Guest Author - Lisa Beth Voldeck
The pomegranate has gained popularity recently due to its reputed health benefits and distinctive flavor. Not only is the fruit tasty, it is attractive ornamentally, as well. The pomegranate, Punica granatum, is a shrub or small tree that usually gets to be around 15 feet tall. The dwarf version, Punica granatum ‘Nana’, tops off at about 4 feet. Dwarf Pomegranate is all around a smaller version of its full-size counterpart; the leaves, flowers and even the fruit are in miniature. While perfectly edible, the fruit is too small to be of any culinary value.
The Dwarf Pomegranate is a great candidate for bonsai. It is well suited to many different styles, such as literati, cascade, windswept, informal upright, forest, root over rock, tree on rock, twin trunk, group and twisting trunk. When working this plant into a bonsai specimen, use a deeper dish than you might with other plants. Pruning should be done after fruiting as pomegranates bloom on new wood. Take care when shaping with wire; the wood can be a bit brittle when mature.
While Dwarf Pomegranate enjoys being root-bound, it also enjoys a nice drink of water. Use tepid water to avoid shocking the plant and try to keep the potting mix evenly moistened. The plant will go through a resting stage in the winter when you should cut back on water and eliminate fertilizer. Otherwise, fertilize in the spring with a slow-release fertilizer or at every other watering with a water-soluble type.
Flowering and fruiting plants like pomegranate need plenty of sun to meet their full potential. A bright space near a window with some direct sun during the day will give your plant the energy it needs to support plenty of fruit and abundant bronze foliage.
Check your plant weekly for pests. Spider mites adore Dwarf Pomegranates, and early intervention makes treatment easier. Other potential invaders are scale and aphids.
Pomegranates are very easy to propagate. You can pretty much choose whichever method you prefer; hardwood cuttings, softwood cuttings, simple layering, air layering or seed. They are all effective ways to get more pomegranates! Rooting several cuttings together is often done when starting bonsai, or root them separately and give them away as gifts. You know that once your friends see your Dwarf Pomegranate they will want one, too.
Dwarf Pomegranate is a non-toxic plant, making it a great choice for homes with small children or pets. It is a unique and exotic plant that can bring a lot of interest to a room, and even start a few conversations. If you come across one, don’t pass it up.