Pomegranate bonsai care is not difficult. With sufficient watering, these bonsai tolerate a sunny location even in summer. If pruned at the right time, they will flower profusely and bear attractive fruit.
In order to get plenty of flowers from such a flowering bonsai, the nitrogen content in the fertilizer should not be too high, especially not before flowering.
In the growth period from March to September, pomegranate bonsai are fertilized every 4 weeks with solid organic bonsai fertilizer such as Biogold or Hanagokoro. A commercially available liquid fertilizer for bonsai is also well suited. Depending on the manufacturer, the fertilizer is applied every 1-2 weeks.
Pomegranate bonsai also tolerate mineral fertilizers. Here the NPK ratio can be influenced much more. However, it requires good specialist knowledge and is not recommended for laypersons. Over-fertilization can quickly occur.
Pomegranate bonsai need to be watered a lot in summer. Especially on a sunny location, when the fruits are riping and a well drained substrate is used. In winter, watering is significantly reduced.
The pomegranate loves and needs a location in full sun in summer. It also tolerates high summer temperatures and wind very well.
In winter, a bright location with good air circulation is recommended for a pomegranate bonsai, where it is protected from frost.
As a Mediterranean bonsai, the pomegranate bonsai tolerates a short and light frost quite well in its natural location in the ground. As a bonsai, however, it should be overwintered frost-free, preferably at 4-8°C.
An unheated greenhouse or foil tent is a very good place for the winter.
Winter care as an indoor bonsai is possible if the location is bright and very cool. The pomegranate needs a hibernation to stay healthy.
Repotting takes place about every 3 years in spring, when the buds begin to sprout. A vigorous root cut is usually required and is well tolerated.
A well-drained substrate with a neutral pH is important for adequate care. Akadama with an admixture of other bonsai substrates such as expanded slate is well suited. A slightly calcareous bonsai soil is also tolerated, an acidic substrate such as peat should be avoided.
Healthy pomegranate trees in a sunny location with adequate air movement suffer little from pests. When caring for bonsai in the apartment, you can quickly find aphids or whiteflies. These are then combated with commercially available insecticides. A change of location would be the better solution in this case.
Sometimes you can see pomegranate bonsai with light colored leaves. This is often caused by overwatering when the substrate is too fine.
The propagation of the pomegranate is possible by seeds as well as by cuttings, but is only worthwhile in the Mediterranean countries. In Germany the growth is too low to get a good starting plant for bonsai styling.
Digging up older garden trees in the Mediterranean countries can provide good starting material for bonsai design. The roots are drastically cut back. In a permeable substrate, the trees grow well again.
Air-layering should also work. But we haven't tried that yet.
What are the advantages of a pomegranate as a bonsai ?
- A pomegranate bonsai bears beautiful flowers and attractive fruit
- Also noteworthy is its naturally twisted trunk with cracked bark. This gives a bonsai an old look
- Punica granatum has small leaves suitable for bonsai styling, especially the Nana variety
- A pomegranate can get very old. There are trees that have been cultivated in pots for more than 200 years
- This type of bonsai reacts quickly to pruning with many new buds
Application of bonsai wire is possible, but not easy. Older branches are hard and brittle. Sometimes they die too.
Wire should only be used to shape young, flexible shoots. The best time to attach the wire is in winter, when the leaves have fallen.
Since a pomegranate grows new shoots very well after pruning, in many cases it is easier and less risky to shape it simply by cutting it.
When pruning pomegranate bonsai, the main thing to remember is not to remove the flower buds. These are located at the ends of the short shoots. This means that if you want flowers, you should not cut them about 2 months before the start of flowering (around May) or not cut them too much .
It is best to cut back the shoots with bonsai scissors at the end of winter, when the tree has no leaves or after flowering has ended. If you want fruit, don't leave too many on the tree. The fruit ripening costs the tree a lot of energy.
Stronger branches are removed with a bonsai cutter. Since sap is sometimes withdrawn, it is good to first cut back a stronger branch to a small stump. This can later be completely removed. The application of wound sealant for bonsai is advisable for larger cuts.
Don't cut too often during the growing season. Allow young shoots to grow 10-15cm. Then they form new buds faster and better.
The pomegranate is often designed to be freely upright (Moyogi style), slightly tilted (Shakan style) or in the shape of a broom. The broom shape can be easily realized because it is best to do without bonsai wire.
Matching bonsai pots
Glazed bonsai pots are preferable for the pomegranate with its magnificent flowers. Gray handmade bonsai pots are also possible. Here the color of the pot would harmonize well with the color of the trunk. The low price pots for indoor bonsai can be used with not so high-quality bonsai. In addition, pomegranate bonsai should be overwintered frost-free. The frost resistance of these pots is irrelevant.
In terms of shape, oval bonsai pots are usually more suitable than rectangular ones. Drip trays are actually not needed because pomegranate bonsai should not be cared for indoors.
Suitable pots for prebonsai in the cultivation phase are the plastic bonsai pots. The dark brown color of the pots does not go so well with the pomegranate, but they are very stable and inexpensive. For young plants, it is best to use plant pots made of plastic or clay pots like in Japan.
As already written above, the flowers and fruits are the highlights of a pomegranate bonsai. There are also distinct differences in flower color and shape between cultivars. Double flowers are also available.
Do not cut off the terminal flower buds before flowering. Depending on the size of the tree, leave very few fruits on the bonsai.
The grey, cracked bark on the often twisted trunks (with clearly visible sap lines) underlines the age of a bonsai very well.
In the past, especially in Japan, there were many different varieties. Today the supply is significantly lower. The varieties of the pomegranate tree differ particularly in the color and size of the flowers and in the size of the leaves and fruits. There are also varieties with double flowers.
Common pomegranate varieties are:
Punica granatum Nana: Very small leaves and flowers. Particularly suitable for small bonsai.
Punica granatum Nejikan: Mostly twisted counter-clockwise stem with cracked bark and large flowers.
The pomegranate (Punica granatum) occurs mainly in the Mediterranean region to western Asia. It grows to about 5m tall and is deciduous. The shoot tips often have thorns.
The name Punica probably comes from Roman times. There the fruit was called "Malum punicum", an apple from Carthage. Carthage (in North Africa) is located in an area that the Romans called Punia.
Perhaps the name derives from the Latin pomum (apple) and granatum (seeds, kernels).