Pruning Pomegranate trees/bushes

I was thinking of growing one of the hardier types in a container.
I never heard much about how to prune these? I also heard you can grow shrub/bush or tree forms. Any info appreciated.

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Looking forward to seeing the responses as I recently planted three of the Wonderful. The freeze took care of most of my short term pruning questions and I really though they were dead. I’m starting to see a few new leaves among the ones that were frozen.

I plan to protect them in containers I can move in the garage where it never dips below 25F in the winter. So I may need to shape the tree. I saw one called Red Russian hardy to zero degrees, it could be Salavatski, which is also a Russian cultivar. I only want one to experiment with maybe two at most. Any cold hardy suggestions welcome too.


I grow quite a few Poms I grow multi-trunk but have not really pruned much yet except on some reducing number of trunks Most my Plants this was only 2nd winter in ground. I do know some that are not particularly hardy based on last winter. Will know more in a month based on this winter. For Pot culture some of the reported smaller sized might be just as important as hardiness. Here is non-inclusive list of some per memory that are reported more hardy
Entek Habi Saveh

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Thanks a lot Phil! I have something to work with. It is too cold here for in ground. But Pomes are one of my favorite fruits… I heard two are better for pollination, not sure on that? I found a Salavatski for a good price. So adding that one this year.
Having had such success with figs, and seeing many also grow these trees, I told myself no way, but it seems really possible in a container here. A root pouch too. I’m sold on them. A mess once they break down, but the plant will be a lot easier to remove just peeling the pouch away. A little root trim and into a fresh one!
Again thanks, nice to have a lit to work with! Making a text file now! I’ll choose a 2nd one for next year and consider size.

Before you start buying poms, you need to understand that they vary
widely in taste, acidity, and seed hardness. Since you’ll be growing them
in pots and over wintering in your garage, winter hardiness should be a
minor consideration.
Personally I hate hard seeded acidic poms, so all of mine are soft seeded,
which means you can eat the seeds, low acid and sweet. Salavatski, or what
is also known as Russian # 8 is not in that category.

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I have a small young one in the ground for the first year. And as mentioned they multitrunk real easy. For now I’ve been just pruning back the really wispy branches, that would be too weak to support any poms anyway. And I have one main thicker trunk I’m focused on, as I want mine to be more tree shaped.

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Yes, I saw that! I know about hards. Any suggestions? I know the Russians are hard, but don’t know of any softs? Also smaller sized ones make sense. I wanted this Russian for juice/jams. I thought I would be limited to hard ones. Thanks buddy!
For cooking some acidity is wanted. It would be nice to have one for fresh eating for sure. I saw one called Red Russian from fast growing trees. It was described as sweeter than Wonderful, but if hard seeded, would not make a good type for processing. I assumed it is being a Russian cultivar.

I have Angel Red, which is supposed to be soft seeded. I’m in a marginal area and had it outdoors year round but a few winters damaged it pretty significantly so I haven’t got it to fruit yet. It recovered though and I’ve dug it up and keep it in a container now. There are a number of members here that grow it and give it high marks for flavor.

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I have 2 in the ground (which appear to have suffered from our late freezes) and another 5 or so varieties in containers. I keep the containers on the driveway in the summer since poms like heat and they actually seem quite happy there. The flowers are pretty and the plants are nice.

I haven’t prunned much, except to take cuttings, but all of mine are pretty much multi-trunk shubs, varying by the number of trunks quite a bit and a few seem to be progressing with a more dominant trunk than the others. I think pruning is really a matter of taste, except to probably thin them out if growth gets too dense or there are too many crossing trunks and branches. Besides avoiding winter damage (the potted ones have done fine in my detached unheated garage, even softer seeded types like Vykuzni and Desertnyi that are less hardy) and the larger ones fruited reasonably well last year in 25-gallon fabric pots. My main problem is the fruit all got rot, both the ones in the ground and the ones in pots. If you protect them, you shouldn’t have a problem keeping them alive, but I’m finding getting good fruit is a whole other adventure outside of their preferred climate.

Based on your location, I think you probably need to look for ones that ripen earliest. Besides the shorter ripening season, I don’t believe you’ll get the sugar/flavor you want even if they are technically ripe for you if it is right before your frosts. While the hardiness, strong growth, fruiting on current wood, etc. has a lot of similarity to figs, it does seem like they’re much harder to get any reasonable amount of fruit from them or particularly good fruit if you aren’t in the ideal climate.

