How to Grow a Bat Plant


Tacca integrifolia, or bat plant, is a most peculiar plant. This tropical flower got its name for its resemblance to a bat, even the whiskers. There are several varieties, including the black bat, white bat and giant bat plant. Bat plants are difficult to grow, taking a lot of attention, and therefore are grown mostly by gardeners who collect unique plants. These flowers will grow only in sub-tropical and tropical climates or as houseplants in warm environments. This is not the plant for beginning gardeners.

Step 1

Mix one part course bark to one part sharp sand and two parts compost to make up a light, well-draining soil for the bat plant. Fill the container to within ¾ inch of the top to leave room for watering.

Step 2

Carefully remove the plant from its original container and gently knock off the soil from the rhizome. Place the rhizome upright with the top of the rhizome just under the soil in the center of the new container.

Step 3

Water until the soil is thoroughly moist and place the plant near a window with bright light but shaded from direct hot sun. As the plant ages it will require more shade.

Step 4

Water to keep the soil moist during the spring, summer and fall. Allow the plant to dry out during the winter while it is dormant. Cut back watering to only when the soil feels dry to touch if you have a variety that does not go dormant.

Step 5

Fill a deep tray with stones and water, and set the plant on top of the stones during late spring, summer and early fall. Mist the plant with distilled water to help keep the humidity high on very hot days.

Step 6

Fertilize once a month with a tropical plant, water-soluble fertilizer during the spring summer and fall. Apply fertilizer only once during the winter months and keep the temperature above 60 degrees F. Follow manufacturer's directions.

Things You'll Need

  • Bat plant
  • Course bark
  • Sharp sand
  • Compost
  • 6-inch container with drain holes
  • Deep tray
  • Stones
  • Spray bottle
  • Distilled water
  • Tropical plant water soluble fertilizer


  • Van Meuwen: Perennial : Bat Plant - Tacca chantrierei (black)
  • Gardening Central: Bat Plant
  • Nurseries online: Giant Bat Plant (tacca integrifolia)

Who Can Help

  • Burke's Backyard: White Bat Plant
Keywords: growing bat plants, topical plants, tacca integrifolia

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.