Alocasia Black Velvet Care and Growing Guide

There isn’t any other combination of two words that sounds as exciting and beautiful as ‘Black’ and ‘Velvet.’

The plant Alocasia Black Velvet is the same: exciting and beautiful.

One of the rare plants, Alocasia Black Velvet, is an exotic plant with stunning dark foliage and a velvety background.

Owing to its unique exotic looks, Alocasia Black Velvet has a special care regimen to be followed.

Generally, Alocasia Black Velvet should be grown in well-draining, porous soil in a properly lit place. You should water it carefully, and fertilizing is done once every 4-5 weeks in the growing season. High humidity, room temperature, and regular reporting are some of the other things to care for.

This plant is a perfect blend of art, design, and nature whose very presence in a room demands attention.

It is a striking style statement that can add a mysterious flair to any place. No wonder people call it the ‘Jewel Alocasia.’

Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ (Source: Amazon)

This article will help you keep the famous look of your Black Velvet plant distinct without the incidence of issues like drooping, yellowing, pests, and diseases.

Alocasia Black Velvet Overview

  • Common Name: Alocasia Black Velvet
  • Scientific Name : Alocasia reginula Black Velvet
  • Other Names: Jewel Alocasia, Black Velvet Elephant Ear
  • Origin: South-East Asia
  • Family: Araceae
  • Plant Type: Rhizomatous Perennial Plant
  • Growth Zone: 9-11
  • Height: 30-50cm
  • Spread: 18-25cm
  • Grown For: Foliage 

Complete Care Guide for Alocasia Black Velvet

Coming from the tropics, this plant is famed for its velvety black leaves with shining silvery veins.

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.

Some of the most important factors to care for this plant are as follows:

FactorsOptimal Conditions
Ideal Temperature15-25 ºC (55-80ºF)
Sunlight and LocationBright filtered sunlight; North-facing window
Ideal Humidity LevelAt least 70%
Watering RequirementsOnce every week
Ideal Soil MixLoamy and sandy soil
Fertilizing Requirements Balanced all-purpose 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer once every month 
PropagationRhizome division method, seed germination, and offset method
Potting and Repotting5-6 inches pot; Repot once every year
PruningSpring and the summer season

1. Ideal Temperature

Being a plant that thrives in a tropical climate, it does well in higher temperatures.

It comes from a natural hot place, and it does well in the temperature range of 15-25 ºC (55-80ºF.)

It does well in household temperature, too, but the temperature on the higher end of its suitable range can help its rapid growth.

Although it can thrive well in high temperatures, it cant tolerate a temperature of below  55º F.

Low temperature can severely affect the plant’s physiological functions, leading to water stress, bursting of the plant cells, and eventually death.

You will see symptoms like wilting, browning, blackening, and curling the leaves if the temperature doesn’t suit the plant.

Since most tropicals like Alocasia Black Velvet are not frost resistant, some care aspects during winter are necessary to prevent frost damage.

Prevent Frost Damage in the Winter

  • Cover the plant with bedsheets, plastic sheets, or a frost blanket.
  • Using mulch such as straw, dead leaves, or plant mold can form insulation from the cold.
  • Watering should be done in the morning time. Avoid watering at night-time.
  • Hanging an incandescent bulb a few feet above the plant can also help to provide heat to some extent.

2. Sunlight and Location

Even though Black velvet is as dark as a plant can be, it still prefers bright light.

It should be kept where it gets bright indirect light as exposure to direct sun can cause damage to foliage.

Since it grows in the wild in shaded places and under canopies, providing the same environment will help your plant grow beautifully.

The best place to keep your Black velvet is in a North-facing window where it won’t get exposed to direct sunlight.

Indirect Sunlight
Sunlight (Source: Unsplash.com)

If that is not possible, then a South-facing window will also suit your plant as long as you keep it a few feet away from the window.

You can use a sheer curtain or a drape in the window to prevent direct exposure to sunlight.

Long exposure to direct sunlight shows symptoms like brown leaf tips, brown spots on foliage, and wilting of the plant.

However, unlike other plants from the tropics, it surprisingly does well in low-light conditions too.

