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Alocasia black velvet (Alocasea Reginula in Latin) is a member of Araceae family of plants. It originates from Southeast Asia and has been brought to other parts of the world by gardeners who liked the visually appealing dark green color of its leaves.
The leaves are further variegated with white or silver stripes, making them even more attractive. This color pattern serves a practical purpose as well. Underneath the rich canopies of big trees of Asian forests, little light reaches the ground level on which alocasia black grows, forcing it to make do with what light it can gather, often from different parts of the specter. The plant is evergreen in the right conditions, meaning that if kept in a warm spot, it will remain green even during the winter months.
Alocasia Black Velvet Care
Light and Location
The plant is relatively resistant to low light conditions, being a tropical ground-level plant that thrives at the lowest levels of a forest, but it should never be left in complete darkness.
To avoid issues with the amount of light your alocasia black velvet is receiving, put it near a source of bright indirect light (direct sunlight is too much for this plant).
Indirect or dappled sunlight will provide it with enough energy to perform photosynthesis with ease, making alocasia black velvet a pretty good choice for a terrarium plant.
If put in a terrarium, adequate light exposure becomes an even more important part of its care. Alocasia reginula black velvet, or “little queen” as it is colloquially called, does not do well in direct light even if it is artificial.
In fact, putting the plant too close to an artificial source of direct light can scorch its velvety leaves, making the already slow process of the plant’s growth even slower. In the end, the best you can do is make sure that the plant receives indirect sunlight (be it natural or artificial).
Probably the trickiest part of alocasia black velvet care is making sure you are watering it in a correct manner, providing it with enough water to grow while also making sure that it does not develop any diseases related to overly moist soil, such as root rot.
Alocasia black velvet enjoys a humid environment. In fact, it requires higher humidity than most other Aracaeae, but also low humidity of the soil. To achieve this, a good choice of pot size, careful watering and well-draining soil, or well-draining potting mix will all be necessary. Potting soil choice is especially important, as soggy soil can lead to a whole host of problems with your alocasia reginula.
Thus, the plant should be only watered when the top two inches of soil dry off. Choosing the right potting soil can help a lot with this, as the root system can ore easily get the oxygen it needs if alocasia black velvet is rooted in loose soil with low drainage.
Make sure to use purified or distilled water too: alocasia reginula black velvet plants, especially new or growing plants are quite prone to suffering from chloride-induced illnesses.
The bottom line is that you should never let the soil get completely dry, while also varying overwatering.
Another important aspect of alocasia black velvet care is choosing the right soil for it. The soil must be loose and have good drainage so that it can keep the correct humidity levels.
Moisture retention is important, but you should not stack too much of it: the roots of an alocasia black velvet need air as much as they need water, and missing on either one can be disastrous for your plant, causing it to develop root rot,end up with yellowing leaves or even lose leaves altogether.
Alocasia black velvet prefers slightly acidic soil, so elements like pebble tray, peat moss, perlite, pumice, or coarse sand are a good choice for a potting mix of your new plant. Some source of organic matter like orchid bark is also recommended.
Proper alocasia black velvet care includes choosing the appropriately humid location for this tropical plant.
This makes it a prime candidate for indoor gardening or even a terrarium, as the humidity in such a place is more easily regulated. A suitable range for air humidity is between 60 and 75 percent.
Keeping your alocasia reginula black velvet in these conditions is the best way to make sure that this indoor plant maintains new growth throughout the season.
Being a tropical plant it is no wonder that alocasia black velvet likes high temperatures, a bit higher than the average room temperature, to be exact. It is alright to keep the plant outside or in a sunny room for extra light in the summer months, but you should stay aware of the humidity levels in the area, as well as the fact that the plant doesn’t tolerate cold drafts at all: if you expect the outside temperature to drop, move this regal beauty inside: it is sure to thank you for your care!
Alocasia velvet back is rather non-demanding in terms of feeding and fertilization. It does benefit from moderate fertilization, but keep any such efforts to the growing season.
Providing the plants with too much food can cause fertilizer burn on the roots, or even collecting calcium oxalate crystals in the soil, both of which can be very detrimental to the plant.
Finally, the plant is mostly inactive and requires no fertilizer during the winter months.
The golden rule when it comes to repotting alocasia black velvet is: always pick a pot that is just a little bigger than the previous one: a pot that is too large can result in the soil becoming too soggy, causing the roots to rot and killing the plants.
Thankfully, there will be some forewarning of this disease: such as curling leaves.
