Various things can cause a pomegranate tree not to produce fruit. The age of the tree, too young or too old, the tree’s health, location, soil, or water all play influencing factors. With the reduction of pollinating insects, the pollination of your fruit trees may not always be happening as it should. Doing this job by hand may be the only solution. Let’s take a closer look at why your pomegranate tree is not producing fruit.
What You'll Learn Today
How Long For A Pomegranate Tree To Produce Fruit?
Depending on how your pomegranate was grown – from a seed, a cutting, or a graft you will need to wait until it is mature and healthy enough to produce its first fruit.
Trees grown from seeds often take much longer to establish and it will be many seasons before a single fruit is seen on your young tree.
For those grown from cuttings, this process may take less time, but for those grafted onto the already slightly aged rootstock, you will get the fastest returns and may even have your first few fruits in the first or second year.
How Many Years Before A Pomegranate Tree Produces Fruit?
As we learned above, the number of years it takes for a pomegranate tree to produce fruit often depends on how it was grown. It will also depend on other influencing factors such as the type of soil the tree is growing in, and how much available food there is within that soil.
Water is another important factor as too much or too little can affect fruit production.
A disease that gets into a young tree may not kill it, but it will certainly affect how well it fruits as will a heavy burden of insect pests.
Overall, you can expect to wait around four years until your tree starts producing fruits and a few more before it is cropping heavily, providing it is being given everything it needs to do so.
Why Is My Pomegranate Tree Not Producing Fruit?
Having established that your tree is at least four years old, and is not grown from a seed, then it should be producing fruit.
Pomegranates are generally self-pollinating, meaning that they don’t require the pollen from another pomegranate tree to develop fruit. However, it is worth remembering that all fruit trees benefit from having a partner tree or trees to provide cross-pollination.
This not only increases the number of fruits that will develop, but also the size and quality of them.
There are two main types of pomegranate tree, one which bears fruit and one which is ornamental and only bears flowers. If you have a flowering variety, you won’t get many or any fruit.
The wide range of pomegranate cultivars means that there are generally one or two types that will grow in the area you live in. If you reside in a cold zone, then choosing a cultivar such as Russian 26 which is very cold hardy is a good choice.
A popular commercial variety is Wonderful as it gives lots of large, red fruits.
If you have a fruiting variety and either it is not producing fruits or they are dropping from the tree before they ripen, there are several problems that could be causing the issue.
It doesn’t matter if your tree is self-pollinated or cross-pollinated, for either to happen there has to be an exchange of pollen between the male and female flowers. This is facilitated by insects or hummingbirds. Wind dispersal is not sufficient for pomegranates and you really need an abundance of bees to do the job.
If insecticide use in your area is common, then there may be a lack of bees and other pollinating insects around. Or it could be that your garden only attracts a few if you don’t have many flowering plants to encourage insects to visit. The solution – plant more insect attracting flowers.
If necessary, you can hand-pollinate your pomegranate flowers by using a small artist paintbrush or a cotton swab. Dip it into the male flowers and collect the pollen, then transfer it to a female flower just as the bees would do.
It has been found that trees that are pollinated earlier in the season, produce the largest, best quality fruits.
There are various things that can affect the health of your tree and if your tree isn’t healthy, it won’t produce many fruits.
- Soil – Although pomegranates are known for their ability to tolerate a wide range of soil types, they will always do best in rich, loamy soil that has plenty of nutrients and drains well.
- pH – The pH is also less critical for pomegranates than for other fruit trees, but it should still be between 5.5 to 7.2 for best results. You can use soil amendments to improve this either way.
- Fertilizer – If you have sandy soil, it could be that your tree isn’t receiving sufficient nutrients. Or if you are feeding your tree, perhaps you’ve overfed the nitrogen, which although it makes your tree produce a huge amount of wonderful green foliage, will actually reduce fruit production.
- Water – Water stress is a common reason why fruit trees drop their flowers or fruit prematurely. Ensure your tree is getting sufficient deep watering a couple of times a week. Giving more water in dry periods should help prevent this.
- Pests and Disease – If your tree is suffering from a disease, this can make it too weak to produce fruit. Similarly, an overload of pests may cause problems with fruit production. Ensure you treat disease and pests promptly, using low environmental impact products.
- Sunshine – Insufficient sunlight will stop your fruits from ripening. Pomegranates are sun lovers and like to be in full sun for a minimum of six hours per day.
Because pomegranate trees can require a fair amount of pruning to keep them in shape, a common mistake is to prune off too much.
Pomegranates mostly produce fruit on the wood that grew in the previous or current year. If you prune all of that wood off, then no fruits will be produced.
When pruning, ensure you only remove some of last year’s growth, so there is still plenty left for fruit production.
Pruning each year is generally good, as it stimulates branching and the opportunity for your tree to have more fruiting branches.
In this video, you will see some tricks to help get more fruit from your pomegranate tree:
When Does A Pomegranate Tree Bloom?
In Florida, you will find a pomegranate tree blooming for most of the summer. In California they tend to bloom in bursts during the spring, setting more fruits each time they bloom.
The trees in Georgia are a little different again, with spring blooming followed by renewed flowering when there is more heat during summer and fall.
How Do I Get My Pomegranate Tree To Bloom?
First, it’s a good idea to check that the pomegranate variety you planted is right for the weather and soil conditions where you live. If the climate is too cold or there isn’t enough heat and sunlight in summer then blooming won’t occur.
- Choose the right variety for the climate where you live – US hardiness zones 7 to 10
- Ensure the location you choose to plant your tree has enough sunlight, minimum of six hours of full sun per day
- Make sure the soil is of a suitable pH – 5.5 to 7.2
- Use organic fertilizer which releases nutrients slowly to keep your tree well-fed
- Avoid overfeeding, particularly nitrogen which will only stimulate leaf growth and not flowering
- Be careful not to over prune, as this will remove the twigs where new flowers grow
- Water is essential to the health of your tree, too little or too much can be detrimental and affect flowering
- Soil should be free draining. If too much moisture is held around the roots they will rot, killing your tree
- Treat your tree for disease and insects using natural products whenever possible
If your pomegranate tree is old or diseased you can prune it back hard to get rid of all the dead wood. This will allow your tree to regenerate from the suckers and new growth it puts on during the following season.
Flowering should then start the following year.
The most common reasons for a pomegranate tree not to flower are the tree is still too young, poor health, stress, old age, overfeeding, underfeeding, too little or too much water. Without flowers, there can be no fruit.
If you do have flowers but they don’t develop into fruit, then pollination is probably your main problem and it may be necessary to hand pollinate.
If fruits start to grow but drop off before they are ripe, it is likely a lack of water or cold temperatures.
Learn more about pomegranates and many other types of fruit on our website.