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How to Grow a Bat Plant

By Dale Devries ; Updated September 21, 2017
Flowers are borne on long shoots coming from the foliage.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Will 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

Tips

  • Repot bat plants every two or three years as they grow. Inspect the rhizomes when repotting and take off any parts that are decaying or damaged.
  • Bat plants require high humidity and daytime temperatures in the 80's during the summer.