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I just received a Wonderful Pomegranate sapling in the mail. It is 18 inches tall. Its single trunk is so thin and tall that it can't stand up by itself. I believe the gardening vernacular to describe this is "leggy". How do I strengthen it to be self-dependent?

enter image description here

As an aside, pomegranates naturally grow as shrubs (multiple trunks). I think the nursery trained this one as a single trunk as evidenced by thinning cuts at the very bottom of the tree, causing the weird zigzag shape.

Update March 26, 2015

I planted the pomegranate plant in the ground last year. It's still leggy. You can see many branches arching over. On the other hand, the foliage is lush and the vertical growth rate is stupendous. I thought planting it outdoors would help. It's put in a sunny spot. The wind was supposed to make the limbs grow stronger, but it didn't.

enter image description here

  • thanks for the new photo, outdoors will definitely help. What do you want it to look like? – kevinsky Mar 27 '15 at 11:01
  • I'm more concerned about what it should look like to be a healthy plant rather than what I want it to look like. My intuition is that the branches should be strong and thick without arching downward. Is that how pomegranates should be? – JoJo Mar 27 '15 at 14:35
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There's a few things you could do for this plant.

  • the pot is way oversized for the amount of foliage. With this ratio of pot to leaves the plant will spend a lot of time growing roots at the expense of foliage. Repot to a size no more than four to six inches in diameter
  • staking is intended to provide a temporary support. For outdoor plants if left on too long it can hinder their growth. Remove the existing stake and either do not stake or stake with two smaller ones that do not penetrate the core of the root ball
  • consider cutting it back as the existing growth is floppy and indicative of growth under low light
  • provide more light
  • Edit: this site provides a good overview of commercial production practices. Do not try the fertilization levels they recommend for outdoor mature plants or you could burn the roots out with a high salt level
  • These points on pruning seem to be relevant. Prune to just above a bud

• Fruitful and differentiated buds are located at the distal portion of the branches

• Pruning of terminal portion of a branch lowers down the total flower production

• Fruit size and yield of higher grade fruits are more with high intensity pruning

• Minimizes the bending of branches and staking

You added a new picture of your plant. The "Wonderful" variety is supposed to grow to at least six, if not eight feet tall (2 M +) but it is a shrubby plant rather than having one strong stem.

I recommend full sun as much as possible and regular side pruning to encourage top growth.

  • Where should I head the trunk? Do I have to look for a place right above a bud or will cutting anywhere encourage new limbs to grow? – JoJo Jan 25 '14 at 20:03
  • I posted an update photo. The plant has been growing wildly but it's limbs are still arching downward. I wonder if the Wonderful variety is supposed to be like this. I have a Parfianka variety and its limbs are rock hard. – JoJo Mar 27 '15 at 6:12

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