Guest Author - Lisa Beth Voldeck
The White Bat Plant, Tacca integrifolia, is a lesser-known exotic plant from Southeast Asia. Its flower is said by some to resemble a bat, which is, of course, where the plant got its name. Others feel that the flower looks more like a cat with long whiskers. Whatever you think it looks like, there isnít a plant anywhere that looks like the White Bat Plant. If you are up to the challenge, the White Bat Plant makes an intriguing houseplant that will have visitors in awe.
The light requirements of White Bat Plant are one of the things that make it suitable to grow indoors. Low light is required to keep the leaves of the plant from burning. Typically, you will want to keep a flowering houseplant like this one in the brightest light possible without scorching. Avoid direct sun and deep shade.
The White Bat Plant is particular about how it is watered; too much or too little will make it very unhappy. What you need to aim for is consistently moist soilÖnot wet, but moist. White Bat Plant grows from a bulb and sitting in water or potting mix that is too wet will cause it to rot, killing the plant. Make an effort to water the plant on a regular basis and be sure to use a planting medium that drains nicely.
Maintaining high humidity is key to real success with this plant. If you live where the humidity is low, especially in the winter, consider purchasing a humidifier for the room in which you will be growing your White Bat Plant. If that isnít a good solution for you, misting the plantís leaves and grouping it with other plants will help. A humidity tray may also be a good idea if you make sure that water isnít wicking up into the pot.
White Bat Plants need a rest in the winter months; watering should be reduced, fertilization eliminated and temperatures lowered to about 65 degrees F. If you need to repot your plant, do so in the spring.
It is possible to propagate White Bat Plants from seed, though it may take a year or more for the plant to flower. Seeds should be propagated in a warm, humid environment. If you have a heat mat for seed germinating, this would be a great time to use it. Cover the propagation container loosely with plastic wrap or a plastic top to keep humidity high. Provided that all goes well, flowering should begin mid to late summer of the following year.