Note: These are my opinions and experiences, I am no expert and I have not been paid or incentivised to share my thoughts and reviews of any sellers, products or people mentioned in this post.
I knew I liked this plant from pictures and I was intrigued by it. I did not think I would love it this much. It has big leaves, even when it is small, these are velvety, almost black when mature and the veining is silvery. So far it has also been a fast grower which I love. It is simply stunning plant, that caught me off guard a bit. Not only does it look good it also has charisma.
Botanical Name: Alocasia Reginula Nickname: Black velvet elephant ear. Little Queen.
Light: Prefers bright indirect light. Avoid direct light in summer, as it can burn the leaves.
Watering: Water when top 5cm of soil are dry. Likes moist soil.
Humidity: Average. Not fussy. Mine is at 65%-70%.
Soil/Substrate: Well draining soil. Prefers to be root bound.
Growth pattern: New leaves appear from the middle, older leaves die off.
During my journey through the house plant world, I cam across the Alocasia Zebrina. I was immediately intrigued by it, and I own one now but we don’t get on. Me and the little black velvet queen however are best buddies. She is a trooper. I have had a couple of new leaves in no time, she shipped beautifully and just settled right in.
The leaves aren’t quite like velvet, maybe a bit rougher but they have this cool texture and silvery veins. How this evolved is beyond me. It is a regal plant. It looks extremely stylish. Also the dark leaves help with finding most pests. ha! As it is an Alocasia, it appreciates similar care, such as moist well draining soil, being a bit more root bound, and average humidity.
When the new leaves come in, they are a dark green which, then slowly fades down to almost black. It is really pretty.
The one thing I would say is that I am always nervous about misting it. Water on the velvety texture just doesn’t seem right. I’d suggest placing it on a saucer with pebbles to up the humidity if you need to. So far though it does not appear to be fussy. When cleaning the leaves, be careful to not bruise or snap the leaves. They are sturdy and thick but I feel like it would still be easy to damage them.
This plant will go dormant in winter and may even die back. If it does, slow watering and only water a tiny bit once a month. You want to avoid the roots and tubers rotting.
Alocasias grow from tubers under the soil and these multiply as the plant grows. So you may find a little mini version away from the main plant eventually. You can separate these babies when you repot the plant and share the love by giving them to family and friends.
As this plant likes to be moist, but is prone to root rot, it can feel like a tight rope walk looking after it. I would always say, if in doubt under water. Yellowing leaves can be over or under watering. Adjust accordingly. However if the oldest leaf on the outside is getting droopy and yellow and you are also seeing new growth, this is completely normal. Alocasias will shed their oldest leaves to support bigger new growth.
I have seen one thrip on my plant and rinsed it thoroughly and treated it with neem oil and horticultural soap. I talk about my mix and how I treat for pests here. But in general it is susceptible to the general group of bugs, such as spider mites, mealy bugs, thrips etc. Luckily due to the dark leaves you can see a lot of them easily.