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The pomegranate (Punica Granatum) was important as a useful and ornamental plant in ancient times. It grows as a small tree but is mostly cultivated as a shrub. This only conditionally hardy plant impresses with its large, orange-red flowers, which appear between spring and summer, but above all with its plump fruits. Their red color signals the start of the pomegranate season, from around October until the first frost.
Pomegranate trees only partially hardy
The pomegranate tolerates temperatures down to -10 °C. Even if this heat-loving exotic copes with brief temperature drops, it does not tolerate permanent frost. German winters are usually very long and, above all, too cold, so that the pomegranate tree is mainly kept in a bucket. The frost sensitivity of this tree depends mainly on the respective variety. In regions with a particularly mild climate, permanent outdoor cultivation is also quite conceivable. In particular, some quite robust varieties such as 'Uzbek', 'Tirol', 'Katake' or the variety 'Provence' can also overwinter in the garden with the right protection.
Hibernation in the house
In order to optimally prepare a pomegranate in a bucket for winter storage, the watering amounts should be reduced from August and no longer fertilized from October. A pomegranate in the pot should as late as possible move to the winter quarters and go outside again as early as possible. The longer they can soak up sunlight and fresh air, the more resistant they are, which is of particular benefit to them during the winter. Short-term temperatures below freezing are not a problem for this plant, even if it is not considered hardy. There is no need to hurry until the temperatures drop below zero for a long time at night. By this time, the pomegranate tree has usually lost almost all its leaves.
Prune before or during winter
An important part of care is the pruning of the pomegranate tree. It all depends on the right time. If you prune in spring, you will also remove most of the buds and this year's flowering will be significantly decimated. If the shoots are shortened in summer, you can say goodbye to the hope of the longed-for fruits, which are also known as the 'fruits of the gods'.
- Ideally cut back immediately after harvest, i.e. immediately before wintering
- Pruning is also possible during the winter, between December and March
- If the shoots are too long, cut them back by up to two thirds
- Always cut just above a bud or a leaf node
- Also remove shoots that grow inwards, cross one another and are too close together
- Cut off dead branches right at the base
To prevent the pomegranate tree from becoming bare or senescent, it is advisable to cut off the two oldest shoots at the base about every two years. In this way, more light gets inside the crown and space is created for new growth.
tip: Since the pomegranate is relatively susceptible to infections of all kinds, the tools required for cutting should be carefully disinfected before cutting.
The right winter quarters
The pomegranate (Punica Granatum) belongs to the deciduous plants and can therefore be wintered dark and cool to cold, but still frost-free. This can be in a dark basement, an unheated garage, a cool stairwell or a heated greenhouse. The temperatures should not fall below two degrees and not exceed 10 degrees. Temperatures between two and seven degrees are ideal. From around February, the plants should slowly be placed a little lighter and warmer again, otherwise long, thin and weak shoots could form. They stay there until they can move back to the garden or terrace around May.
tip: If no suitable rooms are available for wintering, the trade offers special wintering tents with integrated frost protection as an alternative. You can set it up in a few steps in a bright spot in the garden, on the balcony or on the terrace.
Care during the winter
Care in the winter quarters is reduced to a minimum and limited to occasional watering. The pomegranate (Punica Granatum) is only poured so much that the substrate does not dry out completely. Fertilizers are completely dispensed with from October up to and including February. At the beginning of the vegetation period, more water is poured again and as soon as the plant sprout vigorously, fertilized regularly again. Don't forget to regularly check for possible pest infestation.
Repot before wintering out
Basically, a pomegranate tree should be repotted as rarely as possible. He likes frequent repotting as well as frequent rearranging. However, if the pot is completely rooted and the roots are already growing out of the drainage holes or above from the substrate, or the formation of flowers is already slowing down, repotting into fresh substrate and a larger planter is unavoidable.
- The best time is in early spring
- It is best to repot before wintering out
- To be able to remove the plant from the pot, first loosen it
- Use a sharp knife and a long blade to loosen the bale from the bucket wall
- Depending on the size of the plant and the pot, two people are best
- One holds the pot, the other cuts
- It's a little easier if the pot is on its side
- Then carefully pull the loose ball out of the pot
- Shake off loose soil from the bale or remove by hand
- Check root for possible damage
- If present, remove damaged and dead root parts
- The new planter is only a few centimeters larger than the old one
- Make sure there are enough drainage holes
- Put a drainage layer 3-5 cm thick at the bottom of the bucket
- Can consist of coarse gravel, potsherds, expanded clay or similar
- Then fill in some potting soil
- Then insert the plant in the middle
Ultimately, the pomegranate tree should be just as deep as it was in the old pot. When it is correctly positioned, fill it with soil up to about 2-3 cm below the edge of the pot, press it down and water thoroughly, preferably with rainwater at room temperature. About six to eight weeks later, you can fertilize for the first time.
Don't clean up too late
Freshly repotted, the pomegranate can slowly go outside again. Clearing out should be done as early as possible, as this is conducive to growth as well as plant health and the willingness to flower. This is usually the case when temperatures no longer fall well below freezing at night. The pomegranate tolerates a few minus degrees, but is not hardy despite everything. If necessary, you only put him outside during the day and bring them back into the house overnight.
You should also get used to the sun slowly, otherwise the young leaves could burn easily. That's why you don't put them in direct sunlight. It is best to move the plant outside initially on overcast days or to a partially shaded spot to harden it off. Gradually the location can then become sunnier until it can finally be placed in its final place, which should be sunny and warm.
In the bucket
If no suitable winter quarters are available, potted plants must also spend the winter outdoors. Then it is all the more important to have good protection, which can be installed in just a few steps.
- For the best possible protection, place the plant and its pot in an even larger pot
- The larger one should be about 15-20 cm larger in diameter
- Before inserting, place the bucket off the ground to protect it from ground frost
- For example on a wooden pallet or insulating styrofoam plate
- Fill the space between the two buckets with dry leaves, wood chips or straw
- Wrap the outer pot with jute, straw mats, bubble wrap or fleece
- This type of hibernation is only recommended in warmer regions.
In the bed
In regions with mild winters the pomegranate tree can overwinter directly in the garden. Varieties that are more robust and less sensitive to frost are particularly suitable for this. However, winter protection is essential. It starts with the planting, by ensuring a sunny and wind-protected location. This applies to older specimens as well as to young plants, although young plants in particular need a little more protection. The soil or root area is covered with a thick layer of leaves, mulch and/or brushwood. The upper parts of the plant can be protected by wrapping them in fleece or straw mats or wrapping them around them.