How wonderful to see new growth on our beloved islands of Sanibel and Captiva! After our “once-in-a-century” storm, it has been the most challenging of times for people and plants. Those of us who have had the privelage to live on or visit Captiva or Sanibel, may have taken our mangrove forests for granted. Until September 28, 2022! Now we have renewed respect for these coastal guardians who need our support.

Credit: A. Potemkin


Mangroves have one of the most unique reproductive systems in the plant world. They are viviparous; that is, they bring forth live young, just like mammals. Rather than producing dormant seeds, mangroves drop live propagule strands into the water. This long, thin plant-material functions in propagating the mangrove to the next stage of its development. Which is a convoluted way of saying a propagule is a seed!

Over time, plants develop from propagule creating coastal forests of mangrove trees. They can be recognized by their dense root tangles that make these trees appear to be standing on stilts. This “stilt” design allows tidal waters to deposit sediment that helps stabilize the coastline. These intricate root systems also make mangrove forests attractive to fish seeking food and protection from predators.

Mangroves thrive in tropical and subtropical latitudes. But even hardy mangroves have their limits. Wind may have snapped weaker branches and stripped leaves from limbs, but it was not the primary destructive force. Early indications suggest that Hurricane Ian storm surge and ponding caused the greatest degree of mangrove destruction. Like many of us with ground level homes, mangroves suffered primarily from water, not wind.


Photo: M. Jamaluddin
Planting mangroves

Many kind people continue to ask “How can I help?” and Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Coastal Watch has the answer! As an opportunity for people and plants to recover together, Coastal Watch will hold an “ADOPT-A-MANGROVE” event on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28 at the Bailey Homestead, 1300 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel from 9:00AM to 12 Noon.

Coastal Watch has collected propagules that need to be grown large enough for SCCF volunteers to plant in local restoration sites. Coastal Watch will provide you with a mangrove propagule, soil and a pot to get you started. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a “Mangrove Mama” or “Propagule Papa”! Astound your family and amaze your friends with your new title and tales of propagating propagules in this year’s holiday newsletter!

VIP Realty is proud to support this important SCCF Coastal Watch initiative. Our adopted propagules will be carefully tended and proudly displayed at the VIP Sales Office courtyard, 1560 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. Come and visit! It’s time for people and plants to thrive again!

Pearl the Blogger……….who is beyond delighted to return to Sanibel and VIP Realty