The Versatile Pomegranate Tree (or Espalier, Shrub, Hedge, or Container Plant)

By on January 11, 2013

Pomegranates are easy to grow and are a nice addition to the edible landscape

The pomegranate can play many roles in your edible landscaping

Pretty in three seasons, you’ll enjoy its shiny leaves and crinkly red-orange flowers in spring, and uniquely shaped rosy fruits in summer and fall.

*  Prune it as a single-trunk or multi-trunk tree

*  Train it along a sunny fence or wall as an espalier

*  Plant it in a large container

*  Let it follow its own course as a shrub

*  Grow a useful, fruitful hedge

Left to their own devices, pomegranates want to be shrubs, but with their narrow branches they can be trained and pruned into other shapes.

Gardeners rejoice at the prospect of a fruitful plant that doesn’t need major pruning. Traditional fruit trees are grand but there’s annual work in managing a classical orchard of apples, peaches, and pears.

With shrubby producers like pomegranates you can intervene by quickly removing suckers and doing some thinning, and save most of your pruning time for the trees that really require it.

However you train it, you’ll have a hummingbird magnet in the springtime.

Light annual pruning required

All pomegranates need some pruning

Pomegranates fruit at the ends of 2-3 year-old branches, so harvesting is easy (which is nice, since the branches are somewhat thorny). This means that annual thinning of the branches is important, to generate “fruiting wood”. Remove suckers at the base of the pomegranate, to maintain vigor.

In our video, Tricia shows how to plant in a container, and explains the basics of pruning pomegranates as trees or shrubs.


Tricia is training her new pomegranate as a single-trunk tree in our video. To maintain that shape, be diligent about cutting off suckers as they rise up.

For this kind of multi-trunk tree, choose several strong suckers and let them mature, then remove other suckers every year. Protect your pomegranate from being killed outright by a hard freeze—grow it as a multi-trunk tree or as a shrub, so that if part of the plant is killed, part will survive. [Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Side (Turkey) by Georges Jansoone on 20 April 2005]


Since the pomegranate really wishes it were a shrub, use a simple espalier style (like this six-arm cordon) instead of attempting strict geometry. Lee Reich gives good instructions about starting and maintaining espalier, with many kinds of fruit trees and bushes, in his beautifully photographed book, Landscaping With Fruit.


Use a container to place your pomegranate anywhere on your hardscape or in your garden. Train it as a single-trunk or as a small shrub.


If you prefer a shrub, let the pomegranate sprawl, but do the annual maintenance pruning shown in the video to keep the shrub healthy and fruitful. This shrub is growing on a hillside in Spain.


Whether you have a farm that could use some hedges as windbreaks, or a large garden that needs hedgy walls to create garden rooms, look to the drama of the pomegranate. Imagine the glossy hedges, studded first with the scarlet flowers, and then with the distinctive fruit. Plant the pomegranates 6’-9’ apart. The shrubs will spread their branches, and suckers will also grow between the original plantings, to form a hedge.

If you live in USDA zones 7b-12, check out our wide range of pomegranate choices.

Tip: Want all the lusciousness and nutrients of pomegranates, without the red juice? Try our Eversweet pomegranate with clear juice!

  Comments (37)


My neighbor gave me a tiny seedling started from a pomogranite seed from a tree he had long ago started from seed. My little shrub is now about 4 years old. People gave told me i will need to graft to the tree if i want good fruit. Is this true?

Posted by Anne on Jan. 11, 2013 at 10:33:12 PM

Anne, Pomegranates don’t need to be grafted. Growing from seed is fine, but you won’t get the same cultivar as the parent plant. To have the same cultivar you need to grow from a hardwood cutting. Pomegranates need good irrigation to produce fruit.

Posted by on Jan. 12, 2013 at 8:35:46 AM


So i need to wait and see if the fruit it naturally produces is tasty? Is the variation similar to apples or am i more likely to get something edible? Can i wait until the tree fruits and then decide if it needs to be grafted?

Posted by Anne on Jan. 18, 2013 at 7:01:43 PM


The universities say that the pomegranates grown from seed will possibly be less tasty than a named cultivar (obtained by growing from a cutting) but they don’t speculate on *how* different the flavor will be. If your neighbor can do a hardwood cutting from his tree you will get the same fruit that he has (poms don’t like grafting).

Posted by on Jan. 22, 2013 at 10:03:36 AM


I am in zone 6a.  We have a 120 day growing season with summer highs in the 80s (sometimes 90s) and lows in the low 50s.  Will a pomegranate do well here in a container if I move it inside in the winter?  Or does it need more heat in the summer?  And if it will do well, what size container?

Posted by MariBeth on Mar. 04, 2013 at 1:28:31 PM

MariBeth, Pomegranates do well in containers. The most cold-tolerant one we have now is Sweet, which is hardy to zone 7 You might be able to cheat one zone if you plant it in a warm, sheltered spot on your property (or against a south or west facing wall or fence) but your chill hours are probably much higher than the 100 hrs. it prefers. If you have higher chill hours, plan to move it inside for the cold season. Use a 30 gallon container, like a Smart Pot, to give it root room.

