How to Grow and Care for Alocasia Black Velvet (Alocasia Reginula) 


The Alocasia Black Velvet is a gorgeous ornamental plant native to Malaysia. This houseplant is a member of the Araceae family and is popular for its unique dark foliage.

To provide this tropical plant with the ideal care, place it in a bright, indirect light and grow in well-drained soil. You also need to keep the humidity level in its environment around 50% and lightly fertilize it regularly.

Eager to learn more about Alocasia Black Velvet and how to care for it? This article will give you all you need! 

What Are Alocasia Black Velvet Plants?

Scientifically known as Alocasia reginula, Alocasia Black Velvet is an ornamental plant belonging to the Araceae family. It’s also known as Little Queen Alocasia.

It’s native to Malaysia and is popular as a houseplant because of its unique appearance, manageable size, and suitability for indoor environments.

Black Velvet is a slow grower that reaches a maximum height of two feet. It has thick, heart-shaped, oval leaves that reach approximately 5 inches tall and wide. 

These leaves have a variety of textures and a unique black pigmentation with brilliant silver veins. That’s why it creates a striking contrast in any setting.

Quick Summary of Alocasia Black Velvet 

  • Scientific name: Alocasia reginula A.Hay
  • Common names: Black Velvet Elephant Ear, Alocasia Black Velvet, Little Queen Alocasia
  • Light: Bright indirect sunlight
  • Watering: Water when the top 2 inches of potting mix are dry
  • Temperature: 60-80°F and above
  • Hardiness zones: 10+ (USDA)
  • Soil pH: Mildly acidic, 5.5 to 6.5
  • Soil type: Well-drained
  • Repotting: Every 2-3 years 
  • Pruning: Minimal pruning requirements. Only trim off dead foliage.
  • Size: 1 to 2 feet in height
  • Bloom time: Rarely
  • Propagation: By division or potting rhizome cuttings

How to Care for Alocasia Black Velvet

Black Velvet Alocasia thrives in bright, indirect sunlight and well-drained, loose-potting soil. It also prefers high humidity but without excessive watering. 

A temperature between 60 and 80°F is ideal for this plant as well. As for fertilizing, you’ll need to feed it lightly every two to four weeks during its growing season.

What else? Let’s dive into the care requirements of this tropical houseplant:

Provide Indirect Sunlight

Alocasia Black Velvet grows on the floor of tropical jungles in their original habitat, receiving little sunlight. They’ve developed their dark leaves over the years to be able to collect more light while in their low position in forests.

So, unlike other Alocasia varieties that can tolerate full sun, you should avoid placing Black Velvet in direct sunlight as it’s highly susceptible to sunburns. Instead, you need to grow it in bright but indirect light. 

That said, keep in mind that the stems of this plant will turn leggy and straggly in conditions with too little light. In this case, it won’t be able to produce its unique dark foliage color. 

As such, the ideal location for this plant is in front of a north or east-facing window. Still, ensure that the morning light in your area isn’t intense. 

Choose a Loose Well-Drained Potting Mix

When picking the soil for this plant, remember that root rot is one of its major problems. So, you need to choose a well-drained loose potting mix. 

Ideally, opt for a tropical mix made of sand, loom, and bark.

Avoid potting soil high in coco coir or absorbent peat moss. These components can retain a considerable amount of water, increasing the plant’s odds of root rot development.

Besides potting mix, choosing a pot with decent drainage holes is vital for this houseplant.

Water Regularly but Carefully

Let’s make it clear: this indoor plant is incredibly picky when it comes to watering. It likes high humidity but can’t tolerate too much water. 

So, you’ll need to be meticulous when setting its watering schedule. You should avoid keeping its soil highly wet for an extended period. Its fragile, fine roots need room to breathe between waterings.

Here’s how to water it: you need to wait until the top 20% layer of the soil is dry before watering the plant. Typically, this means watering approximately once a week in spring and summer. 

Water it deeply and ensure you thoroughly saturate the soil. Then, allow any excess moisture to drain away. 

