Lifestyle

Look, you'll get the 'pitcher'

DRINK UP: Monkeys drink from the pitcher plant.
DRINK UP: Monkeys drink from the pitcher plant. Contributed

WHAT'S weirder, a plant that can grow whiskers up to ½ m long, or a climbing carnivorous plant that can get so big monkeys use the insect-catching pitchers as a cup?

What's even weirder still about both these plants is that they both can be grown here in Ipswich.

The Bat Plant, Tacca integrifolia (white) and Tacca chantieri (black), can grow whiskers up to 50cm long. This amazing and weird plant has bizarre flowers resembling a bat's black face with white or black ears and long whiskers. It is found naturally in south-east Asia and from eastern India to southern China.

It is a clumping plant with large lush green foliage. It loves humidity and can be grown indoors as well as outside in a warm shady spot. In the past this plant has been quite rare and many found it hard to grow.

I have found that it is not hard to grow, just a little fussy. Once you have found the perfect spot for it and stop fussing (overwatering it) it will thrive. At Trevallan Lifestyle Centre we found the Bat Plants like a particular area in the garden centre best. This area is not really that much different from other areas in the centre. It is shady but very warm and the plants are kept moist but not sitting in water. Our Tacca chantieri, Black Bat Plant, had more than 10 flowers on it during its past flowering season!

We advise that when you take your Bat Plant home don't plant it immediately. Try it in a few spots first and see where the plant would like to make its home. Plus it's best not to fuss over it - it grows naturally on the rainforest floor. I find the best fertilisers are the Plant of Health range of fertilisers - Triple Boost Liquid Fertiliser and Organic Link slow release granular fertiliser as the Bat Plant does not like strong fertilisers and tends to look sick if you use chemical fertilisers, which leads you to use more - and kill it.

Nepenthes, tropical pitcher plants, have a common name of monkey cups. This refers to the fact that monkeys have been observed drinking rainwater from these plants' pitchers.

I find the climbing pitcher plant the easiest of all carnivorous plants to grow. They enjoy similar growing conditions to ferns and orchids. They can be grown indoors or outdoors in a sheltered, semi-shaded position receiving 50-80% shade or morning sun. We have ours growing in a hanging basket under a shady tree. They like to be kept moist, but they must have good drainage as they do not like to sit in water. Sphagnum moss as mulch helps a lot.

Nepenthes can be tip-pruned to keep them compact as the older leaves die right back to the stem. I kind of like the kooky look of having pitchers climbing up through the tree. Step outside your box this weekend and get a little bizarreness going on in your garden!

Topics:  chelsea van rijn gardening opinion



Concert death toll revised up to 22, tour suspended

There have been multiple confirmed deaths after 'explosions' heard at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

"We saw blood on people when we got outside."

Plenty of likes for 'Sliding Home'

'Sliding Home'

Here is this week's Facebook cover image as chosen by you.

Bikie killer sentenced for bashing child sex offender

Shane Michael Oulds, faced Rockhampton District Court charged with grievous bodily harm over an assault at the Capricornia Correctional Centre last year.

In a vigilante move, this murderer committed a 'violent attack'

Local Partners

Show legend returns to post after being run over by float

FOR absolute total dedication to the Ipswich Show look no further than 85-year-old Kalbar farmer Syd Haag.


Paddinton Bear is coming to Ipswich

IN TOWN: Annette Kitching plays the part of Paddington Bear in The Cute Little Bear From Peru at the Incinerator Theatre.

FAVOURITE children's character set to delight in new show

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

IPSWICH SHOW: What's on at the showgrounds today

Ipswich Show 2017. Sasha Bondzulic and Kirra Peel.

THE show fun continues today with plenty of rides, games and stunts

Concert death toll revised up to 22, tour suspended

TWENTY-TWO people have been killed and at least 59 people have been injured following a terror attack in Manchester

Casual Keanu says fame is ‘cool’

Keanu Reeves in a scene from the movie John Wick: Chapter 2.

NOBODY expected much of John Wick when it was released in 2014.

Ariana Grande breaks her silence after fatal blast

According to reports quoting witnesses, a mass emergency evacuation was prompted after explosions were heard at the end of US singer Ariana Grande's concert in the arena.

The entertainment industry is in shock after attack on concert

Pitch Perfect star suing Woman’s Day over ‘liar’ articles

Actor Rebel Wilson outside court on Friday.

REBEL Wilson's career destroyed by grubby campaign, court hears.

Seven Year Switch: The boner to end all boners

Johnny’s outraged over claims he has a cracked boner.

She gulps. Her face says it all.

Bay to star in Hollywood shark thriller ‘Cage Dive’

Cage Dive, written and directed by Gerald Rascionato, is now screening in the United States of America. It had scenes filmed in Hervey Bay.

And our visiting humpback whales also make appearance.

Celebrity sex tapes: Where does all that money go?

Basically, did Paris and Kim earn fortunes from their videos?

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Deputy Premier makes massive call on controversial sand mine

Aerial view of the proposed Forest Glen sand mine.

BREAKING: State Government makes huge call on Coast sand mine plans

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!