The Unique and Magnificent White Bat Flower

Zoli with the white bat flower at Kauai Seascapes Nursery

There are a variety of adjectives to describe the Tacca Integrifolia White Bat Plant. Unusual, odd, bizarre, exquisite, and striking are among my favorites. One thing is for sure though, growers really like their bat flowers. Maybe its the way the flower looks like a bat in flight, or maybe its the enchanting whiskers that can grow up to 28″ long! Whatever the case, this unique and magnificent plant is a novelty in the horticultural world.

~Origins of the Bat Plant ~

From deep in the humid, wild jungles of the Yunnan Province in China the Tacca, aka Bat Plant has emerged into the world like a Bat at dusk. Now its found in the tropical regions of South America, Africa, Australia, South East Asia, and some oceanic islands like Hawaii! An elusive and exclusive specimen it was introduced to the world at the turn of the last century.

The rarer variety, Tacca Integrifolia or White Bat Flower, is now in full bloom at Kauai Seascapes Nursery, Inc. on the little Garden Island of Kauai.

~Does it grow, or does it fly?~

As amazing as it would be to watch this plant take off in flight in the dark of the night we can still stand in awe of its beauty by cultivating it in our gardens or even in our homes. The Bat Plant thrives in 70-80% shade, high and humid temperatures, and moisture.

Flowering begins when the plant has produced 2-3 full sized luscious green leaves. Each plant can produce 6-12 flower stems during the warm months, which in Hawaii is at least half a year!  The plant can grow up to 3ft tall with big blooms up to 1ft across and whiskers hanging down to the ground.

~How can I grow it?~

If you’re set on bringing this conversational piece home with you consider these pointers for a successful dominion:

  • Provide it with high humidity, shade, and air circulation.
  • Let it feast on decayed organic matter, and high potash fertilizer.
  • If planting in a container grow it in 50% bark or Orchid-like material, 40% peat, and 10% cinder or pearlite.
  • Dislikes being root bound so transplant it once a year into other pots if used in a container.  Note: Divide and separate rhizomes in the late fall, dividing into clumps, replant spaced 3-4 ft apart or in new pots.
  • Plant outside in well-drained soil.
  • These Bats get thirsty! Be sure to keep soil moist but not too wet, especially in the winter months when overwatering could kill off the whole root system.

~Get Soaring!~

Few opportunities come our way to really appreciate the mysterious chemistry at work in the Natural World. The Bat Plant invites us to take a moment and really connect with our collective heritage, that of cultivating and caring for plants. These plants in turn provide us with life’s simple pleasures… joy, awe, awareness, and peace.

White Bat Flower Sale happening now.

Right now there are 8 White Flowered Bat Plants in full bloom that are waiting to be adopted.  This is a rare and unique opportunity to catch the Bat Plant in flight.

Here are a few white bat flower images from our nursery:

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