Guide to: Alocasia black velvet
Alocasia reginula is commonly known as Alocasia black velvet. Reginula literally means Little Queen. Is she “princessy” though? Not really, maybe it just looks like one. It has velvety black leaves with silvery, luminous veins that are unusual and impressive. This jewel species originates in Southeast Asia, more specifically the jungles of Borneo and Malaysia. As it doesn’t grow very fast, or reach large sizes (up to 60 cm), it can be grown in a terrarium. If you want to keep it in open space though, here are some tips to follow.
require unusual care
As you’ve probably already observed, Alocasia reginula has thick, almost succulent-like leaves. This matters, because she will not tolerate sitting in water for a long time, as its leaves hold more water than in other Alocasias. So we will need adequate potting mix to make her happy.
Second thing – the velvety leaves, as I mentioned already a couple of times, don’t really like misting, especially with cold water. You can give her a shower, because she tends to get dusty, but you will have to dry the leaves with a soft towel, otherwise you may expect this:
stains on the leaves and red spots on the stems
Stains on the leaves occur most often due to cold water misting. They can also be a sign of a fungus infection, when an Alocasia is sitting in a soggy, heavy medium in low temperature. You can recognise it from the yellow border around the stain. Pale spots on the other hand are a sign that your Alo is getting too much sun. Once damaged, leaves do not recover, so observe your plant carefully.
Red discoloration on the stem is part of the natural outfit of this species, so don’t worry!
Adequate potting mix
and how to water
When I got this Alocasia, and read some vague plant care instructions on a no name website, I figured I would put this one in rich soil, add some cacti mix to loosen it a bit and voila. Voila – towards a quick death….
This one needs good aeration, and I mean it. If you don’t want to water your black velvet two times a week, go with a self-watering pot, but don’t try to put her in an environment that she can’t live in. My Alocasia wasn’t growing at all, she was like a statue and I couldn’t figure out why. After a couple of months I checked the roots. There were almost gone…the plant was in pain. The sand from the cacti mix cool the roots instead of loosening the soil, and the whole purpose of this was lost.
So I’ve asked some aroid growers, made some more research and put her in a new mix:
- 30% orchid mix
- 40% soil mix for the palms
- 10% perlite
- 10% LECA
It did recover after 1,5 months and now it’s sprouting two new leaves at once! Yay! Remember, this is not the ONLY mix you can make for this plant. Another recommended mix contains a bit of peat moss and plenty of washed perlite, composted pine bark, and silica sand. I’m satisfied with my own mixture though, so I won’t change it for now.
Watering in this kind of mix requires some regular observation of the soil. Water your Alocasia when you can feel the soil is dry – in my case it is every 4-5 days and once every three days when a new leaf is emerging. To keep fresh air in the root zone, she needs to be watered deeply but infrequently. Deeply means that the water percolates down and then you can remove the excess from the pot holder.
where to put it to not crisp it ?
Alocasia reginula has a fairly wide temperature range in which it survives: 10-30 degrees Celsius, but she prefers it warm. When you put it too far from the light, it will just not grow and the leaves will become almost black due to increased production of chlorophyll in the leaves. It will want to get all the light it can.
On the other hand, too much light will make the foliage kind of “pachy” and lighter. My specimen resides 2 meters from the South window. Remember – the closer the light, the more watering awaits you.
I hope that now it will be easier for you to satisfy this plant. You can also read about the general Alocasia care on my blog. Share this post if you like it, and put your thoughts in the comments below.