Mangroves are an important part of our ecosystem here in South Florida. They are trees that grow in brackish water along the intracoastal and serve as home to many living creatures, both in the water and on land. Many of the iconic pictures you see of Florida- especially pictures you see of the keys- feature these beautiful trees coming out of the water. The photo above is one that I took on a recent kayaking trip of some red mangroves and some beautiful ibises that were looking to snack on small fish and snails that were living beneath them.
Mangroves drop pencil-shaped floating pods into the water that serve as their seeds.- These are called propagules. One end of the propagule is heavier so that they float vertically, allowing the bottom end to sprout roots while the top end stays above water as the leaves and stems begin to grow. Propagules can float out to sea from Florida shores to different neighboring Caribbean countries. Inversely, we often get a few wash up on our shores from other places as well.
They can be found washed up on our beaches all the time and floating all over our intracoastal water ways. Turns out, they are easy to grown and actually make very pretty and easy to maintain house plants. I decided to collect a few propagules over the weekend and give it a try.
Here is a really cool YouTube video I found with great info on growing them in either dirt or in fresh water. They can also be grown in saltwater aquariums, but this would increase the amount of maintenance you would have to do on your tank.:
Finally, here are a few pics of my propagules by the windowsill. I’ll be filling you in on their progress: