Home Plants Alocasia Black Velvet – Black Velvet Elephant Ears

Alocasia Black Velvet – Black Velvet Elephant Ears

by gardeningit
Alocasia Black Velvet

If you are someone who likes plants and the color black, you’re in for a treat. Alocasia Reginula, Latin for “Alocasia Black Velvet” is one of the blackest houseplants on Earth, that belongs to the philodendron family.

This plant is so intensely black that it reminds you of a mass of charcoal.

Classification

  • Family: Araceae
  • Genus: Alocasia
  • Specie: Reginula

Alocasia Black Velvet Common Names

  • The Little Queen
  • Black Velvet Elephant ears

History

The plant Alocasia Reginula Black velvet, also known as “The Little Queen”, was first collected in the 1860s by curious Englishmen who were wandering, looking for special, interesting plants, in the jungles of Borneo, Southeast Asia. It is one of several species of native Alocasias.

Structure and Appearance

Unlike most Alocasias, Black Velvet has an interesting branched, rhizomatous structure that is usually about 30 to 40 centimeters high but its stem can produce plants as wide as 18 inches. It is thick but its leaves are brittle and look like beautiful ovals that resemble the shape of a heart. The leaves are black and velvety on top, have a purplish undersurface, and a very light, almost grey- silver, colored venation giving it a stunning, elegant overall look.

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Why is it Black?

The reason this plant is so attractively black is that the leaves absorb light energy across the visible spectra. This means that they do not reflect any light. Interestingly, the veins of this plant reflect almost all of the visible spectra producing the black on white contrast of the leaves.

What is even more interesting is that when you crush the leaf open, the typical green chlorophyll comes out.

Alocasia Black Velvet Care

Water and Soil Requirements

Alocasia Black velvet’s care involves an average amount of water along with dry, well-drained soil. It is advised to wait for the soil to dry before watering it again. The types of soil most commonly used for this plant are loam and sand.

Sunlight and Temperature Requirements

Sunlight requirements are minimal when it comes to Alocasia black velvet’s indoor care. It can be kept under bright lights but should not be put under direct sunlight. It grows particularly well under full or partial shade. The plant is cold-sensitive as well, so it is suggested to keep it in less than 15 to 30 degrees Celsius in a protected spot without any exposure to wind.

Humidity and Fertilizer Requirements

Speaking of humidity, the little queen prefers a highly humid environment. It is also a fairly hungry plant and needs to be fertilized very often.

When to Repot Alocasia Black Velvet

When thinking about repotting Alocasia Black Velvet, don’t rush. It likes to be slightly pot-bound. Re-pot it after one or two years.

Growth

Under all these ideal conditions of Alocasia black velvet’s care, the growth rate of this plant is very fast.

Toxicity

This plant is fairly poisonous and should not be ingested by any animals or humans. It is advised to keep them away from children and pets. The leaves contain oxalic acid, which can cause serious illness. If accidentally ingested, the patient should be taken to a medical facility immediately. However, it is safe to be eaten after being cooked. The natives and many other cultures reportedly ate it for years.

Alocasia Black Velvet Propagation

The best way to propagate the Alocasia Black Velvet is to split it up into rhizomes. The ideal time for this is in spring or early summer, as the plant goes into dormancy in winters and comes out around this time.

The following are the steps to the propagation process of this particular plant:

  • Carefully dig around the plant, around a diameter of at least 12 inches, with a shovel and lift it out of the ground, avoiding any damage to the roots.
  • Now brush the excess soil away and divide the tubers.
  • After splitting into rhizomes, plant them in a new spot. Pick a spot that has damp (but not wet) soil that is rich and partially under the shade. Make sure to plant the rhizomes as far as at least 36 inches from each other. Every single one of these tubers is supposed to develop into a new individual plant, so you want to give them a sufficient area of vacant space to grow.
  • Water the new plant generously.

Enjoy watching it grow!

Alocasia Black Velvet Timeline

Day 1: Plant in a pot and set in a humid, shaded place where there is minimum or no exposure to wind.

Week 1-3: Make sure that the soil stays hydrated but not overly watered. Fertilize frequently.

Week 3-8: Leaves will start sprouting, especially if the temperature gets warmer.

Week 8-12: Water regularly until fully established.

After 12 weeks: Heavy watering is not needed anymore. You just have to mist and water lightly regularly, now.

What to Look For While Purchasing an Alcosia Black Velvet Plant

When you head out to buy an Alocasia plant, make sure you have an appropriate place in your house to keep it. Pick a suitable spot for it according to its needs before you decide to get one.

  • Now that you have a proper place to keep it, pick a plant according to the place you’ve chosen for it.
  • Make sure the plant you pick is appropriately sized and potted. Note the size, diameter, and density of the plant.
  • The leaves should be sizeable and both, the leaves and the stem should be visible.
  • Make sure the plant is free of any bugs, pests, and diseases. Thoroughly check the stems and the leaves.
  • Check the color of the leaves and make sure there are no brown spots anywhere. Also, notice any curling or drooping as that may be a result of improper care or an underlying disease.
  • Check the soil and the leaves to make sure they’re not overly hydrated. The soil should be dry on the top one inch.

