From the Horticulture Extension Department, Clemson University
and the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension

Pomegranate Propagation and Pruning


These deciduous small trees are easy to propagate by seed or cuttings. The desired method is to create cuttings right from the pomegranate tree, rather than from seed.
Pomegranates may be propagated from seed but will not come true to variety. Both hardwood and softwood cuttings root easily, but softwood cuttings require mist to prevent desiccation. To root hardwood cuttings, take pencil diameter cuttings 8 to 10 inches long in winter from previous season’s growth. Treat with a rooting hormone containing IBA and insert half their length into well-drained soilless mix. Rooted cuttings may be transplanted the following year. 1

Trees are easily propagated during winter from hardwood cuttings, 15-20 cm (6-8 in.) in length and pencil size or larger in diameter. Cuttings should be taken in February or March and placed vertically in soil with the top node exposed. Cuttings may be left in nursery rows for 1 to 2 years. Seed-propagated plants do not come true-to-type, but seeds will germinate in 45-60 days. Layering is also successful but more labor-intensive. 2

Take pomegranate cuttings in the dormant season.

The best time of year to take cuttings from a pomegranate tree is when the tree isn't trying to grow new leaves or fruit. The tree enters a dormant period during the winter months, November into January is ultimately the best time of year to get good results from pomegranate cuttings.

Hardwood cuttings should be taken when a pomegranate tree is at least 1 year of age. The best cuttings have several buds (nodes) fairly close together; each cutting should be approximately 6 to 8 inches in length.

Make the first cut (straight across) on a branch at the bottom, just below a node (bud). Cuttings at the top should be cut 3/4 inch above a node and cut at an angle. This marks the cuttings so bottoms are all easily identified with straight cuts and tops are all angled. Dip all the bottoms of the cuttings into rooting compound.

When preparing to make that first cut, find branches that are a year old. To decipher if the branch is old enough, look at the sides of the branch, try to locate buds growing on the branch. If there are no buds, the branch is too young. Choose a branch that has buds about 2" apart, and make a cut at the base of the branch. Check to make sure inside the branch has a nice green ring,this indicates an alive and healthy pomegranate tree branch. If there isn't a green ring, and the stem is all white on the inside, the twig is dead. Dispose of all dead twigs.
Each Pomegranate tree branch now needs to be cut into a manageable size for planting. The pomegranates can be cut to any length, as long as each stick has a bud. To decide how long to keep the cuttings, keep in mind that the length of cutting will also need an equal length when planted. Make the cut so there is a bud close to the top of the cutting.

Dip the bottom end of the branch (the bottom end is the one without a bud ) into a rooting hormone. Tie the sticks together into a bundle, and plant them in a well drained, sunny location. Dig a hole 3" deeper then the length of the sticks. A 8" long pomegranate cutting will need a 11" deep hole. Bury the bundle in, root side up. The bottom will get most of the heat from the sun, encouraging root growth, and keeping it from sprouting leaves, before its ready. Keep the pomegranates buried until spring. When the weather is right, dig them up carefully and plant them root down, with ½ in the dirt and the other half out.
Trees tend toward a bushy habit with many suckers arising from the root and crown area. Tree-type plants can be produced by allowing only one trunk to develop. Additional suckers should be removed frequently around main trunk(s).
 Prune to produce stocky, compact framework in the first 2 years of growth. Cut trees back to 60-75 cm (2-2.5 ft.) at planting and develop three to five symmetrically spaced scaffold limbs by pinching back new shoots, the lowest at least 20-25 cm (8-10 in.) from the ground. Shorten branches to 3/5 of their length during the winter following planting. Remove interfering branches and sprouts leaving two or three shoots per scaffold branch.

Light, annual pruning of established trees encourages production of good quality fruit. Remove dead or damaged wood during late winter months. Remove sprouts and suckers as they appear. 2

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Pomegranate Page


1 Tanner, Cory. "Pomegranate." Horticulture Extension Department, Clemson University. May 2009. Web. 21 June 2014.
2 Sheets, M.D. Du Bois, M.L. and Williamson, J.G. "The Pomegranate." This document is HS44, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Publication date April 1994. Revised Apr. 2004, Oct. 2012, July 2013 and Mar. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.

Published 13 June 2014 LR. Last update 24 Feb. 2017 LR
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