UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Punica granatum

Pronunciation
PU-ni-kuh grah-NAT-um
Common Name
Pomegranate
Plant Type
Shrub
Mature Size
15 ft. to 20 ft. tall and wide, but can prune smaller
Water Requirements
Low: water every three weeks until the root ball is wet
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full sun
Flower Color
Orange-red flowers with ornamental yellow, orange, or red fruit
Wildlife
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

We are always looking for small, well-behaved shrubs for the perennial garden. Pomegranates fit the bill nicely. Pomegranates flower in the early summer and have attractive golden leaf color in the late fall. The fruit, which forms in the mid-fall, adds color to the fall garden. One drawback is pomegranates lose all their leaves in the winter and don't have a particularly attractive branching structure.

Sunset's Western Garden Book recommends regular water, but says pomegranates tolerate considerable drought. We have found that pomegranates do quite well with deep and infrequent watering. Another bonus of a low water regime is the tree grows more slowly and requires less frequent pruning.

In our garden, we prune pomegranates in the late winter to maintain them as shrubs. Since pomegranates can grow to be quite large, some gardeners may choose to prune off the bottom branches of the shrub to give the plant a pleasing tree-like form.

There are a number of ornamental cultivars that are grown for showy flowers. There are also dwarf cultivars. We do not grow these pomegranates in the Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, but encourage you to give them a try.

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