Some Common FAQs

Do Elephant Ear Plants Come Back Every Year?

Elephant Ear plants are perennials and go dormant during the winter season. They shed their leaves and apparently “die”, but do not panic because they are only getting ready for the summer. Every year, when the winter ends, they come back again, ready to bloom.

Do Elephant Ears Need to Be Dug Up for Winter?

Even though these plants seem to die while they are dormant, they do not need to be replanted every year. You can continue to take care of them according to their needs and only repot them if necessary.

How Fast Do Elephant Ear Plants Grow?

If given the right care and environment, these plants can grow into their full size in a matter of months. Ideally, it takes about 3 weeks for the plant to start developing roots, 5 more weeks to sprout and around 2 to 3 months to grow into mature plants.

Do Elephant Ears Bloom?

Yes, it is possible. Elephant ears have been reported to bloom in spring after being taken out into the outdoors and fertilized. However, it is neither common nor predictable. It happens very occasionally.

Will the Yellow Leaves Recover and Turn Green Again?

No, if your plant’s leaves have turned yellow, almost jaundice-looking, chances are that they’ll not go back to being green. The best thing to do now is to cut these leaves off, figure out why your plant is unwell, and fix the problem.

Common Elephant Ear Plant Growing Problems

Spider Mites

First things first, isolate the plant from all the other plants you have. Rinse the entire plant (stems and leaves both) thoroughly with water, preferably soapy, and wipe the plant clean. You can put the plant back in its usual spot. Now, make sure your plant stays well hydrated because spider mites thrive in dry conditions. Mist regular and that should help with the problem.

Leaves Drooping or Turn Yellow

If your plant looks unwell, it probably is. There is most probably something wrong with the environment it is being kept in. Alocasias tend to droop or turn yellow when dehydrated or over-watered. Cold temperature also tends to make them “upset”. The plant may also be going dormant for the season.

Rearrange the pot in a more suitable light and temperature. Monitor the amount of water you’re giving it and check the pot for proper drainage. Also, check the leaves and the roots for any bugs. Another thing that can cause this problem is heavy leaves. Staking will help prevent your plants from drooping. If everything is fine, all it needs is your love and affection!

Alocasia Black Velvet Leaves Curling

The most probable reason for curling leaves is too much water. If your lower leaves curl under, monitor the amount of water you’re giving your plant. Also, note how often you’re watering it. The soil should not be soggy. Make sure the top inch of the soil is dry before you water the plant again, and only water as much as the soil can hold.

Alocasia Black Velvet Yellow Leaves with Brown Spots

Brown and black spots surrounded by a yellowish rim on the leaves of an Alocasia plant can be the result of a variety of diseases like Root Rot, Crown Stem, Xanthomonas, and Leaf Spot. All are commonly caused by over-watering and wet leaves. Again, monitor the amount of frequency of watering your plant.

Removing Dead Leaves

It’s simple! Use a knife to cut the old yellow leaves at the outside of the plant off the base. Carefully, cut through the U-shaped base of the petiole. Remember that new growth comes up at the inside curve of the petiole and the newest stems and leaves are always in the middle of the plant.

How to Display Your Alocasia Plant

Alocasia plants bring a very tropical vibe to them. Black Velvet Alocasia is a particularly elegant-looking plant. Adding it to your sophisticated indoor spaces, like an office, studio or public space will not only purify the air around you but will also add oomph to your interior decoration. Also, if you have a dark color theme going on in your bedroom or anywhere in the house, this little plant will be a perfect touch of perfection.

The larger ones look best on their own in a spacious corner, while the smaller ones can be used as great fillers on tables, desks, shelves, and window sills or even in clusters and groups.
Make sure your pot is not too big to hide and overpower the plant’s leaves or too small to even hold the plant in place and have an appropriate amount of soil in it.

Alocasia Black Velvets are also known to be rather romantic-looking plants. Considering their shape and their extremely attractive and elegant leaves, they can be very suitable for a mature, sophisticated bedroom interior or even as Valentine’s Day’s gifts!

Because these plants prefer being in a more humid environment, it is usually ideal for putting them in the bathroom or the kitchen. But even if you decide to put them in a room that is not as humid, remember to mist the plants regularly and, hopefully, you won’t have any issues.

Final Thoughts

Alocasia Black Velvet is a small, black, indoor plant that requires a humid, shaded area and dry, well-drained soil to live in. It has a branched, rhizomatous structure and big heart-shaped oval leaves. It can be propagated by splitting into rhizomes and planting in a new spot. The plant is highly toxic if ingested in large quantities. 

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