Tacca chantrieri, commonly called the bat flower, is a tropical plant that provides interesting bracts and long, whisker-like flowers. An exotic plant, tacca chantrieri does resemble a bat, particularly when viewed from beneath. Bat flowers thrive in high, humid heat, so they must be grown as indoor plants or in a greenhouse in most regions. With proper care the tacca chantrieri will continue to thrive and produce its peculiar flowers for many years.
Plant tacca chantrieri in a pot that has at least once drainage hole in the bottom. Fill the pot with a well-drained soil mix or combine five parts pine park, four parts peat and one part sand or vermiculite to create the potting mixture.
Set the plant in an east- or south-facing window where it receives bright, indirect light and temperatures remain over 70 F. Bat flowers normally grow under tropical forest canopies, so overly direct light can damage the foliage.
Fill the drip tray with a layer of pebbles. Add water to the tray until the water level is even with the top of the pebbles, then set the pot on top. The water in the tray helps provide humidity while preventing the soil from absorbing the excess water. A water-filled tray isn't necessary in the higher humidity environment of a greenhouse.
Water when the top 1/2 inch of soil begins to feel dry to the touch. Water with warm tap water until the excess drains from the bottom. Drain the excess water from the drip tray so the water level does not rise above the top of the pebbles.
Fertilize tacca chantrieri every two weeks when it is actively growing in spring and summer. Apply a balanced soluble houseplant fertilizer at the rate recommended on the label.
Stop watering and fertilizing in fall when the plant dies back and goes dormant. Keep the pot warm and the soil just barely moist until the plant resumes growth in spring.