Alocasia 'Black Velvet'. Getty Images

Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’

Elephant ear

  • Botanical name: Alocasia 'Black Velvet'
  • Common name: Elephant ear
  • Family: Araceae
  • Plant Type: House plant, Evergreen
Flower colour:

White

Foliage colour:

Green

For a striking addition to your house plant collection, Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ makes an excellent choice. It’s grown for its striking foliage, with deep green, almost black, velvety leaves with silvery white veins. It’s a slow-growing plant that makes it perfect for adding to terrariums. Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ will occasionally produce white flowers, these are not particularly striking, the foliage is the main attraction. Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ has previously been a rare house plant, but is more readily available now.

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How to care for Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’

Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ is relatively easy to care for, there are just a few things to be aware of. It grows on forest floors in its native environment, so in the home it will grow best in indirect, bright light. Direct sun will scorch the leaves so make sure it’s kept away from windows. It could also become leggy if too far away from sunlight, so you may need to experiment with the best position in your home. Unless kept in bright, warm conditions it will go into dormancy in winter, make sure it’s not too near a cold window or draught.

Black velvet alocasia will not cope well if too wet, it’s prone to root rot and other fungal infections, so take care not to overwater. It will only require watering when the top 5cm of soil is completely dry. Ensure it’s planted in a pot with sufficient drainage holes and that it’s not sitting in water. Despite its low tolerance to moisture, it will require a humid environment and high temperatures are preferable.

Curling leaves can be a sign of too much light or under-watering, while yellow leaves can be a sign of under or over-watering. Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ will lose its leaves as it matures, or when it goes into winter dormancy.

Re-potting Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ is not often required, it is very slow growing and can tolerate being root bound. It will only require re-potting more than every 2-3 years, and in a pot only slightly bigger.

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To propagate this plant you will need to divide the plant, or identify new offsets to remove from the main plant, and plant up. You will not be able to propagate Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ from stem or leaf cuttings.

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Advice on buying Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’

  • Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ may be available from your local garden centre or nursery, but you will have more options online
  • Always check plants for signs of damage or disease before planting. Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’ can be prone to spider mites, so it would be worth quarantining new plants, particularly before adding to a terrarium. 

Where to buy Alocasia ‘Black Velvet’

How to grow Alocasia 'Black Velvet'

  • Plant size

    40cm height

    40cm spread

  • Plant care: Avoid strong sunlight, brightspot-not direct sunlight, mist leaves regularly, needs a humid spot/position

Alocasia 'Black Velvet' and wildlife

Alocasia 'Black Velvet' has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Alocasia 'Black Velvet' poisonous?

Alocasia 'Black Velvet' is harmful if ingested, irritates eyes and irritates skin.

Toxic to:

Toxic to Cats

Toxic to Dogs

Toxic to People

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock