Growing the Black Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)


Hi, my name is Byron Martin, here at Logee’s
Greenhouses. And today, we’re going to be talking about the Bat Flower, or
‘Tacca chantrieri.’ This is a native of Thailand, and in terms of its culture, we
need to look at where it grows. It’s a forest plant, growing in the under-stories. It grows in areas of very high rainfall, so it likes constant moisture at
its roots. And, it also grows in forests that stay warm– obviously, tropical
forests, but these are tropical forests that stay warm. So, basically our
temperature requirements for it would be 60 and above. Can take a little dips, if
necessary, at times, but you definitely don’t want to grow it in a really cold spot.
You need to keep even moisture on it, and that doesn’t mean that it needs to be
sitting in water, but you don’t want to dry it down into a wilt. The flowers on
these are quite spectacular. This is actually a small one– they get much
larger. You can see the long whiskers that come out of it. And it does tend to flower seasonally;
generally in the fall, is it’s blooming season, although we do see it in the
greenhouses flowering, almost year-round, on and off. It’s light needs are low,
relative to many plants, and so in an understory in a tropical rainforest, that
would be shade. However, when we’re growing it in a home, you have to
remember that there’s even darker light inside of a home, so you need to put into
a window. A North window, East, or West window– definitely don’t want to put in
a South window, where would get direct hard sunlight. But a little morning sun,
afternoon sun would be good for it. The other key to it is the humidity, and
it really is intolerant to low humidity. So that’s something that is a little bit
harder to manage inside of a home. You might put it in an area where you have a lot
of houseplants; you might put a humidifier in there; you might grow it on
a tray, where there’s evaporating water coming off of it. But, you definitely do need to
watch the humidity on it– it’s not a dryland plant, and it’s not plant that tolerates low-humidity very well. So, as you can see, these long flower spikes come up. Periodically,
here’s one where the leaf is actually yellowing; that’s actually
normal. This actually happens seasonally with the leaves, and we simply
tear them off. It’s really not a big issue there, as long as the whole plant
isn’t going backwards on you like that. You can see the young bud, here, forming–
coming out of the center. So, we’re in the fall period of flowering right now for it. This
plant is actually a little getting a little bit big for the pot, and needs to
be re-potted. As you can see, it’s quite rootbound. And, the potting mix for this
is a very loose potting soil– soilless potting mix. You definitely don’t want to put into a
heavy soil– it prefers loose, airy soils. That prevents root diseases– helps quite
a bit on that. And, so in re-potting it, we are simply going to go up a couple of
inches and move this up– so that– and I’m potting it just a little bit deep.
Sometimes the plants get a little floppy at the base, here, so you can pot them a
little bit deeper; you can actually see some of the root starting to emerge, and,
as you can see in this plant, right here, there’s offshoots coming. That’s what
actually makes these massive specimens overtime. They can get quite large,
I mean, the plants can become, you know, two or three feet across, and they can have
17-18 flowers at the time, open on them. So there we go- we’ve potted it up, and that’s
probably sufficient to hold in this plant for at least a couple more years.
In terms of pests and diseases, there aren’t really too many insects that affect this in
the greenhouse. Matter of fact, I probably have never seen any eating it. I’m sure there
are bugs that would chew on it. They do have some disease issues with the roots
and with the– at the trunk and the stem. So, that’s really creating and using a
really open, porous mix, rather than something that’s heavy. That helps
mitigate that quite a bit. As far as fertilizing goes, they do appreciate
fertilizer. You just have to remember, that, you know, they are lower-light
plants, so, they’re not necessarily using as much fertilizer as they would under full
sun. So, as you feed, you want to make sure that you’re feeding a relatively dilute
form. And then feed; and then clear water– feed, and clear water during their active
growing season. In the wintertime, when they’re really slow, it’s best to back off on that,
at that time of year, and start again in the spring, once they actively start to
grow again. So, there’s a little bit of information on growing Black Tacca. If
you’d like more information, please see our website at Logees.com

17 thoughts on “Growing the Black Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)”

  1. Love this plant and anu onusual plants , very intresting but what is the name of that plant on your end right corner i have that and i love it i dont know any thing about it plzz make video thanks for your hard work 👏👏👏🙏🙏🙏

  2. Thank you for this video! I haven been wondering about growing one of these in the house for a while now and it's been difficult to find good information on the plants' care and appropriate planting medium, and this video was very helpful 🙂

  3. I always wanted to try to grow one of these, awesome video.
    Are they tedious to grow from seed? Or are the best from a tuber/root cutting?

  4. I haven't had much success with these. I just got 2 small plants and potted them with a mix of 60% potting soil, 30% vermiculite and 10% catus mix. Do i need to change anything?

  5. I figured that I would give these a go in a shady spot outside in SW Florida. I hope they are as easy as you make them look.

  6. Mine is floppy at the base, like you mentioned in the video. Is there a limit as to how deep you can cover the base with more soil? Will planting it deeper cause new roots to emerge from the top part of the base? I know burying the stem will kill some types of plants, but it's great for others (like tomatoes and pumpkins). I just want to make sure I don't mess up my little Tacca.

  7. That's a bad ass flower. I've been enjoying mine for several years now……finally got a spud to share with a friend too!

  8. I got seeds of the bat flower plant, however I did not realise they grew so large. It is nice to know how impressive they can be if I eventually nail this beautiful plant. Thank you for uploading.

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