Butia Capitata – Learn, Grow & Where to Buy

Butia capitata is a perennial, slow-growing, hardy, evergreen palm tree that is native to Brazil and that grows up to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide. It takes up to 5-10 years for it to mature and it has a lifespan of roughly 80 years.


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This handsome palm tree is commonly called jelly palm, pindo palm, or yatay palm and belongs to the Arecaceae family. It has a short, thick, single trunk that is covered by the stalks of old leaves. The fronds are feather-like and pinnate shaped forming a thick crown that bends toward the tree trunk.

Butia capitata - Jelly Palm Trees

Butia capitata – Jelly Palm Trees

Each frond has 25-60 pairs of slender and pointed leaflets that range in colour from grey-blue or grey-green to light green with tints of silver. Clusters of fragrant, small, yellowish-white unisexual flowers on long spikes bloom from spring to summer.

The fruits are fleshy, round, edible and can be orange, yellow or red. They have a single seed, and the ripe fruit can be used to make jelly or wine.

How to grow Butia

As jelly palm is tolerant of drought, salt, and heat, it is quite easy to grow. This palm tree that has a US hardiness of 8 to 10 and a UK hardiness of H4 is winter hardy to a certain extent. Your plant should be protected from extreme frost and avoid planting in windy places.

How to propagate Butia Palms

This is best achieved by the planting of seed under glass in loamy compost in filtered bright light. Transplant to pot in spring, place in full sun, water adequately and feed regularly. The seed can take weeks or months to germinate depending on the temperature.

Soil requirements for Butia

Jelly palm is best grown in moist, well-drained, fertile clay, loamy or sandy soil of an acidic, neutral, or alkaline pH.

Does Butia need sun or shade?

Full shade is not good for this tree and it should be planted in full sun or partial shade. It also prefers an East, West or South facing position.

How much water does Butia need?

The water needs of pindo palm are quite low. Your palm tree will only need frequent watering during its growing season as it is drought tolerant once it is well established due to its extensive root system. Overwatering your palm can cause root rot and promote fungal infections which will damage your tree.

Does the Butia need pruning?

Cut off any brown, damaged or old frond from your tree in spring. You can also remove the stalks of old leaves from the trunk for a smooth display.

How often should I be giving Butia fertiliser?

Feed your palm tree quarterly with a controlled release palm fertiliser that is rich in micronutrients to avoid nutritional deficiencies.

What Pests and diseases do Butia get?

Pindo palm trees are more susceptible to pests when grown indoors which can be eliminated by the utilisation of insecticide sprays and soaps on the fronds, trunk, and roots of your tree. Your tree can also be afflicted with various fungal infections such as pink rot, diamond scale and phytophthora that are facilitated by soils that drain poorly or overwatering. These infections can be treated with a combination of pruning, fungicide sprays and prevention.

Further Reading:

Other popular palm trees you might be interested in are the hardy backbone Trachycarpus Fortunei Chusan PalmButia CapitataChamaerops HumilisChamaerops Humilis CeriferaChamaerops Humilis VulcanoHowea Forsteriana (Kentia Palm)Livistona RotundifoliaPhoenix canariensisWashingtonia RobustaAreca Dypsis and Yucca Palms.

Where can I buy Butia Capitata for sale in the UK?

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