The Black Beauty
A ‘Must have’ plant for those into black leaves
Colocasia Black Magic – Argueably the most stunning of the Colocasia family, but just like a stunning Super Model, it is difficult and tempramental.
The 24 x 18 inch purple/black leaves contrast with every other colour. This is a real ‘Wow’ plant.
It likes its roots in water and will grow in a pond, but doesn’t like water laying around the collar of the stems, so don’t mulch around the stems. In cooler conditions this causes rot to set in and the plants collapse.
It is not as easy to overwinter as Burgundy Stem, liking to be on the dry side, and above 6 deg C or it may go dormant and the plant collapses. If this happens dig out of the pot and store the rhizome dry until spring. Then start in to growth again using bottom heat.
Like all Colocasias it is a gross feeder and likes a constant supply of nutrients. Feed with half strength soluble feriliser on a daily basis for largest specimens.
I bought my first Colocasia, a Black Magic, in June 2003 after dicovering that they were much more hardy than I thought. The plant was 15cm and with 3 leaves.
The picture above was taken in mid August, 7 weeks later, showing just how fast they can grow. I must admit it was very hot during that period and my local town, Gravesend, gained the title for hottest place in Britain, for a few days, before losing it to Faversham 30 miles further down the Thames estuary. They recorded 38.5C (101.3F). We recorded 39.1C (102.4) here in Chalk.
This plant reached 1.85m before going dormant in December when the conservatory fell to a temperature of +6C. Not so easy to overwinter but a real wow! of a plant. It needs additional heat to start into new growth in the spring, so not really suitable for leaving out in the garden.
In 2007 as the summer was cooler and wetter, the Colocasia Black Magic was planted in a water feature in the conservcatory. here the temperatures rose to the low 30s C. The feature was a tub filled with water with a small pump circulating water though a bucket and falling back as a waterfall. The Plant was in a pond planter which allowed the adventurous roots out into the water. This set up gave the Colocasia the heat it likes best to grow, but also the local humidity to keep it looking good, as Red Spider Mite is a problem for inside grown collies. In the process of keeping the humidity up water evaporates at quite an appreciable rate and soluble plant food was added to the top up water. In just 9 weeks the Black Magic grew from a small shoot to the plant in the picture. As the summer turned to autumn the water was allowed to dry out and just normal watering. As winter approached watering was stopped completely allowing the plant to die down for the winter.