Alocasia Black Velvet: Complete Guide With Bio & Care
Velvety, dark green foliage makes the Alocasia Black Velvet an irresistible houseplant to add to the collection. Despite the dramatic looks, this indoor plant can be quite manageable— and compared to some other Alocasia, is actually on the easier side. This houseplant’s botanical name, Alocasia reginula, translates to “little queen” and with good reason— it’s regal, compact, and deserving of all the attention.
Scientific Name: Alocasia reginula
Common Names: Alocasia Black Velvet, Black Velvet Elephant Ear, Little Queen Alocasia
Origin: Unconfirmed, but likely Borneo
A rarer find, the Alocasia Black Velvet is considered one of the ‘jewel Alocasias’ and part of the adored Aroid family. This unusual gem of a plant features deep green leaves so deep that they almost appear black. The silvery white veins make an attractive contrast against the dark leaves and the undersides feature a splotchy magenta color. The shape of the leaves is also unique as it resembles an ovate heart. When mature, the plant reaches about one to two feet in height. While staying mostly compact and low to the ground, the leaves can amazingly span nearly 2 feet wide in the wild. While the origins of the Alocasia reginula (Black Velvet) are not completely clear, the majority of evidence points nativity to rainforest, island regions of Asia. Specifically, Alocasia plants of biological significance and close relativity hail from Borneo.
In terms of growth, it’s very common in this houseplant (and other Alocasia) for an older, smaller, or lower leaf to yellow, brown, and die off— especially as new growth comes in. This can make the growth seem slower as the plant tries to fill out but leaves keep getting replaced by subsequent growth. This is completely normal though and just part of the experience of the plant! Simply trim away the leaf once it has completely dropped to make room for fresh growth. Similar to other Alocasia plants, white inflorescences can bloom when conditions are favorable.
Buy Online: Alocasia Black Velvet— 4 Inch
Alocasia Black Velvet is considered fairly easy to moderate in terms of level of care.
Alocasia Black Velvet prefers indirect, bright light, but can tolerate moderately lower levels of light. If you’re unsure of your light levels, typically placing this plant near a northern or eastern facing window will be perfect. Just make sure to keep this velvety houseplant out of direct sunlight as leaf burns can occur.
Like other Alocaisa, the Black Velvet will appreciate a moderate watering schedule. While we don’t recommend a set amount or number of days to water, you’ll instead check the soil for moisture retention. So you’ll specifically water once the top half-inch of soil has dried. This plant will not tolerate overwatering— so when you’re unsure, less water is best, as too much water or any standing water can lead to irreversible root damage. On the other hand, if you notice crispy leaf tips, that could be a sign of too little water or humidity.
Everyone’s home environment is completely unique with varying measures of humidity, warmth, and sun exposure. By utilizing the soil test method to water, your plant is getting its preferred amount of water every time and we eliminate the risk of over or underwatering. Simply wiggle your finger about an inch deep in the soil and if it’s ever so slightly damp at the inch mark (and dry at half-inch mark), then it’s time for water. And you’ll notice that the soil will retain more moisture in cooler months, so the amount and frequency will change based on the seasons.
When watering, always remember that there's no set amount but it should be thorough with all parts of the soil and roots exposed to water. We suggest taking your plant to the sink and lightly spraying all over the top of the soil with water until water is coming out of the bottom holes of the pot (make sure you have drainage!). Then allow excess water to finish draining out of the bottom (maybe even tilt the plant from side to side to get any last bit out) before returning the plant to its spot.
During spring and summer, the Alocasia Black Velvet will benefit from fertilizing once monthly. This plant isn’t a heavy feeder, so we recommend giving a diluted dose of any basic houseplant fertilizer (dilute or cut back to at least half the recommended amount). Again, too much isn’t a good thing and can cause other issues. And once fall approaches, you’ll want to stop supplementing with fertilizer as many houseplants, including the Black Velvet, will enter a semi-dormant stage. You’ll discontinue fertilizer (and any other stressful event that requires the plant to work) through the winter.
About once a every year (or two), the Alocasia Black Velvet will benefit from repotting. Not only will this allow room for the roots to continually grow, but fresh soil can rejuvenate the plant. You’ll need a well-draining soil that also allows for high aeration since these roots want to breathe. In addition, only go up in size by roughly 1-2 inches in diameter. Too much room at once isn’t favorable and does not support the plant’s ability to grow.
Extra Care & Growth:
Since this indoor plant is native to tropical jungles, it is accustomed to humid conditions. If you notice the plant is in need of humidity, you may need to boost the moisture in your space (or at least around the plant). However, we don’t recommend misting this plant since the velvety leaves could retain water droplets— which could potentially cause issues like bacterial growth, fungus, and/or rot. It is suitable to use a pebble tray filled with water or a light humidifier since the moisture is extra fine.
As with most houseplants, the Alocasia Black Velvet is not cold tolerant and will not fare temperatures below 55°F. A suitable range for this plant is any constant temperature between 60-85°F.
This houseplant is quite resistant to pests, but some home environments do have issues with Alocasia and spider mites. Always check regularly for pests, and eradicate as soon as possible.
Toxicity: Considered toxic if ingested by humans, cats, and dogs.