The Alocasia Black Velvet, common name Black Velvet Elephant Ear, is becoming increasingly popular as an indoor plant due to its remarkable visual appeal.
This plant, botanical name Alocasia Reginula, is a rare dwarf variety highly sought after for its velvety leaves and deep green coloration. It grows slowly and remains compact, making it an ideal addition to any indoor garden or houseplant collection.
Botanical Name: Alocasia Reginula
Common Name: Alocasia Black Velvet, Black Velvet Elephant Ear
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Hardiness Zones: 10+ (USDA)
Sun Exposure: Bright indirect light, outdoor shade
Soil Type: Loose, well-draining potting mix
Soil pH: 5.5 – 6.5 (Slightly acidic)
Height: 1.5 ft
Bloom Time: Spring and summer, unlikely to flower indoors
Flower Color: White
Native Area: Southeast Asia
What’s an Alocasia Black Velvet
This Alocasia is one of several species native to Southeast Asia, with this plant likely coming from Borneo’s jungle.
English plant collectors gathered the Black Velvet Alocasia and its relatives during the 1860s, who scoured different jungles around the world looking for orchids and houseplants.
Often referred to as jewel Alocasias (because it is considered a small gem) or Little Queen, the Black Velvet Alocasia belongs to the Araceae family of tropical origin.
It is an excellent air-purifying plant, considered exotic and challenging to find in a nursery. This type of Alocasia has velvet-like leaves with a smooth and soft texture. Its deep green leaves are marked with white veins, and its underside has light violet tones. This is the perfect houseplant to make a big impression in small spaces.
Most Alocasia plants are known for their big, heart/arrow-shaped, tropical-appearing leaves. But, the Alocasia Black Velvet is smaller and more slow-growing than many others in the genus.
You do not grow this plant for the flowers, as it rarely blooms. Instead, you grow this plant for its most prominent eye-catching feature, the silvery white veins on the thick, dark green, textured foliage.
Alocasia Black Velvet Care
This plant is not recommended for those with brown thumbs, as it can lose its leaves or go dormant without the proper care and attention.
The Alocasia Velvet is quite particular when it comes to its maintenance; it thrives better when kept in a location that mimics the bright tropical, humid, and warm conditions it favors.
Read below for detailed care instructions:
Unlike wider Alocasia varieties, which can adapt to full sun conditions, Black Velvet Alocasia thrives in bright indirect light – similar to tropical jungle floor conditions.
A good spot would be north-facing windows, but an east-facing window should also work reasonably well. This way, the subtle morning light is provided to your plant.
Harsh light conditions or direct sun often result in legginess. And the lush dark foliage color will not thrive.
When located on jungle floors, this plant loves canopy-filtered dappled sunlight.
This plant will thrive beautifully inside the home in a bright place with lots of indirect light. This plant can handle small amounts of direct sunlight during wintertime, but its leaves will curl if the light is too harsh.
The Alocasia Black Velvet does well under the nearby plants’ shade, so feel free to group your Black Velvet with friendly foliage.
When caring for this plant, the number one rule is to make sure your plant is never left to sit in water.
Overwatering or getting the wrong watering schedule is one of the main reasons Black Velvet Acosasias die due to root rot caused by wet feet and overwatering.
Although this plant likes a decent amount of water during the active growing season, it’s best to weather thoroughly, drain any excess water through a drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, and allow around 1-2 inches of the topsoil to dry before watering again.
Placing the plant’s pot on a pebble tray will help prevent wet feet while providing the adequate humidity levels this plant enjoys.
The Alocasia Black Velvet is not a drought-tolerant plant. It is prone to overwatering, so much less watering is advised during winter and cold seasons, and the soil is allowed to dry out more in between.
Temperature and Humidity
As you would expect, this tropical plant needs warmth and high humidity levels to thrive. Drafty, cold, dry rooms and air-conditioned environments do not help this unique plant.
Because the Alocasia Black Velvet likes humidity levels well over 50%, so you might need to mist your plant or use a humidifier to help it grow.
The Alocasia Black Velvet grows better over 70º Fahrenheit but can survive in 60º Fahrenheit. This indoor plant can comfortably grow in most household conditions as long as it meets its humidity and temperature needs.
Also, Alocasia’ Black Velvet’ isn’t particularly cold hardy, so you’ll want to ensure they aren’t anywhere near a cold window in the Winter months; if it’s too cold for you, you can be sure it is way colder for your Alocasia.
