Alocasia reginula 'Black Velvet'
Rhizome Division – Only propagate from robust, mature plants. Black Velvet grows from rhizomes, which can be divided to create individual plants. Rhizomes grow slowly, though, so a new Black Velvet won't be available to propagate for several years. In the spring, take the Alocasia out of the pot and inspect the roots to make sure they're healthy. Brush off the soil and look at the rhizomes. Use a pair of sterilized shears to cut off a portion of the rhizome. Plant the rhizome in lightly moistened soil and place it in a warm location with lots of indirect light. Water as needed to keep the soil slightly moist. In 30-50 days, small shoots will appear. It takes approximately three months for the plant to establish fully.
Bright, indirect (filtered) light.
When the top inch of soil is dry.
60% and above
Black Velvet is a miniature Alocasia with dark-green almost black velvety leaves and deeply contrasting silvery white veins. The leaves are thick, rigid, broadly heart-shaped, and grow atop slim light-green stems. The leaf undersides are light purplish with light-green vein markings. Black Velvet leaves are pale when first emerging but then darken with age.
Black Velvet grows to just over a foot tall and remains compact in maturity. The leaf stalks grow in clusters from a central root stem, with usually between 6-10 growing at any given time. Often, the plant opts to drop older leaves in order to create new ones. It's a common occurrence with all Alocasias.
New growth appears from the middle of the plant, and the old leaves drop off when the new ones emerge. The leaves, in general, are fragile, so take care when moving the plant around or watering it.
It is common for Black Velvet to go dormant during cool weather/winter. Sometimes, it drops all its leaves and dies back to the soil. Don't worry; let it rest and rejuvenate. It will rebound on its own in a warm location with bright, indirect light.
History of Alocasia 'Black Velvet'
The history of the Black Velvet is vague; at some point in the mid-1800s, British botanists collected specimens from Southeast Asia (most likely Borneo) and brought them to the west. It remained known just to plant collectors for a long time.
Propagating Alocasia 'Black Velvet'
Black Velvet was challenging to find before tissue cell plant propagation was possible. It does not grow very fast, and propagation only works with mature plants, so it was unviable as a cultivated houseplant. Now Black Velvet is more widely available.
Potting Alocasia 'Black Velvet'
Alocasia reginula prefers well-draining houseplant soil potting mix combined with perlite and coco coir to enhance drainage and improve aeration. Check out our Black Velvet repotting guide for in-depth help!
Maintaining Your Alocasia 'Black Velvet'
Very little maintanence is needed, just to remove dead or dying leaves and repot every other year or so. It likes being a bit root-bound. However, the velvety-looking leaves are actually quite rough and prone to collecting dust. Use a damp cloth to carefully wipe them down so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently.
Fertilizing Your Alocasia 'Black Velvet'
When it comes to fertilizer, Black Velvet is a light feeder; add a diluted fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Don't overdo it; these are slow growers that are also sensitive to excess fertilizer.
Does Alocasia 'Black Velvet' Flower?
While it's not usual that an Alocasia will flower indoors, it may happen. The flowers are unremarkable; it's best to pinch them off so the plant can focus its energies on new leaf growth.
Alocasias struggle in low humidity and often develop brown leaf tips. This is especially common in winter. If it's just the tips, let the plant rest for the winter, and it should recover in spring. Otherwise, get a humidifier or make a pebble tray humidifier.