Background: Pomegranates are one of the oldest cultivated fruit trees in the world. It is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and was found throughout the whole Mediterranean region since ancient times. The pomegranate’s botanical name, Punica Granatum, means ‘seeded fruit growing from a shrub or small tree’. Pomegranates are now widely consumed and can be found in markets around the world.
Faiths and Cultures: Pomegranates have been a central part of many religions and are significant to a diverse range of cultures. In the Jewish faith, pomegranates are traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) because it has 613 seeds, which coincide with the 613 commandments of the Torah. Furthermore, the pomegranate represents fruitfulness.
In the Christian religion, pomegranates are often used as a decoration. The seeds can be placed in a dish and set out for memorial services as a symbol of the sweetness of heaven. The seeds may also represent the people of the church and royalty. Commonly, the fruit represents the promise of eternal life.
In Buddhism, the pomegranate is considered one of the three blessed fruits, along with the peach and citrus fruit. Some Hindu traditions symbolise the pomegranate with prosperity and fertility. It is also associated with both Bhoomidevi (the earth goddess) and Lord Ganesha.
According to the Muslim Qur’an, pomegranates grow in the gardens of paradise. The Qur'an mentions pomegranates three times; as one of the fruits that will be found in paradise, a reminder of the nutritious provision from God and as a sign of His artistry.
Growing season: In the Southern Hemisphere the ideal season to grow pomegranates is from March to May. Flowering tends to start in the spring and continue into the summer.
How to plant: Pomegranates grow best in warm subtropical or tropical climates. They are usually planted in medium to heavy soil that is well-drained. Generally, pomegranates are ready to be harvested six to seven months after the plant has flowered but need little attention because the seeds sprout readily without much help.