When I was a kid, I would often find a pomegranate in the toe of my Christmas stocking. Whether put there by Santa or Mom, pomegranates represented the exotic and rare, eaten just once a year. Punica granatum, the pomegranate, is a tree that is native to Iran and India, hence thriving in hot, dry conditions akin to those found in the Mediterranean. While pomegranate trees are drought tolerant, they do need good, deep irrigation periodically-- similar to the requirements for citrus trees. Not only is the plant grown for its delicious fruit (actually a berry), but it is cultivated for the stunning bright red flowers on pomegranate trees. Pomegranates can be a bit pricey, so if you live in a climate that will support growing your own, you have a win/win savvy garden specimen. Although the tree is fairly resilient, it's susceptible to several issues and one of them is pomegranate flower drop. If you are lucky enough to own a pomegranate tree, you may be wondering why pomegranate blooms fall and how to prevent bud drop on pomegranate.
Why Pomegranate Blooms Fall?
There are a number of reasons for pomegranate flower drop. Pollination: To answer the question of why pomegranate flowers fall off, we need to know a little about the plant's reproduction. Pomegranate trees are self-fruitful, which means the flowers on the pomegranate are both male and female. Pollinating insects and hummingbirds assist in spreading the pollen from flower to flower. You can even help too by using a small brush and lightly brushing from bloom to bloom. Male pomegranate flowers fall off naturally as do un-fertilized female blooms, while fertilized female flowers remain to become fruit. Pests: Pomegranate trees begin to flower in May and continue through early autumn. If your pomegranate flowers fall off in early spring, the culprit may be insect infestation such as whitefly, scale, or mealybugs. Inspect the tree for damage and consult your local nursery for a recommendation regarding the use of insecticide. Disease: Another possible reason for pomegranate flower drop may be due to a fungal disease or root rot. An anti-fungal spray should be applied and again, the local nursery can help with this. Environmental: The tree may drop flowers due to cold temperatures as well, so it is a good idea to protect or move the tree if a chill is in the forecast. Finally, although the tree is drought resistant, it still needs a good deep watering if you want it to produce fruit. Too little water will cause the blossoms to drop from the tree. Pomegranate trees need to be mature to produce fruit, three to five years or so. Prior to this, as long as the tree is watered, fertilized, pollinated properly, and free of pests and disease, a little pomegranate flower drop is perfectly natural and no cause for alarm. Just be patient and eventually you, too, can be enjoying the delicious ruby red fruit of your very own exotic pomegranate.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.
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