Pomegranate Tree -- some questions

dancinglemons(7B VA)April 12, 2010

Hello all,

Just ordered a Pomegranate tree. I live in zone 7 Central Virginia and our "usual" low temp is around 15-20 degrees in winter. It only goes down this low for 3-4 hours during the night 3-4 days during winter - maybe. Will a Pomegranate tree survive?? The vendor says OK to plant outside if temps stay above 15F.

If anyone here has experience with Pomegranate PLEASE post. I really would like to hear from zone 7 folks who may have Pomegranate growing. This is an actual tree with full size Pomegranate -not- the bush which grows miniature Pomegranate.



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Dancing Lemons:

I think I have "the answer" for you.

The link below is for a search on the Palms and Cycads forum here on gardenweb.

It is for posts by a gentleman from Utah who goes by the name of Arctictropical.

He is growing large, healthy palms outdoors in Zone 4 mountains n. of Salt Lake City, in temps as low as -45 degrees.

He covers them with large insulated boxes each autumn, and then uses CFC lightbulbs to provide a minimum amount of heat. It doesn't take many lightbulbs nor much electricity to the keep the plants alive, because the boxes are extremely well insulated and airtight.

I did this this past winter with my "hardy" palms in my unheated greenhouse. They came through the winter like champs, only had dieback on the least hardy kind, a Mexican Fan. Of course, it was the mildest winter in a decade here in Michigan.

Anyway, this technique would work really well with pomegranates in Virginia. I'm positive it would.

I ran about 13 13 watt bulbs all winter 24/7 -- it added about $20 a month to my normal utility bill.

Here is a link that might be useful: Palms & Cycads forum.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 1:43PM
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austransplant(MD 7)


I planted a Favorite (cold-hardy) pomegranate last year and it came out of this winter in suburban MD, zone 7, just fine without being covered or mulched. Despite the large amount of snow I would have considered this a relatively mild winter, even if we got hardly any warm days. (Actually the snow served to insulate the ground much of this winter). I got the pomegranate from One Green World. The Cornelian cherry they sent me died this spring; judging by its leaves when it was sent it was probably diseased from the outset.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 2:40PM
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When I was a child my parents bought a summer house on Gwynn's Island in Virginia on the coast. The home had two mature pomegranate trees growing about 50 feet from the shoreline. They were there through snow, ice, storms etc and we never did anything special to the trees. They were big enough for me ( a ten year old) to climb in. I remember sitting in the trees and picking off the fruit and eating it. I am only commenting here because we never took any special care of the trees and they were thriving. I don't know what specific kind of pomegranate they were but they were doing great in the Virginia coastal climate.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 1:01PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I overwintered a dwarf pomegranate in my zone 5 Massachusetts garden. I covered the plant with a huge pile of sheep wool. Thankfully, the winter was mild, too.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:24PM
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armyofda12mnkeys(7a, Philly, PA)

I usually just repost these links when someone asked about hard pomegranates...

There are a few of us trialing the hardier Russian/Iranian/Turkmenistan poms in zones around 6/7. There are some good threads about it if you google around for 'zone 6b pomegranates'.

There are lots of sources now for hardier pomegranates:

Search for 'pomegranate' in their search... and find their Russian (prob called Russian#8/Salavatski):

Green Sea Farms in Florida has so many to list, but have to call and order from Cindy:
(There are other Florida nurseries starting to offer, but I've dealt with Cindy and Rolling River, and OneGreenWorld and can def recommend them).

Rolling River (Kaj-acik-anor, Salavatski (Russian#8), Sumbar, Surh-anor, and some others):

'Favorite' variety:

Chestnut Hill Farms (Salavatski, Surh-anor):

Depends how many you want to try/experiment with, but Salavatski seems to be standard so far as far as availability, hardiness, and people got it fruiting. and Kazake super hardy but not as available, and maybe Surh-anor as ones def heard fruiting in zone 6-7 area.
If you can just for a lil more protection too, protect it against the house facing South/sun. Alot of those Russians varieties survived one night freezes of 0f to -6F in Byron, Georgia.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:09AM
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jollyrd(Richmond VA)

I am just south of Richmond, Va, and have three poms - Russian, and two Azeri/Iranian - Agat and Kaim Anor. They are about 3 years old, and I have seen two of them set fruit flower for two years - but so far no actual fruit. I cover and mulch them in late December, but I hope to not to have to do this for too many years. I prune them in mid spring. I think poms should be more hardy than figs.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:14PM
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I also live in Northern Virginia. I plan on buying two Angel Red Poms for delivery this spring and my plan is to mulch under normal winter conditions and nothing else. For an extremely abnormally cold spell I plan to pile the mulch as high as possible and wrap the plant in plastic. I've seen this work for figs.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 2:33PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Charlie, half my Angel Red plant died after this last winter, and it didn't get below 10F here (i.e. we had a zone 8 winter). You may need to wrap it every winter if you want to make sure it does OK. I wrapped stuff for about five seasons before I got tired of yet another thing to do in the orchard, now its survival of the fittest. You also need to be careful with a plastic wrap to not induce early leaf-out in that January hot spell, plastic can be a disaster if you are not very careful. I used aluminum bubble insulation, it worked very well but is somewhat expensive.

