The black bat flower - Tacca chantrieri

The bat plant is truly one of nature's most bizarre looking flowering plants. Looking like a cross between a bat and a flesh eating alien, this native to tropical forest in Yunnan Province, China, has the capacity to shock as well as delight! In Malaya they call it the Devil's Flower and strange, fascinating stories surround it. Originating, no doubt, from the malevolent way the eyes in the bloom seem to be following your every move!

The black bat flower - Tacca chantrieri
This Gothic plant can reach a height of up 36 inches and produce long 'whiskers' that can grow up to 28 inches. It will produce these incredible flowers from June to August. There are different colour types, including white and brown, both retaining the whiskers of the black variety.

It grows best in a well-drained, slightly acidic soil and although it appears highly exotic, this beautiful plant is in fact hardy down to -3 degrees Celsius!

Be that as it may, in temperate climates it is best grown in a greenhouse or conservatory, although it will be quite happy outside during the warmer seasons.

While you may find it very difficult to find the bat plants themselves you can purchase their seed quite easily.

Sow bat plant seed immediately in trays containing a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting', and top of with a light covering of compost. Water gently and either place the tray in a propagator or warm place where you can maintain an optimum temperature of 27-29C (80-85F). It is essential that the soil temperature is high and kept steady.

If you do not have a propagator then seal the container inside a polythene bag after sowing. Germination usually takes 1-9 months. You can transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 3 inch pots of a good free draining compost, preferably a peat or peat substitute compost with 10% added grit.

For related article click onto the following links:
Buy Bat Plant Seed
HOOKER'S LIPS PLANT - Psychotria elata
THE WHITE BAT PLANT - Tacca integrifolia

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