How to Plant a Black Bat Flower


Tacca chantrieri is the latin name of the black bat flower which is also known as bat faced flower, cat whiskers, black tacca, devil flower and bat head lily. When you order black bat flower from a catalog it typically comes as an elongated bulb or tuber with roots emerging from the bottom. Always grow bat flowers in containers as they are fussy plants needing the right type of light, soil and the right amount of water and fertilizer to produce blooms. Most bat flowers bloom in August and September but there are now cultivars available that start blooming in July.

Step 1

Plant bat face flowers when nighttime temps stay above 55 degrees F. Plants will emerge two to three weeks after planting.

Step 2

Choose a 10- or 12-inch container that has a hole in the bottom for drainage.

Step 3

Fill the bottom one-quarter to one-third of the container with gravel or small rocks. This increases the weight of the container which will prevent the bat faced flower plant from tipping the container over while improving drainage.

Step 4

Use a general purpose potting mix. The potting mix should drain well while retaining moisture. You may also use a potting soil formulated for orchids.

Step 5

Fill your container halfway with the potting mix.

Step 6

Mound enough potting mix in the middle of your container to place the top of the bat flower bulb 3 to 4 inches below the rim of your container.

Step 7

Place the black bat flower bulb on the top of the mound. Spread the roots so that they hang down over the sides of the mound. Fill the container with potting soil covering the bat flower bulb with 1 to 2 inches of soil. Only plant one bulb per container.

Step 8

Place the pot with the black bat flower in bright, indirect light.

Step 9

Water your bat flower with warm water. Keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season.

Tips and Warnings

  • Frost will kill both the foliage and flowers of black bat flower. If placed in full shade your bat flower may not bloom. If it does bloom it will have smaller blooms that do not last as long as plants placed in bright, indirect light. Planting more than one bulb per container, even if you use large containers, will cause both plants to perform poorly. Black bat flowers are heavy feeders and do not compete well with other plants.

Things You'll Need

  • 10- or 12-inch container with a hole in the bottom for drainage
  • Gravel or small stones
  • General purpose fast-draining potting soil or potting soil formulated for orchids
  • Bat face flower bulb


  • "Taylor's Master Guide to Gardening"; Houghton Mifflin Company; 1994
  • Bat Flower

Who Can Help

  • Van Bourgondien: Garden Guide; Bat Flower
Keywords: planting black bat flower, planting bat flowers, planting bat flower blubs, bat flower, black bat flower