Hardy down to -10 degrees centigrade, the jelly palm will grow to about 20 feet (6 metres) in the U.K.
Blue/grey foliage with sharp spines gives it the appearance of an inverted Effiel tower.
Best grown in full sun in well drained soil.
Butia capitata, commonly known as the Jelly Palm, is a cold-hardy palm tree that can be grown in the UK, particularly in regions with mild and sheltered conditions. It is known for its attractive appearance, hardiness, and edible fruit. Here are some key characteristics and information about growing Butia capitata in the UK:
Appearance: The Jelly Palm features a single, stout trunk that can grow up to 7 meters (23 feet) tall, topped with a crown of feather-like, pinnate leaves. The leaves are typically blue-green or gray-green and arch gracefully, creating a tropical appearance.
Fruit: One of the notable features of Butia capitata is its fruit, which is small, round, and yellow to orange when ripe. The fruit is often called "jelly palm fruit" and can be eaten fresh or used to make jelly or preserves.
Cold Tolerance: Butia capitata is known for its cold tolerance and can withstand temperatures down to about -10°C (14°F) or lower for short periods. It is one of the most cold-hardy palm species.
Sun and Soil: Plant your Jelly Palm in a location that receives full sun to partial shade. It prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Good drainage is important to prevent root rot.
Watering: Provide regular watering during dry spells, especially in the first few years after planting. Maintain consistent soil moisture without waterlogging.
Protection from Cold: While it is highly cold-tolerant, providing some protection during extremely severe winter cold snaps, such as wrapping the trunk with hessian or fleece, can help protect the palm in colder regions.
Pruning: Prune away any dead or damaged leaves to maintain the plant's appearance. Be cautious when pruning to avoid injuring the growing point at the center of the palm.
Pest and Disease Resistance:
- Jelly Palms are generally resistant to most common pests and diseases, making them a relatively low-maintenance choice for gardeners.
Butia capitata is often used for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscapes due to its attractive appearance. It can create a focal point, add architectural interest, or be grown in containers.
The edible fruit adds an additional benefit, as the "jelly palm fruit" can be harvested and used for making preserves or enjoyed fresh.
In the UK, Butia capitata can be successfully grown in regions with mild and sheltered conditions, especially in coastal and southern areas. With proper care and protection during cold spells, this palm can thrive and bring a touch of the exotic to your garden or outdoor space, along with the bonus of delicious fruit.
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