Botanical name: Alocasia reginula
Common names: Alocasia 'Black Velvet', Little Queen
Alocasia reginula commonly called Alocasia 'Black Velvet' or Little Queen, is a compact plant which bears broad, heart-shaped, dark-green leaves with a velvety background, pale green, white or silver veins and reddish undersides.
Alocasia 'Black Velvet' grows by means of a rhizome and goes dormant in the cold season where the leaves die leaving the rhizome alive to propagate new plants during the warm season.
Little Queen is one of the popular Alocasia plants on account of its magnificent foliage.
Like other Alocasia Plants, Alocasia reginula requires a warm humid environment to thrive. This makes this plant perfect for growing in a closed terrarium, as a high humidity can be maintained inside a terrarium.
Alocasia reginula is a compact which grows to a height of 1-2 ft and 1.5 ft wide. The leaves are about 6 in. long and 2.5 in. wide.
The flowers in Alocasia Black Velvet are pale-colored spathes which only last a few days. To conserve the plants energy and direct it to foliage growth, cut the flowers as soon as they appear though it is unlikely to flower when grown indoors.
Alocasia reginula (Alocasia Black Velvet) is native to Sabah State in Malaysia in the deeply shaded limiestone cliffs in Tabin Wildlife Reserve where it is found growing on forest floors.
Are you looking to add this beauty to your collection? Buy Alocasia reginula (Alocasia Black Velvet) online from Etsy.
Alocasia reginula (Alocasia Black Velvet) thrives in medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soils coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.
Alocasia Black Velvet requires regular pruning to keep it neat and tidy as well as minimize pest and disease infestations. Repotting is only ncessary when the plant has become root-bound. Continue reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.
Alocasia reginula grows best in medium to bright, indirect light. Keep it away from direct sunlight as it can cause the leaves to be faded (bleached) and die.
Too little light for Alocasia Black Velvet will signal dormancy to the plant which may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.
Rotate the pot regularly to ensure that Little Queen receives light on all sides for even growth to prevent lop-sided growth.
Little Queen will also grow under a grow light where the natural lighting is not sufficient.
Water Alocasia reginula thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.
Decrease watering during the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Underwatering will signal dormancy to the plant which may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.
Alocasia Black Velvet does not like soggy soil as it is prone to fungal infestations like root-rot.
Therefore, make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Average warmth from 150C to 270C is ideal for Alocasia reginula. If the temperature goes below 150C, they may cause the plant to drop all its leaves and go into dormancy.
Alocasia Black Velvet also needs to be protected from draughts as it hates sudden changes in temperature which may cause leaf drop.
Alocasia reginula requires high humidity inorder to thrive. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.
Alocasia Black Velvet can also be grown in a bathroom, the laundry area and other moist areas in the home if the lighting is adequate. Check out these techniques on how to raise the humidity for houseplants.
You can also grow Little Queen in a terrarium where a high humidity can be easily maintained.
Regularly clean the leaves by damp wiping them with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and discourage pests infestation. Do not mist the leaves as the water droplets can spot the leaves.
Feed Alocasia reginula with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period for lush growth.
Withhold feeding during the cold season as the plant undergoes dormancy during this period and growth is minimal at this time.
Flush out accumulated salts arising from fertilizers every 2-3 months by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage holes. Let the stream of water run for a few minutes.
Alocasia reginula prefers to be root-bound, therefore frequent repotting is not needed. Avoid frequent repotting as the plant can take long to recover from repotting shock. Repotting every 2-3 years should be adequate.
Repot into a 1 size larger pot during the growing season only if the roots have grown out through the drainage holes.
Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to fungal infestations.
The best soil for Alocasia reginula should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.
Most aroids potting mixes are ideal for the plant. Buy quality Aroids Potting Mix for Alocasia Black Velvet from Etsy.
Pruning Alocasia reginula is easy as it only requires removal of yellow and diseased leaves as they occur to maintain your plant neat and to reduce chances of diseases and pests infestation.
Remove the leaves by cutting at the base with a sterilized knife or pair of scissors to avoid disease transimission. Take care not to injure the new leaves that are forming.
