How to Grow Sonneratia Apetala | Mangrove Apple Care

Last Updated: 19.10.2023

Sonneratia Apetala is an ecologically and culturally essential species in the regions where it is found. Here’s all about growing Mangrove Apples.


Sonneratia Apetala is a species of plant in the family Lythraceae, commonly popular as the mangrove apple or bungur laut. It is a small to medium-sized tree native to mangrove habitats in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Let’s have a look at how to grow it.

Sonneratia Apetala Information

Sonneratia apetala, commonly known as the Apple Mangrove or Sonneratia, is a species of mangrove tree in the family Lythraceae. It is native to Southeast Asia, particularly found in coastal regions of countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It is primarily found in mangrove habitats, where it plays an essential role in stabilizing coastal ecosystems.

It is a medium-sized tree that can reach heights of up to 20 meters (65 feet). Sonneratia apetala has a distinctive prop root system, with large, arching roots that emerge from the trunk and extend downward into the muddy soil. The leaves are glossy green, oval-shaped, and measure around 10-15 centimeters (4-6 inches) in length.

The flowers of Sonneratia apetala are large and showy, with bright red petals. They are usually about 5 centimeters (2 inches) in diameter and have a sweet, fragrant scent. The flowers give way to fruits, which are round or oval-shaped and turn yellow or reddish when mature. The fruits contain numerous seeds and have a fleshy pulp.

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How to Grow Sonneratia Apetala?


Growing Sonneratia apetala from seeds can be a rewarding experience. You can grow these plants from fresh seeds into healthy trees that produce beautiful flowers and fruit properly.

  • Collect mature fruits from a healthy Sonneratia apetala tree. Make sure the fruits are fully ripe and have turned yellow or reddish in color.
  • Remove the seeds from the fruits and wash them thoroughly to remove any remaining pulp.
  • Fill a nursery pot or tray with a mixture of well-draining soil and organic matter.
  • Plant the Sonneratia apetala seeds about 1-2 centimeters (0.4-0.8 inches) deep in the soil, spacing them apart.
  • Water the soil gently to ensure it remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Place the pot or tray in a warm and humid environment with indirect sunlight.
  • Germination can take several weeks to a few months. Once the seedlings have developed a few leaves, they can be transplanted into individual pots or directly into a suitable outdoor location.

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Requirements to Grow Sonneratia Apetala



Sonneratia apetala thrives in full to partial sun. The ideal amount of sunlight can vary depending on the climate and location. Generally, it requires at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Some shade during the hottest part of the day may be beneficial in hotter regions.


Apple Mangrove is well adapted to growing in saline soils of mangrove habitats, but if grown in non-saline soil, it is essential to provide supplemental nutrients. Sonneratia apetala grows best in sandy or loamy soil with good drainage. The soil should be slightly acidic, with a pH range of 6.0-6.5.


Sonneratia apetala should be watered regularly to keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Water when the topsoil feels a little dry ot the touch. Do this till Apple Mangrove reaches to a height of 4-6 feet. After that, it will take care of its own.


Apple Mangrove grows best in tropical to subtropical climates with warm temperatures ranging from 25-35°C. It can tolerate some degree of salt spray and wind exposure but is sensitive to frost and cold temperatures.

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Sonneratia Apetala Care



Sonneratia apetala can benefit from regular fertilization with a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 NPK formula. For optimum growth, it is recommend that fertilization should take place during the early stages of plant development and preferably during the rainy season.

To keep Apple Mangrove healthy and thriving, it’s advisable to fertilize regularly every 2-3 months during the growing season.

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Apple Mangrove may benefit from pruning to control its shape and size, remove damaged or dead branches, and promote healthy growth. Pruning is best done during the dry season when the tree is dormant. Use clean, sharp pruning tools to prevent damage to the tree.

Pests and Diseases

Sonneratia apetala is a sturdy and resilient species that exhibits excellent resistance to pests and diseases. However, it is important to note that fungal infections and root rot can occur if the soil is excessively moist.

Ensure that you maintain moderate soil moisture levels to prevent any potential issues and preserve the health of your Sonneratia apetala plants.

Monitoring for problems such as mealybugs, scale insects, and mites is also essential. These can be controlled with organic or chemical insecticides and by maintaining good cultural practices such as proper watering and fertilization.

Advantages of Grow Sonneratia Apetala

  • Apple Mangrove is commonly found growing in mangrove ecosystems, where it plays a vital role in stabilizing the soil and preventing erosion. Its extensive root system helps to hold the soil in place, protecting coastal areas from storms and tidal surges.
  • The dense, tangled root system of Sonneratia apetala provides essential habitat for various aquatic and terrestrial species, including fish, crabs, birds, and insects. These ecosystems are highly productive and support diverse plant and animal life.
  • Sonneratia apetala, like other mangrove species, is highly effective at sequestering carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil. This makes mangrove ecosystems essential tools in the fight against climate change.
  • Various parts of the Apple Mangrove plant have been helpful in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including diarrhea, fever, and skin conditions.
  • Apple Mangrove bears delicious fruit that serves as a vital food source for a diverse range of animals, including birds, monkeys, and other wildlife. This fruit is also a key component in traditional medicine and is enjoyed by humans in certain cultures as a dietary supplement.
  • The wood of Sonneratia apetala is strong and durable and is helpful in construction, boat-building, and furniture-making in some regions.
  • With its beautiful red flowers and attractive foliage, Sonneratia apetala can be a valuable ornamental plant in tropical gardens and landscapes. Its dense growth habit also makes it useful for creating privacy screens and windbreaks.

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