If you are looking for something to plant in that spot in your yard where it is too sunny for anything to grow, one of your best options may be the Punica Granatum (pomegranate). It is a shrub that will bring some color into your garden. Furthermore, you will have your own supply of fruit.
The leaves are narrow, long and glossy. They help give the plant its round shape. An average plant grows to more or less 12 to 16 feet in height. Some plants grow even bigger, to 30 feet. If your space is limited, however, you can plant a dwarf variety that will grow to about 3 feet only.
One of the benefits of having this plant in your yard is that it is so colorful when in bloom. Some varieties are even grown mainly for their bright red flowers, which have a diameter of about 2 inches. Hummingbirds also love these flowers with their four or five big petals.
The plants bear fruit in fall and early winter. A pomegranate fruit is big and round, between 2.5 and 5 inches in diameter, with a thick, reddish skin. When you cut open the fruit, you will see that it is actually a berry. Inside the hard skin there are small seeds. There can be several hundred of these seeds in one fruit. They have a watery, pulpy outer part known as the aril. The aril is usually deep red and is the part that you can eat.
Pomegranates are rich in vitamin C. The arils have a taste that varies from sweet to slightly sour. They are used a lot in the cuisine of the Middle East, India, Pakistan and the Mediterranean countries. Even though they are good in salads and in hot meat dishes, Western taste-buds may prefer them with ice cream or yogurt or in baked goods. However, they are excellent on their own too.
The juice is becoming an increasingly popular drink, also in cocktails. It can be used as an ingredient in marinades, sauces and salad dressings too. Thickened and processed into a sweet syrup, it is known as grenadine, essential in any bar.
Pomegranates originated in Kurdistan, an area in modern-day Iran and Iraq. For hundreds of years people in this part of Asia have been growing the shrub and using its fruit. Because of its origin, the shrub prefers a warm and dry climate, like the Mediterranean climate of southern California. In a very wet climate the roots are prone to rot.
The best location for one of these plants is a spot that gets full sun. This makes it a great plant to provide shade for your more fragile herbs and flowers. However, if you don’t have a suitably sunny location, the plant will also grow in partial shade. It is easy to grow and is resistant to drought. It is hardy too and there aren’t many diseases and pests that will affect it. However, you will have to be on the lookout for leaf-footed bug and the pomegranate butterfly.
You can grow Punica Granatum (pomegranate) from seeds. However, it is better to grow it from cuttings, because this will keep the genetic integrity of the variety intact. No matter how you choose to propagate the plant, though, it will bring color and joy to your yard.