How To Care For And Grow Your Black Velvet Plant

Black-Velvet-Plntd-Macro-2

Black Velvet

LARGE LEAVES | MEDIUM LIGHT | GREAT LISTENER

Native to: Borneo

Watering needs: Frequent – keep soil moist

Lighting needs: Medium

Difficulty: Some care required

Great for: Gifting, adding color

Pet-Safe: No

JUMP TO:

1.0 Choosing Your Black Velvet

2.0 Picking The Right Spot (Lighting, Air Conditioning, Temperature)

3.0 Caring For Your Black Velvet (Watering, Dusting, Re-potting)

4.0 Beginner Questions

5.0 Some Common Problems

6.0 Buying Black Velvet Online

1.0 Choosing your Black Velvet

Black Velvets are simple.

It’s Alright If You See:

No Flowers

Flowers on a Black Velvet are rare, and even when they do appear, they steal away nutrients from the rest of the plant.

But, Watch Out For:

Yellow Leaves

May just be temporary overwatering or may have developed into root-rot.

2.0 Picking The Right Spot (Lighting, Air Conditioning, Temperature)

Half of plant parenthood is choosing the perfect spot.

Lighting

The more indirect light your Black Velvet gets, the happier it will be. Avoid direct sunlight (max: 2 hours) as that may burn its leaves. 

When you bring your Black Velvet home, place it as close to a window as you can, making sure it has the largest possible view of the sky. Then, keep an eye on it for a few days. We highly recommend placing it near a window for the first month, so it gets acclimated to its new home.

If you see scorch marks on your Black Velvet, then that means it’s getting too much sunlight.

Pro-tip: You don’t need to worry about UAE windows, most of them are tinted, so the sunlight coming through is already filtered indirect light, not direct. If you were to keep your Black Velvet near a non-tinted window, you would see scorch marks on its leaves within the hour. 

Air Conditioning

Like with most houseplants, place your Black Velvet as far away from the dry air escaping from your AC vent.

Temperature

Black Velvet Plants are happiest between 21 °C – 26 °C.

3.0 Caring For Your Black Velvet (Watering, Dusting, Re-potting)

How to keep your plant alive (and also show your love).

Watering

Maintain moist soil

Black Velvet Plants want their soil to be kept moist. At least once a week, touch the top layer of the soil; If it feels dry (not wet or cold), then that means it’s time to water.

Note: The more light it gets, the more often it’ll need to be checked and watered.

Leave water to aerate for 24–48 hours

Black Velvets require a little more work as they’re more sensitive than other plants when it comes to chlorine and calcium found in tap water. To combat this, we recommend leaving your tap water out for 24–48 hours before watering to give the minerals time to evaporate.

Dusting

Once a month, gently wipe away any dust on your plant.

Wiping your Black Velvet free of dust with a damp rag once a month will help it soak in light and breathe through the little pores on its leaves (stomata).

Re-potting

Leave it in its nursery pot

Black Velvets won't need to be repotted more than once every 2-3 years. 

Time to re-pot

When it's time, use a high-quality potting mix and transfer your Black Velvet into a pot that's about 1–2 inches in diameter larger (or one or two sizes up) than its current one.

When in doubt, reach out to our team at hello@plntd.ae, and we’ll help you identify whether the soil bag you’re considering will work for your Black Velvet.

Remember, always go for a pot with drainage holes.

Pro-tip: To keep watering simple and easy, you can simply re-pot your Black Velvet into a larger nursery pot and place that nursery pot in a larger planter.

4.0 Beginner questions

Ask away, grasshopper.

How easy is a Black Velvet to care for?

Black Velvets plants require a little more care than the average indoor plant:

  • They like their soil to remain moist (though never soggy) and so need to be watered every 1-2 weeks. The more light they get, the more you can expect to water them.
  • These plants are native to the humid tropical jungles of Borneo and love high humidity; something to combat with the dry AC air so common in the UAE. As a result, they need to be misted with water regularly to help retain their moisture (once a day is ideal!).

Like most indoor plants, Black Velvets are a little sensitive when it comes to the chlorine and calcium found in UAE tap water, however. To combat this, make sure to:

  1. Leave tap water out for 24-48 hrs before using it. This will allow the chlorine time to evaporate.
  2. Water all the way through the soil until water is dripping out the bottom of the nursery pot. This will ensure any excess build of calcium (and other minerals) is flushed out from the soil.
How much light does my Black Velvet need?

Black Velvets are native to the jungle floors of Borneo and have evolved to grow in the shade, under the canopies of tall trees.

Your Black Velvet will thrive in similar medium-light conditions. As long as there is a window in the room it's placed in; it will be happy.

Can I use UAE tap water to water my Black Velvet?

Yes. Black Velvets can be watered using UAE tap water.

