Beautiful evergreen perennials native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and members of the Araceae family, alocasias are also frequently known as elephant ear plants.
The Black Velvet, commonly referred to as Alocasia reginula, is a gorgeous plant that should be included in any collection of tropical houseplants. Other types can also include green velvet Alocasia.
History of the Alocasia Black Velvet
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The Latin name for this exotic plant, Alocasia black velvet, literally translates to “little queen,” which is an apt description of the plant’s regal, dramatic, and petite appearance.
The Aroid genus Alocasia plants include the reginula species, also known as Jewel Alocasias. It has unusual, deeper green leaves and compact growth habits; Jewel alocasias are highly sought after by plant parents.
Appearance of a Alocasia Black Velvet
The dramatic heart-shaped leaves of the Black Velvet are dark green to an almost black velvet texture, and white veins accentuate them.
Black velvets are minimal maintenance if you learn how to properly care for them, even though they grow slower than other species like green velvet Alocasia which thrives under bright indirect light.
The Black Velvet Plant
The Alocasia Black Velvet is a blooming perennial exotic plant endemic to Malaysia. Black Velvet Elephant Ear, Little Queen Alocasia, and Dwarf Alocasia are just a few of the many common names for the plant, also known by its scientific name, Alocasia plants.
Qualities of a Alocasia Black Velvet
The plants’ most distinctive features are their distinctive heart-shaped leaves and dark, almost black, green coloration.
The rich green background is set off well by the white veins drawn boldly within the leaves. The mature height of the plant is only one to two feet.
Black velvet alocasia enjoys bright indirect light and grows best in the shade of tree canopies in the wild. As a Jewel Alocasia, it matures more slowly than other varieties of Alocasia.
Like other Alocasia black velvet, the Black Velvet can flower if given the right conditions, although this rarely happens while kept inside. They’re perfect for those new to taking care of plants because they are easy to maintain.
Alocasia Black Velvet Care
The Accurate Light for Alocasia Black Velvet Plant Care
As a native of tropical rainforests, the Alocasia black velvet does best in indirect light. Picture a dense jungle where many lower-lying plants are shielded from the sun by the many layers of vegetation.
This is because the vegetation in the jungle is so closely packed. When deciding where to place your alocaisa black velvet, remember that the plants may only use direct sunlight when it is dappled.
Avoid Excessive Light for Alocasia Black Velvet
Too much light can burn leaves, causing surface damage that cannot be restored. Keep the plant in the shade of a big tree, an enclosed terrace or porch, or a sheet of shade cloth if you leave it outside during the summer.
Early morning light is less powerful, so being out in it likely won’t hurt your plant. If you see the leaves shrinking or the plant isn’t as lush as it was, it may need a little extra light. In this case, you can change the plant’s position and observe how it reacts.
Black Velvet Plant Care: The Right Temperature
The velvet elephant ear plant prefers the warm, humid conditions of the jungle, where temperatures range from around 59 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 27 degrees Celsius).
Keep it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunshine and temperatures above 80 F (26 C) in the summer.
If your plant is particularly delicate, it may not make it through the winter. However, if you have central heating in your home, your plant won’t have to adjust as much to the cooler temperatures.
When temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius), there is cause for alarm. You should prevent your plant from suffering from drafts by putting it near a window or a door.
Adequate Water for an Alocasia Black Velvet
In the jungles of Sabah, rain falls frequently. It rains more than twice a week, even in the driest seasons. Therefore, Alocasia black velvet care calls for consistent damp conditions.
When the top few inches of the soil have dried out, water Alocasia black velvet; do not let the soil dry out, and keeping wet soil is the trick to having a healthy plant and avoiding root rot.
To meet the watering needs of Alocasia black velvet, it is advisable to pour water slowly at room temperature over the exposed area until it is completely soaked.
As soon as water slowly leaks out of the bottom, stop watering, and avoid letting the pot sit in moist soil.
The alocasia black velvet requires more frequent watering in the warmer months due to the heat than in the cooler months due to the plant’s dormant state.
Humidity Levels for the Black Velvet
With year-round humidity of over 80%-90% in the Bornean rainforests, it should be no surprise that black velvet requires high humidity.
The Alocasia black velvet thrives at a humidity level of about 70%, although it may tolerate a level as low as 50% with regular monitoring.
If the tips of its leaves are becoming brown, the plant needs higher humidity levels. Providing the right humidity levels can even result in Alocasia black velvet flowers!
Increasing Humidity Levels
Following are the ways to increase humidity for Alocasia black velvet care:
Include a humidifier in the room’s setup. Using a humidifier in the room where you store your tropical houseplants can assist in maintaining a greater level of humidity in the room on a more constant basis, which will result in all your high relative humidity plants being in better health.
Make use of a pebble tray. Put the pot of this plant on a shallow tray of stones, then fill the tray with water. The water contained within the pebble tray will eventually evaporate, resulting in an increase in the relative humidity immediately surrounding the Alocasia black velvet.
It would be best if you mist the leaves. It is possible to maintain the moisture level of alocasia Black Velvet by misting its leaves several times per week without causing the soil to get excessively wet. When spraying the plant, using water that has been distilled will help prevent the buildup of mineral deposits on the plant’s leaves.