There are multiple approaches that you can take when it comes to the propagation of these tropical plants. Alocasia black velvet can be propagated via seeds, sprouts from the rhizome (the plant’s roots) or just cutting the rhizome in parts and then repoting the parts.
Each of these will provide you with new plants, mini alocasia velvet black that you will now have to take care of. Thankfully, taking care of these young plants isn’t any more difficult than taking care of another alocasia, meaning that you will be able to see their dark leaves and silvery-white veins soon enough.
Propagation by Seeds
Out of the three propagation methods, the one done through seeds is the slowest and the most bothersome one and as such isn’t recommended for a home environment. The other two methods are quite a bit more viable.
Propagation by Rhizome sprouts
Using rhizome sprouts, on the other hand, is the easiest of the three. Simply put the sprouts in the same potting mix the original plant was growing in, then keep that soil a little moist until the plants take root, and boom: your new black velvet alocasia is ready to grow. The moderately bright light of the indirect variety is your best bet: new plants are just as vulnerable to sunburns as the older ones are.
Propagation by Rhizome segments
Dividing the rhizome with the goal of planting its parts is also doable, but might be a little trickier than simply planning the already naturally existing sprouts, as you need to make sure that each planted section contains a growth node (without it, your alocasia black won’t take root). Humidity and lighting needs are the same as with rhizome sprouts: wet soil, but not overly so and indirect light are ideal.
Pruning and cutting the plant
The plant grows slowly and remains quite small even when mature, so there will be no need to cut back its growth to keep it at a manageable size, as might be the case with some other houseplants. Instead, you will only need to prune your plant from time to time by cutting off its old leaves.
Recognizing these dead leaves is easy: they are often on top of the plant (it grows from the middle) and are almost completely detached from the main body of the plant: they may even fall off when slightly pulled.
This doesn’t mean you should simply tear them off, however: use sanitized scissors or garden shears to prevent the spread of any infections and keep your black velvet alocasia healthy.
Alocasia black velvet diseases
All houseplants are susceptible to diseases to some degree, and members of the Araceae family are no exception. Alocasia black velvet shares all of the vulnerabilities of these other alocasias.
Thankfully, this plant’s diseases can all be cured or even prevented fairly easily. This guide will list out some of the more common ones, as well as the best ways to combat them.
The high humidity conditions your plant likes do not agree with spider mites at all, thus a spider mite infestation is often a sign of insufficient air humidity in the plant’s environment.
The simplest way to get rid of these annoying pests is to simply wash them off the plant. While this method might be somewhat complicated if your plant is being kept in a terrarium, a solitary indoor alocasia is much simpler to protect.
Similar in size to fruit flies, fungus gnats can easily make your plant miserable by feeding on it. They usually plant their eggs in the overly moist soil of the pot, where they will feed on the roots as well as the fungus in the pot. This can lead to slowing down the plant’s growth and even killing it.
To get rid of an already existing infestation, use flytrap paper or sticky traps that will catch any flying adult specimens.
Prevention, on the other hand, is best accomplished by keeping the soil dry as it will deny the gnats a suitable environment to plant their eggs in. Covering the actual soil with a layer of sand also works.
These can be caused by a variety of factors, usually connected to some form of overwatering, but the end result is always the same: spotted, yellowing leaves. Protecting these tropical plants from this disease is therefore fairly simple: just manage the right watering and humidity conditions and you are good to go.
How much sunlight does black velvet Alocasia need?
Alocasia black velvet isn’t particularly demanding when it comes to sunlight. In fact, the plant prefers bright indirect light similar to what it would have access to in nature, so even the artificial light of a terrarium is perfectly fine for this exotic plant. In fact, this plant is an epitome of moderation when it comes to lighting: too much of it can burn its leaves, inflicting heavy damage upon them, while too little can stunt the plant’s growth. Alocasia black velvet needs for light can thus be called rather modest.
Is alocasia black velvet difficult to care for?
These plants are pretty simple o care for at the basis, though there are some moderately difficult problems to overcome, mostly in regards to watering the plant. An alocasia black velvet can be somewhat tricky in this aspect, but it remains one of the easier houseplants to take care of as long as you choose the right potting mix with not too much water retention to avoid over watering issues.
Why is my alocasia black velvet curling?
If the leaves of your black velvet plant are curling it can be a sign connected to a number of different plant diseases, or simply a consequence of inadequate care. Such inadequacies can stem from either a lack of light, overwatering, or even over-fertilizing. Read the guide in more detail to ensure that you are taking proper care of your alocasia black velvet plant.