Pindo Palm Trees- Pindo Palm in South Carolina

Pindo Palm Trees and Why You Should Own One

Pindo palm trees have become a staple in many cold hardy palm collections.

They are tropical in appearance, adaptable to many climate types, and easy to care for.

Let’s look at this palm and see if it is a good fit for your climate.


  • Species Information: Pindo palms, genus Butia, include species like Capitata, Ordata, Yatay, and Paraguayensis. Yatay is the tallest among them.
  • Appearance and Growth: These palms have a stout trunk, long feather leaves curving inward, and a mature height of 15-20 feet. Fronds have a grayish-blue tinge and can be 5-10 feet long. Stands out in the landscape.
  • Climate Adaptability: Ideal for colder areas in the southern U.S. and West Coast. They withstand brief cold spells (Zone 8 and above) and can tolerate drought. Suitable for both full and partial sun.
  • Edible Fruit: Known for their orange/yellow, fibrous fruit with a tropical flavor mix of pineapple, apricot, apple, and banana. Great for making jelly, but can be messy if fallen fruit is not cleaned up.
  • Planting Recommendations: Should be planted away from heavy foot traffic due to fruit mess. A distance of 10 feet from walking paths is ideal.
  • Great for Colder Climates: They offer a tropical look in colder climates and are suitable for those who experience winter temperatures in the teens.
  • Care and Maintenance: Watch for nutrient deficiencies in low-pH soils. Fertilizing twice a year and ensuring well-draining soil is crucial to prevent root rot.
  • Overall Benefits: Provides a unique tropical look in colder climates, is adaptable, easy to care for, and has the added benefit of edible fruit.

What Are Pindo Palm Trees?

Known by its genus name Butia, there are several species in the family.

Aside from the Capitata, some other popular species are the Ordata, Yatay, and Paraguayensis.

The differences in the species vary slightly with the Yatay being the tallest out of the bunch.

Pindo palms have a very stout trunk with long feather leaves that curve back inward toward the trunk.

They are a slow grower eventually reaching a height of 15-20 feet when mature.

The fronds have a grayish-blue tinge to them and can extend anywhere from 5-10 feet in length from the crown, making them stand out among green foliage.

They are widely used in colder areas of the southern U.S. and most areas of the West Coast.

I remember having one of these palms in our backyard when I was a kid in Southern California and was thrilled to find out that it can survive freezing temperatures!

Pindo Palm Fruit

Pindo Palm Fruit
Pindo Palm Fruit

Aside from being known as one of the most cold hardy palms in the world, Pindo palms are probably best known for their edible fruit.

When ripe, Pindo palm fruit will turn a bold orange/yellow color.

It is very fibrous which makes the fruit ideal for making it into jelly.

It has a very tropical flavor that’s tart yet sweet.

The flavor is a combination of pineapple, apricot, apple, and even banana in some cases, although the flavor can vary slightly.

Some folks find the fruit to be a little too fibrous to eat straight from the tree, while others seem to enjoy eating the fruit as is.

These trees produce a LOT of fruit and can be quite messy when left on the ground unattended, so it is in your best interest to plant these trees away from heavy foot traffic areas such as sidewalks and driveways.

Planting the palm approximately 10 feet from walking paths is a good rule of thumb.

Where Will The Pindo Palm Grow?

Pindo Palm - Berkeley, CA
Pindo Palm – Berkeley, CA

Pindo palms are great for Zone 8 and above as they can withstand brief cold spells well into the teens.

They are relatively drought-tolerant and can also handle full or partial sun, so they will thrive in many types of lighting conditions.

These palms are often grown along the U.S. West Coast from Southern California up to British Columbia.

On the U.S. East Coast, they have been known to grow as far north as New Jersey, although winter protection would probably be needed in these areas during severe cold snaps.

Even though they are palms and look tropical, Pindo palms in particular do not thrive as well in tropical regions and prefer the mild Mediterranean and drier temperate climates to look their best.

You will find these palms growing in tropical places, but often don’t look their best with the high heat and humidity.

Who Are They For?

Pindo palms are the perfect choice for anyone living in colder climates and want a tropical look in their yard.

If you love palms, but still see temps in the teens during winter, you can’t go wrong with this one.

The edible fruit that these trees produce is also perfect if you like to grow and make your own food.

Any Drawbacks?

Pindo Palms - Sacramento, CA
Pindo Palms – Sacramento, CA

The great thing about these palms is that there are very few things you need to be aware of.

Nutrient deficiencies can sometimes be a problem in soils with a low pH level, but will still grow in a variety of soils.

Fertilize once or twice a year during the spring and summer months to ensure your palm gets the proper nutrients.

Pindo palms can also be subject to root rot.

Keep them in well-draining soil and don’t allow the palm to be subject to long periods of moisture.

Full sun and extended periods of warm temperatures are the best conditions for these palms.

The Wrap Up

If you are an avid palm lover, but don’t live in the typical climate for these trees, the Pindo palm is an excellent choice to give that tropical look to your yard you’ve always wanted.

They are adaptable, easy to care for, and provide a unique tropical look for your colder climate that your neighbors are sure to admire!

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  1. Hey Mike, This is a VERY informative article. I may actually end up getting one of these for the yard just to have something low maintenance and cool to look at.

  2. I’m a native Floridian so I know quite a bit about palms..or so I thought. I started noticing many palms that had fruit and got curious. I came across this Pindo palm thinking the fruit was dates. Thanks to your article and pictures I now know. I picked a small bag of them and can’t wait to try them. I definitely will plants one in our new home when it’s finished being built. Thanks again for clarifying what type of palm this was.

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