Even moisture is essential for this plant to thrive, so opt for a well-drained, loose potting medium.
Root rot is a common problem for the Alocasia Black Velvet, so selecting a tropical mix with sand, orchid bark, and loam would be a good idea to provide necessary drainage and root aeration as well well; you can supplement with additional vermiculite or perlite if necessary.
Also, It’s better to avoid high-absorbent coco coir or sphagnum moss as you won’t need much water retention for this plant.
A well-draining soil is essential to prevent this plant from developing root rot, but luckily enough, most tropical mixes are designed to do that.
Always keep your Black Velvet Alocasia’s soil moist but not wet. And allow the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry between waterings.
Most might think that dousing their Black Velvet Alocasia will suddenly encourage it to burst its growth into action. However, regular feeding is what benefits this plant the most.
Feeding your plant every two weeks to once per month during the active growing season with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer does the job.
Unlike other bigger Alocasia species, supplemental feeding is not required in every case.
Before applying fertilizer to the plant, loosen up the topsoil without disturbing its roots so it can take up nutrients and moisture. During ht first three months of the year, feed your plant with organic fertilizer once a month, and remember to apply water immediately after every fertilizer application.
Alocasia Black Velvet Propagation
Leaves or stem cuttings do not work with Alocasia Black Velvet propagation, and growing Alocasia Black Velvet from seed is tricky. However, this type of plant spreads by rhizomes (undergrounds and horizontal stems). The rhizomes create new upward-growing shoots that give plants a clump-form habit.
You can propagate this plant by dividing clumps or potting rhizome cuttings of mature plants.
- Wait until your Alocasia Black Velvet has come out of dormancy (spring)
- Before you start, remember to wear gloves, as this type of plant can irritate the skin
- Remove your plant from the pot and cautiously shake off the oil until the rhizomes get exposed
- Use a clean knife to cut a couple of healthy-looking rhizome offsets from the stem in the middle
- Pot the cuttings into a humid, well-drained potting mix and keep them in a warm environment
- Wait for the new plant’s roots to grow and take hold. It usually takes 10-15 days for the new plant to grow.
Alocasia Black Velvet Common Problems
As with any other plant, Alocasia Black Velvet has some usual problems, but by far, the most common problem when growing this unique tropical plant is overwatering it.
Your plant should also have suitable soil and care.
Here are some of the most common Black Velvet Alocasia problems this plant has and how to fix them.
Alocasias, in general, are usually not bothered by diseases or pests; however, spider mites can infest your plant.
This pest thrives in dry environments, so ensuring the plant is placed in the proper humidity levels should keep the pests away.
You can also use neem oil, eucalyptus, or citrus oil spray to treat spider mite infestations.
Curling leaves are a sign that your plant is receiving harsh direct sunlight.
If you spot your Alocasia Black Velvet leaves crinkling at the edges, move your plant to a place with dappled light.
Also, make sure your plant is kept in well-moisturized soil.
Yellow leaves are often a sign that your plant has been overwatered.
Black Velvet Alocasias can’t handle sitting on the water.
If your plant’s leaves are turning yellow, you should transfer your plant to a better draining pot medium or pare back the watering.
If the Alocasia Black Velvet doesn’t get enough water, its leaves will turn brown.
If you have a proper watering schedule, and your plant’s leaves are still brown, it might be a sign of too much fertilizer -using a lot of fertilizer can burn the leaf tips.
You can prune the dead/damaged parts of the plant, and it should grow again.
Alocasia Black Velvet Toxicity
This type of Alocasia is toxic to both humans and animals.
Like all of the Araceae family members, this plant has calcium oxalate crystals, which can irritate and even pierce delicate tissues -such as the skin.
Because of this plant’s toxicity, it should be kept away from pets and children.
To humans, this plant rarely causes serious problems. When handling this plant, wear protective gloves and protect your skin from the sap, as it can cause a rash.
Consuming this plant can cause sharp pain; if this is the case, you should rinse your mouth and use a cold compress to numb the pain.
If your tongue gets swollen or you have trouble breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Unlike humans, pets can have severe reactions if they ingest this plant.
If your pet takes a bite of your Alocasia Black Velvet and starts drooling excessively, wheezing, or presents any gastrointestinal issue like diarrhea or vomiting, take it to the vet immediately to avoid permanent damage.
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