Pomegranate is a plant that produces sweet yet tart fruit that is known to have a plethora of potential medicinal usages.

    Scientific Name: Punica granatum L.
    Common Name: Pomegranate; Dwarf Pomegranate
    Plant Family: Punicaceae (pomegranate family)

    Etymology: The word pomegranate is derived from the Latin phrase “pomum grantum” which is thought to roughly translate to “apple of many seeds.”

    Traditional Uses

    As pomegranate is not a native plant to the US and was only introduced during the arrival of Spanish colonizers, pomegranates do not have much history among the Indigenous peoples of the US. That being said, they have a rich history among people in their native range.

    Medicinal uses: Pomegranate has a medicinal and herbal history dating back over 3,000 years. While pomegranates can be used for many medicinal purposes, they are most well known for treating stomach and gastrointestinal issues. Pomegranates contain alkaloids, which act to paralyze tapeworms and which was often used when treating people of this parasite in conjunction with a natural laxatives. Pomegranates are also known to be high in tannins, which makes them a good astringent and can be used for sore throats and mouth sores. The flowers of the plant have been said to be used as a treatment for dysentery, stomachaches, and coughs. The juice of the fruit has also been used to treat jaundice and diarrhea. Scientists are currently studying potential benefits of pomegranates in treating and handling diabetes and heart diseases.

    Edible Parts

    Pomegranate is a fruit which ripens in late august and can be used in a sundry of preparations. The seeds can be eaten raw and have a sweet and tart flavor. Some people do not like pomegranate due to the large amount of seeds present. Pomegranates can be used in both sweet preparations such as baked goods and savory usages such as in sauces or soups. The seed of the fruit is edible and is often consumed in the process of eating the arils of fruit yet is not often sought out by itself. The leaves of the pomegranate tree are also edible and have historically been boiled and used for medicinal purposes.

    Gathering and Using

    Pick pomegranates when they are ripe which is indicated by a deep red color. The fruit will not continue to ripen after it is picked. Do not pull the fruit from the tree when you are harvesting it.  Instead, cut the fruit off. Fresh pomegranates can be stored in the refrigerator for as long as two to three months. The fruit can be eaten in a variety of applications and the rind and leaves can be used for medicinal purposes if desired.

    Permaculture Functions and Considerations 

    Pomegranates can be used for their edible fruit, medicine, and wood. Additionally, they have deep roots that can be used to stabilize soil and decrease erosion. The leaf litter from the tree decomposes slowly and can be used as mulching material. They also can act as a wind break as they are wind firm.


    Pomegranates can grow in sandy, loamy, or clay soils, but must have proper soil drainage and will not survive well if exposed to long periods of waterlogged soil. Due to this, pomegranate plants are known to be a drought resistant plants. Pomegranates prefer warm climates and large amounts of sunlight. Pomegranates are hedge tolerant and so can be grown quite close together while still being successful.

    How to Identify

    The pomegranate tree is often highly branched and shrubby and grow up to 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The fruit of pomegranate trees is distinctive in its thick red skin and larger circular shape. The leaves of the plant are oval and glossy. Pomegranate trees have both female and male sex organs meaning that all pomegranate trees are hermaphrodite.

    Wildlife Support

    Attractive to bees.

    Additional Information

    The bark, dried rind, and flowers of the pomegranate can all be used to create dyes and inks that are varying shades of yellow, red, brown, and even black.


    Planting Considerations

    • USDA Hardiness Zone: 8-12
    • Native Range: The pomegranate is not native to the United States of America. Its native range is Iran and northern India, yet it has successfully been cultivated in regions around these countries for long periods of time, including regions of the Middle East, Mediterranean, Northern Africa, and parts of Asia. 
    • Forest Garden Layer: Sunny edge
    • Height: up to 20 ft.
    • Spread: up to 20 ft.
    • Growth rate: medium
    • Sun: Pomegranates prefer full sun.
    • Bloom: Orange and red bloom spanning from early spring to late summer.
    • Attracts: bees and hummingbirds.
    • Tolerates: drought, wind firm, hedge tolerant.
    • Drawbacks: can be suspectable to multiple varieties of fungus and pests.  
    • Soil moisture: Pomegranates need ample soil moisture, but soil must be well draining and they should not be subject to long periods where they are exposed to waterlogged soil.
    • Soil texture: Pomegranates can grow in sandy, loamy, and clay soils, but they need well-drained soil.
    • Soil pH: Tolerates neutral and mildly acidic or basic soil pH.

    Plant profile by Holly Myers '23