The prized velvety foliage of Black Velvet Alocasia is often compromised via frequent mishaps in basic care like light and water.
Black Velvet is often misunderstood as a highly demanding plant for its royal looks, but they are not. So, read on to learn easy ways to keep them upbeat.
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Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ Overview
Native to the tropical rainforests of Borneo, Southeast Asia, Black Velvet Alocasia was first discovered in the 1860s.
|Alocasia reginula 'Black Velvet'
|Native Range: Southeast Asia
Life Cycle: Perennial
USDA Zones: 9-12
|Height and Spread
|1.6 feet × 1 feet
|Spring and Summer
|Color: Dark leaves with striking pale green or silvery white veins
Texture: Velvety, stiff
|Throughout the year
|White spadix wrapped around by yellowish spathe
|Toxic to pets and humans
Complete Care Guide for Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’
Like most other Alocasia, Black Velvet also has peculiar care requirements to keep its foliage beautiful and thriving.
Although it is quite straightforward, some aspects of its care need more attention than others.
1. Light & Temperature
Being a tropical plant, Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ prefers six hours of bright indirect light daily and performs well in the warmth of 60-85°F.
Meanwhile, you can grow them outdoors in USDA zones nine and above under partial shade.
Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ shows symptoms like brown leaf tips and brown spots on wilting, curling foliage.
Similarly, temperatures below 55°F and severely light-deprived Alocasia have stunted or leggy growth with yellow leaves.
2. Water & Humidity
To grow to its full potential, you must provide at least 70% humidity while avoiding wet soil from excess watering for Alocasia ‘Black Velvet.’
Over-watering or under-watering can easily result in discoloration of plants, root rot, and damage to the plant’s foliage.
Likewise, without proper humidity, they show symptoms of drooping, browning leaf edges, and falling leaves.
You can group the plants to retain the moisture levels and leverage bottom watering to ensure plants stay hydrated without watering mishap risk.
Remember to cut down the watering of your Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ by half in the dormant winter season.
3. Soil & Fertilizer
As heavy and compact soil easily results in root rot and does not facilitate proper nutrient distribution.
You can prepare potting soil mix at home by mixing perlite, wood chips, peat moss, and vermicompost.
Meanwhile, opt for organic fertilizer like blood, manure, or feather meal to avoid chemical burn.
Signs of Overfertilization
- Yellowing leaves
- Chemical burn
- Root rot
- Salt accumulation on top of the soil
To avoid overfertilization issues, refrain from fertilizing Alocasia in winter and always ensure to dilute the solution before use.
Signs of Underfertilization
- Weak, fragile leaves
- Slow to no or stunted growth
- Small new leaves
4. Potting and Repotting
A pot 5 to 6 inches wide with multiple drain holes is preferred for Alocasia ‘Black Velvet.’
Furthermore, they prefer to stay slightly potbound. Thus, aim for a pot that is one inch bigger than the spread of the plant.
But they need immediate repotting once they outgrow the pot by exhibiting signs like roots poking out from drain holes and stunted plant growth.
Besides, repotting could be the only viable option to salvage the plant when infected with fungal diseases.
Some common fungal diseases of Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ are leaf spots and root rot, often caused by improper watering and humidity.
In such peril, aim to prune off the infected parts using a sterilized pruner, apply fungicides to the cut ends and carefully repot them.
5. Casual Pruning
Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ is low maintenance and does not require extensive pruning but will do well if pruned lightly at times.
Furthermore, thoroughly prune the parts traumatized by pests like fungus gnats, mealy bugs, and spider mites.
Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’: All About Growth
Coming from the tropics, Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ is famed for its velvety black leaves with shining silvery veins.
They actively grow in spring and summer but undergo dormancy during winter.
Meanwhile, the exotic deep green leaves that appear black can grow over six inches long with a width of two inches.
The eye-catchy thick leaves are heart or teardrop-shaped with a soft, velvety textured upper surface with prominent white veins.
However, Alocasia Black Velvet differs from its another variety, Dragon Scale Alocasia, which incorporates silvery matte colors and deeply veined texture.
On the other hand, Black Velvet barely produce typical alocasia flower when kept indoors despite the ideal care.
In favorable growing conditions, your Alocasia’ Black Velvet’ can bloom all year round.
Most Alocasia growers remove the flower at the first sign since it can leach the essential nutrients required for the leaves to get big.
Propagation Methods for Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’
Since Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ is rhizomatic, the rhizome division or offset division method is the best way to propagate them.
However, they can be propagated via other common methods like stem cutting and air layering, but they are not recommended.
The ideal time to propagate Black Velvet Alocasia is in the early spring and summer when it is in its active growing phase.
Rhizome Propagation Method
During annual repotting, you can propagate Black Velvet via rhizome, as plants are already removed from the pot.
- Take your Alocasia from the pot and remove residual dirt on the roots.
- Check the plant’s root system for signs of decay or fungal infection.
- If you find any decaying rhizomes in the root mass, snip them off with a sterilized scissor.
- Cut the root mass or divide the root mass into two parts using a knife.
- Plant the clumps in a pot with the right potting mix.
- Watering should be done regularly in the early stages of growth.
- You can observe new growth sprout from the rhizome within 3 to 8 weeks.
- Place your plant in an area where it gets bright, filtered sunlight.
Seed Propagation Method
Before starting with seed propagation, ensure the seeds are disease or pests-free and are freshly harvested.
- Presoak the seed overnight in chemical-free water.
- Sow the seeds an inch deep in the fresh starter mix and cover them lightly with soil.
- Regularly water them using spray bottles to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
- Maintain optimal humidity by covering the tray using clear plastic.
- Ensure to poke some holes in the plastic to ensure optimal air circulation.
Within 2 to 3 months, you can notice new seedlings, then move the pot to a well-lit area and transplant them into a new pot after legit growth of the seedlings.
Offset Propagation Method
Alongside the parent root crown, Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ often has side rhizomes with the individual root system.
You can use them to propagate Black Velvet during the annual repot.
- Cut the offset from the mother plant using a sterile knife or scissors.
- Allow the offset to heal in a cool, dry place for at least 3-4 days.
- Plant the offset in a pot or a container with nutrient-rich, well-draining soil.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and ensure above 50% humidity.
- Place offsets in a warm area with bright filtered sunlight and ensure they are not exposed to direct sunlight.
- With regular Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ care, you can notice new growth in the plant within a month.
Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ Toxicity
All varieties of Alocasia, including ‘Black Velvet,’ is poisonous to cats, dogs, and even humans.
According to the ASPCA, almost all aroid plants, such as Monstera and Philodendron, contain toxic insoluble calcium oxalate crystals.
Meanwhile, animals show signs of oral irritation, excessive drooling, frequent pawing at the mouth, decreased appetite, and vomiting.
Furthermore, the sap can also cause skin and eye irritation. Thus, always wear protective gear while handling the plant.
Here are some helplines you can rely on if you notice signs of Alocasia poisoning in pets and kids.
Where to Buy Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’
Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ was rare and sought after back in the day for its dark deep green shade.
However, it is more common to find these plants nowadays because of their rising fame.
Here are some online vendors with Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ for sale.
|Expected Delivery Date
|3 to 7 business days
|Fast Growing Trees
|Black Jungle Terrarium Supply
|Takes almost a week
From Editorial Team
Regal yet Aloof Plant!
Due to the toxic nature of Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ to pets, aim for proper precaution steps like incorporating pet repellant sprays.
You can prepare a DIY spray by mixing apple cider and white vinegar or sprinkling garlic paste and chilli powder.