How to Care for Alocasia Black Velvet?
A small-growing Alocasia that’s suitable even for growing in terrariums, the Black Velvet Alocasia features silvery white veins and velvety dark green leaves.
Although tropical plants have special requirements, this Alocasia variety isn’t too difficult to manage once you’re familiar with its needs.
To make things easy on you, I’ve put together a quick care guide to walk you through the most important aspects about growing the Alocasia Black Velvet indoors.
Size & Growth
Because the Alocasia Black Velvet doesn’t get taller than 20 inches, you can think of it as a mini version of its much taller cousins.
Its leaves are also around 3-4 inches, so it’s a compact exotic plant that you can display on tables, furniture or other support structures.
Because it stays small, it’s perfect for decorating apartments, where space can be an issue.
Small as it is, this plant thrives in bright light. If it’s placed in a dark corner, it’s going to stretch out in an attempt to reach for more light. This leads the plant to grow uneven.
That said, you shouldn’t keep the Alocasia in direct light. The velvety leaves will get sunburned if the rays of the sun are strong and shine down directly onto the plant.
Pick a location near a north or east-facing window and rotate the plant each time you water it. This will ensure adequate light exposure for all sides of the Alocasia, preventing uneven growth.
Therefore, for optimal light exposure you need to keep your alocasia in bright indirect light or filtered light to protect the leaves from direct sun exposure.
Without enough sunlight, however, the leaves of the plant can also start drooping.
Correctly watering an Alocasia plant is one of the most important things to watch out for in their care regimen.
Here are some tips on how and when to water your Alocasia Black Velvet:
- Alocasias are sensitive to overwatering and prone to root rot, so don’t overwater.
- Keep the soil evenly moist but make sure it’s not wet or soggy.
- Water when the topsoil starts to feel dry (poke your finger in to test the moisture level).
- Don’t allow the potting mix of your Black Velvet to completely dry out.
- Water more frequently during the growth period and periods of hot weather and cut back on watering in late fall and winter.
- Choose a suitable potting mix to plant your Alocasia, make sure it’s not retaining water or it’s not prone to compaction. It must drain well.
It’s not enough to have a good watering schedule, you also need a suitable potting mix for your Alocasia Black Velvet.
Besides watering, Alocasias are also picky about their potting mix. Not in terms of soil pH — although they do enjoy slightly acidic soil — but in terms of moisture retention and drainage.
The roots of the Alocasia Black Velvet do best in well-aerated, loose soil. Potting mixes for tropical plants are usually rich in organic matter and contain peat, perlite, coconut coir, and other substrates that hold just enough moisture without becoming too saturated.
As long as the potting mix drains well and you aren’t overzealous with the watering can, your Alocasia will thrive.
Temperature & Humidity
Temperature wise the sweet spot for the Alocasia Black Velvet is somewhere between 70 F and 80 F. It can tolerate temperatures down to 60 F, but not below.
Because it’s a warmth-loving plant, cold drafts, temperature fluctuations and frost are not handled well.
If temperature requirements are easy to meet, humidity levels should be above average for this plant, which can create difficulties.
As long as the humidity is between 60-75%, your Alocasia will be happy. If your home is dry, you’re likely going to need a humidifier to keep the air humid enough.
Being small and not a vigorous grower, the Black Velvet doesn’t need much in the way of fertilizing. You can simply use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer diluted at half-strength.
Use this only once a month during the growing season but stop in late fall and winter, when the plant isn’t doing any growing.
Just like with water, you shouldn’t overdo fertilizing either. Excess minerals from the fertilizer will build up and cause fertilizer burn and other leaf issues. It’s best to heavily dilute the fertilizer to reap the most benefits from it.
Potting & Repotting
Because you’re not dealing with a tall-growing Alocasia, you don’t need to worry much about repotting because of size issues.
However, you do need to check on your plant to see if any of the roots are crammed or poking out from drain holes. If they do, move a size up, but only a size.
Even if your plant fits its pot comfortably, it’s still a good idea to replace the potting mix every year or so to freshen it up and get rid of the old mix.
How to Propagate Alocasia Black Velvet?
You can propagate an Alocasia Black Velvet by splitting the rhizome. The best time to carry this out is when you’re repotting your Alocasia. Do this in early spring at the first signs of renewed plant activity.
Use clean knives and cut away the section of the rhizome you want to divide to create a new plant. Plant it in a potting mix and moisten the soil. Keep out of direct light, but not in dark shade.
Make sure the new plantlet stays warm and check on it often to make sure that the soil doesn’t dry out completely.
If you’re looking for a mini-Alocasia that matches the other Alocasia varieties in everything but height, the Alocasia Black Velvet is a variety to consider.
This plant needs the same environment — humidity, warmth, bright light — as the other Alocasia varieties, but stays at a size that will not take up much space in your home, making it easy to integrate in your decor.
Make sure you’re not overwatering this plant and give it a good start by planting it in a well-draining potting mix that will keep the roots well-aerated.