Control Temperature and Humidity

Warmth and high humidity are essentials for many tropical lowland plants, including Alocasia Black Velvet plants. They won’t do well in cold rooms or dry environments. 

To be more specific, this plant thrives when the humidity level is more than 50%. That’s why you need to use a humidifier or pebble tray or regularly mist the plant to increase the humidity level. 

As for temperature, ideally, you’ll need to ensure your Alocasia grows in a 60-80°F environment. 

Fertilize Lightly Every 2-4 Weeks

Alocasia Black Velvet is a slow-grower; don’t think of the low growth pace as a sign of insufficient nutrients. 

Unlike other Alocasia species, this one doesn’t require heavy supplemental feeding. In fact, heavy feeding will negatively impact the pace of its growth. 

Here’s the thing: you need to fertilize this plant regularly but not heavily. 

This means you should feed it every 2 weeks or monthly during spring and summer. For best results, use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer.

Can You Grow Alocasia Black Velvet Plants from Seeds

Although it’s possible to grow Alocasia Black Velvet from seeds, we don’t recommend you do so. This process can be highly tricky and slow and won’t fit the vast majority of people. 

There are also no clear instructions you can follow to guarantee the success of growing these plants from seeds.

Given that, a better and much easier way to propagate this Alocasia is by potting rhizome cuttings or dividing clumps. We’ll cover how to use these methods in the following sections. 

How to Repot Alocasia Black Velvet Plants

Black Velvet prefers to grow while slightly rootbound and is known for its slow growth. As such, you won’t need to repot it annually. 

Instead, you might repot it once every two to three years. This is when the roots start to run out of the container, and the pot becomes tight for the plant. 

Before repotting your plant, you should choose the right timing and new container. Summer and spring are optimal times for repotting Alocasia Black Velvet as it’s strongest in these seasons. 

When picking a new pot, you’ll need to choose one that’s 2 inches in diameter larger than the old one. When it’s time to repot your Black Velvet, follow these steps to do this properly:

  1. Gently pull out the plant from its pot. Avoid damaging any part of the roots as much as possible. Inspect the root for rot, and if you find any, trim off the affected parts. 
  2. Prepare the new pot by filling its bottom with a thick layer of a suitable potting mix. Then, place the plant in the container, center its roots, and keep filling around it with the soil.
  3. Water the plant by sprinkling and trying to saturate the entire potting soil without turning it too soggy.
  4. Place the Black Velvet Alocasia in an indirect light and provide it with all the regular care requirements.

How to Care for Alocasia Black Velvet Plants in All Seasons

The general care requirements mentioned above are perfect for the plant’s growing seasons, which are spring and summer. Besides these requirements, you need to understand how plant needs vary as seasons change.

In the fall, you need to reduce watering and increase the time of the plant’s exposure to sunlight. In winter, you’ll also need to considerably reduce watering frequency as the plant growth slows down and may enter a dormancy phase.

If you live in an area with dry indoor air in winter, you should monitor the humidity level and increase it to 50% if it drops.

In addition, you should protect the plant from sudden temperature drops and cold drafts during these months.

As for lighting requirements, if you notice a substantial decrease in sunlight in winter, you might need to use supplementary grow lights.

Regarding fertilizing, you’ll need to reduce feeding in the fall. In winter, however, you should completely stop fertilizing the plant altogether.

How to Propagate Alocasia Black Velvet Plants

As mentioned earlier, growing Alocasia Black Velvet plants from seed is possible but difficult and incredibly slow.

Conversely, propagating the plants by potting rhizome cuttings (underground stems) or dividing clumps are fast and reliable options. With that in mind, the best time for propagating is spring when the plant gets out of the dormancy phase. 

