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Wisconsin's Tropical Gardens


Plant Profile Series

 

Tacca chantrieri AKA Bat Plant

tacca chantrieri1

Tacca Chantrieri, often known as the Bat Plant, is an exotic plant with a curious appearance when it blooms. The plant itself, has leaves reminescent of the Peace Lily (spathiphyllum). The flowers come at the top of long spikes in clusters consisting of several greenish to near black flowers and numerous lightly colored whiskers, all emanating from a central hub. The "Bat" look comes from the two darkly-colored, bract-like leaves just below the flower. 

This species is slow growing. A plant in a 10-inch pot is at least 4 years old. This accounts for the higher prices these plants command.

Tacca is hardy outdoors in zones 9-12. They can be grown indoors using the following care instructions.

LIGHT: This plant loves low to medium light, similar to the spathiphyllum. Avoid direct sunlight as it will scald the thin leaves.

TEMPERATURE: This is a tropical plant and prefers warmer temperatures. In winter, keep the plant between 60-65° F. In the summer, it prefers temperatures in the 75-85° F range. Avoid drafts or moving air as this will cause the edges of the leaves to brown.

WATER: Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide per gallon of water and use this to keep evenly moist during the summer growing season. Allow to dry down a bit more during the winter resting period. Never mist in low humidity settings as the misting actually opens the plant pores, which causes the leaves to transpire out more moisture than the misting supplied, eventually resulting in a dead plant. Instead, elevate the humidity by using a humidifier, grouping plants, or using humidity trays. Use a makeshift greenhouse in the winter to keep the humidity around the plant and to keep the air still.

FEEDING: Use a balanced fertilizer that contains macro and micro nutrients at 1/4 rate weekly. If it says a teaspoon per gallon once a month, feed at 1/4 tsp per gallon every week.

REPOTTING: Repot only in the spring when growth is active. Use a quality, non-peat-based soil. Add a tablespoon of bone meal per gallon of soil and mix well before adding to the pot. Avoid tamping the soil too much. Water to get the soil to settle around the roots and don't forget to let it drain away. (Use a well draining pot).

NOTES: Remember, no drafty locations, and do not mist this plant. Taccas benefit from a multi-vitamin such as Superthrive. Use as directed for houseplants.