A pomegranate tree is a welcome addition to any garden. The tree bears attractive red flowers and fruit and doesn’t take up much space. They also grow particularly well in our Mediterranean climate of dry, hot summers and wet winters.
Pomegranate trees can be grown from seeds or propagated from hardwood cuttings, but it’s best to initially buy a named cultivar from a garden centre. Plant it in a sunny position where it enjoys high visibility – it’s a very attractive tree, so you won’t want it hidden away. Pomegranates grow well in most soil types and require only water and occasional feeding to produce an abundance of fruit. The bright red flowers appear in spring and summer, followed by the attractive fruit.
The fruit should be harvested in late summer or early autumn. The rule of thumb to test whether the fruit is ripe is to tap it on the outside – if it makes a ‘metallic’ sound it is ready to harvest. Fruits which split open on the tree are overripe. Remember to use secateurs when harvesting the fruit, as picking them can tear the skin. Pomegranates have a long shelf life after being picked and can be kept for up to 4 months.After harvesting, remember to fertilise your pomegranate tree in late winter with a high nitrogen fertiliser.
Pomegranate seeds are beautiful and delicious – add them to salads and desserts, or use them as a garnish. Pomegranate juice is tangy and sweet and has excellent health properties, due to its high antioxidant content. Pomegranate juice and seeds can also be used as an interesting substitute for citrus in recipes.
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