Once you’re ready for propagation, here’s how to propagate Alocasia Black Velvet using the simplest method, potting rhizome cuttings:

  1. Before you start, wear gloves when you touch this plant, as it can irritate your skin.
  2. Pull the plant out from its container and brush off the soil surrounding its roots. The goal here is to expose the rhizome.
  3. Bring a clean knife and start cutting a few healthy rhizome offsets from the stem in the center.
  4. Put the new cutting in a well-drained but moist potting mix. Place the pot in a warm, humid environment.
  5. Wait for a couple of weeks until these cuts start to grow roots and the new growth appears.

What Family Do Alocasia Black Velvet Plants Belong to?

Black velvet Alocasia is a member of the Araceae (Aroid) family, also known as the arum or aroid family.

Although it’s a flowering plant from the Araceae types, Alocasia Black Velvet rarely blooms. Even when it blossoms, its flowers aren’t attention-grabbing.

How Long Do Alocasia Black Velvet Plants Live?

The Alocasia reginula is a long-lived houseplant, but its exact lifespan is unknown. Some gardeners state it can live for up to 10 years, while others report it lives for only a few.

That said, to maximize its lifespan, you should pay close attention to its growing condition and provide it with the ideal settings to thrive.

What Are Common Pests and Plant Diseases for Alocasia Black Velvet Plants?

Luckily, Black Velvet is relatively healthier than a lot of other Alocasias. Most of the time, it won’t suffer any diseases if grown in optimal conditions. 

However, it can be prone to spider mites if it grows in a dry environment. To protect it from this pest, you’ll need to check regularly that your Alocasia enjoys the high humidity level it prefers. 

Besides spider mites, a few signs can indicate your Alocasia isn’t growing healthy. The following are the most common:

  • Curling leaves: this signifies your plant receives harmful direct sunlight. So, you’ll need to relocate it to another place with more dappled light.
  • Brown tips: this indicates that your plant doesn’t get enough water. These brown tips can also be the result of too much fertilizing.
  • Yellowing leaves: when the leaves turn yellow, you probably have an overwatering issue. So, you’ll need to use better-draining soil and pot or reduce watering frequency.

How to Tell If Alocasia Black Velvet Isn’t Growing

Alocasia Black Velvet grows slowly and can take up to 5 years to reach maturity. Beginner gardeners might get confused and think a natural, healthy Black Velvet isn’t growing well.

That said, some plant issues might restrict the growth of your Alocasia; we’ve mentioned four of them in the above section.

Besides these problems, here are additional indicators that your plant might not grow well:

  • Leaf drop: this can indicate high stress due to underwatering, overwatering, or fast temperature changes.
  • Stunted new leaf growth: this can be a sign that the plant receives insufficient fertilizer or inadequate lighting.

If you notice one of these signs or the four in the section above, you’ll need to determine the root of the problem and solve it promptly. 

Are Alocasia Black Velvet Plants Poisonous?

The Alocasia Black Velvet plant is poisonous to both animals and humans. Just touching the plant can cause skin irritation. 

It can lead to irritation to the tongue, lips, throat, and mouth when chewed. Even worse, ingesting the plant can lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. 

That’s why you should keep your Black Velvet Alocasia out of your children’s and pets’ reach.

Does Alocasia Black Velvet Plant Flower?

Alocasia Black Velvet can produce flowers, but this rarely happens. Its flowers also aren’t impressive or showy: it consists of a white spadix and a yellow spathe surrounding it. 

Some gardeners even remove the flowers once detected to conserve the plant’s energy and direct it toward foliage growth. 

How to Help the Alocasia Black Velvet Plant Grow 

If you notice that your Alocasia Black Velvet is dying, you’ll need to promptly discover and address the cause of the problem.

Look for signs of yellowing or dropping leaves or pests on your houseplant. 

If you discover a pest infesting your plants, you’ll need to treat it with neem oil or an insecticide soap. You’ll also need to trim off any severely infested or damaged parts.

If you detect leaf issues, like yellowing or dropping, you’ll need to adjust your watering schedule. In this case, you should improve humidity using a humidifier or pebble tray as well. 

In addition, ensure you’re providing the plant with its essential care requirements.