Better less than more should be the motto when it comes to sunlight.

Morning and evening sun is the best, although you will have to save it from the direct exposure to afternoon sun.

3. Ideal Humidity Level

Humidity is a concerning care factor for any tropical plant, including your Alocasia Black Velvet.

As this plant natively grows in the rainforests, it needs a similar humid environment.

To grow to its full potential, you need to provide at least 70% humidity for your Alocasia Black Velvet.

Misting Plants (Source: Unsplash)

It can be tough to maintain this humidity level, so you will have to invest a bit of time and money in improving the humidity in your room.

Without proper humidity, your plant will show symptoms of drooping, browning leaf edges, and falling leaves.

Following are the ways to increase the humidity of your home.

  • Nothing works better than an electric humidifier. Along with helping to maintain adequate humidity levels for the plant, it is also said to have beneficial effects on our health.
  • Grouping your plants will also help to retain the moisture levels in the surrounding of the plant. However, it is also an easy way to transfer pests and diseases, which is something to be mindful of.
  • You can put a tray below your plant and fill it with gravel and pebbles. It will help to seep the excess water and use it to provide moisture for the plant.
  • This plant does surprisingly well in vivarium and terrariums. Using those can help to maintain ideal humidity levels for your plant.
  • Misting your plant frequently is also a simple way to increase the humidity around the plant. But it is a temporary method only and should not be relied upon for the long term.

4. Watering Requirements

It is one of the most important care aspects to keep in mind while growing Alocasia Black Velvet.

Most people tend to water this plant excessively, which easily results in several problems.

Although most tropical plants prefer to stay wet and soggy, Alocasia Black Velvet is an exception.

It has a very low tolerance to wet environments which is something to be kept in mind.

Over-watering or under-watering can easily result in discoloration of plants, root rot, and damage to the plant’s foliage.

The best way to check whether your plant requires watering or not is to insert your finger about two to three inches deep in the soil.

If it is moist, then your plant won’t need watering. If it isn’t, then you can water it carefully without letting the water overflow the soil.

You can water it once every week or so, depending on whether the soil is dry or not.

Following tips shall help you with the watering requirements of Alocasia Black Velvet:

  • Water thoroughly till the excess water and soil leaches out from the drainage hole in the pot. It helps to flush out excess salts and keeps the medium healthy.
  • In the winter season, cut down the watering to half as your plant mostly remains dormant.
  • Always try to keep the soil moist and avoid drying off the soil completely between waterings.
Optimum Watering (Source: Unsplash.com)

5. Ideal Soil Mix

Along with a proper watering schedule, another way to prevent over-watering problems is to use well-draining soil.

Heavy and compact soil can easily result in root rot even if you water the plant properly.

Thus, choosing a soil mix that helps proper drainage and proper aeration for the soil is necessary to maintain good health for the plant.

Soil mixed with Organic Material (Source: Pexels)

Loamy and sandy soil are the best choices for this plant. It also prefers soil with a slightly acidic pH. Soil with a pH value of 5.5-6.5 is the best for the Black Velvet plant.

You can use my potting soil mix recipe below for your Black Velvet.

  • Two parts potting soil
  • One part perlite
  • One part wood chips or orchid barks
  • A handful of peat moss
  • A handful of vermicompost

Mix this soil recipe thoroughly before use.

The use of perlite helps improve the water draining ability of the soil and helps to make it lightweight.

Wood chips and orchid barks help to improve resistance to root rot and give proper texture and aeration route for the soil. Alternatively, you can use coconut coir or pine dust.

Peat moss is important for holding vital nutrients and for retaining the moisture in the soil.

The use of vermicompost and worm castings helps suppress some plant diseases and encourage the growth of healthy bacteria.

Want to know the best soil for your Spider Plant? The Best Soil for Spider Plants – A Complete Guide

6. Growth Habits

This plant is called the dwarf Black Queen for a reason. It is a miniature version of the Alocasia.

Its average height is around 30 cms, but sometimes it can grow up to 50 cm. However, its spread is limited to 18-25 cm.

