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How to Plant Mangrove

The red mangrove, scientific name Rhizophora mangle, is a tropical plant that is critical for coastal erosion control. They create dense forests that provide a habitat for small fish and other animals. Red mangrove seeds germinate while still attached to the tree and sprout a modified root called a propagule. This propagule is a sapling waiting to sprout as soon as the conditions are right. Propagules can be transported a great distance or stored for up to a year. Mangroves make nice houseplants and can be used in both fresh and saltwater aquariums.

Planting the Propagule

Select a clean sterilized pot that is about two to three inches in diameter and about two to three inches deep. Plastic pots work best. Avoid metal containers.

Fill the pot about halfway with soil and tamp it down firmly.

Place the fat blunt reddish end of the propagule in the soil with the pointy end standing straight up and fill up the pot with soil. Tamp it down firmly so the propagule stays upright.

Water the soil thoroughly and keep it evenly moist at all times, do not let the soil dry out.

Place in a sunny location that stays above 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.


Any type of soil will work, but the best soils are ones that will retain some moisture but not stay soggy.

If you use a neutral potting media like gravel or pure sand, you can set the entire pot in a salt or freshwater aquarium. Plastic and sterilized terracotta are aquarium safe.

A mangrove propagule will grow in a glass of water without any soil.


Do not let the mangrove dry out. These trees normally grow in wet soil or with the roots completely underwater. If you want to move the plant from freshwater to salt water or the other way around, acclimate them slowly over a period of several months.

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