What is Pomegranate Bonsai & Care GuideLearn all about Pomegranate Bonsai Trees and how to take care of them.
|Scientific/Botanical Name||Punica Granatum|
|Description||The pomegranate is a deciduous broadleaf tree. The tree is renowned for the pomegranate fruit, but the flowers are stunning in their own right. The tree trunks are robust, and the bark is eye-catching. Although it is indigenous to parts of the Middle East and Asia, the pomegranate tree now grows in many different parts of the world.|
|Position||It can be grown outdoors all year round in any region that enjoys a Mediterranean-like climate. The pomegranate bonsai can also be grown indoors in a warm, sunny site during the summer months. The tree requires shadier conditions in the winter.|
|Watering||The pomegranate tree requires regular watering to keep the soil slightly moist, but not overly wet. Watering should be reduced over the winter months. Misting the tree on a weekly basis is beneficial.|
|Feeding||Fertilized the tree every other week once new growth begins in springtime. Either use a liquid fertilizer specifically formulated for bonsai trees or an all-purpose plant food given at half-strength. An additional feed consisting of pulverized organic fertilizer is recommended in mid-spring. Pomegranate plants should not be fertilized in the three months following re-potting.|
|Leaf and Branch Pruning||Regular pinching-out of each first or third leaf will increase the plants foliage. It is better to allow young shoots to mature and lengthen before they are cut back to the desired length.|
|Re-potting & Growing Medium||Pomegranate trees bloom more abundantly when the roots are pot-bound. As such, re-potting should only be carried out every three or four years, and it should be undertaken during the latter part of the winter season. A soil mixture that contains high levels of lime and sand is ideal for pomegranate trees.|
|Wiring||Dwarf pomegranate trees should not be wired because they are likely to suffer die-back. It is much better to use the clip and grow method to shape them. Larger varieties tolerate wiring as long as care is taken. New growth tends to thicken very quickly, so wiring must be removed in a timely manner to prevent the formation of scars.|
|Notes||The pomegranate tree needs a number of years in the ground for the trunk to become thick because the trunk will not thicken in a bonsai pot. The plant should receive excellent air circulation because wet conditions may cause the appearance of mold. If mold does develop, the use of a mild grade of fungicide will be effective in combating the mold.|
The Pomegranate tree is very popular as a bonsai. It is a deciduous tree and drops most or all of its leaves in the winter, but does not produce bright, autumn colors. It has striking flowers that bear fruit and a thick trunk with attractive bark. The trunk has a natural twist that gives a gnarled and ancient appearance which is very appreciated in bonsai. The Pomegranate reached Japan through the silk route and has been admired as a bonsai tree for centuries. There are many varieties with different color, shape and size of flowers and fruit.
What To Buy
When buying a Pomegranate it is best to get one with a thick trunk. It takes several years for it to develop a thick trunk, and this is what is needed for a good bonsai. If the trunk is not thick enough, it should be thickened in the ground before potting, because it will not thicken in a bonsai pot.
Pomegranates are native to places with alluvial soil. They need a potting mix that is well draining and centered around decomposed granite. They also need organic nutrients to produce the broad leaves, flowers and fruit. A mix of 60 per cent aggregate and 40 per cent organic is good. It will also need supplements, either organic or an inorganic time release fertilizer that is specifically for plants that produce flowers and fruit.
Pomegranates are very resilient, but should be potted in early spring before they start growing leaves. They flourish in warm weather and like full sunlight during the summer but not so much during the winter. The roots are fibrous and coarse and respond well to root pruning. There are no special precautions required for root pruning as long as it is done at the right time of year.
Pomegranates are excellent for bonsai style, but medium to large style is best because of the size of the fruit. Dwarf varieties do not need to be wired and should be shaped by clip and grow. Large varieties can be wired, but when the young growth starts to thicken, the wires need to be removed to avoid scarring.
Pomegranates work best as a single tree and not grouped because of the flowers and fruits. A formal, upright style won’t work. The natural style is semi-cascade, informal and multi-trunk styles such as twisting trunk style.
To increase foliage, the tender green shoots can be pinched by hand at the first or third leaves. New shoots should be allowed to mature longer than desired, then cut back to the desired length. Natural die-back will also affect the shape and style of the tree.
Root rot can happen if there is not sufficient drainage, and mold may appear during wet months. Keep sufficient air circulation to combat mold and use a mild fungicide.
Scale insects, aphids and the pomegranate butterfly caterpillar are pests to be removed. An insecticide with Resmethrin, Acephate or Triforine could be used in as weak a solution as possible to still be effective. Trees can be sprayed every couple of months with an insect spray that is non-toxic, but not when the soil is dry.
All bonsai trees need careful watering because their pots are small and may dry quickly. The tree should be thoroughly watered and kept damp but not wet. It is recommended to water less in the winter. Water should be added slowly so that it doesn’t run out over the top of the pot. Weekly misting may also help the Pomegranate tree. If the tree has good drainage, it is almost impossible to over water. One trick for bonsai trees is to submerge the pot into one or two inches of water and let it absorb the water through the holes in the bottom of the pot.
Bonsais need fertilizer because of the small area where they live. Once the new leaves begin to appear in the spring, it is all right to fertilize the tree. Every two weeks from the beginning of spring to autumn a liquid bonsai fertilizer or half-strength general purpose plant food can be given. In mid-spring, give the Pomegranate pulverized organic fertilizer in addition to the regular food. Do not give it any fertilizer for three months after it has been potted.
Bonsais should also not be wired just after repotting. When it is time to wire, use the thinnest wire possible that will hold the branch in position. Begin wiring at the base of the trunk and wind it around the trunk as an anchor. When the branch is reached the wire should be wound around the branch in the direction it is bent, so the wire will not loosen. If the wire is wrapped too tightly, the branch will become scarred.
The tree needs to be carefully watched to make sure the wire is not cutting into the branch. If this begins to happen, the wire should be immediately removed. A new wire can then be put. Pomegranate branches are brittle, so care should be taken when wiring that they don’t break.
When repotting every three to four years, the roots should be reduced gradually. Only one third of the root ball should be removed at each repotting. A proportional number of old leaves can also be removed at this time. Complete defoliation is recommended if drastic root pruning is needed. The tree should be repot into soil high in lime and sand content for fast draining. The pot should be slightly deep and not too shallow. The plant flowers well when it is root-bound and has enough water. Repotting should be done in late winter.
Pomegranates do not like frost and should be brought inside if it gets too cold during the winter. If possible, a greenhouse is the best place for the tree if the climate is cold. If the tree is shaded and kept slightly dry before mid-season, it will produce flowering shoots. It needs good light, but needs protection from drying winds.