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Black Bat Plant - How To Grow A Devil Flower

I’ve always been convinced that Mother Nature has a sense of humor and the Halloween scariness of the Black Bat Flower is proof positive that aliens could exist even in the plant world.  This ornamental flowering plant is among the showiest of the Tacca chantrieri  plant family (part of the yam family).  Common names are:

  • Black Bat Flower
  • Bat Head Lily
  • Devil Flower
  • Cat’s Whiskers
  • Tacca chantrieni
Black bat flowers can be pretty or scary but one thing people can agree on they are unusual.

Black bat flowers can be pretty or scary but one thing people can agree on they are unusual.

Originally the black bat flower plant grew and still does grow wild in the tropical forests of Yunnan Province, in South China.  There this tropical foliage can grow to height of a yard high.  Black Bat Flowers do best in well-drained soil, can be grown as an indoor plant, and if you live in a warm year-round climate, even do well in your yard.  Some people use them in landscaping around their screened in pools.  However, keep in mind that they will not tolerate cold weather or any sort and would need to be protected if a sudden heavy frost or freeze should come.

Described as a flying black bat with long whiskers the Devil Flower (as it is also known) has lush green foliage 

Described as a flying black bat with long whiskers the Devil Flower (as it is also known) has lush green foliage 

If you grow this plant indoors or outdoors in a pot be sure to keep in mind that this thirsty plant also needs excellent drainage and that any standard orchid mix would serve your black flower plant very well.  Water your Devil Flower twice a week and never-ever let them sit in water.  Also, assuming that you are growing them in a warm climate be sure to mist them twice a day in extremely hot weather.

Even prior to blooming, the Black Bat Plant resembles sleeping bats hanging downward from their roost

Even prior to blooming, the Black Bat Plant resembles sleeping bats hanging downward from their roost

How To Grow A Devil Flower

  • Black Bat Flowers do best in indirect sunlight, or a place slightly shaded, or with man-made induced shade (such as a screened-in porch or screened-in pool).
  • Devil Flowers are heavy feeders.  Use a water soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer twice a week, but dilute this to half strength with water.
  • In the fall, since Black Bat Flowers need a winter dormant rest, stop normal watering, stop feeding, until the plant dies back.  Remove any dead foliage, leaving bulb undisturbed, and like you would a poinsettia – move your Devil Flower to a dark and warm place for a little slumber until warmer weather returns with consistently temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celcius).  Resume watering and feeding slowly and moderately until Black Bat foliage begins to reappear.
Transient

If You'd Like To Know More About Growing Black Bat Plants!