How to Care for a Pindo Palm

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Things You'll Need

  • Shovel

  • Organic mulch

  • Commercial slow-release palm tree fertilizer in a 12-4-12 formulation

  • Pruning shears

The pindo palm features curving, graceful fronds.

The pindo palm--scientifically known as Butia capitata, and also called the jelly palm--is a versatile and hardy palm tree found in coastal areas throughout the Southeast, the Gulf States and California. With its curving, light green to bluish-gray fronds and yellow fruits, the pindo palm makes an excellent specimen planting. It is also well-suited to growing in containers at poolside and on patios. Despite its tropical appearance, the pindo palm is cold-hardy, tolerating occasional dips in temperatures as low as 10 degrees F. Follow proper techniques for planting and care to have one of these luxuriant palm trees grace your yard.

Step 1

Select a planting site for the pindo palm in full sun with well-drained, sandy loam or clay loam soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Don't plant the palm where it will overhang patios or decks, as the fruits can stain wood and concrete, and plant it at least 10 feet from sidewalks. Keep in mind that your pindo palm can reach 20 feet tall; give it room to grow.

Step 2

Plant your pindo palm in the spring or summer by digging a hole twice the size of the root ball, and just deep enough that the tree will be planted at the depth at which it was grown. Backfill with the original garden soil. According to the Broward County, Florida's Environmental Protection website, it is beneficial to blend in a palm tree fertilizer at the rate of 2 ounces for every inch of trunk diameter.

Step 3

Create a water ring, or berm, around your pindo palm by shaping the soil around the planting hole into a ring 6 inches high by 8 inches wide. This will help conserve water and promote good root establishment by drawing moisture outward.

Step 4

Irrigate your pindo palm by filling the ring with water. Continue to water your newly-planted pindo palm frequently, watering it daily for the first two weeks. Avoid letting the soil dry out, which could severely stress your new tree. Reduce watering gradually over several months as the palm tree establishes itself. After its second year, your drought-tolerant pindo palm should need little watering.

Step 5

Apply a 3-inch layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture and protect the roots. Don't let the mulch touch the palm tree's trunk.

Step 6

Fertilize your pindo palm tree in the spring and again in midsummer, using a slow-release palm fertilizer in a 12-4-2 formulation. Apply it to the soil in a large ring starting at least 2 feet from the trunk and extending out to the drip line--the place where rainwater drips from the outermost fronds--at the rate of 8 ounces per inch of trunk diameter. Water after applying.

Step 7

Prune any yellowing or damaged fronds. Your pindo palm will not shed them naturally. According to the Majestic Palm Trees website, pindo palms should not be pruned in the winter.


Carol Sarao

Carol Sarao is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose articles have appeared in Atlantic City Weekly, The Women's Newspaper of Princeton, and New Millennium Writings. She has interviewed and reviewed many national recording acts, among them Everclear, Live, and Alice Cooper, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Warren Wilson College.