Bat flower: Grow & Care for Tacca chantrieri 

Written by Iris

Jul 26 2021

Bat flower: Grow & Care for Tacca chantrieri 
The petals of the arrowroot are black and very peculiar. The flowers are 12 inches wide and look like bats. The arrowroot is an endangered species that needs to be protected, and it is a poisonous plant.

How to Choose and Prepare a Planting Site

Tacca naturally grow in the damp shadows of the tropical jungles in Asia, so it's no wonder that they require warm, humid shade to thrive. Mimic their natural environment by growing them in low light conditions of 40–60% shade, such as under trees or next to walls. They perform well in both the ground and containers, but need light, loamy, nutritious, and well-drained soil. Additionally, the large leaves will tatter and burn if exposed to wind, so be sure to provide some protection and keep indoor Tacca away from heating or cooling vents.

When to Grow Bat flower (Tacca chantrieri)

Blooming from late spring until early fall, Tacca can be grown year-round indoors in containers and should be planted in spring. When planted within their hardiness zones of 9B–11, Tacca can remain in the ground, undisturbed over the winter. In colder regions, bring your potted plant inside, where it will stay handsome all winter long.

How to Grow Bat flower (Tacca chantrieri )

Steps for Bat flower (Tacca chantrieri )Propagation with Seeds

Tacca chantrieri can be propagated from seed. Once the seed ponds dry out or fall, remove and split them open to remove the seeds. Let the seeds dry only a few days before sowing them. When they split along their sides, numerous 0.5cm (0.25 inch) seeds are revealed embedded in a sticky pulp. The seeds should be cleaned of the pulp and air dried. After that, soak the Tacca Chantrieri seeds 24 hours in warm/hot water. Use a thermos bottle to keep the water hot during this time. Sow at 1.5mm (1/16 inch) deep in trays or pots, using a good, moist, seed starting mix in a propagator or warm place to maintain optimum temperature of 27-30°C (81-86°F). It is essential that the soil temperature is high and kept steady. Germination usually takes 1-9 months. The seedlings benefit from frequent dilute applications of soluble fertiliser. When small, they pass through a stage of almost chronic chlorosis, even with regular fertilisation, but overcome this in a few weeks. Transplant the seedlings when they are large enough to handle into 8cm (3 inch) pots of a recommended potting mixture for mature Tacca chantrieri. During the growing season (late spring to late summer) the plants will need to be watered very regularly and the compost must be well drained. Pot on as required into 10cm (5 inch) and finally 25cm (10 inch) pots. Furthermore treat the plants as mature Tacca chantrieri. The plants will reach flowering size in about two to three years.

Steps for Bat flower (Tacca chantrieri ) Propagation with Division

The rhizomes can be divided at repotting time in the spring. Make sure each rhizome section contains a bud. Plant the rizhomes in a pots that are at least 15cm (6 inch) wide – one piece per pot. Use recommended potting mixture for mature plants. Plant the rhizome upright. Let 1/8 of the rhizome show above the soil when starting. Add compost as the plant grows in the pot. Water the plant weekly during the growing season and once monthly with a foliar fertiliser mixed at half strength. Growing season is spring until late fall. Keep it in a humid area with plenty of indirect light.

How to Care for Bat flower (Tacca chantrieri )


 In warmer regions, the plant can be grown on the ground. Otherwise, it is better to grow it in containers. For this purpose, you must use wide, shallow pots with good drainage holes. The plant prefers light shade and indirect sunlight. So, it is not advisable to keep it in full sun. If grown indoors, it can be placed near a south-facing window, where it will get bright, indirect light. You can also grow it in a greenhouse. It must get at least four hours of bright, indirect light.


The soil is one of the most important things for success with these plants. The mixture needs to be light, very porous and with excellent drainage properties as Tacca chantrieri will not tolerate wet soil at their roots. When plant these plants outside in the garden, the soil should be acidic, fertile and rich in organic matter with a loamy to sandy consistency.
These plants require a soil ph of 6.1-7.5 meaning it does best in weakly acidic to weakly alkaline soil. Alkaline soils will cause the leaves to turn yellow.


Needs regular watering during the growing season (late spring to late summer). The soil has to drain well, as sogginess may cause rotting of rhizomes. However, the soil has to remain moist for the plant to grow and bloom well. Make sure that the soil does not dry out completely. During winter, water this plant sparsely. However, keep the soil slightly moist during spring when the plant starts growing after winter dormancy.

Temperature and Humidity

The ideal temperature range is 77 to 84°F during summer, and 59 to 64°F during winter. It is always better to be on the higher side though. A relative humidity of 50 to 70% is preferred. In order to increase humidity levels, you can keep potted plants on trays filled with pebbles and water. A humidifier can also be used for this purpose. Such measures are not needed for plants growing inside a greenhouse. The plant should not be placed near air conditioner/heater vents. Misting should not be done, as the leaves will open their pores to absorb the water. The pores will remain open, thereby resulting in water loss and death of the plant. Though good air circulation is preferred, strong air drafts and winds are not good for this plant.


During the growing season, you have to feed the plant once every two weeks. A general purpose fertilizer can be used for this purpose. It has to be diluted by half before application. Fertilizers meant for orchids are also fine for bat flowers. Avoid feeding the plant during its dormancy.

Pests and Diseases

Slugs and snails like Bat flowers.
A tried and true approach, is a bed of coarse sand around your plants. Slugs and snails do not like coarse materials, and will not cross it. This has limited applications. But, it works well during the early stages of fruit that lies on the ground like pumpkins and melons. Gently lift the small fruit a couple inches off the ground. Lay a bed of sand under and around where the fruit will lie, so there is at least a three to four inch perimeter of sand on the ground around the fruit. Add more sand as the fruit grows.In controlling slugs and snails, it is important to remove their habitat and shelter. Keep your garden clean of debris. A board or piece of wood on the ground is a great home for these little pests. Mulches, consisting of large wood chips, also should be avoided.
Soil borne disease is common. To minimize problems, keep soil moist not wet, and provide air circulation.

Varieties of Bat flower (Tacca chantrieri )

Tacca pinnatifida, with finely cut leaves sometimes 4′ foot long, is grown in the tropics as a source of arrowroot, which is obtained from the ground tubers or rhizomes. It has greenish and purplish flowers.
Tacca integrifolia also known as the white bat flower plant (white bat flowers) is another exquisite species from the yam family.

Bat flower (Tacca chantrieri ) FAQ

What to do with dry leaves?
But too dry an attitude can lead to problems: as soon as the substrate surface has dried through, the leaves lose their elasticity. But if the bat flower is then quickly supplied with water, it recovers quickly. All in all, it takes a little tact to find the right amount when casting.