A lot of homeowners want unique-looking houseplants that aren’t too difficult to take care of. Alocasia Black Velvet is a wonderfully dark-colored houseplant that is quite enticing and attractive, but it does require the right amount of care for it to flourish.
This article covers:
- What Alocasia Black Velvet is and what it looks like
- How to care for it including the right amount of light, water, and more
- Some common problems for the plant and what to do about them
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What is Alocasia Black Velvet?
Alocasia reginula, commonly called Alocasia Black Velvet, is a great houseplant for experienced green thumbs, but a beginner can make it work also as long as you know what to do.
It has large leaves that have a tropical appearance. They are shaped like wide arrows or hearts, which is why Alocasias are often referred to as elephant ears.
The Black Velvet variety is very slow-growing and its small stature makes it great for offices, bedrooms, bathrooms, and other compact spaces. It is sometimes called Jewel Alocasia. This plant rarely blooms, if ever, but that is not the reason people like this awesome plant. It is known instead for its color and leaves.
The leaves have a very dark green color that is almost black, especially in dimmer rooms. The leaves have silvery veins that contrast against the dark color. They also have textured color patterns that add to the attractive nature of the plant.
While not as easy to care for as other house plants because it can go dormant, it works well for beginners as long as you have a high humidity location. Because of this, people often keep them in bathrooms.
NOTE: Alocasia Black Velvet can be toxic to pets and humans, so keep that in mind before deciding where to place it.
If you are curious about what it does look like when it blooms, check out this cool video:
How to Care for Alocasia Black Velvet
To care for Alocasia Black Velvet, you need to make sure you can provide the type of environment that it prefers. That means high humidity, the right amount of sunlight, and optimal water levels.
Let’s look at each of those factors and more so you can grow a luscious Black Velvet Alocasia plant to spruce up your home.
The dark-colored house plant thrives best in dappled light that is bright but not direct. This is because it is native to the floor of a tropical jungle that gets plenty of light, but that is filtered through leaves.
If you don’t provide the right amount of light then you are likely to encounter some issues like straggly stems, leggy growth, or poor coloring. In some cases, it can also lead to dormancy.
We recommend a north or east-facing window as long as the morning light isn’t too intense.
You can move it a few feet back during the summer months to ensure that the light doesn’t harm the plant when it does get stronger. You may have some success with southeast windows as well.
With Alocasia Black Velvet plants, you want to ensure even moisture throughout the entire soil and root system. Because of this, loose soils are best so that they can drain well and allow the water to seep into every corner without pooling up anyway. Too much moisture puddling can cause root rot.
We recommend a tropical mix that uses bark, loam, and sand.
In addition, you want to avoid high absorbent peat moss and coco coir mixtures. You should also reduce the use of sphagnum moss when compared to other tropical soils.
If you are buying a premade product, then choose a granular option with a lot of orchid bark and sand. This is so that the roots can get plenty of moisture without a high risk of rot.
Water is the most important factor for most plants and Alocasia Black Velvet is no exception. You never want it to sit in water for any period of time and overwatering and underwatering are both detrimental to the health of the plant.
It is best to thoroughly water every time so that the entire soil is moist, but you should let it dry quite a bit before watering again.
A good rule of thumb is to allow the top 5th of the soil to completely dry before watering again.
While you will have to water much more during the growing seasons of spring and summer, you also need to water during the fall and winter. However, you can allow the soil to dry out more during these seasons. This is partial because this plant loves humidity.
Humidity and Temperature
Like other tropical plants, Alocasia Black Velvets like a lot of moisture content in the air. It loves humidity and warm temperatures. So during the winter, you have to be careful not to allow the dry or cool air to permeate throughout the environment.
Air conditioning can also dry out the air and make it hard for the plant to thrive. If that is the case, then you may need to invest in a humidifier or place a tray of pebbles underneath the pot.
You can also spray the leaves with water regularly to increase the humidity around the plant.
Finally, keeping other house plants in the same area can help a lot with humidity maintenance. In general, you want humidity around 50% at all times.
As far as temperatures go, they do best in warm temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you are someone that likes it cool inside you may have a little trouble growing it well. However, they can survive fine as long as it doesn’t get below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alocasia Black Velvet plants need fertilizer, but they are slow-growing so they don’t need a ton of fertilizer, and using it too often can do more harm than good.
To encourage beautiful growth, you can feed the plant every couple of weeks or once a month during the growing season. Try to avoid feeding the plant during the Winter months.
Balanced liquid fertilizers are usually best and options designed for tropical plants usually work well.
You can also use fertilizers that have slow-release formulas and only apply them once or twice during the entire growing season, especially since fertilizer is not even always needed for Alocasia Black Velvets.
Pruning and General Maintenance
This plant does not require tons of pruning or general care, but you may need to occasionally do some trimming.
If you notice dead, dying, or curling foliage, then you can prune these leaves off. This makes room for new, healthier growth and leaves that will be prettier and livelier. It also helps the light and nutrients get to the healthier portions of the plant.
If you notice that the plant starts to bloom, then great! However, the flowers aren’t impressive and may take away energy and nutrients from the silvery veined leaves that are so wonderful. If that’s the case, then you can remove the flowers to ensure the blackish-green leaves flourish.
Black Velvet Alocasia varieties don’t require repotting very often because they are so slow-growing. However, you may need to repot the plant every 2 to 3 years. Not only does it provide more room, but it gives you the ability to replace the soil and ensure healthy roots without rot.
Common Problems with Alocasia Black Velvet
There are some common problems that you can encounter with any plant, but luckily most of the issues are easy to take care of when it comes to Alocasia Black Velvet.
Let’s examine the most common issues that you may experience and how to address them properly.
When it comes to pests, Black Velvets are not very problematic. However, spider mites are the most common pests that can infect your lovely houseplant.
The good thing is that while the Alocasia Black Velvet loves humidity, spider mites prefer dry areas. Therefore, just keeping humidity at proper levels above 50% will usually prevent any spider mite infestations that can harm your plant.
Curling leaves are most commonly caused by an issue with sunlight. When the light source is too direct, it can dry out the edges of the leaves and cause them to curl.
When this happens, then you may try moving the plant a little farther from the window. Remember the Alocasia Black Velvet species likes dappled light.
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If the leaves of your Alocasia Black Velvet are turning yellow, then it certainly won’t be attractive in the same way because the coloration is the most sought-after feature of this plant variety.
This is usually caused by standing water or overwatering. Sometimes people forget that the plant doesn’t need as much water during the Winter and stay with the same schedule, thereby watering it too much.
It can also be caused by soil that is not draining enough.
Brown Leaf Tips
When the tips of the leaves start turning brown, that is likely caused by insufficient moisture. The water is not getting to the tips of the leaves, which means you want to increase the amount of water you give your plant.
Just be careful not to do this too quickly or it can cause root rot. Too much fertilizer can also contribute to burned leaf tips that turn brown.
Final Thoughts on Alocasia Black Velvet
The Alocasia Black Velvet variety is a wonderfully dark green plant with large silver veins that can improve the atmosphere of any room. They are tropical and like warm and humid areas without direct sunlight. Just be sure to care for it properly and they can last years as luscious as the day you got it!