The Alocasia Black Velvet is also known as the Alocasia Reginula. It is a miniature Jewel Alocasia. This makes it perfect if you want to own an exotic looking foliage plant but don’t have the space for a monstera or philodendron.
The Alocasia Black Velvet thrives on bright, indirect light and prefers moderate to warm temperatures between 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It needs loose, airy, well-draining soil. And it is important not to overwater the plant. Keep humidity between 60% to 75% and feed it once a month for optimum growth.
Alocasia Reginula ‘Black Velvet’ Overview
The Alocasia Black Velvet is a stunning evergreen plant that belongs to the Araceae family. This aroid features gorgeous dark green leaves with very distinctive white-silver veins.
It is unique to the other Alocasia varieties in that is a mini Jewel Alocasia. Thus it is much smaller than most its relative, often reaching about a foot or so tall in height. Its leaves grow to about 6 inches in length and 4.5 inches wide, making them most obvious and most attractive parts of the plant.
Like most plants, these leaves get their looks, shape and color as they evolved and adapted to their environment.
The plant is native Asia, specifically the rainforests of Borneo. Due to its size, much of the light is blocked out by taller plants and trees. As such, its leaves are darker to help the plant absorb more light.
Alocasia Black Velvet Plant Care
Alocasia Reginula Light Requirements
The Alocasia Black Velvet grows best in bright, indirect light. It will also do well in medium light. And will tolerate low light better than most aroids.
The plant has gotten accustomed to this as it is native to the rainforests of Asia. There, it receives dapple light where the brunt of the sunshine has been blocked out by the jungle canopy (thanks to the large trees).
This makes it easy to care for indoors since it is amenable to different lighting conditions.
Additionally, in case you don’t get a lot of natural light in your home, you can likewise use artificial lighting. Grow lights work well for this plant provided that you keep it distanced enough from the heat of the bulbs.
It is also important to note that in addition to liking medium to bright, indirect light, it is sensitive to too much intensity. Therefore, avoid very strong light.
This includes direct sun, noon time or mid-afternoon sunshine and that during the peak of summer. Too much exposure will burn its leaves.
On the other hand, too little light can also result in problems.
In this case, the plant will become leggy and spindly. This will make it look unhealthy. You’ll also see smaller leaves and fewer of them. And the darker it gets, the slower the plant will grow.
Thus, it is important to find that balance between too much and too little light.
The idea temperature for the Black Velvet Alocasia is between 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In this environment, it will grow faster and produce more (and larger) foliage.
Because it is used to the tropical weather of Borneo it is not frost tolerant. Therefore, avoid temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
This preference makes the plant perfect for USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and higher. If you live in these locations, you can keep the plant outdoors all year long without any problems.
However, below Zone 10, it is often kept indoors as a houseplant.
That said, you can leave it outdoors during the summer to get some natural light and fresh air. Just make sure to bring it back indoors before the temperature drops to 55 degrees around fall or so.
Indoors, keep the plant away from air conditioners, cold drafts and similar locations where sudden drops in temperature can happen.
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Alocasia Black Velvet Dormancy
Like the Alocasia Dragon Scale, the Alocasia Black Velvet can slip into dormancy if it does not get enough light or the temperature gets cooler.
This is something you want to try to avoid because it means the plant will stop growing and even lose its leaves.
The good news is that dormancy is a temporary state. But you need to help the plant out of it by providing moderate light and temperature. Similarly, stress can cause the plant to go dormant.
The bad news is that it will take quite a bit of time, often months before the plant “wakes up” from its dormant state.
Therefore, once it goes into dormancy, try to supply it with good living conditions and wait.
Since the Alocasia Black Velvet comes from the rainforests of Borneo, the plant enjoys humid conditions.
In fact, its ideal humidity level is between 60% and 75%. This is when it is happiest will grow the fastest. It will also produce more lush leaves if you give it that.
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to maintain this moisture level indoors, at least not unless you live in a tropical location or keep the plant in a terrarium or greenhouse.
It is also not a great idea to maintain excessive humidity indoors since mold can develop.
The good news is that the Alocasia Black Velvet does not mind humidity that’s at least 40%. Therefore, this is something to shoot for. it also makes it more practical for most households.
