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Northern California Regional Reports

Growing Pomegranates in Northern California

Everything you need to know about this sweet, tart favorite

‘Parfianka’ pomegranates produce fruit with a sweet, tart flavor reminiscent of a cherry. Photo: courtesy of Dave Wilson Nursery

Native to Persia and the Himalayas of Northern India, and cultivated since the Early Bronze Age, the much-revered pomegranate (Punica granatum, Zones 7–11) arrived in California in 1769 with Spanish colonizers. Pomegranate trees are long-lived, drought-tolerant, deciduous plants with glossy, bronze-tinted, bright green leaves. A showy, long-lasting spring and summertime display of hummingbird-attracting orange-red tubular flowers is followed by an abundant fall harvest of remarkable fruit—round, brightly colored, and filled with shiny red (or sometimes pink or even clear) arils containing sweet, tangy, extraordinarily nutritious juice AND a small, nutrient-packed seed in the middle. Just one cup of the delicious juice covers more than 40% of your daily vitamin C needs and is full of antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin K, and a variety of minerals including calcium, iron, and potassium. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to grow your own pomegranates, along with descriptions of some of my favorite varieties.

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