Pink Princess Philodendron: A Complete Guide
A pink, royal, rarity, the Pink Princess Philodendron is a sight to behold. With vibrant pink hues and contrasting dark green leaves, this coveted plant makes a daring statement. It’s fairly uncommon to find in stores but not considered a ‘rare’ plant since it isn’t found naturally in the wild at all. In fact, the Pink Princess is a type of philodendron that has likely been cultivated (man-made) to produce the unique foliage. It’s an upward climbing plant and can grow quite quickly in the right conditions– with each new leaf displaying a completely different splattering of colors. The surprise of new growth makes this plant highly desirable and exciting to watch!
Scientific Name: Philodendron ‘Pink Princess’
Common Names: Pink Princess, PPP, Pink Philodendron
While the origin story is opaque, we do know that the Pink Princess came to life around the 1970’s. The exact source is unknown, but experts have clearly established that the Pink Princess is not a naturally occurring plant. Instead, it was either man-made from crossing other philodendrons or morphed into existence via spontaneous mutation. Either mechanism, it is believed that the Pink Princess’ lineage can be traced back to Philodendron erubescens.
The Pink Princess is part of the Aroid family and the Philodendron genus. With dark green, deep maroon, and almost black leaves, the vibrant variegation makes a splash with bubblegum pink, mint green, and sometimes neon pink hues. There’s really no other plant quite as distinct as the colorful Pink Princess. With the genetic makeup to produce random, blushing variegation, keep in mind that no two leaves will be the same. This is what makes the plant so attractive as new growth remains a mystery and unfurls as a surprise.
Pink Princess produces aerial roots which look for substrates to latch onto in order to climb upwards. Depending on the size of the plant, it will eventually require a moss pole or totem to support growth and upward vining. In terms of growth, this plant has the ability to reach 4-6 feet tall! Larger leaves will produce with each new growth (with some extending 6-9 inches in length).
Surprisingly, the Pink Princess is a moderately easy plant to care for. Many equate the price of a plant to the difficulty of care, but that’s not always accurate for many indoor plants (more on that below).
Buy Online: Pink Princess Philodendron— 4 Inch
Like other Philodendrons, the Pink Princess prefers medium to bright levels of light. It’s imperative to provide the plant with indirect light (aka no sun rays) since direct sunlight can burn the leaves. Typically, a location near an east or west facing window will be perfect for this plant. If the plant can “see” the sky, then it’s likely getting enough light.
If your plant is experiencing low amounts of variegation, try placing it closer to the window (or at least in a spot with brighter light). Variegated plants tend to require more sunlight and will typically produce more variegation when exposed to that light.
Since the Pink Princess enjoys growing towards the light source, we also recommend rotating the Pink Princess periodically (which is only necessary if it isn’t yet on a stake or moss poles).
Allowing the Pink Princess to dry out partially between waterings is essential for the health of the plant. Specifically, allow the soil to dry about halfway down the pot– simply wiggle a finger into the soil to assess the moisture levels. Once you confirm it’s dry, go ahead and flush the soil with water. Allow water to drain out of the bottom holes of the pot (assuming there are holes!). And never allow the Pink Princess to sit in standing water. Since this plant can be sensitive, over watering can be a death sentence. Also keep in mind that inconsistent watering can lead to physical changes (like blemishes).
If your Pink Princess starts to get crispy brown leaf tips or new leaves open with washed out splotches, then it’s likely lacking moisture. Make sure it’s not too dry through the soil to rule out underwatering issues. Then increase the humidity around the plant. You can either use a humidifier or the pebble tray method.
Normal for a philodendron, these plants tolerate a slight level of being root bound– and therefore, don’t need to be repotted often. In fact, we recommend you shy away from repotting unless it’s dire since this plant can be sensitive to changes. If your plant has stunted growth (and you’ve ruled out other potential factors that could have contributed) then it could be time for a repot. This is usually only necessary once every two years.
Other circumstances that may make you consider repotting include severe pest infestations and if the soil quality has degraded or is not retaining water. New, fresh, fertile soil can sometimes help plants that are otherwise struggling for no apparent reason. However, when you repot, just remember to only use a pot that’s appropriately sized (that’s 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the previous one). Plus, handling the roots gently will help ensure sustained plant health. More on the ins and outs of repotting here.
During the active growing seasons (spring and summer), your Pink Princess will need a boost with fertilizer. We typically recommend a monthly dose of a premium, nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Since the Pink Princess can be a bit of a princess, there are a few checks and measures to keep her happy. First, she likes higher levels of humidity (~ 50-80%) and a comfortable temperature (65-85°F). You can place her outside (in a shady, but bright spot) during the summer to get some extra humidity. While indoors, you’ll want to make sure Pink Princess is out of contact with vents, heaters, fireplaces, etc– basically the plant will not do well near any source that is drying or blowing air (hot or cold).
Despite its beauty, there is only one drawback to the Pink Princess– that is, it does have the ability to revert. In this scenario, the new growth on the plant turns a burnt brown color and fails to produce any pink variegation. If this happens, you can try to trim off the stem where the new growth has reverted. In many cases, the plant will start to regrow with variegation (it is in its DNA after all!).
Let’s Talk Cost
Because of the ability to revert, it is rumored that the behemoth wholesalers will not produce Pink Princesses because big box stores have no interest in a plant “with risk”. And that’s part of the explanation for the steep price tag. First, the plant is patented and cannot lawfully be reproduced (or sold) unless you have permission. It’s then created via tissue culture in a lab. From there a large portion of the baby plants are not deemed viable for market because they do not produce enough pinkness in the genetics. Those plants without variegation are otherwise healthy but are discarded anyways– which contributes to rising costs of marketable plants. The prices are set according to supply and demand, and plants take time to grow to an established size to sell. So since large scale growers are out, production falls on smaller growers, who as we know have higher production costs. It’s a layered process, but once these plants make their way from the labs, to the wholesale grower, to the hands of retailers, the plant slowly racks up costs. Not to mention the risk growers and retailers take on by offering higher-priced plants (since it’s expensive for them too) that plant-lovers may or may not buy. All of these factors contribute to pricing of plants and is something that is always in flux. Hopefully one day we’ll find a stable way to produce PPPs and all be enjoying cheaper versions!
Spider mites tend to be the biggest pest issue for Pink Princess Philodendrons– but also look out for mealybugs and thrips. It’s advised to check weekly for pests, and eradicate as soon as possible. Pests are usually easy to get rid of when found early, but large-scale infestations can be devastating to plants (not to mention, can spread quickly to other plants).Toxicity: Considered toxic if ingested by humans, cats, and dogs.