Last Updated on December 4, 2022 by Plant Mom Care
Alocasia Black Velvet or Alocasia Reginula (little queen), named for its regal look is native to the Borneo rainforests. It is part of the miniature jewel alocasia family and is popular for its characteristic velvety dark foliage, striking white venation, and compact growth, suitable for growing indoors as well for terrariums. It can take 2 to 5 years to reach full maturity, but even when fully mature it rarely grows more than 18” tall.
While this slow-growing plant is fairly easy to take care of, watering is one factor that needs to be closely watched to protect its roots and keep it healthy. It can flower occasionally producing a simple uninspiring white bloom.
Alocasia Black Velvet Light Requirements
It is normally found growing on the jungle floor in its native habitat in the dappled sunlight that breaks through the jungle canopy. This translates into growing it in a bright location with plenty of indirect light.
Placing it near south-facing windows is good for assured indirect light, but placing it away from east-facing windows could also work providing that the morning sun isn’t too bright. Harsh, direct light will make the leaves curl while insufficient light will make the plant become a little “leggy”.
As a tropical plant naturally found on the floor of rainforests, it will grow well partially shaded by nearby plants, so you can position it near other plants that can protect it from direct sun.
Alocasia Black Velvet Watering
Although it comes from a wet humid tropical habitat it has an unexpectedly low tolerance for a constantly wet environment.
The plant’s roots are prone to rot so water it only when the substrate is dry. If growing it in a terrarium, moisture should be controlled by achieving a balance with very little water input since the leaves can retain moisture.
Proper drainage is important, this means both the container as well as the soil or substrate should allow water to freely drain away.
Alocasia Black Velvet Humidity
It requires medium to high humidity to thrive. Drafts, cold and arid, air-conditioned settings can be detrimental to the health of this plant. Since it prefers humidity levels ranging between 40-70%, you may have to mist or use a humidifier or pebble tray or grow it in a closed terrarium—particularly in the winter.
Alocasia Black Velvet Temperature
The ideal growing temperature range is between 55-86°F. This plant thrives in temperatures over 70°F – typical conditions in most homes. Growing near other plants also helps to maintain ideal temperatures.
This plant isn’t very cold hardy, so you have to make sure it isn’t exposed to cold wind or drafts during winter.
Alocasia Black Velvet Soil
Growing it in a well-draining substrate is important to stop this plant from getting root rot. Most tropical soil mixes are designed for just that purpose. However, make sure to choose a tropical mix that doesn’t contain sphagnum moss or coco coir, as this plant doesn’t require water retention.
Alternatively, a soil mix high with orchid bark and sand, supplemented with perlite or vermiculite can also help provide root aeration and necessary drainage.
Alocasia Black Velvet Repotting
This plant is quite happy being a bit root-bound and as a slow-grower, you probably will not need to repot it much more than once every 2 years. Probably the only need to repot it sooner would be if you plan to split the rhizomes for propagation.
Alocasia Black Velvet Propagation
While it can be propagated by seed, germinating from seeds is rather slow and tricky. Propagation from offsets or rhizome division is the more popular method since leaf cuttings also won’t grow. This plant often forms clumps of plants growing together that can be divided or naturally new offset baby plants.
By far, the easiest method to propagate it is by offsets. Wait for spring when the plant comes out of dormancy be sure to wear gloves handling this plant can irritate your skin. Remove the plant to unearth the central rhizome, gently shaking off excess soil to expose the rhizomes.
Use your hands or a sterile knife to remove a few healthy rhizome offsets from the central rhizome. Pot them in a moistened, well-draining substrate and place them in a warm, humid location, wait for around 2 – 3 weeks for new roots and growth to take hold before repotting.
The plant also produces individual corms or little bulb-like stems underground producing new plants. These generally don’t propagate properly in soil because of the lack of humidity but they can be removed and propagated in a container of shallow water and covered to generate the appropriate humidity levels. They can be transferred into the soil when new roots and foliage appear.
Like all other plants in the Alocasia family, this one will also become dormant in winter. Maintain humidity levels and reduce watering until spring, when new growth starts emerging.
Regular light feeding can benefit this plant. Apply the batch of fertilizer starting in late March or early April and continue feeding it every two or four weeks during its growing season using a balanced liquid fertilizer.
There are no tedious pruning requirements for this plant other than removing dying or dead foliage to help direct nutrients to new leaves.
This plant hardly ever flowers and if it does the flowers are rather unimpressive. Remove any buds or flowers as they will divert the plant’s energy from the foliage.
Alocasia Black Velvet Common Problems
By far the most commonplace problem when growing this plant is over-watering. However, by watering it carefully and using a well-draining soil or substrate you will certainly get the balance right.
As with other potted plants, this plant can also be susceptible to spiders so close monitoring of the plant and maintaining high humidity will keep the plant healthy and prevent infestation.
Curling leaves are usually attributed to excessive exposure to light, but it might also be due to under-watering.
Typically, yellowing leaves could either be a sign of under-watering or over-watering, although in this case, it’s much more likely to be due to overwatering, so try reducing your watering a bit.
Brown tips on leaves can either be caused by fertilizer burn or under-watering. If the tips are crispy and dry as well, then the culprit is usually under-watering.
Types of Alocasia Plants
What’s the difference between Alocasia Reginula Black Velvet and Alocasia Green Velvet?
Alocasia Green Velvet or Alocasia micholitziana ‘Frydek’ is another Alocasia variety that is becoming popular due to its beautiful, dark green, arrow-shaped foliage and distinct white-colored veins, unlike the Black Velvet’s silvery veins, Alocasia Green Velvet also grows larger and faster, attaining heights of almost 3 feet.
Is Alocasia Reginula Black Velvet an indoor plant?
While it originates from the Borneo rainforests, it has become a popular and commonly grown indoor houseplant, since it can comfortably grow in typical household conditions.
Where do you place an Alocasia Reginula Black Velvet plant?
This plant thrives in humid and warm conditions as well as in a well-lit location under indirect light. Keep it away from cool drafts or air conditioning units as it is sensitive to cold and sudden fluctuations in temperature.