Pomegranates (Punica granatum) are small but versatile trees with slender branches that reach 6 to 15 feet tall. Dwarf varieties of pomegranate excel as container plants, but pomegranates grown from seed may not retain the dwarf characteristics of the parent plants. Unlike vegetative propagation, growing pomegranates from seed does not preserve the characteristics of the parent plant. Seeds taken from a hybrid variety of pomegranate exhibit traits from the parent plants at random. This can result in plants with a different growth habit or fruit with noticeably different size or taste. Seeded pomegranates planted outdoors root easily, but cleaning them improves their germination rate. Pomegranates grow in the warm climates of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.
Cut a pomegranate in half and remove the individual arils from the fruit. Pick the individual arils out of the fruit and place them on a paper towel. Fold the paper towel over the seeds and rub the paper towel against the seeds between your hands to break and absorb the aril coatings. Rinse the seeds with water and clean off any juice still clinging to them.
Loosen the soil around the planting site using a hoe. Spread a 4-inch layer of compost over the area and thoroughly mix it into the upper 8 to 10 inches of the soil. Choose a planting site that gets full sun. Pomegranates grow best in loamy soil, but they can also grow in clay-rich or sandy soil.
Plant each pomegranate seed 1/2 to 1 inch into the soil and cover it with soil. Space the seeds at least 15 feet apart if you plan to grow full-sized trees for their fruit. Plant seeds that will form a hedge no closer than 6 feet apart.
Insert your finger into the soil around your seeds two to three times per week and water the soil if it is dry to the touch to a depth of several inches. Water the soil around each seed enough to dampen the soil without saturating it. Pomegranate seeds typically germinate within 45 to 60 days of planting.
Check the moisture content of the soil twice a week and water the pomegranate seedlings weekly with enough water to thoroughly wet the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches without saturating the soil. Water the soil around the trees evenly to promote root growth.
Spread 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer evenly over the soil around the base of each tree in late fall and again in early spring. Apply the fertilizer on a day you plan to water your tree, before you water, to ensure the fertilizer is properly watered into the soil. Use 2 cups of 10-10-10 fertilizer per application once the tree begins producing fruit.