Alocasia reginula (Alocasia Black Velvet) propagation can be done by plant division at the beginning of the growing season.
Thoroughly water the Alocasia reginula at least one day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment as a well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.
Carefully take the Alocasia reginula out of its pot and gently divide the rhizome into sections by cutting through with a sharp sterilized knife. Ensure that each section has 1-2 stems.
Pot these sections in individual pots in moist, free-draining soil at the same depth that they were in the previous pot.
Ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges after which routine care can begin.
Alocasia reginula (Alocasia Black Velvet) problems indoors include leaf spots, drooping leaves, dropping leaves, loss of leaf color, plant death, yellowing leaves, pests and diseases. Continue reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
There are two possible causes of drooping leaves in Alocasia reginula. One possible cause is too little light.
Move the Little Queen to a brighter spot where it will receive medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.
The second possible cause of drooping leaves in Alocasia reginula is underwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist during the growing season.
Reduce watering in the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
The reason why the leaves in Alocasia reginula are losing color and dying is too little or too much light.
Position the Alocasia Black Velvet in a brighter spot and ensure it receives medium to bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight or instal a grow light if the natural light is inadequate.
There are three possible reasons why the leaves in Alocasia reginula are dropping and the plant is dying.
These three reasons signal dormancy to the plant and hence the leaves die in readiness to enter dormancy.
This happens during the cold season (winter) when the plant undergoes dormancy. Even if the foliage may die, the underground rhizome is still alive and can regrow under favorable conditions.
One possible reason why the leaves in Alocasia Black Velvet are dropping and the plant is dying is too little light.
Place the Little Queen in a brighter spot where it will receives medium to bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural light is inadequate.
The second possible reason why the leaves in Little Queen are dropping and the plant is dying is too low temperature below 130C.
Alocasia reginula grows best in average warmth between 150C and 270C. Protect it from cold drafts to avoid sudden drops in temperature.
The third possible reason why the leaves in Alocasia reginula are dropping and the plant is dying is underwatering.
Alocasia Black Velvet prefers the soil to be kept moderately moist during the growing season and watering to be reduced in the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
One possible cause of brown leaf edges in Alocasia reginula is low humidity. Where the air temperatures are high, the air humidity is likely to reduce significantly.
Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity or place the plant in a bathroom, laundry area, kitchen and other moist areas in the home if the lighting is adequate.
Little Queen can also be grown in a terrarium where a high humidity can be maintained easily.
The second possible cause of brown leaf edges in Alocasia reginula is accumulation of salts in the soil which could have come from fertilizers or water.
Get rid of the accumulated salts by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage holes. Let the stream of water run for a few minutes. Repeat the process several times.
Low humidity is the reason for the yellowing and dropping of the leaves of Alocasia reginula. Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity or use a cool mist humidifier.
Alocasia reginula can also be grown in a terrarium as a high humidity can be maintained inside a terrarium.
Note that it is natural for the older leaves in Little queen to turn yellow and drop as the plant continues to grow.
Remove such leaves by snipping them off at the base with a clean sharp knife or a pair of scissors to keep the plant neat and reduce pests and disease infestations.
Dark brown or black leaf spots in Alocasia reginula are an indication of Leaf Spot Disease which is enhanced by soggy soil and overwet conditions.
Isolate the affected plant immediately to prevent spread to other houseplants, remove the damaged leaves and treat with a fungicidal solution.
Confirm that there is proper drainage of both the soil and the pot to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Avoid misting and wetting the leaves to keep them dry and also ensure there is good air circulation.
Common pests in Alocasia reginula are Red Spider Mites, Mealy Bug, Scale Insects and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent further spread to other houseplants and treat it with Neem oil to get rid of the pests.
Alocasia reginula (Alocasia 'Black Velvet') like other Alocasia Plants is toxic to both humans and pets as outlined by ASPCA.
It contains crystals of calcium oxalate which if ingested can numb and swell the tongue and pharynx leading to difficulty in breathing and sharp pain in the throat.
Keep the Alocasia Black Velvet away from the reach of children and pets to avoid any mishaps.