Tacca Chantrieri is part of the Taccaceae family, and native to South East Asia. It is also names Devil Flower or Bat Flower. This Malaysian herbaceous perennial is always in demand. It grows to about 2 ft (0.61 m)high .Somber enough to be out of place even at a funeral, these strange and sinister flowers, with their almost grotesque shoe-lace-like attachments, are quite unlike any other and are going to excite, at the very least, curiosity in all that see it.
Taccas have beautiful foliage and one of the most interesting flowers ever seen. However, they can be picky sometimes regarding their environmental conditions. When they like the conditions, they grow, flower a lot, and even produce babies. When something is not right, they slowly decline and eventually die. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to know if you can provide them the right conditions is by trying. The larger plants seem to do better than the smaller ones.
The plant is long stemmed, with brownish red colouring, turning greener towards the tip. Reaching lengths of up to 38 cm (15 in) its broad, 20 cm (10 in) wide, the smooth, lanceolate leaves, with angular pleats, are dark green with an under surface colour of greyish green.
Curious plant with up to 25 flowers on bat-like (both in shape and color) inflorescences, where each umbel has a pair of large spreading, wing-like rich maroon-black bracts. The 4 large black bracts look almost like bat wings with long 4 inch threadlike tails extending from the tip of each of the flower petals, leading to another of its common names, cat’s whiskers plant. They bloom mainly from June to August once they reach 2 to 3 years old. After the Tacca blooms, it will develop seed pods. These pods will remain on the plant for quite a long time. Once they dry out or fall, remove them and split them open to remove the seeds. Let the seeds dry only a few days before sowing them.
The bracts are accompanied by 25 cm (12 po) long trailing filaments or "whiskers" forming a flowing forked tail, which emanate from the nearly black with some purple, flower scape. The scapes (flower stem from the base of plant to where the flower actually is) are about 63 cm (25 po) long. The small black 5 petals flowers are succeeded by heavy berries.
9- 11 (-5c/25f, 4c/40f). The soil is one of the most important things for success with Taccas. The mixture needs to be light, very porous, something that drains well. Use something like: 60% Canadian peat moss, 30% perlite, 10% vermiculite. The soil should be a little bit acid, so use something like a "Miracid" occasionally as a fertilizer. Maintain a temperature of at least 17 C (63 F) and keep them out of draughts. They like high humidity & regular watering but do not leave them standing in water. Allow water to run in the corona of the leaves as this promotes growth of new flower stems. It likes a semi-shaded spot, so do not expose to too much light or direct sunlight, and provide good air circulation. The plant should be fertilized regularly. This plant goes dormant in winter months and should not be water as much during this time. Cut the flower stem when flowering finishes. This Tacca needs to be re-potted at least every two years, ideally every year in the spring, up to a 20 cm (10 in) pot.