Each of these flowers that you see is about 4″ across and the long “whiskers” are more than 12″ in length. These crazy flowers are held high above large glossy green leaves, very similar to that of a peace lily.
The White Bat Flower (Tacca integrifolia) will grow best in conditions similar to a peace lily. As you can see here, dappled sunlight but primarily shade is preferred. These plants get regular irrigation, but stay a little bit on the dry side. They handle the wet and humid Florida summers like a champ and even without flowers are a nice addition to a tropical landscape.
I haven’t tried these as a houseplant, but my gut feeling is that they would do well indoors. Because they are so tropical it would probably be good to have them in a pot that sits in a saucer that has some small pebbles and water in it to help add some extra humidity.
So what are we looking at in the flowers here? The two white “wings” at the top are technically “bracts.” The small purple discs that hang down are the actual flowers. If you examine them closely you can look inside and see the clusters of stamens inside each. And those long “whiskers” that hang? Those are also modified bracts.
In the Florida garden you can expect to see White Bat Flowers put on blooms in the warmest part of the year, generally June through September. The rest of the year they will keep growing their lovely large green leaves. As natives of Southeast Asia they do not love cold temperatures and you may see some damage on the leaves if temperatures drop below 30 degrees.
The White Bat Flower is sure to stop you in your tracks. Is it time to consider buying one (or three) for your garden this summer?