit
• sweet
• large fruit (up to 2 pounds)

Grenada

🔍
Zone
• 8a
Ripens
🍎
• early? (very early)
Color
• red skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart? (sweet)

Grenada is a less tart, earlier ripening bud mutation of Wonderful.

Haku Botan

🔍
Originated in Japan
Zone
• 8b
Ripens
🍎
• mid-late (late)
Color
• yellow skin, yellow arils
Fruit
• tart
• medium hard seeds

Haku Botan produces double white to slightly yellow flowers.

Ink

🔍
Zone
• 8b
Color
• red skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• medium seeds

Kaim Anor

🔍
Originated in Azerbaijan.
Ripens
🍎
• early
Color
• pink skin, red arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart? (sweet)
• hard seeds

The arils of Kaim Anor come out easier than most varieties.

Kaj Acik Anor

🔍
Originated in the Uzbek-Tadzhik region.
Zone
• 7b
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• hard seeds

Kaj Acik Anor and Salavatski may be able to avoid severe damage from late frost better than most other varieties.

Kara Bala Miursal

🔍
Bud mutation of Bala Miursal.  Originated in Azerbaijan.
Color
• red skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• medium hard seeds
Yield
• very productive

Kara Gul

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan
Color
• burgundy skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• medium hard seeds

Kazake

🔍
Originated in Uzbekistan
Zone
• 7b
Color
• yellow, pink, and green skin with red arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• hard seeds
Storage
• longer than most
Afflictions
• Resistant to splitting.

Kazake may awaken from dormancy sooner than some of the other cold hardy pomegranate varieties.

Lubimi

🔍
Originated in southern Russia.
Alias
• Favorite
Zone
• 7b

Mae

🔍
Developed in California
Zone
• 8b
Color
• red or burgundy skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart

Medovyi Vahsha

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan
Zone
• 8
Ripens
🍎
• early-mid?
Color
• red skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet and slightly bitter
• soft seeds

Molla Nepes

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan
Zone
• 8
Ripens
🍎
• mid-late?
Color
• red skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• soft seeds

Myagkosemyannyi Rosovyi

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan.
Alias
• Soft Seeded Pink
Zone
• 8
Color
• pink and yellow skin, pink and yellow arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• soft seeds

Myatadzhy

🔍
Zone
• 8
Color
• red or burgundy skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet
• soft seeds with a nutty flavor

Parfianka

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan
Zone
• 8b
Ripens
🍎
• mid-late (late)
Color
• red or burgundy skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• slightly astringent? sweet-tart
• soft seeds
Yield
• highly productive

Parfianka is highly recommended, but only in a hot, dry climate with a very long grow season where it can properly develop its deep flavor.

Phoenicia

🔍
Developed in California
Fruit
• medium hard seeds?

Phoenicia may have more tartness than what some nursery descriptions imply.

Pink Satin

🔍
Alias
• Pink Ice, Sin Pepe
Zone
• 8b
Ripens
🍎
• mid (mid-late)
Color
• red or pink skin, pink and yellow arils
Fruit
• sweet and fruity
• soft seeds

Red Silk

🔍
Zone
• 8b
Color
• red skin, red arils
Growth
• dwarf or semi-dwarf, 6-8ft in height
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• soft seeds

Salavatski

🔍
Zone
• 7b
Color
• pink and orange skin, red arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• medium hard seeds
Afflictions
• Resistant to splitting.

Salavatski and Kaj Acik Anor may be able to avoid severe damage from late frost better than most other varieties.

Sharp Velvet

🔍
Developed in Camarillo, California
Alias
• Purple Heart
Zone
• 8b
Ripens
🍎
• late
Color
• red skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart to sweet
• medium seeds
Afflictions
• Resistant to splitting?

Sirenevyi

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan
Zone
• 8
Ripens
🍎
• late
Color
• red, pink, and/or orange skin, burgundy arils
Fruit
• sweet and complex
• soft seeds

Sogdiana

🔍
Color
• red skin, red arils
Fruit
• sweet to sweet-tart, complex, and slightly bitter and astringent
• soft seeds

Sumbar

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan, from the Sumbar River Valley.
Zone
• 7b? (8)
Ripens
🍎
• early?
Color
• red skin
Fruit
• sweet
• soft seeds

Surh Anor

🔍
Originated in Afganistan
Zone
• 7b
Color
• pink and yellow skin, yellow and pink arils
Fruit
• sweet-tart
• hard seeds
Yield
• very productive

Surh Anor is the most productive "hardy" pomegranate available in the US.

Sverkhranniy

🔍
Originated in Turkmenistan
Ripens
🍎
• very early     ◦ early August in southern California
Fruit
• sweet
• soft seeds

Sweet

🔍
Zone
• 8b
Color
• pink skin, pink arils
Fruit
• sweet

The 'Sweet' pomegranate develops a sweet flavor before maturity.

Utah's Sweet

🔍
Ripens
🍎
• early?
Color
• • red, orange, and/or pink skin, pink and/or yellow arils
• • pink-orange flowers
Fruit
• sweet
• soft seeds

Wonderful

🔍
Selected in Porterville, CA (1896).  Scionwood originated in Florida.
Zone
• 8b
Ripens
🍎
• mid
Color
• red skin, burgundy arils
Growth
• 10-12ft in height
Fruit
• sweet-tart, slightly astringent
• medium soft seeds
• up to 5" fruit

Wonderful is the most commercially cultivated variety in the US.