Posted by on Mar. 05, 2013 at 12:14:49 PM


Thanks!  I’d love to experiment planting it outside but sadly our chill hours are much, much more than 100.  1000 actually.  I’ll try it in a container ... once I can figure out where to keep it in the winter!

Posted by MariBeth on Mar. 07, 2013 at 3:08:47 PM

Brrr! Indoors it is grin

Posted by on Mar. 08, 2013 at 2:18:19 PM


I live in Minnesota, if i brought it in during the cold months would it thrive? Also, can you start it out in a smaller container and transplant to bigger ones as it grows?

Posted by Lisa on Apr. 28, 2013 at 8:24:35 PM

Lisa, Pomegranates do well both indoors and out as long as they are provided with a sunny location.

Usually anything under a 5 gallon pot will stunt the growth.  It will try to keep growing and it is likely to get root bound in a container.  You can certainly change pot sizes over time, but realize that each transplanting creates stress where leaves and/or fruit may drop.  Giving it our Organic Liquid Kelp or Thrive B-1 during these stress periods will help.

Posted by on May. 03, 2013 at 12:01:50 PM


I bought a small pomegranet plant and planted it in a 9 inch pot on my roof terrace.
I will wait for the roots to fill the pot before repotting again, but how large should the final pot be?
I live in southern Spain, will the climate here be too warm for good fruit (my lemon tree doesn’t do too well in the summer here) or are pomegranets more heat tolerant?

Posted by Miss Cellany on Jun. 25, 2013 at 6:03:02 AM

Miss Cellany (nice name!), Pomegranate are mediterranean plants so when you think of treating your plant keep this in mind. You can always add shade or, having it in a pot, you can move it to a placement where full sun is eliminated.

A nine inch pot is rather small and should fill quickly. You can go as small as a 5 gallon pot to start (if you want to repot and replenish soil in a few years) or to a more suitable 10 gallon or larger pot. Remember that container plants sometimes need their soil replaced and by using pots that slope toward the base and do not curve inward near the top, it is easier to make that transfer.

Posted by on Jun. 26, 2013 at 12:05:14 PM


chris from long island

i grew a pom from seed during last winter-i kept in a 3 gal pot and it enjoyed the south east exposure of summer til mid october. the leaves on my pom changed during the october shift. i had left it out til nights were 45 ish, i brought it in and the leaves turned yellow and fell off .is this natural that at seasons end they lose leaves and hybernate? its hedge style and branches appear to still be green and not dead or brittle stems.
will this resprout at a later time if kept moist and with sun?

Posted by on Nov. 17, 2013 at 12:11:14 PM

Chris, Yes, the pomegranate is deciduous (loses its leaves in the fall). Keep it moist and in sun until springtime when you put it outdoors again. I wonder if you could leave it outside all year round since you are on Long Island—poms tend to do fine in climates as cold as USDA Zone 7b. Take a look and see which zone you are in

Posted by on Nov. 21, 2013 at 11:25:06 AM

Hello Jeff,

Any pomegranate variety we carry is hardy to your zone. Pomegranates love the heat so they will be quite happy with a 100 degree heat. If you want one that is hardy to zone 7 to compensate for being a container look at: Sweet, Wonderful, Ambrosia, and Eversweet. You might need to move it under eaves in fall because lots of rain can make the pomegranates split when they are close to ripe. Good luck with your tree!

Posted by on Jan. 15, 2014 at 8:35:08 AM


I have a grocery store variety of pomegranate sproutlings I started from seed.  I have successfully achieved at least an 85% sprout rate out of the 75 total seeds I planted!  I used green house 9 plant flats that I cut into threes.  My question is, when should I transplant them into individual pots, and how big a pot should I transfer them to?  Also, I plan on braiding several together, and pruning the ones I braid as topiary, when would I transplant the 3 or 4 seedlings that I want to use into their pot and begin braiding and training?  The seedlings are approximately 4-6 inches at this point (they sprouted within 5 days, and as far as I can tell, they’re growing fast, and well!!).

Posted by CherGoes on Jun. 22, 2014 at 8:34:01 PM

Hello CherGoes,

Check out this detailed fact sheet from the University of California, it’s very thorough:

Posted by on Jun. 23, 2014 at 9:01:32 AM


Help! We had a pomegranate tree guttet in our new back yard and now all the existing roots are sprouting. I have remorse for cutting it down, so is there any way to wrangle it back via one of the outter “legs”?

Posted by Tani on Jul. 19, 2014 at 6:45:49 PM

Yes, the pomegranate tree will re-grow from the crown. Give it some time and you will even have a new tree!

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Jul. 21, 2014 at 9:50:26 AM


How do I get rid of stink bugs on my Pom trees?  The tree is literally infested.  I would like to use something natural.

Posted by Joe on Aug. 26, 2014 at 1:25:52 PM

Well there are a couple of approaches, you can blast them off with water and cover your plant with a row cover like Agribon. This is just a physical barrier to the bug. If you want to use organic insecticides, there are quite a few available that are listed for stink bugs. Another approach is to buy traps that attract the bug which then gets stuck to the sticky surface. Hope this helps.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Sep. 04, 2014 at 4:48:08 PM


We recently bought a potted pomegranate tree from a local nursery and we were advised to put it against the wall.
How far or close from the wall should it be planted? Also, we were told to put Xmas lights on it in winter. Does that help?

