How To Grow Jelly Palm (Butia capitata) In Your Garden

Butia capitata, commonly known as the Pindo Palm or Jelly Palm, is a medium-sized palm tree.

Plants typically reaches heights of 15 to 20 feet (4.5 to 6 m), and has a spread of around 10 feet (3 m).

Butia capitata, Jelly Palm
Butia capitata photograph by sanxiaodevea; PD.

Its feathery, arching fronds add a tropical feel to landscapes, making it a favorite among gardeners looking to incorporate an exotic touch.

The bluish-green foliage and interesting trunk shape can serve as a focal point in the garden.

This South American native is hardy in USDA zones 8b through 11 and RHS zones H2 (tender – can withstand temperatures down to 1 to 5°C).

It is known for its resistance to drought, which makes it suitable for xeric gardens or desert landscapes. Despite its tropical appearance, Butia capitata is cold tolerant.

How to Grow Butia capitata in the Garden

When choosing a location for your Butia capitata, consider what size it will be when it reaches maturity. It requires a sunny spot. These palms love full sun but can also tolerate some shade.

Jelly Palms are not overly picky about soil, but do use a well-drained soil to avoid root rot. Sand or loam types are ideal, with the pH tolerance ranging from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.

Jelly Palm
Jelly Palm image by Butia capitata; PD.

Planting can be done at any time of the year, but spring is ideal. This will give the tree plenty of time to establish before winter. Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and of the same depth. Next, place the tree in the hole, and then backfill with soil. Water thoroughly following planting.

Regular watering is crucial in the first year to establish a healthy root system.

Once established, Butia capitata is notably drought-tolerant, but it will still appreciate watering during extended dry spells. Feed with a palm-specific fertilizer in spring and summer following package instructions.

Butia capitata is relatively low maintenance. Prune spent fronds as needed, but be careful not to over-prune (palms will use the nutrients from older fronds to support new growth).

Butia capitata Fruits
Butia capitata Fruits image by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.

Keep an eye out for common palm pests such as scale and mealybugs. Keeping Butia capitata healthy will make it less susceptible to pests and diseases.

With its easy-going nature and striking aesthetics, Butia capitata is a valuable addition to gardens. It can provide year-round greenery and a unique, tropical ambiance.

Quick Butia capitata Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Butia capitata.

Common Names: Jelly Palm, Pindo Palm.

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 8-11. RHS Hardiness Rating: H3.

Best Used For / Garden Location: Used in subtropical or tropical themed gardens; ideal in sunny, well-drained locations.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial.

Plant Height: 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m).

Plant Spread: 10-15 ft (3-4.5 m).

Blooms: Summer.

Flower Details: Yellow, small, clustered on stalks.

Leaf Foliage: Blue-green, feathery, arching, pinnate leaves.

Fruit: Edible, yellow to orange, resembles a small apricot, taste is a mix between pineapple and apricot.

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Full sun.

Suitable Soil Types: Well-draining, sandy or loamy soil. Tolerant to drought and salt.

Sowing / planting: Not applicable. Plant young trees in spring.

Germination time: Not applicable for trees.

Propagation: Best propagated from seeds in the spring or early summer.

Plant Care: Water regularly but let soil dry out between watering.

Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for large pots or containers in the early stages, but will eventually need a spacious outdoor area.

Growing as a House plant: Can be grown indoors in a well-lit area, but prefers outdoor conditions. Ensure adequate space for growth.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Attracts birds and wildlife due to its edible fruit. Not typically invasive but can self-seed under ideal conditions. Tolerant of coastal conditions and brief cold snaps.

Pests and diseases: Occasionally affected by scale insects and palm aphids.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: Butia capitata 'Strictor' is a popular variety known for its more upright growth habit.

Family: Arecaceae, the Palm family.

Native: Native to South America, particularly Brazil and Uruguay.

References and Further Reading: Missouri Botanical Garden Plant FInder; Trees of Stanford; Berkeley Jelly Palm pictures.

Common Questions

Does Butia capitata make a good garden, landscaping, or houseplant plant?

Yes, Butia capitata is a popular choice for gardens and landscaping due to its striking appearance, and its ability to tolerate a range of soil conditions.

Is Pindo Palm a fragrant plant?

The Pindo Palm is not known for its fragrance. However, its fruit, which can be used to make jelly, has a unique and pleasant smell when ripe.

What is the perfect location to grow Pindo Palm?

Pindo Palm prefers a location with full sun and well-drained soil. It's hardy, and can withstand cooler temperatures, and performs best in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 11.

Is Butia capitata invasive in the USA?

Butia capitata is not currently considered invasive in any US states.

How do I remove Jelly Palm from my garden?

Removing a Jelly Palm should be done carefully due to its size. It's recommended to hire a professional arborist. However, if done DIY, it involves cutting it down, digging out the stump, and ensuring all roots are removed.


Butia capitata is a South American palm that grows well in well-drained soil under full sun. It's a hardy species that can tolerate cold temperatures, offering a tropical aesthetic to gardens.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Butia capitata. You may also enjoy the following Palm growing guides: How to grow Washingtonia Filifera, Skyduster, and European Fan Palm plants in the garden.

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