How to Grow & Care for Pindo Palm

Pindo Palm Tree

A pindo palm is a palm tree that can handle cooler weather. It’s also called a jelly palm and its scientific name is Butia capitata. These trees come from Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina, and you can also find them along the coast in places like California and Florida in the United States.

Pindo palms have blue-green leaves that grow in a spiky pattern. They grow on a thick trunk that can reach between fifteen and twenty feet tall and spread out about twenty feet wide. The name “jelly palm” comes from the tasty fruits it produces, which people often use to make jams and jellies.

Pindo Palm Tree How to Grow & Care for Pindo Palm

 

Pindo Palm Tree Information

Scientific name: Butia capitata

Common names: also known as Jelly Palm and Wine Palm.

Family: Arecaceae

Appearance: The tree has a thick gray trunk covered in old leaf bases. It’s about 15 feet tall and 1-1.5 feet wide. Sometimes you might see trees with a clear trunk. Instead of a crown shaft, lovely curved leaves come straight from the trunk. These leaves are feathery, ranging from green to bluish-gray, and are about 5-10 feet long. They have 80-150 small leaf parts that are around 20-26 inches long. The leaves are held up by petioles (leaf stems) that are 3-4 feet long and have spines along both sides.

Flowers/Fruits: Towards the end of spring, the Pindo Palm makes small flowers that are yellow to orange-red. They grow together in groups on big bunches called inflorescences that are 3-4 feet long. These flowers have both male and female parts, and insects and the wind help them get pollinated.

After the flowers come bright orange fruits, often called “pindo dates,” that hang in big groups from the tree. These dates are round or oval-shaped, juicy, and about 1 inch wide. They ripen during the summer. People can eat them fresh, crush them into puree, or use them to make tasty jams and even wine. That’s why the tree is sometimes called the Jelly Palm. You can keep the fruits in the fridge for about a week, but be careful because when they fall to the ground, they can make a big mess.

Growth Rate: The growth of Butia capitata is slow to moderate. It can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet and widths of 10 to 15 feet, but typically it doesn’t grow taller than 15 feet and spreads out about 10 feet wide.

Cold Tolerance: When a Pindo Palm Tree is fully grown, it can handle cold temperatures down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s good to plant in places ranging from USDA Zones 7b, where it can get as cold as 5 degrees Fahrenheit, to Zone 11, where temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Light Req: Partial shade to Full sun.

‚ÄčWater Requirement: The Pindo Palm is pretty tough. It can handle salty water, lack of rain, and tough weather once it’s grown up. It can also grow in clay or sandy soil. When it’s first planted, it needs lots of water for about 2 years to get settled, but after that, it only needs a little bit of water now and then.

Maintenance: It’s simple to take care of. Besides looking nice, this special palm tree doesn’t need much maintenance. To make sure it stays healthy, use good palm tree food that slowly releases nutrients twice a year during the growing season.

Insects and Diseases: Pindo Palms are generally trouble-free. Sometimes they might face issues like palm leaf skeletonizer, scale insects, or not getting enough micronutrients. But don’t worry, there aren’t any serious diseases to worry about. Just be careful not to overwater them, as that can lead to root rot if the soil stays too wet.

Propagation: Pindo Palms grow from seeds. It can take quite a few months for the seeds to start growing.

How to Care for Pindo Palm

Once a Pindo Palm is fully grown, it can handle salty water, lack of rain, and different weather conditions pretty well. It doesn’t need a lot of attention when it comes to the type of soil, as long as it drains well. It grows best when it gets plenty of sunlight or some shade, and it doesn’t need any special nutrients. Plus, you don’t have to trim it much, so it’s a great choice for people who enjoy landscaping.

Light

This plant likes being in the sun, but it can also handle some shade. If you plant it in a very shaded place, it might not grow as quickly. It’s best to plant it by itself with plenty of room around it. If you want to grow it indoors, put it in a spot with lots of sunlight. When it’s warm outside, you can even take it outside to give it more sunlight.

Soil

This plant doesn’t care if the soil is clay or sand, as long as it lets water pass through well. You don’t have to change the soil when you plant this palm, but adding good soil to the hole can help. It’s important to check if the soil drains well because if it doesn’t, the roots could rot. Make sure the soil drains properly before you put the palm in.

Watering

For the first two years after planting, you need to water this palm regularly. But after that, you only need to water it now and then. Since the pindo palm can handle dry conditions, it’s best to let the soil dry out between waterings. This helps avoid soggy soil, which can make the trunk and roots rot. Check the soil to see if it’s dry using a soil probe, moisture meter, or just your fingers. If the top 3 inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water. Water slowly to make sure it soaks deep into the ground, about 2 feet down, and covers an area about 4 feet around the base of the trunk.

Fertilizing

When it comes to feeding your palm, how often you do it depends on what kind of soil you have. To make sure your palm gets all the nutrients it needs, it’s good to use a good palm fertilizer that slowly releases nutrients twice a year while it’s growing. From what we’ve seen, fertilizers with an equal amount of Nitrogen and Potassium, like 15-5-15 or 10-5-10, usually work well.

Temperature

The Pindo palm, known for its feather-shaped leaves, can handle cold weather better than most palm trees that are grown today. It grows well in places ranging from USDA Zone 8a, where it can get as cold as 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, to Zone 10b, where temperatures can drop to 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When Pindo palms are fully grown, they can handle temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit, but their leaves might get damaged when it’s around 15 degrees Fahrenheit. If it gets even colder, typically 10 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, the leaves may fall off.

Boosting Pindo Palm Cold Hardiness

How you take care of your pindo palm from spring to fall can affect how well it can handle the winter. To help it tolerate the cold better, water the soil around the base of the palm deeply but not too often, about twice a month during dry times, making sure the top 18 inches (46 cm) of soil get soaked.

During the growing season, which is from spring to fall, give the palm some special food every three months. You’ll need about 8 ounces (225 g) of a slow-release fertilizer with extra micronutrients, with a ratio of 8-2-12. Use 8 ounces (225 g) of fertilizer for every inch of the trunk’s diameter. Before and after it rains, spray the fronds, trunk, and crown of the palm with a fungicide that has copper in it. This helps protect the palm from fungal diseases, especially when it’s stressed from the cold.

Pindo Palm Winter Care

When the weather forecast says it’s going to be cold, protect your pindo palm by spraying its leaves and top with a special spray that dries into a flexible, waterproof covering. Then, tie the leaves back with strong garden twine and wrap them in burlap, using duct tape to keep it secure. Wrap burlap around the trunk too, then cover it all with plastic bubble wrap and more duct tape. As your palm grows taller, you might need a ladder or even professional help to do this.

Next, put four stakes in the ground about 3 feet away from the trunk, making a square shape around it. Staple chicken wire to the stakes to make an open cage. Fill the cage with straw, dried leaves, or other natural stuff, but make sure it doesn’t touch the palm. This extra layer helps keep the roots and trunk safe during really cold weather, and the chicken wire keeps everything in place.

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