When pomegranates are propagated using seedlings, they will germinate and result in a vigorous tree. However, the resulting tree will not be a true copy of the parent, and the fruit produced will be unpredictable in size, color, sweetness and juiciness (LaRue 1980).
Vegetative propagation by cuttings (softwood and hardwood) and micropropagation can be used to grow new pomegranate trees which produce fruit identical to the parental tree.
Pomegranates can be propagated using both softwood or hardwood cuttings, but hardwood cuttings are most commonly used commercially. Softwood cuttings are taken from wood late in the season and require mist and greenhouse conditions for rooting to occur. In contrast, hardwood cuttings are taken from one year old wood or suckers, trimmed, and placed directly onto the nursery floor, where they grow for one year prior to being transplanted with bare roots (LaRue 1980, Ryugo 1988). Some pomegranate orchards are established by planting unrooted cuttings into the orchard floor (Hummer et al. 2012), but can also be propagated under mist. Air layering parent plants and transplanting suckers is also an effective method of propagation (Morton 1987).
Micropropagation could be a beneficial approach to mass produce cultivars with ideal characteristics, including insect and disease resistance. Research has demonstrated the most efficient way to micropropagate is by enhancing axillary bud branching (Chauhan and Kanwar 2012). However, more research is needed to refine micropropagation methods.