The alocasia black velvet is a beautiful and unique houseplant that you can add, or maybe already have added, to your own indoor jungle. You will want to keep this little beauty a long as possible as it makes an exotic addition to any household’s flora repertoire.
Read on below to learn how to best take care of your alocasia black velvet to guarantee its long and healthy life in your home.
What Is An Alocasia Black Velvet
The alocasia reginula, literally “little queen,” or the “black velvet” is a popular indoor plant. Alocasia black velvet is native to the jungle floors of Borneo, in Southeast Asia, where it is used to a warm and humid climate. However, it is now a popular plant that you can bring into your own home!
The alocasia black velvet has dark, almost black leaves with veins that range in color between pale green, white, and silver. The leaves are heart-shaped, velvety in appearance, a stiff texture, and are similar to succulents. The leaves can get to about 6 inches long and 2.5 inches wide. This unique appearance and black leaves make the alocasia stand out and be a popular choice as an indoor plant.
The little queen is a perennial plant, which means it may bloom each year; this not likely, however, when it is kept indoors. Alocasia black velvet is not known for or selected for its flowering, but it consists of a yellow bract, a petal-like leaf, around a white spadix. If your alocasia does not flower, do not despair, you likely have done nothing wrong. Also remember, that it is the leaves that give the alocasia black velvet its unique and sought after appearance, not its flowering.
The Alocasia is known for being compact, which makes it a great option if you wish to include it in a terrarium. You also do not need to worry about the little queen outgrowing its pot. In its most ideal circumstances, It can grow to reach between 10-18 inches high and wide.
Alocasia black velvet will become dormant if exposed to cooler temperatures, but it can also be active throughout the year if you provide it with the correct temperature and light exposure. This all depends on your actions when taking care of your alocasia black velvet.
Basic Care Of Alocasia Black Velvet
Like any other plant, you need to correctly follow the basic care of an alocasia black velvet to ensure it has a long and healthy life. This little queen is not necessarily a difficult plant to take care of, but a lack of correct care can cause an alocasia to go dormant or even die, due to stress.
Alocasia black velvet will require moderate bright light, but it should be indirect. It is possible to sustain lower light environments, but it is not ideal for the longevity of the alocasia. Without enough light, it may go dormant.
You will want to be careful to not overwater your alocasia. Avoid watering your alocasia black velvet too frequently or excessively as you may cause root rot.
Keep in mind as well, that you should not under water your little queen. For if the soil becomes too dry, your little queen may go dormant.
When determining if you should water you plant, be sure that the soil has dried out first. About two inches down into the soil should be dry before you water it.
Soil & Repotting
The soil for your alocasia black velvet should be coarse well-draining soil. Possible options for ingredients in this soil are perlite, orchid bark, potting soil, and coarse sand. A mixture of these will create soil that will help to avoid any soggy or moist conditions. You can use a mix found at your local home and garden store or mix the ingredients together yourself.
You do not need to re-pot your alocasia black velvet frequently if you maintain optimal soil conditions. Avoid re-potting more than once every two or three years. If you choose, you can slightly increase the pot size, but remember it will often reach a maximum size of 10-18 inches wide and tall; keep that in mind when considering what size pot to use for your little queen. Alocasias will do better in pots when they are slightly root-bound, which decreases the frequency with which you need to re-pot your alocasia black velvet.
Temperature & Humidity
The best temperature to maintain for the alocasia black velvet ranges between 59°F and 80°F. If your alocasia is exposed to cooler temperatures, it will go dormant until the temperature is increased. It may also stay active year-round if the temperature is warm. So even if you live in a cooler climate and want to own an alocasia black velvet, you can still do so!
Alocasia black velvet loves humidity but can survive in average humidity environments. Be sure to maintain at least 40% humidity conditions for your alocasia, but the preferred levels for humidity are between 60%-75%. Due to its proclivity towards humidity, the little queen is an excellent addition to any terrarium.
Fertilizing & Pruning
You can fertilize your alocasia black velvet every four weeks or once a month. Use the fertilizer at half strength. Be sure to find a fertilizer that is suitable for any alocasia. If your alocasia black velvet is dormant, it does not need to be fertilized at that time.
Your alocasia black velvet requires only minimal pruning, mostly through the removal of any dead or yellowing leaves. If you wish, you may choose to remove any of the lower leaves to maintain the shape or appearance that you prefer, but that is not necessary for the health of the alocasia black velvet.
In addition, due to the texture of the leaves, it is necessary to check the leaves for dust and debris. Wipe off the leaves of your little queen with a damp cloth.
Benefits Of An Alocasia Black Velvet
There are no direct benefits, such as medicinal uses, of the alocasia black velvet. This plant’s utility lies in purely its aesthetics it provides to plant lovers. Be sure to not attempt to ingest any part of the alocasia black velvet, as it is toxic.
Is An Alocasia Black Velvet Toxic?
Alocasia Black Velvet is toxic to both humans and pets when it is ingested. It will cause irritation for the mouth and digestive system due to the calcium oxalate crystals.
If consumed in large quantities, it may lead to severe health issues. It is best to keep out of reach of pets and children to avoid any accidental consumption of any part of the plant.
How Can I Propagate An Alocasia Black Velvet?
Alocasia black velvet is propagated by planting a seed, cuttings, or rhizome division. Both propagations by seed and cuttings are slow processes and are not as successful as rhizome division.
In either spring or early summer is the optimal time to propagate through rhizome division. Remove the alocasia from the pot and divide the rhizomes or tubers into separate groupings.
Take those rhizomes and then plant them in soil similar to the pot from which they came. Make sure you place the newly separated rhizomes into an area with moderate indirect light and humidity. Be sure that the soil is watered, but not overwatered. Once it sprouts, you can continue the basic watering care noted above.
Common Problems In Caring For An Alocasia Black Velvet
Pests & Disease
Alocasia black velvet is normally rather resistant to pests. You might find spider mites on your alocasia if it is not properly hydrated, however. When this happens, be sure to move it away from any other plant, if it is potted. Rinse off the alocasia and wipe it. Maintain a hydrated environment as spider mites prefer dryer circumstances.
On the flip side, if it is overhydrated or in too much humidity, this may cause fungal diseases or root rot. You can recognize the signs of these on your alocasia black velvet by black and brown spots on its leaves. Be sure to not overwater your alocasia and keep the leaves from being too wet or in an overly humid environment.
If you notice that your alocasia black velvet’s leaves are yellowing, that can be due to either dehydration, overwatering, or cold temperatures. Check the amount of moisture in your plant’s soil to see if it is due to over or under-watering.
If it is properly hydrated, check to make sure the temperature is not too low.
Once you have identified the origin of the problem, cut off the yellowing leaves and address the problem by adjusting the amount of water you use to water and/or temperature in which the alocasia black velvet is located.
If your alocasia’s leaves are curling, that means there is too much water in the soil. When watering, check to make sure the soil dry before watering again. Beyond affecting your leaves, overwatering or watering too frequently can cause root rot.
In The End…
Pay attention to the light you provide it, the frequency and amount of water you give it, the soil it sits in, its temperature and humidity levels. It is not difficult to keep an alocasia black velvet alive, but certain miscalculations in its care can cause the death of the little queen.
Make sure you are following these guidelines when caring for your alocasia black velvet to ensure that you are providing the best environment for your plant. With proper care taken, you will be able to enjoy this beautiful plant for a long time.