Where and how does pomegranate grow in nature and at home
Pomegranate is one of the main fruit species of the subtropical climate, introduced into the culture from ancient times and since then has been widely distributed wherever there are suitable soil and climatic conditions for this plant. Pomegranates are also successfully growing in the southern regions of Russia in open ground. In addition, it is one of the most popular indoor plants that does not require particularly complex care. There are also decorative varieties of pomegranate, including with double flowers of different colors.
Varieties of pomegranate, their main characteristics and biological characteristics
In the modern botanical classification, pomegranates belong to the Derbennikov family, before it was often allocated to a separate Pomegranate family.
There are very few types of pomegranate:
- wild Socotran pomegranate, growing only in Yemen on the island of Socotra and not used in culture in any way;
- common pomegranate, widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean and in Western Asia in gardens and in the wild, having many cultivated fruit and ornamental varieties;
- Dwarf pomegranate is a miniature variety of ordinary pomegranate, due to its compact size it is very popular as a houseplant around the world.
Pomegranate is a small multi-stemmed tree or shrub up to 5 meters high. Very often, its branches at the ends have sharp spines, especially in wild-growing forms. The leaves are bright green, narrow, up to 8 centimeters long and up to 2 centimeters wide. In the tropics, pomegranate behaves like an evergreen plant; in the subtropical zone with relatively cold winters, its leaves fall in autumn. In a room culture, the leaves of a pomegranate can be preserved all year round or fall for the winter in whole or in part, this depends on the light and temperature in the room.
Pomegranate is an important fruit crop in warm climates
The first flowers and fruits begin to appear on plants at the age of three. Flowering is very long, in the open field begins in the spring and lasts almost all summer, and individual single flowers can appear even in early autumn.
Many indoor varieties of pomegranate with good care can bloom almost all year round.
Pomegranate flowers come in two types:
- bell-shaped without an ovary, not bearing fruit and falling off soon after flowering;
- pitcher-shaped with a clearly visible ovary of the future fruit, it is from these flowers that after harvesting the fruit crop is formed.
Pomegranate fruits grow from flowers with a clearly visible ovary.
The wild pomegranate and most of its fruit varieties have bright red flowers. Flowers of its decorative varieties are red, white, or variegated white-red. In wild plants and in fruit varieties, flowers are simple, in decorative forms are simple or double.
As a rule, double flowers do not form pomegranate flowers.
Pomegranate is a self-pollinated plant. About 4–5 months pass from flowering to fruit ripening; for normal ripening, high air temperatures of at least + 25 ° C are needed.
Pomegranate fruits ripen for several months.
The pomegranate fruit is completely unique in its structure and is called “pomegranate” in scientific botanical terminology. These fruits have a spherical shape with a crown-like rim on the side opposite to the stem. Numerous edible “grains” of pomegranate - its seeds, each of which is surrounded by a layer of delicious juicy pulp - are hidden under a rough and inedible brownish-red or dark-red peel. These "grains" are most often dark red, in some varieties light red or pink. The fruits of cultural forms of pomegranate to taste are acidic, sweet and sweet and sour. They ripen very late, depending on the variety and region from September to November. Ripe fruits often crack right on the tree, especially with a lack of moisture.
Pomegranate fruits often crack right on the tree.
The average mass of pomegranate fruits in cultural forms is about 200–250 grams, and in the best large-fruited varieties, the fruits reach a mass of 500–800 grams and a diameter of 15–18 centimeters. In industrial culture, the yield reaches 30-60 kilograms of fruit from one tree or bush. Pomegranate is very durable and in good conditions bears fruit for up to 100 years or more. Harvested ripened fruits can be stored for up to several months at a low plus temperature in a dry room with good ventilation.
The origin of pomegranate and the main areas of its growing
The homeland of pomegranate is Turkey, Transcaucasia, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. This plant has been cultivated since ancient times and spread throughout the Mediterranean. Wild specimens are found in southern Europe and North Africa. Now pomegranate is grown in almost all countries with a subtropical climate.
In the Mediterranean countries, pomegranate grows in gardens and often runs wild
For a subtropical plant, pomegranates are quite frost-hardy, some of its varieties withstand short-term frosts up to -15 ° C with almost no damage. But already at -18 ° C the whole aerial part freezes to the root neck, and with more severe frosts the plants die completely.
Pomegranate is very photophilous and very drought tolerant, but to obtain high yields of high-quality fruits requires sufficient moisture. In an arid zone without watering, the plants themselves will not die, but their fruits will be small and crack.
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How pomegranate grows in the wild
In the zone of its natural growth, pomegranates are found mainly in the lower part of the mountain belt, on rocky slopes, and especially on sandy and pebble alluvial soils along the banks of mountain rivers. In the most favorable conditions, pomegranate grows in a tree; higher in the mountains it takes the form of a bush.
