Thalia geniculata

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Alligator Flag, Fireflag


Also known as Maranta geniculata

Plant Specifics

Size:6-9 ft tall by 3-10 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:Blue,lavender
Fruit Color:NA
Phenology:Winter dormant. Blooms summer-fall.
Noted for:Showy flowers, Interesting foliage


Recommended Uses:Used for wetland restoration. Attractive for planting in surface water management ponds.
Considerations:Dies back in the winter.
Propagation:Propagate from rhizomes or seed.
Availability:Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Aquatic ----- to ----- Stays Wet)
Moisture Tolerance: Aquatic ----- to ----- Stays Wet
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray
Soil or other substrate:Loam, Organic material (muck), Sand
Soil pH:



 Provides hiding areas for water birds some of which hide their nests in patches of this tall plant.


Host plant for Brazilian Skipper (Calpodes ethlius).  

Single gray eggs are laid on the leaves. After emerging, Brazilian Skipper caterpillars make shelters out of leaves by folding the leaves over and securing them with silk. The caterpillars emerge from their shelters at night to feed, often causing severe defoliation. (North American Butterfly Association)

Native Habitats:Marshes, swamps, roadside ditches. Usually in areas with relatively high nutrients and relatively high light. Rarely under a dense canopy.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures