Alocasia 'Black Velvet' 25cm
Be careful, the plant is bigger than on the picture! Alocasia Black Velvet (Alocasia reginula) is the perfect houseplant to make a big impression in small spaces. Most plants in the Alocacia genus are known for their large, tropical-looking, heart- or arrow-shaped leaves (which gave them their common name, elephant ears). Black velvet is much slower growing and smaller than many in the genus. It is sometimes called jewel alocasia because it is a diminutive jewel.
You don't grow this plant for the flowers. It rarely flowers, and the white inflorescence is rather inconspicuous when it blooms. Instead, the most striking feature of this eye-catching evergreen perennial is the contrasting silver veins on the thick, textured, dark green (almost black) foliage. It's not necessarily a plant for those with brown thumbs, as it can go dormant or lose its leaves without proper attention. Alocasia Black Velvet loves high humidity, making it the ideal plant for a steamy, sunny bathroom.
If you live in a home with curious animal paws, you'll want to keep them out of reach of pets. Alocasia Black Velvet is toxic to humans and pets.
Caring for Alocasia Black Velvet
Alocasia Black Velvet is a bit finicky and does best when kept in a location that mimics the tropical warm, light and humid conditions it enjoys.
Unlike some larger Alocasia species, which you can train to handle full sun, Black Velvet thrives in subdued, bright but indirect light - similar to conditions on the floor of a tropical jungle. A north- or east-facing window works well, provided the morning light isn't too intense. Too little light tends to give stiff, leg-like stems, and the lush, dark leaf color doesn't show off.
Even moisture is key to success for this plant, so choose a loose, well-drained potting medium. Root rot is a common problem, so choosing a tropical mix of bark, sand, and loam is a good choice. Those with a lot of absorbent peat moss or coco should be avoided.
A cardinal rule when caring for Alocasia Black Velvet is never to let it sit in water. Improper watering is one of the main reasons why these plants die. Overwatering and wet feet invariably result in root rot.
Although they do like a fair amount of water during the growing season, it's best to water deeply, drain excess water, and allow about 20 percent of allow the topsoil to dry out before watering again. Don't make the mistake of thinking they need water as often as the larger Alocasia species.
Placing the pot on a tray of water and pebbles will help prevent wet feet while still providing the moisture this plant loves.
Watering is still recommended during the winter, but much less often, and the soil can dry out a bit more in between.
Temperature and humidity
As you would expect with a tropical lowland plant, Alocasia Black Velvet needs high humidity and warmth to thrive. Drafty, cold winter rooms and dry, air-conditioned environments are not this plant's friends. Since they prefer humidity levels well above 50%, you may need to mist and use a pebble tray or humidifier, or grow this compact plant in a terrarium - especially during the winter months.They grow best at temperatures above 21C°, but can survive at temperatures as low as 15 C°
Don't think that pouring over Fertilizing Alocasia Black Velvet with fertilizer will prompt this slow grower to suddenly burst into action. But regular but not heavy feeding sometimes benefits this plant. Feeding every two weeks to monthly during the growing season with a balanced liquid fertilizer for houseplants usually does the trick. In contrast to the larger Alocasia species, additional feeding is not necessary in all cases.
There are no heavy pruning requirements with this plant. But even on the healthiest mature plants, you should prune away dead or dying leaves to make way for new leaves. Doing this will help transfer nutrients to the new leaves.
Alocasia Black Velvet rarely bloom, and when they do bloom the inflorescences are unimpressive. If you do see flowers appearing, removing them helps divert energy to the main event - the foliage.
Propagating Alocasia Black Velvet
It is impossible to grow Alocasioa Black Propagate Velvet by stem cuttings or leaves, and growing from seed is difficult and slow. However, these plants spread by rhizomes (underground horizontal stems). The rhizomes produce new upward-growing shoots that give the plant a clumping habit. You can propagate Alocasia Black Velvet with relative ease by dividing clods or potting up rhizome cuttings from mature plants.
Botanical name Alocasia reginula A.Hay Altitude 25cm Pot size 11cm Place Partial shade Water requirement Keep moist Toxic Toxic Repot Every 2 years Packaging Special plants mail box Maintenance Expert