I am adding a few more hardy poms to see which works the best. Kazake has good flavor but small fruits, and Russian #8 has been similar in flavor but larger fruits.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 2:53PM
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jollyrd(Richmond VA)

Charlie and Scott -- I would be careful using plastic or aluminum. The direct contact with the plant may hurt/burn it in the frosty weather. Everything I've read suggests using burlap - you can put wooden stakes in the ground around the tree, staple burlap to the stakes - make sort of a tee-pee house. You can then fill it in with dry leaves, hay or other organic items for additional insulation. It has been so warm in Richmond area that I keep postponing my "wrapping". I did mulch heavily around the trees, but nothing else so far.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 10:13AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Jolly, I used aluminum bubble wrap for five or more years, always with good results. Neither aluminum or plastic is going to burn a plant by direct contact. The main problem with wrappings is baking the plant in an "oven" made by the wrappings in hot spells in winter, causing it to sprout too early and then freeze in the next cold spell. A full plastic wrap can easily do that.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 8:11PM
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Scott, Do you make your enclosures air tight (with plastic) and then cover with the aluminum wrap to reflect sunlight and insulate or do you vent your enclosures?

I would think the more air tight, the better protection against the cold but also the greater risk to bake during a mid-winter warm spell. Have you found that with the aluminum wrap you've been able to keep the enclosures air tight and not excessively warm the trees? I can see how this could possibly be the case on warm days as the ground would change from a heat source to a heat sink and cool the enclosure and the aluminum would reflect sunlight, which is the primary source of heat of concern in this situation.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 1:00PM
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armyofda12mnkeys(7a, Philly, PA)

You just need to protect that 1st year wood, right?
Otherwise it prob gets killed to ground 1st winter, it regrows next year another set of 1st year wood, then it dies again 2nd winter, but roots more stronger to put out thicker growth that experiences less dieback in the 3rd winter. I think if just protect first year, then 2nd year the wood should be really thick to safeguard against much dieback. Thats why I just keep my first year plants I get from nurseries in pots I keep protected from colder wind in shed, with a wrapping of sometimes burlap and carpet but maybe thats overkill. Really young plants I rooted myself (or... I guess you could just bubble-wrap for a few years as well. Guess that would spread good roots out farther/faster. (but my uptight neighbors that may need to friendly to might complain about that look along our fence-line, but its a good idea for others).

I have like 9 poms I got from nurseries this year (came 2-3 years old) in 10gallon pots (about 4-5ft tall), and probably 13 smaller plants I rooted myself in 2-3gallon pots in the shed now.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Creek, I make my enclosures completely airtight, it is critical to keep wind out which keeps the warmth coming up from the ground inside. The aluminum reflects sun so it keeps things cool during hot spells. I put a thermometer under the cover and it was 10 degrees COLDER under the cover in a sunny hot spell. So, it would actually help prevent early leafing out and it would probably keep apricot etc dormant longer if someone had the energy to put such a large cover on it. All the warmth under the cover is coming from the ground which is 50-55F.

Monkeys, it is most important to protect the first year, the second most important is the second, etc.. Depending on your climate and how big it has gotten the number of years you need to protect varies a lot. I protected most figs for 3-4 years and pomegranates for two years. But, Kazake I did not protect at all from the moment I planted the cutting and it did fine. I ordered a few potted poms myself this late fall and I am keeping them in my greenhouse over the winter.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 7:19PM
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johndoug(z6 Philly)

i have one colder hardy variety. i bought it from mail order so it came tiny. i kept it in a pot for first two years until it was getting too big for the pot. then planted in spring, and gave it until winter to get settled in its new home. for the first year in the ground, i covered it. didn't want to take chances. i've gone with the same premise as a poster above, that each year the roots and trunk/tree are more established, the odds that it will survive are greater. i'd do this for anything rated for a warmer zone than mine. so if you don't want to cover each year, just do it the first year (or two). frankly, last year - maybe even the year before don't remember - the weather has been ridiculously mild. never in the teens, or probably low 20's either. i "might" run out if i hear temps are going to be below some temperature and do a temporary covering. another good thing of covering them when young is that they are smaller, and it is easier to enclose them. i used chicken wire ring and insulation lining the ring. i worried about it trapping moisture and rotting the branches, but it didn't - however next time i do it for a whole winter, i might punch a couple small holes to make sure air flows a bit.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 11:24AM
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