However, UAE tap water contains chlorine and calcium which Black Velvets are especially sensitive to.

  • Scorched brown tips at the leaves = too much chlorine.
  • White crystals on the soil = too much calcium.

To combat this, make sure to:

  1. Leave tap water out for 24–48 hours before using it. This allows the chlorine time to evaporate.
  2. When watering your Black Velvet, make sure to water through the soil until it is dripping out the bottom of the nursery pot. This flushes out any excess build-up of calcium (and other minerals) from the soil.
Will AC harm my Black Velvet? What temperature should I set it to?

Black Velvets are tropical plants native to the warm, humid, climates.

ACs achieve the opposite results: they make the temperature colder, and the air dryer.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when setting your AC temperature and deciding where to place your Black Velvet in a room:

  • The ideal temperature for Black Velvet, as with most indoor plants, is between 18°C - 22°C at night, and 22°C - 27°C during the day. Though they CAN tolerate lower temperatures, you'll need to REDUCE your watering drastically, as the risk of overwatering increases the lower the temperature is.
  • Whenever possible, place your Black Velvet (this applies to all plants) as far away from the AC vent as possible.
  • To combat the drying effect of the AC, mist your Black Velvet with water and a mister to replicate its native climate. Once a day is ideal!

Alternatively, you can also take a shallow plate/saucer, fill it with pebbles, place some water into the saucer, and place your plant on top of the pebbles, making sure the water doesn't come in contact with the drainage holes. As the water evaporates from the saucer, it will raise the humidity around the leaves quite effectively - make sure to keep an eye on the water and replace it regularly.

Do I have to re-pot my Black Velvet as soon as I receive it?

In short, no.

Once you receive your plant, place it in the spot you plan to keep it in (whilst still in its nursery pot) and allow it at least 6 months (ideally 12) to acclimate to your home's temperature and light levels.

Once acclimated, you can choose to either re-pot your plant or leave it in its nursery pot.

5.0 Some Common Problems

Black Velvet Plants speak through their leaves.

Brown Edges

Cause: Dry climate

Suggestion: If your plant is placed next to an AC vent, try moving it to an area with less dry air flow.

Brown Leaf Tips

Cause 1: Underwatering 

Suggestion: Time for a drink!

Cause 2: Too much fertilizer

Suggestion: Give your Black Velvet a good shower to rinse out as much fertilizer as possible, or, better yet, re-pot it using fresh high-quality potting soil.

Crispy or Curling Leaves

Cause: Underwatering 

Suggestion: Time for a drink!

Drooping Leaves

Cause: Not enough light 

Suggestion: Try to move it to a spot that receives more sunlight

Yellow Leaves

Cause: Overwatering 

Suggestion: Allow soil time to dry out completely, then slowly re-water.

6.0 Buying Black Velvet Plants Online

When shopping for a plant online, look out for the following:

Height

If you're looking for a table-top plant, then go for one that's 40cm tall. A 60cm tall plant would work well on a low side-table. Plants about 1 meter or taller would work well as statement floor plants.

Note: Stated heights will always include the height of the plant AND planter.

Pot style

This is all about the vibe you're looking for, and you'll typically have a choice amongst different colors and shapes.

If you're looking for subtlety, we suggest a circular pot in white. To make more of a statement, look for contrasting shapes and colors!

Delivery

It goes without saying that your plant supplier should meticulously package all plants.

When you personally buy a plant from a store, you're able to rush it home, ensuring it stays outside for as little time as possible. But when you order online, your plant will ride-share with a lot of other plants all on their way to their new homes.

Depending on where you live, weather can play a big part in your plant's health along the way.

If possible, ask your plant shop what precautions they take to ensure your plants stay as safe as possible en route to you.

Reviews

Reading customer reviews is a good way to get an idea of the customer experience provided by the seller (here's ours, by the way), but you need to practice caution there.

Don't expect to be able to tell a fake review right away, some reviewers can be great con artists, and some negative reviews can be fake to harm the seller.

Your best bet is to zoom out and look at multiple comments from multiple categories to get a good overview of whether you can trust this company and/or their review section.

For example, look at how recent the reviews are, and how spread apart. Was there a sudden spike of comments in a short amount of time? Do they sound like they're all written by someone rehashing the same template? Do they all sound too positive to be real?

Yes, going all detective on reviews can be a chore, but Future You will thank you for it.

Returns and refund policies

Things can go wrong.

Sometimes it's no one's fault, and sometimes there's nothing anyone can do.

So the best practice is to offer (and honor) a no-questions asked return/refund policy. Check out the seller's policy before you make a purchase, so you know you're insured in case things don't work out.

You can check out our return/refund policy here.

Ready to adopt a Black Velvet Plant?

Your Black Velvet Plant can't wait to meet you — just choose a height and pot and let's introduce you two!