Choose the Right Soil
Plants of this plant variety perform best in soil that closely resembles the conditions of the soil in their native habitat, specifically coarse, rich, and well-draining soil, and avoid overly moist soil.
Coco coir is an excellent component to add to the soil mixture for growing Alocasia reginula. This grated coconut fiber serves to aid in the retention of moisture while also providing a significant degree of air circulation and drainage.
This helps maintain the soil’s moisture level while minimizing saturated soil conditions, which can lead to root rot.
If you don’t feel like making your potting mix, you may also get a suitable foundation for your project by purchasing commercial potting soil for use with plants that thrive in tropical climates.
For optimal drainage, to avoid soggy soil and root rot, you should use a granular potting soil mixture containing a significant amount of potting sand and orchid bark.
Fertilizers for Black Velvet
The Alocasia Black Velvet matures slowly; it only needs a moderate amount of fertilizer. This plant should be fertilized monthly to ensure it receives all the nutrients it needs.
If you are using an essential houseplant fertilizer, it is best to dilute the fertilizer by one-half before applying it to the plant.
This will prevent the plant from getting fertilizer burned. Fertilizer burn can also be caused by too much fertilizer, so carefully measure it out.
Can You Propagate Alocasia Black Velvet?
When it comes to spreading, the Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ rhizome system below ground is your best bet.
To propagate, cuttings must be taken from the mother plant and allowed to grow to a depth of around 20 centimeters. How can you propagate the Alocasia Black Velvet plant?
The rhizome system of your Black Velvet in a container will be naturally more compact, and you will need to multiply the plant.
The Alocasia Black Velvet can be propagated from seed. However, this is a time-consuming process.
Rhizome splitting is an effective method that helps speed up your harvest. Before beginning the propagation process, make sure the timing is right.
It is impossible to do this work in the winter when the plant is in its dormant stage. Do not begin to propagate Alocasia Black Velvet until the first signs of spring have shown.
Repotting Your Alocasia Black Velvet
Each year, give your plant a checkup to see whether it needs to be repotted.
Even if repotting is unnecessary, it is a good idea to check the soil and black velvet alocasia root system to see if it’s getting too crowded.
Gently remove the plant from its container; a larger pot is needed if the roots are overcrowded or can be seen through the drainage holes.
The dead leaves on this plant are the only ones that need to be pruned with a clean knife, so the overall process of pruning this plant is simple.
You can hasten the process of dead leaves falling off by removing them, but you don’t need to do so until the leaf is mainly discolored. Dead leaves will eventually wither and fall off the plant. You can cut off crispy leaf tips.
The core of many plants is where all the plant’s new growth appears to emerge. When there is new growth, it is usual for the older leaves to fall off because the newer ones are replacing them.
To assess whether a leaf hanging off this tropical plant has become detached from the plant itself, give it a light tug without damaging it.
Instead, use isopropyl alcohol, sometimes known as rubbing alcohol, to sterilize your cutting instruments before cutting close to the root of the plant with a clean knife.
Problems Your Black Velvet Might Face Without Proper Care
Pests & Spider Mites
Thrips, springtails, and spider mites are the most common types of pests that attack the Black Velvet.
Spider mites are the most prevalent type of pest found on Alocasia; however, due to the toxic nature of these plants, they are not as susceptible to other types of pests.
Spider mites thrive in warm, dry environments; therefore, keeping this tropical plant at the ideal humidity and temperature is important to avoid a spider mite infestation.
Wiping your indoor plant down with a solution containing neem oil can be a simple approach to eliminate existing pests and deter new ones from appearing.
Neem oil can assist your plant’s dark velvety leaves to look supple and shiny, in addition to keeping away insect invaders, which is one of its many benefits.
Growers frequently experience issues with the plant leaves, including curling, browning, and yellowing leaves with brown tips.
These issues are brought on by an environment with a low humidity level; therefore, if you observe them, you should investigate the humidity levels surrounding your plants and the scale of moisture in the soil.
Gardeners may also note that the leaves on their plants are beginning to turn yellow or are drooping. If the soil is dry, this may be an obvious sign that the plant requires additional moisture.
On the other hand, if the soil is too damp, sagging and fading leaves may indicate that the roots are rotting.
This issue can be helped to be prevented by adjusting the degree of moisture in the soil and by introducing additional drainage agents such as potting sand or perlite.
When the plant is in good health, the leaves of the Black Velvet tend to have curling leaves with crispy edges.
It is conceivable that you are providing the plant with excessive light if you observe that the leaves curl inward more than expected.
Remember that this plant cannot tolerate an excessive amount of direct sunshine; this is especially the case if you observe any evidence of blistering or scorching on the leaves of the plant.
Only provide the plant with indirect or feeble direct sunlight, such as that which occurs very early in the morning.
The curling of the leaves is another indication that the plant is waterlogged. In this scenario, the curling of the leaves will certainly be complemented by the browning and crisping of the tips of the leaves.
As one of the most admired houseplants for its foliage, Alocasia “black velvet” is a sight. Dwarf stems support the growth of the stunningly magnificent black leaves, fashioned like arrows and featuring silvery veins.
It can become dormant or lose its leaves if you don’t give it the care it needs, so it may not be the best choice for anyone with less than green thumbs.
In contrast, it will reward you with magnificently verdant foliage if you give it the appropriate quantity of water, sunlight, and humidity. Keep in mind root rot is the enemy of black velvet.