Punica granatum ‘Nana’ (Dwarf Pomegranate) – This is a semi-deciduous to evergreen (mild climates) dwarf shrub is an ornamental form of the fruiting pomegranate. It typically only grows to 3 feet tall, though older plants are noted around Santa Barbara 5 to 6 feet tall. Its slender stems hold attractive glossy narrow green 1 inch long leaves and dark orange-red flowers in abundance at branch tips during the summer, followed by 2 inch wide ornamental red fruits that remain on the plant through winter. These fruit are technically edible but are a bit too sour to really be considered palatable, so are best for looking at on the plant for the extended period they remain. Plant in full sun to light shade (sun best) with occasional to little irrigation – this is a drought tolerant shrub! It is nearly evergreen in mild climates and tolerates alkaline conditions, wind, heat and frost. It is reportedly hardy to 5°F, so useful in gardens in USDA zones down to 7b. Makes a great small hedge and can be sheared and maintained as small as 2 feet tall or use as a small specimen or a container plant – excellent for bonsai work and the flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. Pomegranates are thought to have originated in Persia, in modern day Iran north into Afghanistan, and were cultivated throughout the mediterranean region. The genus name Punica comes from the Latin name, Malum punicum from Pliny. It is a reference to the name of people, the Punics, and the ancient city of Carthage they inhabited in modern day Tunisa as it was known as “the Carthage apple”. This name is also the origin of its specific epithet and common name as ‘granatum’ means seeded and ‘pomum’ was the word for apple. Punica granatum var. nana originated as a natural dwarf variant first mentioned as being grown in England around 1723 by Phillip Miller in his The Gardener’s Dictionary published in 1759. Miller called the plant the American Pomegranate as it was thought to have come through France, where it was introduced near the end of the 17th century, from the West Indies, presumably having made it there by early westward explorers and settlers. Linnaeus gave it the binomial name in 1762 and it was described with a drawing by John Sims in 1803 (Curtis Botanical Magazine XVIII plate 634). For many years this plant has been propagated by seed and by cuttings so it is difficult to know the actual origin of the Punica granatum ‘Nana’ that is now in the trade in California. Harry Butterfield in his “Dates of Introduction of Trees and Shrubs to California” (Landscape Horticulture University of California, Davis 1964) listed it as being introduced into into cultivation in California by William Walker at his Golden Gate Nursery in San Francisco in 1858. We have been growing this great little plant since 1980. The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery’s garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Punica granatum ‘Nana’.

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