Pomegranate is a very ancient plant that comes from the regions of south-west Asia, it is widespread and cultivated both in Italy and in Spain, in areas where the climate is warmer. It has a rather slow and modest growth, in fact, it does not reach heights of more than 5-7 meters. It has deciduous, small and elongated leaves, which in the young shoots are red, then becoming light green. It has red flowers with 5-8 petals that grow, both on the apex of the branches of a year and on the darts. It produces more or less red-orange fruits, which form seeds covered with a red, very juicy and sour pulp, which is the only edible part of the fruit. The pomegranate resists well to the high summer temperatures while, in the less warm areas it fears the rains and the high humidity of the ground and the air during the autumn, causing the plant to strip early. The fruits, as well as for fresh consumption, are also used for the preparation of syrups, soft drinks and pastry products.
The most widespread methods for the propagation of the pomegranate are: the cutting, which can be carried out with parts of branch or even root, and the rooted suckers that grow at the base of the stock of adult plants. Propagation by seed is not widely used, since the plants obtained are difficult to maintain the characteristics of the mother plant, in these cases, on these seedlings it is possible to practice a graft, both split and with a dormant bud. It is also possible to obtain new pomegranate plants by layering and offshoots. Usually the plants of Punica granatum are planted in the spring period, or, in the autumn season, when the temperatures are still mild and there is no danger of night frosts.
Prune the pomegranate
The pomegranate is a very polloniferous plant, therefore, if left to grow in a natural way, it assumes a bushy growth habit, while through particular prunings it is possible to obtain various forms. In gardens it is also highly appreciated as an ornamental plant for the beautiful color of the foliage and the decorativeness of the fruits when they are ripe, so the sapling shapes with stem at 1.5 m are the most suitable, in this case you have to have the trick to eliminate the suckers that grow at the foot of the plant. It is possible to raise the plant also in vase or espalier form, growing three or four main branches from the base, then arranging them in the desired way. Later, for a good fruition, the twigs that made the previous year will be eliminated and the branches of a year will sprout, then eliminate the suckers that grow at the foot so as not to remove the vigor of the formed plant.
Soil and fertilization
It has no particular needs, it is sufficient to intervene also with abundant organic fertilizers, mature manure and manure, during the end of winter.
The plant of Punica granatum grows well in rather heavy substrates, with a clay component; fundamental, however, is to check that the soil guarantees the right degree of drainage as this plant does not tolerate water stagnation. A good soil is composed of clay, organic fertilizer and a small part of sand or other draining material. The cultivation of the plant of Punica granatum to collect its fruits, usually takes place in the ground, while if you want to keep it for ornamental purposes it can also be grown in pots.
For the cultivation of this variety of fruits it is good to take some cultural precautions that will allow to obtain healthy and luxuriant plants. It is good to keep in mind that for a good development of the plant, the temperatures should be around 20/25 ° C during the day and at night they should not be lower than 15 ° C. For the ripening of the fruits, then, temperatures around 30 ° C are recommended. Pomegranates can withstand even higher temperatures and even in the case of short frosts. If the temperatures drop below -10 ° C, the plant will dry out, but, afterwards, it can still produce new suckers. The ideal exposure for these plants is sunny, but sheltered from the wind, especially in areas subjected to strong winds. It is good to check that the soil surrounding the plant remains clear of weeds; after planting this plant will begin to produce fruit within 2 or 3 years. For young specimens it is good to provide regular watering, especially when temperatures are quite high, always taking care to check that water does not build up. The fruits are harvested around the month of October and continue in November.
Pomegranate - Punica granatum: Pests and diseases
The pomegranate is a rustic and very long-lived plant and is not particularly affected, neither from animal parasites, nor from pathogens of fungal origin.
However, particular environmental conditions, such as the presence of excessive humidity, can cause the onset of gray mold or root rot. Aphids, red spider mite and cochineal can settle on leaves and shoots. They must be contrasted with the use of specific specific products so as to avoid causing damage to the plant.
Another common phenomenon is the problem linked to the breaking of fruits, a problem linked to an excessively humid and rainy climate or to particular temperature changes.