Growing pomegranate in Europe
Pomegranate is widely grown in all Mediterranean countries of Europe as a fruit and ornamental garden plant. A lot of pomegranates in Spain, Italy, Greece. In addition to traditional fruit varieties, various decorative forms of pomegranate with red, white or mottled red-white flowers, often double ones, are very popular here.
In decorative varieties of pomegranate flowers are double
During my trip to Northern Italy, I was very surprised by the view of pomegranate bushes in the village gardens there. They were planted purely for beauty in almost every area, but for most hosts the pomegranate bushes growing without any care had a very miserable appearance: disheveled, pale, with single random flowers. Only in some specially groomed gardens did she see truly spectacular specimens of pomegranate, neatly shaped and blooming profusely.
Growing Pomegranate in Central Asia
Pomegranate is often found in Central Asia, especially in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Here it is one of the most beloved garden crops, cultivated since ancient times. There are many local varieties with large fruits of excellent taste. In the lower part of the mountain slopes, wild grenades are also found, which usually take a bushy shape. Ripening and harvesting takes place from mid-September to mid-October. Without shelter, pomegranates can grow here only in the warmest places. In most Central Asian gardens, pomegranate bushes are bent to the ground for the winter, covered with straw and a layer of land 20-30 centimeters thick.
In nature, wild pomegranate often grows in the form of a bush.
Growing pomegranate in the Caucasus
Pomegranate is very popular and has long been grown in all countries of the Transcaucasian region - Georgia, Abkhazia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Many local varieties with excellent quality fruits have been created here, Armenian and Azerbaijani pomegranates are especially famous. Harvested in October. Some places still come across wild pomegranate trees. In a subtropical coastal zone with very mild winters, pomegranate grows as a tree and hibernates wonderfully without any shelter, in the gardens of the foothill zone, where winters are colder, pomegranate bushes bend to the ground and cover in late autumn.
Outdoor cultivation of pomegranate in Russia and Ukraine
In Russia, pomegranate successfully grows and bears fruit in open ground in only a few southern regions with fairly long hot summers and mild short winters:
- in the southern part of Dagestan;
- in the subtropics of the Krasnodar Territory;
- in Crimea.
Pomegranates are also grown in the gardens of the Black Sea zone of Ukraine.
Pomegranate grows well and bears fruit in Crimea
In the Crimea and the Krasnodar Territory, pomegranate blooms in May, the fruits ripen in October.
Is it possible to grow pomegranate in the suburbs
Pomegranate is a southern plant, and in central Russia it is grown only in a room or greenhouse culture.
However, on one of the garden forums on the Internet there is information from an amateur gardener from the Moscow Region, in whom a small pomegranate bush successfully survived several winters in the garden with thorough winter shelter. In autumn, he builds a “house” above the plant from several car tires laid on top of one another, covers it with a spruce top and additionally insulates it with snow. But the owner himself admits that his pomegranate has never bloomed and is unlikely to ever be, because the plant does not have enough summer heat for full development.
How pomegranate grows at home
Indoor dwarf variety of pomegranate is grown. These miniature trees rarely grow above one meter; their usual height is about 70 centimeters in adult plants. The leaves are small, with good lightening in warm rooms, they can be preserved year-round. At low temperatures or with a lack of light, the leaves begin to fall off.
If the indoor pomegranate completely dropped the leaves for the winter, it is better to move it to a cool room with a temperature of about + 6 ° C (non-freezing basement or cellar with adequate ventilation) before spring and hardly water until spring.
During a cold wintering in a leafless state, indoor pomegranate wakes up in March - April. First, the leaves unfold, and about a month after that, the first flowers appear. Flowering lasts until September - October.
In summer, it is very useful to put indoor pomegranate in the open air, in a bright place protected from the winds on the balcony or in the garden.
The fruits of a pomegranate do not exceed 2-3 centimeters in diameter. They are edible, but their taste is very mediocre, especially compared to the fruits of garden varieties. These fruits can be stored on branches for months, decorating a pomegranate tree very much.
My neighbors in the old apartment had a wonderful copy of a room grenade on the windowsill. It was a beautiful adult tree of almost a meter height, growing in a relatively small pot with a volume of about three liters. It stood on the windowsill of a large bright window in a warm room and was decorated with flowers and fruits all year round. In autumn and winter, part of the leaves still crumbled, but there were quite a lot of them on the branches, and the tree retained a very attractive appearance all winter.
Pomegranate is a very beautiful plant and not too demanding to care for. In those regions where winter frosts do not allow to grow pomegranate trees in the garden in the open ground, there is always the opportunity to acquire a dwarf indoor pomegranate, perfectly growing in an ordinary flower pot on the windowsill.