If you live somewhere with dry air like the desert, I do recommend keeping track of humidity just to make sure. This way you know whether or not you need to increase humidity around the plant.
Similarly, hot summers and cold winters can dry out the air as well. Therefore, it is a good idea to make sure the plant has enough moisture.
You can set up a room humidifier or group your Alocasia Black Velvet with other plants. Similarly, you can place it on a pebble tray.
How Often to Water Alocasia Black Velvet
Watering is where the Alocasia Black Velvet can get tricky. It likes a good quick drench but is susceptible to root rot. Therefore, keeping soil moist is not the best idea.
Instead, allow the soil to dry at least 2 inches from the top between waterings. You can likewise wait until the soil is dry halfway down before adding more water.
Watering too frequently or overpotting both lead to problems later on.
This means a few things when watering your Alocasia Reginula:
- Avoid overwatering. To do so, wait until at least the top 2 inches of soil is dry before adding more moisture.
- Don’t let the soil dry out completely. This is also bad for the plant as it needs water to stay healthy.
- Drench and drain. When watering the plant, add drench the soil until it is saturated with water. This gives the plant’s roots a quick drink to absorb the moisture fast. Then let the excess liquid drain out completely after. This gives the plant enough water without the risk of root rot.
- Keep track of temperature. The colder it gets, the less you want to water. The hotter it is, the faster the soil dries. Therefore, the plant needs more water.
Finally, it is important to be aware that the Alocasia Black Velvet is sensitive to too many minerals and chemicals in the water. Therefore, if your local tap has a lot of impurities, it can cause leaf discoloration.
If this is the case, it is better to use purified or filtered water. Alternatively, you can collect rain water as well.
Or, if you want to use tap water, allow it to sit at room temperature at least overnight. This will allow the chemicals to evaporate by morning, making the water safe to use on your plant.
Alocasia Black Velvet Potting Soil
The Alocasia Black Velvet is an aroid. Therefore, it enjoys soil that has good aeration and is well-draining.
The easiest way to get this is to pick up a bag of Aroid mix from your local nursery.
However, note that not all garden centers carry Aroid mixes because they have to make it themselves. Therefore, many home growers will either buy Aroid mix online or make their own DIY Aroid mix at home.
Similarly, you can create your own potting that’s suited for the Black Velvet Alocasia.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that it needs well-draining soil that provides good oxygenation. This makes soil that’s chunky, coarse and free draining a good option.
Avoid regular potting mix or heavy soils since these retain too much moisture.
Here are a few potting mix recipes perfect for the Alocasia Black Velvet.
- Combine 2 parts of orchid bark, 2 parts perlite and 1 part potting soil. You can also use peat moss or coco coir in place of potting soil if you prefer.
- Combine 2 parts potting soil and 1 part cactus mix is a good choice if you prefer to use fewer ingredients.
In case you want to make your own Aroid mix for your Black Velvet Alocasia, here is a recipe you can use.
- 1 part orchid bark
- 1 part potting mix
- 1 part perlite
- ½ part activated charcoal
Alocasia Reginula Fertilizer
The Alocasia Black Velvet is not a heavy feeder. But it does need fertilizer to grow optimally.
Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during its growing season. Dilute it to half strength. And avoid over fertilizing your plant.
The latter is worse that under fertilizing. Therefore, it is important not to overdo it since this can damage the roots and cause the leaves to get dicolored.
Alocasia Black Velvet Flowers
One thing to be aware of is that the Alocasia Black Velvet produces flowers. This is more likely to happen if you keep the plant outside. It is not common to see it bloom indoors.
That said, the flowers are not significant. Especially when compared to its stunning leaves, growers are not really too interested about the flowers.
In fact, many of them will prune the flowers once they appear. That’s because blossoms require energy and resources to bloom.
By cutting them off, you allow the plant to focus all it has on growing its leaves.
Speaking of pruning, the plant requires very little trimming and maintenance.
That’s because of two things:
- Its leaves are the main attraction of the plant. And they comprise of most of the plant’s size.
- The plant will not grow big. It is a mini Jewel Alocasia. Most will grow to about a foot high while some can reach about a foot and a half tall or so. Its leaves reach about 4 to 6 inches making them the featured attraction of the plant.
