Thursday, 17 November 2011

Tacca chantrieri

I have tried several times to grow Tacca chantrieri (Bat Flower) from seed without success. I was seriously considering ordering a small plant when I found a mature plant for sale in the last nursery that I would have thought of looking in for this plant.
The plant was in fact large enough to have flowered already. Plants of this size are expensive over here in the UK - I have seen them for sale at up to £50! This particular plant had been on sale at £30, but as the flower was  spent it was reduced to £15! So I bought it.

As you can see, it was a large plant (in a small pot). Having repotted it I put it in my conservatory and set about caring for it until it flowered the following year.
So you can imagine my delight when about six weeks later this emerged...................

Better still, it was closely followed by a second flower stalk!
After what seemed like an age, the first bract started to open..............
A week later it really was blooming as the flowers opened..........
It continued to get more dramatic as the "whiskers" lengthened.............
Three weeks after the first bract opened I had two stems blooming!

One tip that I did find that may or may not have helped me to get flowers was to make sure that the leaf axils got filled with water. Other than that, I kept the free draining compost moist. Once every couple of weeks I let it stand in a bucket of lukewarm water that has a liquid feed in for an hour or so.

Have I cheated by buying a plant. Maybe. But I did at least manage to flower it myself, and I'm more than happy with that!


  1. Hello Keith, you did a great job! Your plant look really different with leaves all going up to the air. Mine, the leaves will fall over like your last photo. Probably the plant is more relaxed when grown in its own native environment (in my garden) - warm and humid. I grew mine from a young plant. Once the plant starts to flower, it will be bloom non-stop. But it has not produced any seed yet. Enjoy those weird weird bloooms ;-)

  2. Thanks Stephanie!

    The first photo was taken just after I had bought the plant home - I think that the leaves were more upright because of the way that it was crammed in at the garden centre with many other plants. Once it had space in my house the leaves sprawled out far more.
    Here in the UK it is recommended to allow them a winter rest, which is what I am doing now.

  3. Oh I see. The plant never rest here. I like those UK nurseries that I saw online. You have fantastic nurseries and I am sure lots of experts like you also ;-)

  4. It is getting hard to find good nurseries over here Steph...........
    A lot of them are being bought by a handful of large chains and become much like any other, with the same plants in stock. The interesting nurseries can be so dear. But there is a hot bed of interesting nurseries in the south west of the UK, so Sue and I usually take a week or two holiday down there and visit a few.