Unique, exotic, and fascinating are some adjectives that can be used to describe bat flower. The name already says it all; this flower shape resembles a bat with its spreading wings.
Although the shape is a little unusual, it can be your new favorite in the flower garden. However, before you visit the nurseries or plant sale websites to buy one, let’s look at some interesting bat flower facts as well as learn about its planting and care guide.
A. About Bat Flower: Facts and Characteristics
Bat flower (Tacca chantieri) is one of the most awesome flowers that can be planted outdoor and indoor. This flower is a type of orchid that looks like a flying bat in terms of its shape and color.
As a native tropical flowery plant of Asia, bat flowers grow wildly in Southern China, especially in Yunnan Province. It can also be found in some Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Malaysia.
Although it is classified as a tropical plant, bat flower can be grown in subtropical areas. However, the flowers will dry out during cool season in the fall and winter.
In the locations with a warm climate, bat flower will be a great addition to the outdoor garden. Meanwhile, in the areas with lower temperature, it can serve as a houseplant or indoor plant.
The unique-shaped flowers usually start to appear in spring and continue to bloom until the beginning of the fall. In addition to the blooms that become the main attraction, this flowering plant is complemented by ruffled leaves and long filaments.
B. Some Varieties of Bat Flower
There are several varieties of bat flower which differ in colors. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Black bat flower, the most common type of Tacca chantieri that can be easily found and grown indoor or outdoor. It has large and smooth leaves in bright shades of green.
- White bat flower, a rare variety which is known as Tacca integrifolia. It is considered a newer version of black bat flower and characterized by white brackets.
- Red bat flower, also known as Cuphea llavea or bat-faced cuphea. This variety has smaller petal than black and white bat flower. Its flower color is the combination of bright red and deep purple.
C. Bat Flower Meaning and Symbolism
In general, black flowers are associated with strong, powerful, and mysterious energy. As a type of black flowers, bat flower meaning and symbolism is more or less the same. The exotic bat flower bulbs are usually used tosymbolize strong awareness and intuition.
In its native countries, bat flower is often linked to some superstitions. Legend has it that this flower might invite evil spirits if you stare at it for a long time. Some beliefs even express that those who find the wild bat flower may die suddenly or experience the loss of close relatives.
D. How to Grow Bat Flower
Whether you grow bat flower in the garden or indoor, some required conditions should be fulfilled which include soil, temperature, and light requirements.
1. Soil Requirements
Bat flower should be planted in the light and well-draining soil. To create a planting medium with better water circulation, you can mix the soil with perlite and vermiculite.
2. Temperature Requirements
Bat flower prefers an average level of heat. You should keep the temperature higher than 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit) in the ideal setting. However, please note that bat flower cannot keep up with extreme coldness or heat.
3. Light Requirements
Although bat flower likes to thrive in warm temperature, it doesn’t need to be exposed under full sun. When you plant it outdoor or in the garden, the flower should be kept in shady areas or a location with partial shade.
As for indoor growing, you can place the flower near the window so that it can receive an ample amount of sunlight during the daytime.
E. Caring for Bat Flower
Bat flower, like most types of orchid, needs special attention to thrive and bloom better. In general, bat flower care includes regular watering and fertilizing, as well as repotting after a certain period.
Watering should be done regularly, just enough to keep the plant moist, but not too soggy. Regular watering is most necessary in a warmer period, from late spring to late summer. Don’t let the root dry out. Otherwise, the plant and the flower will start to wilt.
You can fertilize bat flower with the regular houseplant food that is usually used on orchids or azaleas. Fertilizer with an acid boosting is also acceptable for this flowery plant. The plant itself can be fertilized once a month or every six weeks.
Bat flower doesn’t like to be root bound, so annual repotting is needed when your mature plant experiences rapid growth. You don’t need to choose containers in a bigger size when repotting.
Instead, choose a pot that has a similar size to the old one. Trim the roots carefully before you move the plant into the new pot.
F. Bat Flower Propagation
Those who are interested in growing bat flower usually goes for the large or adult plant. This is because large bat plant has greater chance and success rate to grow into a magnificent houseplant or garden flower.
Also, having an adult flower allows you to propagate the plant and obtain bat flower seeds for re-growing.
It is important to mention that seeding propagation of bat flower may take months to complete. If you want the process with a shorter period, the alternative method is rhizome or root propagation.
The process can be done during the fall. All you need to do is digging up the rhizomes from the mature plant, dividing them into clumps, and replanting them in another pot or container.
There are many more interesting facts that you can explore about bat flower, but the basic information above should be enough for starters.
Once you’ve set the planting medium as required, you can start to grow this unique and fascinating flower in your garden or home, depending on the climate in your area.