Black Bat Plant at Oxley Nursery

Black Bat Plant at Oxley Nursery

Black Bat Plant

Tacca chantrieri

Synonyms:  Bat Flower, Cat’s Whiskers, Devil Flower, Tacca integrifolia chantreieri.

The Black Bat Plant is a very unusual plant from the yam family (Dioscoreaceae), grown for it’s bizarre flowers. It’s found naturally in Southern China, India and South-East Asia. This plant is distinctly tropical. It won’t handle prolonged cold periods and may suffer during periods of low humidity. Fortunately though, Black Bat Plant does grow quite well in Brisbane gardens, as long as it’s in a frost-free area. It’s larger cousin the White Bat Plant (Tacca integrifolia) is much more sensitive and may need winter protection, even in South-East Queensland.

Black Bat Plant is a true shade lover. It grows naturally in the damp and dark under-story of tropical rainforests. Replicate this environment in the garden by growing it under the shade of trees. Alternatively, Bat Plants will need to be grown under shade cloth (50-75% cut) as they won’t handle much direct sun. We don’t recommend this plant for indoors, but it may be possible in the right environment.

As well as shade, Black Bat Plants need good soil and regular moisture. They can be tricky to grow, so ensure your soil is well draining and regularly composted. Provide regular water in the hot months but allow them to dry out somewhat in winter, especially when it’s cold. Fertilize regularly and lightly during the growing season.

Black Bat Plants need high humidity to grow at their best. Plant in a humid microclimate around other plants. Leaves may burn at the margins during spells of dry air. Bat Plants suffer few pest and disease issues. Look out for mealy bug at the end of summer. Plants kept too damp and cold will be susceptible to root rot and other fungal diseases.

Applications

  • Tropical gardens
  • Balinese gardens
  • Potted specimen
  • Shaded areas

Care

Tricky to grow. Needs rich, free-draining soil in dappled sun or full shade. Water in well in summer, back off a lot in winter. Use quality fertilizer such as Troforte or Organic Link regularly to produce strong growth.

Features

  • Large green glossy leaves

  • Very strange black flowers with long tendrils

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    Size

    Height: 60-100cm
    Width: 60-100cm

    Light

    Dappled sun to full shade

    Watering

    Moderate watering.

    Growth Rate

    Moderate growth rate.
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