Butia Palm: Home Care, Transplanting And Propagation

A plant such as butia (Butia) is directly related to the palm family (Arecaceae). There are about 20 species of pinnate palms in this genus. Under natural conditions they can be found in Brazil, Uruguay, South America, Paraguay and also in Argentina. These species have one thing in common, namely their leaves have a pinnate structure. However, the variation in height is very variable.

So, you can meet both giants, which reach a height of 10 meters, and dwarfs of forty centimeters.

The most common in florists species of palm Butia capitata. This plant is native to South America. In nature, its trunk can reach a height of 6 meters and a diameter of half a meter. What makes this species different is its thickening at the base, which gave it its name, Butia capitata.

This species has long-petioled, arch-shaped, fairly rigid leaves, which can grow to a length of 2 to 4 metres. Each leaflet is composed of 70 to 100 pairs of mead-like narrow lobes, which are about 75 centimeters long. And these lobes are spaced apart at a distance that exceeds their own width. The front part of the leaves is blue-green in color, and the underside is exactly the same color shade, but it is somewhat paler. The petioles of young leaves are covered with a dense felt, and those of adults with small spines.

As they grow, the lower leaves die off and fall off, and in their place remain the short stubs from the petioles. This creates the unusual appearance of the trunk. After some time, the stubs also fall off, and where they were attached, traces similar to scars remain. So, gradually the lower part of the trunk is cleared.

The palm begins to flower at the end of the spring and beginning of the summer period.

A panicle of spike-like, loose inflorescence grows from the axil of the upper leaf. This inflorescence can grow to 1.4 meters long and contains a large number of light red flowers. The fragrant, oval-shaped fruits ripen in the last weeks of September, the first in October. These fruits are edible.

They are consumed as food as raw and used to make liqueurs and jams. Because these fruits form a wonderful jelly, it is called "jelly palm".

Home care for butia palm

Butia palm: home care, transplanting and propagation

This plant is quite big so it requires a lot of space. It should be placed in a large, well-lit room where it will feel at ease. You need to know a few rules about how to take care of it to make it grow and develop properly.


This plant does not need a lot of light. So, it grows well in both a semi-shady and sunny location. If it is well lit, the Butii will have a fairly dense crown, resembling a large ball and with bluish colored leaves. If grown in semi-shade the leaves will be longer, more arched and green in color. If there is too little light, the growth may be retarded.

Temperature regime

Butia palm: home care, transplanting and propagation

In summer, the plant is excellent at moderate temperatures. However, if you can't move it outdoors at this time, you should ventilate the room regularly so the air doesn't stagnate.

The palm tree has its dormant period from the end of autumn to the end of winter. During this period it is recommended to put it in a quite cool place of 10 to 15 degrees.

How to water

In the warm season, water regularly and abundantly, especially if it is in a sunny location.

Make sure there is no stagnant liquid in the pot. Drying out the soil can also damage the plant, because the tips of the leaves, withered as a result, will not regenerate with time.

Wintertime, when the dormancy period is observed, water the butia much more rarely, only after the substrate dries out to 1/3 part.

Air Humidity

Butia palm: home care, transplanting and propagation

Although it needs moderate humidity, it might start to dry out its leaf tips if it is raised indoors. To avoid this, you should regularly moisten the plant with lukewarm, soft water from a sprayer.

It is recommended to spray in the morning and evening, when the foliage will definitely not be exposed to direct sunlight.


Suitable soil should have good water and air permeability, be slightly acidic (pH 5.0-6.0), and rich in nutrients. For planting, a purchased soil for palm trees is suitable.

You can make your own earth mixture by combining leaf and turf soil and coarse sand in a 3:3:1 ratio. Don't forget to make a good drainage layer at the bottom, which will help avoid stagnant liquid in the substrate.


Fertilizing is done during intensive growth once every 2 weeks. Apply either special palm fertilizer or a foliar fertilizer compound.

Potting out the Butii

Butia palm: home care, transplanting and propagation

Transplant rarely if absolutely necessary once every 4 years as this procedure is very stressful for the palm.

Repotting is done in the springtime. Once a year it is necessary to replace the top layer of soil. The old soil layer should be removed to a depth of 5 centimeters.


The plant should not be cut.

Propagation of Butia

Butia palm: home care, transplanting and propagation

Propagate with seeds that have a small germination rate.

It may take 6 to 12 months from sowing to the appearance of the first seedlings.

Diseases and pests

The plant may be infested with scabs, spider mites or thrips. If you find these pests, you must treat the plant with appropriate chemicals.

This is a rather capricious plant and it can become diseased as a result of improper care. Thus the butch reacts extremely negatively to low air humidity, wrong watering, insufficient light and absence of dormancy period with moving to a cool place.

You should therefore think carefully about whether you can take care of it before you start growing it.


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