The average length of the leaves is 8 to 15cm long, and it can be 6cm wide.

It has a dark green color with a heart-shaped structure and a velvety surface.

Alocasia Leaves (Source: Amazon)

Since it is a jewel Alocasia, it grows slowly and won’t take up much of your living room space even when fully mature.

As it starts getting older, it sheds its leaves in favor of new ones. Thus, if your leaves are falling off, then it might not be as serious as you think.

7. Fertilizing your Plant

This plant is not a heavy feeder, but it enjoys getting fertilized every once in a while.

You can use an all-purpose plant fertilizer to provide the essential growth nutrients for your plant.

Fertilizing with a balanced all-purpose 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer once every month in the growing season or when you notice new growth is ideal.

Over-fertilizing your plant can easily lead to excess foliage, yellowing, and no bloom, which is why you need to stick to a strict fertilizing schedule.

You can use a general water-soluble balanced fertilizer like Jack’s Classic All Purpose 20-20-20 Water Soluble Plant Food.

Alternatively, you can also try using organic fertilizing sources like blood meal, vermicompost, manure, or feather meal once every month.

It greatly reduces the chances of over-fertilizing your plant while providing the essential nutrients it requires.

Once winter and fall approach, you will want to cut down the fertilizing altogether since the plant stays at a dormant state.

8. Flowering Habits

Although Alocasia’ Black Velvet’ is bought for its beautiful, unique foliage, it occasionally flowers.

It blooms insignificant small flowers that are anthurium-like.

The flowering body consists of a white stem-like part called the spadix. The spadix is surrounded by a pale yellow petal-like modified leaf, known as the spathe.

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.

Check out this instructional video on how to get bigger leaves on your Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’

9. Incidence of Pests

Alocasia’ Black Velvet’ is mostly resistant to pests and generally doesn’t need much caring in this department.

But it is always helpful to look out for pests now and then.

Mealybugs, fungus gnats, and spider mites are the common pests that can attack your Alocasia.

Check out the table below for the most common pests, their symptoms, management, and treatment techniques.

PestsSymptoms
Fungus Gnat1. Yellowing leaves
2. Brown scars on roots
3. Weakening plant
Mealybug1. White Cotton-like substance on the underside
2. Leaf curling and yellowing
3. Falling off of leaves
Spider Mites1. White or Yellow spots on leaves
2. Silky Webs around plants
3. Yellow and Brown appearance of Leaves

Treatment of Pest Infestation

  • Dip cotton balls in alcohol and dab the bugs
  • A blast of water on the leaves can knock off these pests.
  • Use a toothbrush or a blunt knife to scrape them off the leaves.
  • Wipe off the plant leaves with a clean damp cloth.
  • Washing the leaves with Neem oil and Insecticidal soap.
  • Prune the infected leaves and stems timely.
  • Pick off the pests by hand.

Prevention of Pest Infestation

  • Isolate infested plants as soon as possible.
  • Check the plant regularly for the growth of weed and any other unwanted plants.
  • Always remember to disinfect the tools you use for propagation and pruning.
  • Maintain a proper watering schedule
  • Mulch the soil regularly and provide enough organic matter
  • Overfertilizing the plant should be strictly avoided the plant
  • Periodically check plants for pests and insects.
  • Prune infected parts of the plant.

10. Fungal Diseases

Alocasia’ Black Velvet’ can be susceptible to diseases if not cared for properly.

Overwatering, high humidity, over-fertilizing, etc., can cause several diseases in your Alocasia.

The most common fungal diseases that can affect your plant are root rot and leaf spot disease.

Root Rot Disease

The major cause of root rot disease is compact non-draining soil and excessive watering than needed.

These two conditions can easily affect your plant with root rot disease.

Without proper Oxygen for the roots, your plant roots will start decaying, giving off a bad rotting smell.

Overpotting also generally leads to root rot if not cared for.

Symptoms: Stunting, wilting, discoloration of foliage, and rotting smell from the roots.

Fungus: Pythium species and Phytophthora species

Treatment

If your plant is already starting to die off, there is nothing much to do rather than throw it away.

