Punica granatum. Pomegranates have enriched human history since people painted themselves red with the juice at the dawn of civilization. The photo at left shows ripening pomegranates at the Temple of Aphrodite in Cyprus. According to Greek myth the first pomegranate tree was born in the blood of Side, Orion's wife who jumped off a cliff when she was tricked into thinking she had killed her children. The fruit has symbolized death and rebirth ever since. The genus name Punica is the old name for the ancient city of Carthage.
Today's world has more prosaic concerns, such as the health benefits of the juice and seeds. Pomegranate juice has more than twice the amount of antioxidants found in grape juice, green tea or red wine and reduces hardening of the arteries. The alkaloids of the pomegranate have the unique ability to paralyze tapeworms and that's enough about that topic. The bark in particular is biologically active and is antibacterial as well as antiviral.
Pomegranates are arching deciduous shrubs, about 15' tall and equally wide in suitable climates. You can prune them into a tree if desired. They need hot summers for good fruit development and moderate winters for survival (to 15 degrees F). Winter chill requirements are low, less than 200 hours below 40 degrees F. A south or west wall helps the fruit ripen. Full sun, low water requirements, although regular and deep watering helps fruit development and reduces the number of thorns. Can take alkaline soil. Pomegranates are also resistant to honey fungus, good news for Northern California gardeners fighting this soil-borne disease. Do not disturb roots when planting, just place in soil and tamp down. Self-fertile, summer flowering on tips of current season's growth. Fruit ripens in fall. Plant sizes vary--read individual descriptions. Expect flowering and fruit within two years. Truly an eye-popping ornamental.
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Punica granatum 'Desertnyi.' A choice pomegranate cultivar from the Turkmenistan collection of Dr. Gregory Levin, the juice of 'Desertnyi' delivers an orange flavor unique to the world of pomegranates. The terra cotta rind contrasts beautifully with the soft burgundy seeds. Grown in 4" x 9" pots, well-established plants are about 3' tall.
Punica granatum. 'Parfianka' has won the taste tests at numerous California venues over the past few years. No wonder. Another Turkmenistan selection by Dr. Levin, the same inspired botanist who brought us 'Desertnyi,' 'Parfianka' bears at an early age and what fruit it bears! The large globes are almost like a Gravenstein apple, with streaks of amber and dark red. The arils are large, bright red, and contain soft edible seeds. The juice has a perfect balance of sweet and tart. And the plant can be pruned to stay under 8' tall. Ripens in early October and grows well in most areas. Grown in 4" x 9" pots, plants are about 3' tall.
Punica granatum. 'Ambrosia' has the largest fruit of any pomegranate, so if you're after super-sized fruit, this variety is for you. These shiny cerise globes can be three times the size of other varieties, yet the flavor of the juice and seeds is just as intense as any other pomegranate. 'Ambrosia' is a very adaptable variety. It grows well in cool summer conditions along the Pacific coast, as well as hot summer areas through Zone 8. About 3' tall in 4 in. x 9 in. containers.
|Pomegranate 'Sharp Velvet'|
Punica granatum.The name tells all for this pomegranate variety--tangy flavors are overlaid with a soft finish in the tantalizing juice of 'Sharp Velvet.' Fruit is a dark burgundy inside and out. Tree grows more upright than other varieties and is also more productive. Best in hot summer areas. Plants are about 4 feet tall in 4" x 9" grow pots.
|Pomegranate 'White' 2 Gal|
Punica granatum. For those with a sweet tooth, the White pomegranate delivers. This variety has the highest sugar content of any pomegranate and it has a good supply of juice as well. Rind is more pink than white, but the interior flesh is white with pinkish seeds. Ripens early. About 3' tall as of July 2013.
Punica granatum. 'Sweet' pomegranates make smaller trees than other varieties, so this one does well in pots. Copper-red blossoms in late spring are followed by pink globes that have the sweetest juice of all. Will grow well in cool-summer locations. 3' tall plants in 4" x 9" grow pots.
|Pomegranate 'Angel Red' 5 gal|
Punica granatum. The roots of these 'Angel Red' poms fill the 5 gal containers. Their top branches were pruned back hard last year to promote root growth and they have filled out nicely over the 2013 growing season. TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK.
|Pomegranate 'Angel Red' 2 gal|
Punica granatum. 'Angel Red' is a new pomegranate variety that deserves any superlative you can slap on it. The bright red fruit ripens weeks ahead of 'Wonderful,' and the tree bears heavily. The fruit contains more juice than any other variety, and the seeds are so soft they have the texture of champagne grapes. Grown in 2 gal containers, plants are about 3' tall as of July 2013.
|Pomegranate 'Grenada' 2 Gal|
Punica granatum. 'Grenada' is a bud mutation of 'Wonderful', with darker red flowers and earlier ripening, typically in August. Juice is marvelouslly sweet without a cloying finish. Fruit, both inside and out, is a luscious burgundy color. The crown is red even when the rest of the unripe fruit is green. Hummingbirds fight over ownership of this pomegranate tree. About 2' tall as of May 2013.
Punica granatum 'Wonderful.' The name says it all. If you want to grow the pomegranates found in the grocery store, this is the one. Showy light red flowers turn into those glowing red globes with their tantalizing red seed cases, known as arils. Tangy flavor. Fruit can get as large as a softball, so consider this when choosing a planting location. Best in hot summer locations. Grown in 4" x 9" pots, plants about 2.5' tall.
Punica granatum 'Favorite.' Who knew pomegranates could survive in Russia? That's the birthplace of this cultivar, which has withstood temperatures down to 10 degrees (above F) in the U.S. Many orange-red blossoms produce light red fruit, smaller than 'Wonderful' but slightly sweeter. Grown in 1 gal containers and plants are full, about 2' tall as of April 2013.
Punica granatum 'Haku-Botan.' The frilly double flowers of this rare Japanese cultivar are white and appear throughout the spring and summer. 'Haku-Botan' offers something unique to the world of pomegranates--cool greenish white globes on a beautiful smaller shrub, about 10' tall and wide. Perfect for white gardens (maybe with snowberries and Madonna lilies growing under its branches). Fruit and juice are very tart. Smaller plants in 1 gal containers.