Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Pomegranate Tree Is Finally Fruiting!

I know it's ridiculous to be so happy about a fruit tree but this tree holds a special place in my heart. 

I had this tree grow from some leftover pomegranate seeds while I was still living in my old apartment - I think that was sometime in 2009. 

I planted the seeds in a plastic pot and forgot about it. You see, my then balcony didn't have much direct sunlight so I barely had any hope that the seeds would germinate.

Fighting against all odds (and maybe, just maybe I have green fingers!) the seeds grew into a spindly little plant. Pomegranate leaves are long and tapered, as you can see in the photos below. 

I brought this pot over when I moved home in November 2009. This new apartment of mine affords me a little bit of backyard. I promptly transplanted the pomegranate plant into a larger pot made of clay. I figured it would have more space to grow. I placed this pot in the garden, with direct sun and rain. 

I kept "feeding" it compost every month or so but I believe the plant loved the outdoors. It started growing tentatively but after bouts of really hot sun, it started to really grow tall. I had never hoped for any fruits because I learnt that it takes about 4 to 7 years before any pomegranates will appear and that's also if one's lucky. One cannot hurry Nature. It takes its own time and space.

pomegranate bud
Pomegranate bud

Early this year, I saw some tiny red buds. Like the one above but a lot smaller. I got excited because this meant that flowers were coming! By this time, the sapling had grown into a tree, about 4 feet in height. Its leaves were much greener and larger and its branches looked sturdier. Its trunk had thickened considerably too. From the bud came the flower - soft little petals which looked so delicate but which attracted butterflies! (Some people cannot stand butterflies because it means there'll be pupa somewhere and that eats up leaves.) 

pomegranate flower
Pomegranate flower 

Anyway, when the heavy rains pelted my poor plant, I was terribly worried. Would the flowers fall off in these tropical thunderstorms? Yes, some did fall onto the ground! But most of them stayed happy and tight on the branches. 

And from those which stayed put, something magical happens. The flower turns into a fruit! Can you see the lovely bulb-like fruit forming? It's still early so the fruit may not be fully formed until a few weeks later but it's very exciting to know that a few seeds turned into a plant and that plant or tree is now bearing gorgeous carmine coloured fruits!

pomegranate fruit
Pomegranate fruit slowly forming from the flower

Having said that, did you know that Chinese folks love growing pomegranates in their gardens? Usually it is placed in front of the home. It is a symbol of fertility (especially many sons; we Chinese love our male progeny) - the many seeds in each pomegranate is a symbol of this and abundance and prosperity. 

It is also used in feng shui where artwork featuring pomegranate are hung in newlywed's homes to encourage and create offspring luck. As you can see, it is a feng shui fertility cure. It also symbolizes happiness in the family, as well as good luck for one's descendants. By the way, it's not just in Chinese culture. This fruit, high in antioxidants, is also mentioned in many ancient religions from Judaism to Islam. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pomegranates which are of bitter and astringent nature are dried and used to benefit the kidneys, intestines and stomach. It expels worms in the stomach besides treating skin conditions and diarrhoea. If you suffer from coughing, eating pomegranates may help. 

I can't wait to taste the fruits when they ripen! Will keep you updated! 

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