But if the disease has not spread much, you can follow the instructions below to save your plant from dying:

  • Remove the plant from the soil and cut off the mushy roots with sterilized scissors.
  • Repot it in a clean pot with well-draining soil and adequate drainage.
  • Water it only after 2-3 hours of repotting.
  • Place the plant in bright, indirect light.
  • Don’t water it more than necessary.
Preventive Measures
  • Use sterilized potting mix and clean pots.
  • Use well-draining soil that is light and porous.
  • If you want to reuse old pots, then clean them thoroughly before use.
  • Do not plant your Alocasia too deeply.
  • Only water the plant when the top-soil is dry.

Leaf Spot Disease

Leaf spot disease in a plant occurs due to various causes ranging from fungal, bacterial, and viral plant diseases and pest injuries to many environmental factors.

Leaf spot disease in Alocasia’ Black Velvet’ is mostly caused due to excessive moisture in the soil and wet leaves.

Prolonged wet and humid conditions promote this disease, and the pathogens can easily get transferred through wind, unsterilized tools, or while propagating and pruning.

Symptoms: Black and brown spots on the leaf surface, lesions, necrosis of plant tissues.

Fungus: Pseudomonas and Xanthomonas species

Treatment
  • Treating the leaves with a Bordeaux mixture can help to kill the bacteria.
  • Rub the infected area with rubbing alcohol.
  • Discard the plant if the disease has spread extensively.
  • In case the disease is just starting to spread, prune the infected parts.
  •  You can use copper or sulfur fungicides to prevent the disease from spreading.
Preventive Measures
  • Reduce humidity around the plant.
  • Increase air circulation around the area where you keep the plant.
  • Water early in the morning rather than in the evening.
  • Use sterilized tools and gloves while pruning and propagating.
  • Avoid overhead watering as much as possible.
  • Clean and remove the fallen leaves from the plant’s surroundings.

11. Propagating your Alocasia’ Black Velvet’

Alocasia’ Black Velvet’ can be propagated in many ways. People have had success in propagating this plant through leaf and stem cutting, air layering, and budding.

However, since this plant is rhizomatic, the rhizome division method, seed germination, and offset method are the most common for propagating this plant.

The ideal time for propagating any plant is in the early spring and summer season, when the plant is in its active growth phase.

Propagation in the winter should be avoided as the plant will be in a dormant state and won’t grow.

Rhizome Propagation Method

For the rhizome division method of propagating your Alocasia, follow the steps below.

  • Firstly, take out your Alocasia from the pot gently and shake off the soil from the roots.
  • Check the plant’s root system and see whether there are any signs of decay or fungal infection.
  • If you find any decaying rhizomes in the root mass, snip them off with a sterilized scissor or knife.
  • Make sure that you are using a clean tool and also wear gloves at all times.
  • Now cut the root mass or divide the root mass into two parts using a knife or your hands.
  • Next, plant the clump in a pot or a container with the right potting mix.
  • Watering should be done regularly in the early stages of growth.
  • Place your plant in an area where it gets bright filtered sunlight.
Splitting plant roots
Rhizome Propagation Method (Source: Pexels)

Seed Propagation Method

You can also grow your Alocasia through its seeds. However, it should be noted that it is a tedious process and can require a bit more patience.

Follow the steps below to grow your plant from seeds:

  • Choose a pot or a container and fill it with soil mix.
  • Always use quality seeds that are disease and pests-free.
  • Soak the seed overnight in tap water or distilled water before planting.
  • Plant the soil an inch or two inches deep from the surface and cover it properly with soil.
  • Water regularly with room-temperature water.
  • Once the seedling appears, which can take as long as three months, move the pot in a well-lit place with adequate aeration and a moist environment.

Offset Propagation Method

Offsets are the shoots with clustered leaves at the tips, which you can remove from the main rhizome to give birth to another daughter plant.

It often falls to the ground naturally, but you can cut it and put it in another pot for propagation.

Follow the steps below for offset propagating your Alocasia.

