BLACK BAT PLANT
(50cmAbcD) Tacca chantrieri produces the most unusual and striking flowers. The flower is black with long sinister tentacles hanging down wards. Its leaves are broad and about 40cm long. They are quite hardy once grown up but need to be nurtured over their first winter in cooler climates than tropical. Give your Bat Plant a real well drained potting mix with good moisture in the summer but keep just moist in the winter. They do not like the cold frosty weather outside so you will need a warm spot, under shelter or inside. Keep it under light to heavy shade. Sent in 100mm pots.
…..Priced at $25 each
SOME IMPORTANT GROWING TIPS
BLACK BAT PLANT (Tacca chantrieri) (50cmAD)
Tacca chantrieri is a most unusual flowering plant. The flowers are black with wings like a bat and black whiskers really set it off.
A native of tropical Asia this one likes it warm, but will grow outside in a pot in a protected shaded position, north of Coffs Harbour NSW or equivalent. Elsewhere in winter it can be grown in a pot inside or under cover in a warm or heated situation. Night temperature should not be below ZeroC..Having said this we have reports of it growing outside in coastal Sydney..
When you pot up a Bat Plant it must not be overpotted as it will not have control of the moisture content in the soil….. and as it is subject to Black Spot fungal disease you can keep this at bay by a weekly spraying of the fungicide used to control Black Spot in roses….ie Rose Spray. This kills off the black spot as it occurs …leaving a small burnt out hole. Sulphur based and also Copper based fungicides also work but probably not as efficiently.
When the leaves blacken from the edges this is probably not fungal but an effect of cold or some other environmental factor the plant does not like.
Pot up from 75mm to 140 then to 200 then to 250 to 300mm (across the top) pots over 2 or 3 years.Your Bat Plant should be flowering after two summers of growth.
Never pot up unless you still have 2-3 months of warm weather ahead of you. In winter in temperate and sub-tropical areas it goes dormant but does not die back. it will die back to its rhizome if you overwater in winter when dormant.
Yes it develops a very strong rhizome over time……so once it is well developed over a year or two it can always reshoot off the rhizome ….unless you overwater that as well…in which case it would rot also. In winter keep the mix just moist or even let it dry out between waterings like an orchid or hoya.
Even when the leaves wilt they will quickly spring back with water. When its warm and they are growing….. they like more water.
Some Other Tips:
1) Your potting mix must be very well drained and if in doubt add up to 50% 15mm coarse composted or aged pine bark to your mix. We recommend you use a composted pine-bark mix with 60% under 10mm particle size and 40% 15mm particle size. The good drainage will ensure that you cannot overwater when the weather is cool.
2) Osmocote or similar fertiliser is fine. So is fish and kelp fertilizers but if you want huge flowering results get yourself some worm vermicaste and mix a handful with water in a 20 litre drum and when it settles add a litre to your watering can (throw in a little fish/kelp if you wish) of water and water your bats with this. You will get more flowers and they will last right through from January to June if you do.Only keep the mix described for 24 hours and discard…it will not keep unless aerated.
3) Only grow in the ground in the garden if you live in the tropics or sub tropics or you have a proven spot and your plant has been grown out in a pot. Otherwise keep it in the pot…this will give you more flexibility in winter.
4) If you use common sense this is quite an easy plant to grow but it is not a plant for someone who has no idea at all. Let them kill some less heavenly plant to start with.
5) A good place to grow a young bat plant is behind 70% shade cloth facing the western or northern sun but most areas in well lit shade are fine. As the plant gets older it will take more shade.