The black bat, or Tacca chantrieri, is a flowering plant in the yam family. The plant is so-named for the shape of its black flower, which resembles a bat. The flowers can reach a foot in width, and the "whiskers" can be up to 28 inches in length. The black bat flower is native to China. Gardeners cultivate them as houseplants.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Planting pot
- Garden trowel
- Potting soil
- Pruning shears
- Water-soluble fertiliser
Fill a pot with rich potting soil. Remove the black bat plant from the nursery container without damaging the root ball. Spread out the roots of the plant, and plant it in the pot at the same level as it was in the container. Fill the hole with a mixture of three parts potting soil and one part compost. Water the soil deeply to remove air pockets around roots.
Place the black bat in full sun, and water it thoroughly once per week in the morning. If the leaves are wilting, water the plant again a few minutes later. If the weather is hot or dry, cover the area around black bat plants with 2 to 3 inches of mulch to conserve moisture.
Pinch the ends off growing stems on leggy plants to encourage bushier growth. Thin any excessive growth with pruning shears to make the remaining growth more vigorous. Remove dead flowers to stimulate new blooms. Prune any dead foliage as needed.
Apply a general water-soluble fertiliser to the black bat plant in the spring. Mix the fertiliser according to the directions. Moisten the soil with the fertiliser, and repeat the application in a few minutes.
Collect the seeds from the mature plants as soon as the plant produces them in the summer. This reduces the chances the seeds will become infected by an airborne disease. Place the seeds in an envelope and label them appropriately. Keep the seeds in a refrigerator for long-term storage.
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