I would love to grow pomegranates in zone 6b. Please help!

rickhoward(7)January 27, 2009

I live pretty much in the middle of zone 6b and I know pomegranates do not always grow well here. I have however heard a lot about people raising them in zone 6, but I am not sure exactly how. I would really appreciate some instruction on what to do in order to grow these. I'm desperate and willing to do almost anything.

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Perhaps they are growing them in pots and bringing them into their garage in the winter; this is fairly common practice.

I am now doing an experiment with covering in-ground pomegranates with a tent of aluminum bubble wrap insulation, we will see how well that works. It worked well enough on my figs that I decided to try it on pomegranates. I haven't heard of anyone else covering pomegranates and I'm not sure why not. Pomegranates are reported to take down to around 10F, and a good cover which lets the soil heat come up under the cover will get you around 10 degrees of difference based on measurements I did on my figs.

Scott

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 8:26AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Rick,

Where in 6b are you located? You don't have your location listed. Also, which map are you going by? The USDA hardiness zone map is out of date/inaccurate for many locations. If you are using that map, you may not really be in 6b.

I live in East TN and the USDA map shows me to be in 6b, but Knoxville is actually on the borderline of 7b and 8a. My farm is out in the country a little bit so I figure it's 7b.

I planted some 'Wonderful' pomegranates last year. I mulched them, but didn't give them any special protection over the winter. We'll see if they make it to spring. I have high hopes.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 9:35AM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

i'm here in zone 6 growing 2 types of pomegrates.
Salvatski and kazake. no die back in the past 2 years yet.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 11:12AM
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kiwinut

I planted Salavatski and Kazake three years ago. The Salavatski did not make it through the first winter, and Kazake has been killed to the soil line the past two winters (minimum temps 4F and 6F, respectively). However, I have read reports from others in slightly colder locations, that have little, if any, die-back on Kazake. Since I am fairly certain I have the real Kazake, I suspect the problem may be related to warm spells during winter and early spring, and not minimal mid-winter temps. I also have problems with a very cold, thin layer of air that drains down off an escarpment nearby, that may make it much colder just above the ground. If you try these varieties, you will probably need to plant them in an elevated spot that drains cold air well, and probably protect them from cold temps until they get older, and presumably hardier.

I suspect that most (all?) other varieties would need to be grown in pots in your zone.

~kiwinut

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 11:50AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

One other thing to keep in mind when picking varieties is many will ripen too late. Pick a very hot spot so they ripen more quickly, and pick early ripening varieties only (e.g.., not Wonderful). I am growing several of the most hardy ones plus several of the most early ripening ones, to cover both bases.

Kiwinut, I think it may be possible to grow more tender varieties if they are insulated well in the winter. So far it has gotten down to 2F / 2F / 0F here on three different nights; we will see how my baby poms have fared come spring.

Scott

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 12:54PM
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rickhoward(7)

Brandon,

You were right. I just realized that i am in zone seven. I live in bixby, oklahoma. Would you think i would still be able to grow them here though?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 2:33PM
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fabaceae_native

I would go for it Rick,

I think your location is looking even more encouraging, since it is really a zone 7 and not too wet, I'm guessing.

Here in NM, pomegranate does very well throughout the middle and lower Rio Grande Valley, with no protection, and no obvious dieback. Most of this area is in zones 7 and 8, but single digits are not that uncommon, especially where cold air settles in the lowest part of the valley. Some of these areas have reached record lows of -19F! I believe this was in the 1970's, but I would be surprised if there aren't at least some tender plants surviving from before that time. There are some very old pomegranate and fig trees in Albuquerque.

I'm experimenting with some pomegranates here in my zone6/7 area and so far so good. I'll be able to say more when/if I get fruit. I started with hardwood cuttings which take very easily, so I think this is a plant that is very condusive to experimentation, since it is easily propagated, and grows well with a mimimum of care. Siting in a warm microclimate is definitely very helpful, as others have already mentioned.

Good luck

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 11:11AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

In zone 7 if you don't want to cover or pot them I would still get one of the more hardy varieties. Here is what Richard Ashton writes in his book "the incredible pomegranate":

But those of you in areas with
average low winter temperatures of less than 12 degrees F but above 7 degrees F
need to look to cold-hardy variety selection, and those of you in areas with
temperatures below 7 degrees F and above 3 Degrees F, need to look at only the
most cold hardy varieties and then only in protected areas.

BTW I highly recommend this book, it has a ton of great information about pomegranates including propagation, varieties, etc etc.

Scott

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 11:30AM
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lucky_p

I'll second Scott's recommendation on 'The Incredible Pomegranate', by our friend & benefactor Richard Ashton, and supply a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Incredible Pomegranate

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 10:42PM
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gliese

Say, where are y'all getting Kazake at anyway?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 1:49AM
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kiwinut

My Kazake came from Richard Ashton as part of a hardiness trial among a few NAFEX members. I would offer some cuttings if mine would ever grow up. I'm not sure if the Russian Pome at Edible Landscaping is the same or not, but it may be worth looking into.

When looking for potentially hardier pomegranates, there is one thing to look for-hard seeds. Russian breeders found out the "hard way" that the hardy pomegranates are always hard-seeded and the soft-seeded types are much less hardy. After decades of trying to breed hardy soft-seeded types, they gave up. Apparently the hard seeded trait is tightly linked to cold hardiness.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 2:47PM
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