That said, you do want to prune off dead, discolored and diseased leaves.
How to Propagate Alocasia Black Velvet
There are a few ways to propagate the Alocasia Black Velvet. These are:
- From seed
- From offsets or baby plantlets
- Dividing the rhizomes
Unfortunately, you cannot propagate the plant through stem or leaf cuttings. Therefore, use one of the methods above.
Of the three, seeds are the more most tedious and take the longest. So unless you’re experimenting or want to learn from the ground up, it is not the more efficient way to propagate the plant. At least not for home growers.
Propagating Alocasia Black Velvet from Offsets
Propagating your Alocasia Black Velvet from offsets is the easiest way to go. Offsets or plantlets will grow out from the rhizome.
When this happens, all you need to do is:
- Look for the offshoots
- Allow them to grow and develop enough first. This requires patience as it takes weeks for it to get big enough to survive on its own.
- Make sure the offsets have roots attached to them.
- Remove the offsets. You can easily separate them from the parent plant.
- Plant the offsets in their own container. Use the same soil that the mother plant is growing in.
- Water regularly but avoid overwatering.
- Soon enough, the offshoots will develop into new Alocasia Black Velvets.
The downside to propagating using offshoots is that you don’t have any power in the process. That is, the plant will or won’t produce offshoots on its own time.
Therefore, you cannot decide when to propagate the plant if you use this method. Instead, the plant decides for you.
Propagating Alocasia Black Velvet via Division
Another way to propagate your Black Velvet Alocasia is by dividing the rhizomes.
This takes a bit more work compared to propagating from offshoots. But you have the benefit of doing it whenever you want.
That said, spring is the best time to propagate the plant. This gives it the right conditions to grow quickly after. Also, it gives the new plant an entire growing season before winter arrives.
To propagate via division:
- Take the plant out of the pot.
- Brush off excess soil and dirt to expose the roots.
- Look for the rhizome and divide it. It will look like clumps of ginger. You can use a knife to cut a section but make sure to sterilize the blade with rubbing alcohol before doing so to avoid spreading any infection.
- Plant the new section in its own pot filled with the parent’s soil mix.
- Keep the new plant in a warm, humid location with bright, indirect light.
- Add water regularly but don’t overwater.
How to Repot or Transplant Alocasia Black Velvet
The Alocasia Black Velvet will need repotting every 2 to 3 years. The plant also likes to be slightly rootbound so you can take your time with this.
Like propagation, spring is the ideal time to repot. However, wait until you see roots coming out from the pot’s holes before doing so. This is a sign that it is root bond.
When repotting, choose a container that is about 2 inches wider. Avoid overpotting since excessively large containers mean extra soil volume.
When a large amount of soil gets wet, it takes much longer to dry. This puts your Alocasia Black Velvet at risk of overwatering and root rot due to the amount of liquid around it for long periods of time.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes. Unfortunately, the plant is toxic to people and pets. It contains calcium oxalates which are insoluble. When ingested, it will cause mouth and throat irritation.
It can also lead to other more serious issues like vomiting, difficulty breathing, nauseas, diarrhea and digestive issues.
Alocasia Black Velvet Problems & Troubleshooting
Alocasia Reginula Pests
The plant is not excessively prone to pests. But it is not immune either.
As such, it is important to do regular inspections for pests, bugs and insects. The goal is to spot them early if they happen. This will prevent them from becoming full blown infestations, which are difficult to contain and eradicate.
Spider mites are the most common pest problem for your Black Velvet Alocasia. However, mealybugs, aphids and scale and occur as well.
To help prevent pests, it is a good idea to keep the plant’s leaves clean. Dust attracts pests.
You can give the plant a shower every so often. This will keep it happy since it gets moisture as well. Just make sure to allow it to drain and dry right after.
Alternatively, you can use a damp cloth to clean the leaves as well.
Leaf spot and root rot are among the more common diseases you want to watch out.
Both are caused by excess moisture. Therefore, it is important to be wary of overwatering.
With root rot, watering too often, waterlogged soil or overpotting are the most common causes. On the other hand leaf spot is usually caused by overwatering, too much misting or wetting the leaves without allowing them to dry.