  • Take off your Alocasia’ Black Velvet’ from its pot.
  • Locate the offset on the root mass.
  • Cut the offset from the mother plant with the use of 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 the right potting mix.
  • Water your newly propagated plant regularly.
  • Place your plant in an area with bright fileted sunlight, adequate moisture, and aeration.

Also watch,

12. Potting and Repotting your Alocasia’ Black Velvet’

What kind of pot you choose has a lot to do with how your plant grows.

It is best to choose a pot that is one inch bigger than the spread of your plant.

While choosing the pot, make sure that it has enough drainage holes to prevent any water logging or soggy soil.

Since this plant is a dwarf plant, you can ideally grow this plant in a 5-6 inches pot in the early growth state. However, using an oversized pot can easily result in moisture and watering-related problems.

Several varieties are available when choosing the material of the pot.

Clay pot, plastic pot, terra cotta pots, etc., are some of the most common pot materials used.

You can choose the one that suits you best depending on the aesthetics, affordability, and drainage efficiency you need.

Following are the types of flowering pots you can choose from:

Pot MaterialAdvantagesDisadvantages
Plastic Pot1. Lightweight
2. Long-lasting
3. Environmental Friendly
1. Not robust
2. Prone to water-logging
Terracotta Pot1. Good drainage
2. Aesthetically Pleasing
3. Robust
1. Prone to cracking
2. Heavy to move.
Metal Pot1. Long-lasting
2. Great Design
3. Variety of metal
1. Prone to rusting
2. Prone to overheating
3. Expensive than others
Concrete Pot1. Durable and robust
2. Weather-inclined
3. Great design
1. Expensive
2. Heavy
3. Need regular maintenance

Check out this article on pots: 8 Best Safe Pots For Indoor Herbs in 2021

Repotting your Alocasia’ Black Velvet’

Alocasia’ Black Velvet’ should be kept in a pot where it can stay slightly rootbound.

Ideally, it is good to repot your Alocasia once every year when the root starts appearing from the surface.

Thus, you should avoid using a larger pot than needed. In addition, if the plant has excess soil in the pot, it easily makes it susceptible to root rot.

Repotting Plants (Source: Unsplash.com)

Repotting is a straightforward process and does not require any tools or complex knowledge. The instructions below will help you repot your plant.

  • Choose a pot that is one size bigger than the previous one.
  • If you are reusing the pot, then clean it properly using a brush and bleached water.
  • You can add small pebbles or gravel to the base of the pot for better drainage.
  • Fill a couple of inches of the pot with the soil.
  • Take off your Alocasia’ Black Velvet’ carefully from the other pot.
  • Invert your plant and gently tap on the base to remove it.
  • Place the plant on the newly prepared pot.
  • Fill the soil up to an inch lower from the brim of the pot.
  • Firmly press the soil to remove any air pockets.
  • Thoroughly water your plant to moisten the soil.
  • Place the plant in a location with bright filtered sunlight.

Following things should be kept in mind while repotting your Alocasia’ Black Velvet.’

  • Repotting should be done either in the spring or the summer season.
  • Repot once every one or two years, depending upon how much the plant has grown.
  • Only use a pot that is one size bigger than the old pot.
  • Repotting is a good time for pruning and propagation too.

13. Pruning your Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’

Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ is low maintenance when it comes to pruning.

It does not require any extensive pruning and will do well if pruned lightly at times.

The best time to prune your Alocasia is at the growing season, when it will be at its active growth stage.

Pruning during the winter should be avoided at all costs as it is only going to stress the plant. Moreover, any growth cannot be expected in winter as it remains in a dormant state.

Since it does not grow big nor has a messy appearance, a light trimming of old leaves and dead-heading in the spring and the summer season should do good.

The steps below will help you give light pruning to your plants

  • Put on your gloves and get a sterilized knife or pruning shears.
  • Locate the old and withered leaves that need pruning.
  • Gently pinch on the base of the the old and dying leaf with your thumb and index finger and snap it off in a single motion.
  • You should snip off withering or drooping leaves with the help of a knife or a scissor.
  • Cut back to the base of the plant without sawing off.
  • Clean the area and wash your hands properly after pruning.
Fiskars Micro Pruner-Amazon
Fiskars Micro-Pruner (Source: Amazon)

14. Alocasia ‘Black Velvet ‘ Toxicity

Along with the care requirements, you should also know whether your plant is toxic or not before keeping it indoors.

