How to Clone Pomegranate Trees At Home
How to Clone Pomegranate Trees At Home
Most cultivated (non-wild) fruit trees are grafted onto a rootstock. The rootstock is a variety bred specifically for the quality it gives the fruit tree from the roots. Nemaguard, for example, is a rootstock we use that protects the almonds, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and plums from certain harmful soil nematodes. Grafting is a technical process that may be described in a future post…
Most pomegranate trees, blueberry plants, and fig trees are grown on their own roots, which mean that you can propagate (clone) them with relative ease (there is a detailed chapter on pomegranates in The Southern Gardener’s Guide to Growing Fruit Trees). Pomegranates can be propagated by seed, though it takes longer to produce fruit and the tree may be different from the parent plant. Here is a step-by-step guide to propagating pomegranate trees:
1) Before you take cuttings, create a mixture of 50% peat moss and 50% perlite. Both peat moss and perlite can be purchased at most garden centers or home improvement stores (and online!). This is the blend we’ve found most effective for propagating almost any plant. Place this blend in containers – this will be where the cuttings go. We prefer to place one cutting into one container or cell in a larger tray rather than stick a bunch of cuttings in each container.
2) Select a healthy plant that you plan to use for cuttings. On a spring or summer day, in the morning before the day gets too hot, use clean pruning shears to cut 12-18 inch sections of pomegranate stem (twigs or branches). These will be your cuttings.
3) Remove the leaves on the lower half of the cutting. For faster rooting and more vigorous growth after rooting, use a rooting compound (available from Amazon) or homemade willow water. Dip the lower end of the cuttings into the rooting compound (we prefer liquid rooting compound, such as Clonex, instead of powder rooting compound, but either one will work) or leave the cuttings in willow water for a couple of hours.
4) Water the containers with the rooting “soil” mixture so that the material is moist. Use a pencil or sharp stick and make a hole in the “soil” (I say “soil” because this is technically a soil-less mixture).
5) Place the cuttings into the holes and gently make sure the cuttings are firmly in place.
6) Place the containers with the cuttings in a high humidity environment. Hobby greenhouses are good, but if you don’t have one of those, try a large plastic bag placed around the container(s). Keep the bag sealed and keep the soil-less mixture moist but not saturated. Use a spray bottle filled with water to spray inside the bag. Spray at least once or up to several times a day to keep the air extremely humid inside the bag. Keep the bag in a warm (but not hot!) place out of direct sunlight.
7) In 3-6 weeks, check the cuttings – there should be roots growing on them.
8) Once the trees are rooted, open the bag. Keep the roots moist but not soaked.
9) After a few days, remove the plants from the bag (or greenhouse) and keep them in the shade in an area without a lot of wind. This will help “harden off” the new plants.
10) If the plants don’t seem to be harmed by the outside weather, move them into the sun. They are ready to plant. If the leaves start falling off or the plants look weak, move the plants back into the greenhouse or bag for a few more days.
Since this blog post will be posted in winter, this is how to propagate pomegranates in winter:
1) Take cuttings of a dormant pomegranate tree in winter. The cuttings should be 12-16” and should be about the width of a pencil. Don’t let the cuttings dry out.
2) Place the cuttings (with or without rooting hormone) in a mix of sand and perlite, or in a vermiculite and perlite mix. Some people just stick the cuttings in the ground – this might work in some cases.
3) Allow the cuttings to over-winter, but don’t let them freeze. And don’t leave the cuttings standing in water.
4) In late winter/early spring, the cuttings should show signs of new growth. These new trees won’t really need hardening off – just transplant them into new containers or into the ground.
Roses, gardenia, Rose of Sharon (Althea), fig trees, and hundreds of other plants can also be propagated by the above two methods.
Here is a list of supplies you might need to do this:
Have you had any luck with cloning/propagating plants? See something we need to add to the above lists? Let us know in the comments!