Houseplants are good for your home decor and health. They can reduce stress, increase productivity, and improve air quality, according to Healthline. Some plants can remove VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, from the air while they photosynthesize (via Plants.com). To reap the benefits of houseplants, you need to provide them with the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer.
It’s hard to control the lighting in your home because you can’t just create windows. Alternatively, you can fill your home with plants that do well with low light. All plants need some amount of light for photosynthesis, but each species is different. The most control you can have with houseplants is to change the intensity of sunlight by moving them closer to or farther from a window. You should also pay attention to which way the windows are facing. The north will provide low light, and the south will provide bright, direct light.
Meanwhile, east-west facing windows are favorable for indirect light. You can add extra light if you don’t have enough sunlight for your plants. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension states that you should use a blue and red grow light bulb, but strictly foliage plants can survive with cool white fluorescent lights, too. Fortunately, certain types of plants do well in low-light conditions.
Alocasia black velvet
Alocasia black velvet (Alocasia reginula) is an excellent plant for your home if you have low light. Also known as the Little Queen, this plant is distinguished by its dark velvety leaves that are shaped like tears with silver veins running through them. They are native to Southeast Asia, where they grow on the forest floor. This type of Alocasia is used to sunlight filtering through the leaves of the plants above it, so it does well in your low-light home. The Terrarium Tribe explains that its leaves are darkened to help it absorb the little available sunlight.
An east or west facing window is a good place for Alocasia black velvet. Other options are to place it in front of a north-facing window or away from brighter windows. Some signs to look for are long stems and spaced leaves. This may mean that your plant needs more sunlight. However, if the leaves are curling, you may need to move them to a darker location.
How to care for Alocasia black velvet
Alocasia black velvet is relatively easy to care for. Once you’ve set up the perfect environment for it, there’s very little maintenance involved. The type of soil in which you place this plant is crucial because it is susceptible to root rot. Sunlight helps dry out dirt, so the less light your plant gets, the less water it needs. The Smart Garden Guide recommends mixing a ratio of one part potting soil to two parts perlite and orchid bark to provide good drainage. Of course, you’ll also want to make sure your plant pot has adequate drainage holes.
Alocasia should get fertilizer about every four weeks during the spring and summer. It has brittle roots, so use a balanced fertilizer or reduce its strength to an all-purpose one to one-half. You should only repot them if necessary as they prefer to be slightly root bound. This plant likes moisture and warmer temperatures. The coldest it can take is 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Before you can be sure this plant is perfect for your home, you need to know if you have pets or children who might chew on Alocasia leaves. This plant is toxic to humans and pets, so keep it away from them by placing it on a high shelf or in a hanging basket.