The pomegranate is a small deciduous tree or shrub with narrow oblong leaves, trumpet-shaped red flowers and large round red fruit. Those are covered by a hard pericarp and contain a great number of seeds, each covered by a tasty red aril.

The bark is grey-brown and smooth on young trees, getting furrowed and flaky with age. Some twigs produce thorns. Originally the pomegranate is native to Iran, Armenia and North India, but it is also widespread in Asia and in mediterranean countries. Pomegranates need warm temperatures and are not frost-tolerant. Only in winter dormancy they can endure a slight frost. Pomegranate trees can become several hundred years old. They are grown for their fruit and as ornamental trees. Pomegranate juice and Grenadine syrup are popular in Drinks and Cocktails and in some countries Pomegranate seeds are also used as spice or for medical purposes.
The dwarf cultivar Punica granatum 'Nana' with smaller fruit and delicate branches is especially well suited for small bonsai. The 'Nejikan' variety naturally develops a twisted trunk which looks very attractive.

If you need help identifying your tree, try our Bonsai tree identification guide.

 

Specific Bonsai care guidelines for the Pomegranate

Position: The pomegranate needs a warm sunny and airy place over the growing season. In hot and dry climates pomegranate bonsai in small pots should be protected from hot afternoon sun in summer. On the other hand they must also be protected from frost. A frost-free cold frame with temperatures between 2 and 8° C (35 – 46°F) is an ideal place in winter.

Watering: Water the dwarf pomegranate tree when the soil gets dry. When the flowers open and during the summer the trees need more water than usual. In winter keep the soil slightly moist. Avoid watering with calcareous water.

Feeding: Apply solid organic fertilizer every four weeks or use a liquid fertilizer every week during the growing season. Use a product with low nitrogen and high phosphorous and potassium content for promoting flower and fruit on mature trees. Do not fertilize while the tree is flowering.

Pruning and wiring: Pruning can best be done during winter dormancy when there are no leaves in the way. During the growing season, new shoots are trimmed when they have reached a length of approximately 10 - 15 cm (4 - 6 inch). If you want flowers to develop, do not trim the shoots before flowering, because the flower buds grow at the tips of the new shoots. Don't let too many fruits develop in order not to weaken the tree.
Wiring can be done best when there are no leaves on the tree. Old branches are quite stiff and brittle, but younger twigs are flexible and can be shaped easily.

Repotting: Repot the pomegranate every two to three years in early spring before the leaf buds open. The roots can be pruned considerably. Use a well-draining soil mix. The pomegranate likes slightly acidic or neutral soil with a pH value not more than 7.

Propagation: The pomegranate can be propagated from seed, cuttings and by air-layering. Hardwood cuttings can be taken in spring before the buds open, semi-hardwood cuttings in summer. Root cuttings are also a good option.

Pests and diseases: Normally, vigorous pomegranate trees are hardly attacked by pests and diseases. Aphids, scale, whitefly and mealy bugs can affect the pomegranate if it is weakened by improper position (like indoors) and care, then use a specific pesticide and improve the growing conditions for your tree. Root rot can occur when the tree is overwatered. Frequent watering with calcareous water can cause chlorosis.

For more detailed information on these techniques, try our Bonsai tree care section.

 

 

Example of a dwarf Pomegranate Bonsai tree

Punica, Dwarf Pomegranate Bonsai