Bat Lily ( Tacca Chantrieri )

I have been lusting after one of these plants for almost a year. The first one I saw in a store was $100 and I wasn’t ready to part with that much money. This time I found one at Smith and Hawkins for $50. That’s a price I can live with, so home it came.

There are 10 known species of Tacca plant, all very similar. They range in height from 6″ to 6′ tall. The plants with white flowers tend to be larger than the plants with the dark purple/black flowers. As well as the common name bat flower, tacca is also known as cat’s whiskers and devil’s tongue. These are found through out the tropical regions of Asia and India.

Leaves can reach 2′ long The flower is on a tall spike at least 2′ tall. The brach behind the flowers is about 5″ across. The flowers are about 1″ across. Flowers appear in the summer and there may be as many as 30 on the plant  Some plants will happily bloom most of the year for you. The long filaments are about 6″ long here, but can be as long as 8″.

I’m told it needs the soil to be constantly moist but well drained, except in the winter when you should let it come close to dry before watering again.

Bright filtered light is best, keep from direct sunlight.

The higher the humidity the better.

Keep from cold drafts and from frost these are tropical plants. 55’F is the minimum temperature for this plant.

Plant in a potting soil/peat moss mixture using at least 1/2 peat moss.

To propagate divide in the early spring when new growth is appearing. You can also propagate by seed. Seeds take 1-9 months to germinate and are very prone to damping off.

If the leaves start to brown it needs more humidity. Stick it in the shower and let it enjoy the humidity if leaves start to brown, grow crinkled or lay down rather than standing upright.

Sometimes with out warning they can go dormant and play dead. Go easy on the leaves and watering and be patient. Often they will start making new leaves in an few months.

The root tubers are used in some native cultures for food and medicine.

One thought on “Bat Lily ( Tacca Chantrieri )

  1. I just saw this plant in the Logee’s catalog and was thinking of purchasing it. The plant was only in a 4 inch pot but was selling for around $18.00. After reading here about it I’m going to go for it. Thank you for the info! Oris

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