Conocarpus Plant Care

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Conocarpus (Damas, Buttonwood) plant with leaves in focus

Caring for a conocarpus plant is easy. It needs full sun, and partial shade if temperatures go above 113 degrees F (45 C). Water to keep the soil slightly moist at all times. Mist the leaves regularly. If growing in a pot, re pot to a bigger container as the plant starts to get rootbound.

Conocarpus General Info


Somalia, Djibouti, Yemen, Tropical America




2 species:

  1. Conocarpus erectus (Buttonwood, silver buttonwood, or button mangrove)
  2. Conocarpus lancifolius (qalab, damas in arabic (شجرة الداماس))




Mangrove shrub




70°F to 100°F (20°C to 38°C)


When top 2 inches of soil is dry


Well draining slightly acidic soil, clay or sandy


Full Sun/Partial Shade


Once every 15 days


Wood used as charcoal, Goat Fodder, hedge tree, visual/noise barrier, wind breaks, and to avoid sand/soil erosion.


From seed, cutting and Layering


1 to 20 m tall

How to water💧

Conocarpus erectus (buttonwood or button mangrove) is a mangrove shrub native to subtropical shorelines that have brackish (salty) water. Considering their habitat, they like moist soil at all times (but not soggy). Water when the top 2 inches of the soil start to dry and mist the leaves when the temperatures go above 100 degrees F (>38 C).


Brown spots on leaves and leaves drop are signs of overwatering, while curly and dry leaves are signs of underwatering. 


The early sign of underwatering is that the leaves start to droop and once watered, the leaves erect and go back to normal in some time. Established trees with woody trunks are drought tolerant and can survive without water for weeks.


Sunlight Requirements

Conocarpus species of trees/shrubs are native to tropical and subtropical regions and prefer Full Sun throughout the day. If you live in a tropical climate where the summer temperatures reach above 45°C, keep the plant in partial shade and mist the leaves regularly to keep the plant alive.

Temperature and Humidity

Conocarpus is found in tropical regions of the world and thrives in hot and dry climates. Ideal temperature is between 70°F to 100°F (20°C to 38°C) with a relative humidity of about 56%. Temperature should not be below 10°C.


Natively found in the tropical shorelines and absorbs brackish water, the conocarpus prefers slightly acidic sandy or clay soil with organic matter. A recommended soil mix for growing conocarpus in containers is 3/4th Sand and 1/4th Organic Compost or cow manure.


Fertilize conocarpus plants with a slow release fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer every 15 days. You may also use a balanced NPK fertilizer.


Roots of Conocarpus Plant

Conocarpus has an extensive root system that grows indefinitely, so if you are growing Conocorpus trees in a pot, you will need to repot frequently in a durable container. You can re-pot every 6 months in order to let the plant grow taller, or you can re-pot in a bigger container if it's already in a very small container.

How to Prune

Prune off dead leaves, and diseased branches or limbs. Pruning also helps in keeping the tree in a desired shape, size and height; especially if you are growing conocarpus in a container.

How to Propagate

You can propagate Conocarpus by stem cuttings or by fruit seeds. For propagating conocarpus from cuttings, take the cuttings in later fall or early winter.

Benefits of growing Buttonwood

  • Fast growing, and very hardy. It can be grown in drought conditions and any type of water.
  • It can be grown for privacy, wind breaks, and to avoid sand/soil erosion.
  • Very inexpensive tree.

Drawbacks of growing Buttonwood

  • The extensive root system can grow underground indefinitely and have reported numerous complaints of puncturing the drainage system of communities.
  • Not good for biodiversity as it does not attract any beneficial insects or bees, and birds don’t make a nest here.
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