Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Red Stemmed Thalia

The Red Stemmed Thalia (Thalia geniculata) is a plant belonging to the family Marantaceae. It is an aquatic plant suitable as a bog plant or for a water garden but can also grow in containers as long as the soil is kept constantly moist. It is commonly referred to as "water canna", although it is not a true canna. Others may be more familiar with its peculiar names of Alligator Flag or Fire Flag.

The Red Stemmed Thalias when they arrived at our garden.

Aside from the other water plants we have collected, I wanted this plant because of its beautiful structure. As the name suggests, the elongated main stem of this plant is red in color, transitioning to green as it gets closer to its leaves. The leaves are oval to elliptical shape. Its small flowers come in clusters of either blue or purple color and dangle at the end of a long stem.

The Thalias were temporarily placed on a shallow side of one fishpond.

Compared to how they were when we bought them last March, our Thalias are looking depressed. I thought they would thrive well in our fishponds but it seems like they have been struggling. I'm assuming this was due to the extreme heat they've been subjected to during the dog days of summer. But now that summer has finally said goodbye (for the meantime), hopefully they will soon exude a cheerful appearance.

A very unhappy looking bunch of Thalias with visible signs of shock after they've been divided.

Mom thought their sorry look were also due to overcrowding so she divided the mother plants into several new individual plants. Hopefully this too will entice them to grow healthier and more robust.

All the aquatic plants we've collected so far are scattered all around the garden. Some are growing on containers ranging in size from small cups to large basins, others are currently sharing space in the watery world of the fishes in the ponds. Someday they will all come together and be the main attraction of a future water garden. And when will that be? As the perpetrator of this wild and wacky project, that is a question even I could not answer.