Alocasias of all varieties, including ‘Black Velvet,’ is highly poisonous to dogs and cats and can negatively affect humans.

It contains calcium oxalate crystals that can have a poisonous effect on both humans and animals.

When ingested, common signs of toxicity include difficulty breathing, swollen lips, swollen tongue, and vomiting in humans. Animals show signs of drooling, pawing at the mouth, decreased appetite, and vomiting.  

Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ sap can also cause skin and eye irritation.

If Alocasia sap gets in the eyes, it can cause swelling, redness, and burning of the eyes.

If you see any of the above symptoms in yourself or your child, seek medical attention immediately. 

Call the APCC at (888) 426-4435 or contact your local veterinarian asap if your pet shows any of the above symptoms.

Treatment

The first thing to do after exposure is to contact the medical hotline for immediate support.

  • If the plant has been consumed, the person should wipe their mouth with a wet and clean cloth.
  • Drinking milk can help to reduce the effect of the toxins to some extent.
  • Place a wet towel inside the mouth to soak up the toxic crystals.
  • If the sap was exposed to the eye, you should wash your eyes with clean tap water.
  • Victims who suffer from diarrhea should drink plenty of water and other fluids to make up for the water loss.

Here are some tips on how to reduce exposure to its toxins:

  • First, place the plant out of reach of children and pets.
  • Second, teach your children not to touch the plant.
  • Third, use pet repellant spray to keep the pets away from your plant.
  • Finally, wear gloves regularly while handling and wash your hands immediately after pruning, propagating, or repotting.

Want to know more about plants toxicity: Are Rubber Plants Toxic?

Tips for Growing Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’

Here are a few expert tips that will help care for your Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ and keep it thriving.

  • Wipe off its leaves regularly with room-temperature water since it can easily gather dust on its surface.
  • Before watering your plant, check the moisture level of the soil with the finger dipping method.
  • Misting the plant frequently and placing a pebble tray will prevent the incidence of spider mites.
  • Alocasias can be negatively affected by mineral water. Either use distilled or tepid water for the best results.
  • While repotting, avoid going for oversized pots as they can easily drown the plant’s roots, making it susceptible to root rot.
  • Flowering Alocasia can cause the leaves to be small in size. Thus, it’s always better not to let your plant flower.
  • Inspect your plant regularly for plant diseases and pests. Prevention is better than cure.
  • Use a potting mix with adequate aeration and drainage to avoid soggy soil problems.
  • If you use chemical fertilizers for your plant, always use half the recommended dosage on the label.
Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ (Source: Flickr)

FAQs About Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’

Why is my Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ Leaves Crisping and Curling?

Curling and crispy leaves are caused due to water issues and lack of humidity.

Underwatering can easily result in your beautiful Alocasia leaves starting to turn crispy.

Low humidity can cause the same. Try misting your plant regularly and place a pebble tray below the pot.

Why are my Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ Leaves Turning Brown?

Too much water can easily result in the browning of your Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ leaves.

Likewise, exposing your plant to direct sunlight can also cause brown leaves.

Therefore, always use filtered light only and check your watering schedule if it needs adjusting.

Is Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ a Rare Plant?

Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ was very rare and sought after back in the days.

However, it is more common to find these plants nowadays because of the fame it has gained.

Why are my Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ Leaves Starting to Lose their Color?

Frequently, the leaves of Alocasia starts to discolor when it is at a dormant state. But this is not something to get stressed about.

Once the environment returns to a favorable condition, the leaves will start gaining their color again.

Do you want to grow a Hoya Krimson Queen of your own? Hoya Krimson Queen: Ultimate Care Guide, Tips and FAQs

Conclusion

Your Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ can be a gem in any room with proper care and suitable environmental conditions.

Whether kept indoors at the coffee table or kept with other plants, this plant does not shy away from taking the limelight.

If you want to add dark mystical, and occult vibes in your room, then this is the one you should go for.

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