One softer seeded one that is supposed to be relatively early ripening in Sumbar, which I have one of but it is still young and hasn’t fruited yet so I can’t really tell you much more than what I’ve read about it. I think there is an “early” version of Wonderful and I’m sure several other earlier ones to consider.

The other thing to consider is the growth habit if you’re keeping it in a container for the long haul. Some of mine seem much more of a weeping habit, which means they take up more width and some are definitely taller. My Desertnyi is probably 7 feet tall while my Parfianka is only about 5 foot. I know they will both try to grow considerably taller, but the Parfianka is supposed to be a smaller plant so I’m hoping I get some fruit to try from it this year and then I can settle on just one plant. Keeping the Desertnyi a reasonable height seems like it will take more aggressive pruning.

To be honest, I’m not sure poms are really worth the effort outside of warmer dryer areas. Since you can get Wonderful and occasionally a few other varieties in stores, I’m hoping that getting soft seeded types or distinctively different tasting ones will make it worth it. But if I can’t control the rot or have trouble ripening some varieties before it is too cold, my pruning method might turn out to be just to compost the whole lot of them…

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Thanks Zendog, some good info. Luckily it is not really that humid here. I grow figs and I think the fruit is excellent. It can be hot here in the summer. We do get some humidity, but by mid-August it starts to become less humid. My best tasting figs were in September. I could let them hang a long time with no mold. My Indian Free peach fruits in October, even though I’m far north, the lakes gives us this wonderful protection from the cold. The air warms as it passes over the lakes. So hard to tell what the pomes will do? I have to try it but I won’t have high expectations. I’ll research all cultivars mentioned, thanks much for this info. I can make a much better decision now.
Another reason i was looking at the Russians as they seem to be more humidity tolerant.

Sounds like you are in a better place for humidity, which hopefully will keep you from having the rotting issue we seem to have.

Just make sure to get some early ripening types to increase your chances of success. Poms are about 6 months from flower to harvest and unlike peaches, apples, etc. they don’t flower first thing, so in my zone I think I’ll be lucky to have Salavatski ripen at the end of October. Would that put you in November? If I have a cooler October the flavor may not be great, which is something I’ve heard from most northern people who’ve succeeded at getting fruit from poms. Growing in containers, does allow you to shuttle them in and out and seems to get you a week or 2 ahead of the inground, so that may help.

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I still may have it too, doesn’t seem to stop rot on stone fruits. [quote=“zendog, post:12, topic:10247”]
I’ll be lucky to have Salavatski ripen at the end of October. Would that put you in November?

Yeah that’s too late, I can get by with a couple weeks in October, but that’s about it. Thanks again for this really good info!

I have 1 in the ground and 2 potted. The in ground one suffers greatly and will be potted up if it returns this spring .

After 3 years my potted ones are not yet so large that I have felt the need to prune them.


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Here is 10 year old ‘nana’ my wife gave me. To say this tree has been abused is to put it lightly. It has survived my parents house, collage apartments, re-abandonment at my parents house. Winter droughts, Winter over watering followed my more drought. This tree has never known a normal seasonal cycle. Last year I really did think it was the end. I retrieved it and moved it to NJ with me I repotted it and did a 100% soil change, untangle, and added some mycorrhiza to the new soil. I took the opportunity to turn the tree 45 degrees and I am going to cut off the lower branch which is well rooted at this point.

What I can tell you about pruning comes from AHS Pruning and Training. Pom’s are spur bearing like apples and pears. Spurs fruit for 3-5 years. Other then shaping you only need to prune older growth to encourage branching. New growth from last year is still transitioning to woody its still very flexible like a willow.

A fruit I found in the bottom of the pot. The fruit was fully developed last year over 2" wide. The flavor was standard pomegranate


These are some of the best soft seeded varieties. I grow a number
of them.


I am growing M.R., but another soft seeded favorite of mine is Sirenevyi. I’d grow it if room was available.

I am growing or was growing or at least last fall was growing all those in the soft-seed category on that link with exception of Myagkosemyannyi Rosovyi. Will see what greens up from this winter with a low of 4F. Sin Pepe was looking bad last year after a 12F low.

Most of the really good ones are long season. I need something ripe by October, looking around, thanks all for your help! Wow, so many, it’s like I got tree fever again! Glad most are not practical!