Bat Plants - How to Grow the Giant Bat Plant
Tacca integrifolia and Tacca chantieri probably the most unusual flowering plant of all. We provide some growing tips on how to grow tacca integrifolia or white bat plants from Bob Chalmers from Paradise Plants. The Giant Bat Plant or tacca integrifolia is spectacular and in the right conditions can be a real talking point, we tell you how to go about growing this wonder. Other Tacca species include Tacca leonopetaloides which is native to Queenslans and The Northern Territory. Tacca palmat from Borneo and Tacca Multifida from Madagascar
The Giant Bat Plant
Bat Plant Flower
Occasionally there is a variation and the bracts are purple or pure white and very occasionally the whiskers can be white. The Giant Bat Plant has big broad broad glossy leaves 350mm across and 750mm long. A native of Malaysia this one likes it warm, but will grow outside in a pot in a protected shaded position, north of Coffs Harbour NSW or equivalent.
Elsewhere in winter it can be grown in a pot inside or under cover in a warm or heated situation. Night temperature should not be below Zero°C...
When you pot up a Bat Plant it must not be overpotted as it will not have control of the moisture content in the soil..... and as it is subject to fungal disease the leaves will be attacked blackening from the edges. Pot up from 75mm to 140 to 200 to 250 to 300mm (across the top) pots over 2 or 3 years.Your Bat Plant should be flowering after two summers of growth.
Never pot up unless you still have 2-3 months of warm weather. In winter in temperate and sub-tropical areas it goes dormant but does not die back. it will die back to its rhizome if you overwater in winter when dormant.
Yes it develops a very strong rhizome over time......so once it is well developed over a year or two it can always reshoot off the rhizome ....unless you overwater that as well...in which case it would rot also. In winter keep the mix just moist or even let it dry out between waterings like an orchid or hoya.
If you have a fungal problem try a Black Spot Rose Spray ... this is the only fungal treatment we have found successful and it works on other susceptible plants as well.
PS You will not get this spray anywhere else !!
Even when the leaves wilt they will quickly spring back with water. When its warm and they are growing..... they like more water.
Some Other Tips on growing Tacca Integrifolia:
1)Your potting mix must be very well drained and if in doubt add up to 50% perlite to your mix.
2) Osmocote or similar fertiliser is fine. So is fish and kelp fertilizers and microverm plus but if you want huge flowering results get yourself some worm vermicaste and mix a handful with water in a 20 litre drum and when it settles add a litre to your watering can (throw in a little fish/kelp if you wish) of water and water your bats with this. You will get more flowers and they will last right through from January to June if you do.Only keep the mix described for 24 hours and discard...it will not keep unless aerated.
3) Only grow in the ground in the garden if you live in the tropics or you have a proven spot and your plant has been grown out in a pot. Otherwise keep it in the pot...this will give you more flexibility in winter.
4) If you use common sense this is quite an easy plant to grow but it is not a plant for someone who has no idea at all. Let them kill some less heavenly plant to start with.
5) A good place to grow a young bat plant is behind 70% shade cloth facing the western or northern sun but most areas in well lit shade are fine. As the plant gets older it will take more shade.
6) The Giant Bat Plant is much bigger and much, much more spectacular than Tacca chantrieri, the Black Bat Plant.... and is easier to grow. There are quite a few Tacca species (at least 30) but none as spectacular as the Giant Bat Plant...they are mostly curiosities for collectors.
7) If you want probably the best flowering plant of them all do yourself a favour and get one.
Written by Bob Chalmers Paradise Distributors 10/03/2005.
Phone 07-5441 5921.