Posted by From_seattle on Oct. 07, 2014 at 4:29:13 PM

If you live in an area that has very cold winters, planting up against a wall will help keep it warmer. These bushes can get pretty big so I wouldn’t put it any closer than 18-24”. You can wrap it with a frost blanket for insulation or yes, use lights. But remember, the type of lights that puts off heat.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Oct. 10, 2014 at 2:52:58 PM


Hi there. I just bought a tree. While google…stumbled on this site! Quesrion is…temperature in summer at worse is ars 42c for a couple.of days then avg out to ard 35c. Winter low is ard 2c at night. Can I plant the pom outdoors? I wannt to espalier it on my fence.

Posted by verma on Nov. 23, 2014 at 9:06:59 PM

Pomegranates are hardy to 10F once they are established. The time to give your tree extra protection is when it is small. These trees like arid regions and will grow in USDA zones 7b - 12. During the first couple of years, use a frost blanket during the coldest periods through the winter. Did you watch our video on planting pomegranates? Very informative.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Dec. 01, 2014 at 4:22:07 PM


I have one growing in my greenhouse in Brooklyn I purchased in costal VA and they said its OK to zone 7. Our past 2 winters in Brooklyn NY have damaged the fig trees. Will this be OK planted in my courtyard if I cover it and provide lights on cold days. At its worst, winter, although zone 7 can have several days in a row of 4 thru 15 degrees lately.

Posted by Gregg on Mar. 12, 2015 at 1:06:56 PM

The pomegranate will need to be protected until it is big enough to withstand freezing temperatures. As the blog suggests, allow the plant to grow as a bush form, in case it gets hit by freezing temps, it will be able to put out new growth. During cold weather, cover it with a frost blanket (maybe several layers).

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Mar. 16, 2015 at 9:25:49 AM


I want to espalier a pomegranate against my southern exposure house wall.  How far from the house do I need to plant it and can I plant it in a smart pot and
then eventually place it in the bed the pot is sitting upon?

Posted by Catherine in San Rafael, CA on May. 10, 2015 at 2:31:31 PM

Catherine, I am not sure about transplanting into the ground after you have started with the espalier. Generally you will be tying the pomegranate to some guide wires and lowering it may pull on those wires plus you will need to move them down once the plant is lowered into the ground. I would give yourself 8 to 12 inches from the house. You will want some room behind the plant in order to prune and tie.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on May. 12, 2015 at 10:09:26 AM


We bout a pomegranate seedling at a local nursery and would like to transplant it and grow it in a pot. What size pot would you recommend? Also, what type of potting soil would work best?

We live in South Florida so the plants will get all the sun they need.

Posted by Vlad on May. 16, 2015 at 12:35:11 PM

You can put it in a 20-30 gallon smart pot and the best soil is a heavy loamy soil but it will really grow in most soil types. Make sure it gets at least 6 hours of sun a day.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on May. 18, 2015 at 10:23:00 AM


Hi! I’m in Lagos Nigeria and I love the pomegranate fruit. I thought about planting it one day in order to have fresh supply of fruit and I just popped some seeds from a fruit i ate in soil. It’s about three weeks now and two of the seeds have sprouted. Needless to say, I’m happy about it. I intend to grow this in a container (15gallon should be ideal?). Please can you help with tips and tricks as to keep it thriving? I’m worse than a newbie in gardening (where I come from, we just throw seeds in the ground and watch it grow lol). Many thanks for your help.

Posted by Olusola on Jul. 09, 2015 at 8:08:49 AM

Keep your seedlings watered, don’t over fertilize and keep it in well drained soil.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Jul. 14, 2015 at 12:40:06 PM


Hi,  My pomegranate bushes’ new leaves turn curly and eventually drop. I have been unable to find a source that provides me with answers
I hope you do.


Posted by Maria Cobo on Nov. 14, 2015 at 9:10:18 AM


Would all these varieties available do well in south Florida? I would like to buy several varieties to plant directly on the ground at a community garden. Conditions are sandy soil and lots of sun. But sometimes it rains a lot. Not arid conditions here. Your advise would be appreciated. Thank you!

Posted by Elsi Rose on Nov. 14, 2015 at 10:51:05 AM

Maria, Not exactly sure what the problem might be with your pomegranate, but over watering might lead to leaves dropping. Are you growing in a container or in the ground? Make sure you are not over watering the tree and that the drainage is good. Here is a link to the UC IPM website on pomegranates, Check it out, it may have answers for you. Also try a local master gardener or nursery for help, bring in a sample of the leaves.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Nov. 18, 2015 at 12:19:58 PM

Elsi, the only problem may be the humidity in your area. I would advise visiting your local nursery and ask if there are varieties more suited to your area.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Nov. 18, 2015 at 12:24:54 PM

+ Show More Comments

Leave a Comment