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The bat flower, Tacca chantrieri, is often referred to as a ghost flower, devil flower or demon flower. Already the name reveals that it is a plant with extraordinary flowers that can now cultivate the hobby gardener in his garden or on the balcony or the terrace. Very striking on the flower are the large bracts in brown-violet and long beard. In its entirety, the flower is reminiscent of a bat, from where the name comes from. The flowering period is three to four months, which makes them particularly popular for planting. Three different color variations of the flowers are available. They are available in green, white and as Black Beauty in black. The attitude is relatively difficult, but experienced hobby gardeners can calmly approach them.
Even if it is a tropical plant and you should think that it loves the sun, the bat flower prefers a half-shady location. As it grows under the trees in the tropical rainforest, it does not like direct sunlight. A direct sun place should therefore not be chosen for the plant. And also draft should be avoided in any case. Since the daemon flower needs a lot of heat and moisture, a heated display cabinet would be the ideal location.
Choose a loose and well drained soil as a planting substrate. You are welcome to use the normal potting soil, but you should mix it with some peat or garden soil. When planting, the root is only just covered with soil. A repotting is in the bat flower also required only when the roots already press the plant out of the vessel. Sometimes the plant reacts somewhat insulted to the repotting and discards their leaves. But she then drives out again reliably. Under no circumstances should you put the plant too deep in the ground. Have a small part of the root peeled out so that it does not rot.
Fertilize and water
During the growth phase the devil flower needs a lot of water. The earth should always be wet, but not dripping wet. The regular spraying of flowers and petals is part of the maintenance work. The bat flower likes it when you pour directly into the leaf axils. The ideal time to water the plant is when the leaves start to hang easily. This ensures that the roots do not start to rot due to too much moisture. It is fertilized with a commercially available plant fertilizer, every 14 days, because the plant needs a lot of nutrients.
When cutting the bat flower is basically limited only to the flowers, which, however, are only generously removed when they are completely faded. Of course you can also cut off the large leaves in spreading plants. It is more common, however, to support the large leaves and, during flowering, the long-stemmed, large flowers. The shoot tips, which are also removed when cutting, can be used for example for the cultivation of new bat flowers.
Propagation or cultivation
If you, as a hobby gardener, enjoy pulling plants yourself, you can grow the bat flower in the house all year round. The ideal conditions you offer her in a room greenhouse. Moisten the soil and distribute the seeds directly onto the substrate. Then cover very thinly with soil. At 25° C, the germination time is about 4 to 6 weeks. After germination, the plant needs a lot of light, for example on the windowsill. Since the plants initially grow very slowly, they need to be repotted after 6 to 7 months.
Even though the plant takes a break during this time and does not need to be fertilized or sprayed, it ideally needs a temperature of 15° C to 18° C to hibernate. You should water the bat flower very moderately during this time. Under no circumstances should it be too wet, otherwise the roots rot. Keep the substrate damp, even retain flowers and leaves. It is also possible, as in the case of begonias, to hibernate only the rhizomes, with the plant then having to start all over again in the spring with growth.
The bat flower is a worthwhile plant to cultivate for the more experienced hobby gardener. Because of their extensive and not very easy care work, such as
- daily spraying
- regular fertilizer
- constant temperature
- no waterlogging
- costly wintering,