Help! My baby pomegranate is dying!

IcoeJuly 10, 2013

Hi everyone! I recently purchased a miniature pomegranate tree from a reputable mail order nursery. The tree arrived on a VERY hot day (here in the southwest) a few weeks ago, obviously in shock from the heat. It promptly lost all its leaves and turned into a small, but live stem. I put it in a window with moderate light, and have kept it somewhat moist. The soil it is in seems to retain a lot of water, but I have tried to give it plenty of time in between waterings. I also gave it a bit of organic fruit tree fertilizer. Per the instructions that came with it, I did not transplant it. The instructions said to wait to transplant until it had produced two new leaves.

Well, the stem almost immediately turned brown at the tip. The brown part has very slowly been creeping downward. However, also very slowly, the tree has produced the beginnings of two new sets of leaves at the junctions where the old ones fell off. Because I could see it was starting to grow, I assumed it would be OK. But the brown part has continued creeping downward, and I was alarmed today to see that it had suddenly passed one of the leaf junctions and taken one set of tiny leaves with it! It is headed for the last set of leaves now, and I am pretty sure that if this continues, my poor baby pom will only have a few days left!

I don't know what could be wrong with it. I have really tried not to over-water or do anything that could stress it. I am wondering if it was doomed from the start since it was almost baked the day it arrived. But it has lived this long. I am baffled. Any ideas? I know the nursery will replace it, but I would much rather keep this one! Thanks!

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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

I would cut the brown portion off to keep it from spreading. can you share a pic also please

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 2:56PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I'd let the vendor know it arrived baked & has gone downhill from there. Maybe send them some pix if you can.

I'd contact them BEFORE cutting anything off. If they're reputable, PERHAPS they'll have some suggestion or resolution.

I know folks who bonsai this, I'm guessing it wasn't cheap (if a true miniature) -- I'd give the vendor a chance to make good BEFORE doing anything else to it.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 4:06PM
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Here is a pic. (Sorry it is sideways. My daughter took it from her phone and for some reason my computer did not want to let me edit it.) It is pretty small and hard to see, but the stem tip used to be green and almost translucent and now it looks brown and dry. At the first and second junction, the little bits that stick out look dead. There are tiny leaves at the third junction from the top, and the brown part almost reaches to them now. The smaller stem looks completely dead. However, the leaves look healthy and appear to be growing slowly. I think it might be a grafted tree and not a true dwarf, but not sure. It wasn't that expensive, but you get attached, you know?

I have emailed the nursery. Will let you know what they say. Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 10:43AM
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OK, I received an email back from the nursery. They said that pruning the dead part was good advice, and I should do that. I have cut the stem off just above the new leaves. Crossing my fingers!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 9:26AM
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And today, after pruning it very carefully just below the dead part, suddenly both sets of new leaves on the lower portion of the stem are dead. :( I really don't think it's gonna make it. But then, maybe it just shocked it or something, right?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Icoe..I agree with Pirate Girl.

Except for an inch of green, the stems look dead.

Cut a stem or scrape off a small section of bark. If the inside is green, there's some hope. If the inside is brown and/or brittle, your pomegranate is a goner.

Did you send a photo to the nursery? A reputable dealer will either send a new plant or refund your money.

Pome's are a tad difficult, so you want to start with a healthy plant.

Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 10:37AM
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The stem was definitely alive above where I cut it yesterday, after the picture was taken. There were also two tiny sets of new leaves that were growing, though it is almost impossible to see in the picture. Contacted the nursery and they said if it dies they will ship a new one next spring. They also said to cut it below the brown part that was creeping downward, which I did. That seems to have made it much worse. The leaves that were growing (despite the creeping brown part) suddenly died. Don't know if there is anything to be done now. :(

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 11:26AM
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How many days was your plant in transit, and when delivered to your house, how long before you brought inside?

Did the company say why they'd send a new plant next spring? Why not autumn or once temps drop?
Also, if you don't mind me asking, did they agree to send a new plant via an email or conversation?
If they emailed, please save the letter.

If you spoke to someone on the phone, hope you got their name. Also, keep the order number/invoice.

What size is the pot?
At this point, don't know if you should repot/change soil. If you decide to keep Pome in the same soil/container, a little fresh soil/medium should be added.

The pot is either half-full or half-empty, depending on your outlook. :)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Not sure how long it was in transit but I brought it in as soon as it got here. It was in June, which is very hot here. The nursery has set shipping dates for this plant, and for some reason it was delayed this year. Was supposed to come much earlier, but I got emails that it was delayed and their site said they were out of stock. So they would normally have shipped it much earlier for my growing zone, presumably when it was not already roasting outside. When I brought it in the whole thing was hot to touch and the many leaves that had been on it were crispy as corn flakes.

The nursery has a great guarantee-- if it dies they will replace it. I have that in email, but not worried about it, either way. The company has a great reputation.

The pot is maybe 3 inches or so. I thought the soil seemed low, but I was following their instructions to a tee. The instructions state not to re-pot until it has two new leaves. I will add a little soil or put it in a slightly bigger pot and see if that helps.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Even reputable nurseries mess up at times. You know?

So, by sending your Pome later than planned, the nursery was at fault.

Considering how hot June was in SW, plants confined in heated box, no wonder leaves were as crispy as Corn Flakes.
Funny, but not really. I had to laugh at your corn flake remark. lol.

It bothers me when a nursery ships plants in spite of temps hot as he&& or cold as ice. Been there, done that.

Doesn't matter if a plant cost .50 or 50.00. When we order, we expect a healthy specimen.

Do you know which variety you received? Is it nana? Dwarf plants can die when containers are too large.
My old Pome was grown in a bonsai pot. But, small pots require frequent waterings, especially during summer.
At the time, I worked at a plant store. lol. That summer was hotter than usual.
My Pome was small, but flowered and fruit..'small fruit.'
Well, I didn't water. Soil dried to a point my pome kicked the bucket at 3 yrs old. My fault, of course.

I honestly hope your pome grows or the nursery sends a nice, healthy plant.

BTW, although small, I see the new leaf sprouts. Toni

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 1:38PM
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Give it a bit more time. As said above, cut back to where the dead part ends. There do seem to be some dormant, healthy buds there. Fertilizing a struggling plant is not helpful though. Was your plant intended as a containerized plant or for the ground?

I do disagree about them them being difficult (maybe as a 'houseplant' but not outside--many plants are like that). Obviously, don't transplant it at this point, easy on the watering, temps, etc..

The dwarf ('nana') variety, is a terrific shrub!--Quite cold hardy btw. I bought the one in the picture below in NYC's Chinatown several years ago.--It was tiny! It has since gone through 2 hurricanes, floods, drought, snow and ice storms, been covered in snowdrifts, etc.. It is deciduous, so nothing to look at in the Winter.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 2:17PM
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