The Enchanting Philodendron Pink Princess Plant

If you’re an avid plant lover and spend a lot of time scrolling through plant-related content on social media, then you’ve probably come across the captivating Philodendron ‘Pink Princess’—or PPP, as plant enthusiasts affectionately call it.

The Pink Princess is instantly recognizable with its unique pink foliage, which sets it apart from other plants. However, finding the Pink Princess for sale can be quite a challenge, as it often comes with a hefty price tag. A single cutting can cost upward of $100, making this plant a coveted treasure among collectors and enthusiasts.

The popularity of the Pink Princess is largely due to its variegated pink leaves, which have captured the hearts of many new gardeners. This surge in demand has led to a scarcity of the plant, further increasing its price. If you’re lucky enough to acquire a Pink Princess, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to care for and maintain its unique pink charm.

Unveiling the Mystery of the Pink Princess Philodendron

The true origin of the Pink Princess Philodendron, despite its relatives having roots in Central and South America, remains shrouded in mystery. One theory suggests that the Pink Princess is a spontaneous mutation of the Philodendron erubescens. Another speculation revolves around an extensive breeding program conducted by R.H. McColley at Bamboo Nursery in Florida during the 1960s and 1970s.

However, there is no concrete evidence to support either theory. McColley heavily documented his hybrids and patented every cultivar he developed, but there is no mention of the Pink Princess in his scientific papers. Botanist Steve Lucas also attempted to trace the plant’s lineage but was unable to find any definitive answers.

Ultimately, the conclusion is that the Pink Princess Philodendron’s discovery may have been the result of a spontaneous natural mutation or a claim made by an individual without a genuine lineage. Once the plant gained popularity, it was sold to a tissue culture company and mass-produced.

Interestingly, due to the social media-driven fascination with pink plants, another pink Philodendron known as the Pink Congo has emerged. However, it is important to note that the pink coloring in Pink Congo plants is artificially induced through chemical processes, resulting in temporary color changes that eventually revert to green.

A Royal Description of the Pink Princess Philodendron

The Pink Princess Philodendron is truly enchanting, starting with its charming name. In Latin, Philodendron erubescens translates to “blushing” Philodendron, perfectly capturing its allure. Unlike typical green Philodendrons, such as the popular Philodendron gloriosum, the Pink Princess displays a stunning contrast with its glossy, heart-shaped, dark green to black leaves adorned with vibrant splashes of bright pink.

This unique pink variegation is the key to the Pink Princess’ growing popularity. Variegation refers to the absence of chlorophyll in certain areas of the leaf, resulting in rare black or nearly black leaves with striking hot pink variegation.

The Pink Princess’ Royal Varieties

The Pink Princess Philodendron’s dazzling variegation has sparked high demand and inspired growers to breed new cultivars with fascinating patterns and colors. It’s important to note that natural variations exist within the pink and white patterns of Pink Princess plants, and some unscrupulous sellers may falsely market these variations as rare cultivars. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of what you’re purchasing.

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Here are a few notable varieties of the Pink Princess Philodendron:

  • Pink Princess (Common Variegation or ‘Sparkle’): This is the most common form of Pink Princess, characterized by large pink sections alongside green leaves. Sometimes, the plant produces mesmerizing “half moons” where half of the leaf is entirely pink and the other half is completely green. While visually striking, this variation comes with risks. The plant may revert to all-green leaves or push out all-pink leaves lacking chlorophyll. An unregistered cultivar name, ‘Sparkle,’ has been used to market this type of Pink Princess.
  • Pink Princess (Marble Variegation): Marble variegation is another type of variegation found in Pink Princess plants. It creates a speckled appearance with random splashes of pink and white, similar to marbled variegations seen in plants like Marble Queen Pothos, Monstera Thai Constellation, and Monstera Albo.
  • Pink Princess ‘Black Cherry’: This unregistered cultivar boasts vibrant red variegation on black leaves. The leaves may also appear thicker compared to the original Pink Princess. Although owners of ‘Black Cherry’ claim that the red and black coloring remains constant as the plant matures, there is no guarantee that this level of variegation can be maintained in the long term.
  • Philodendron ‘Pink Anderson’ or ‘White Anderson’: This new, unregistered cultivar hailing from Indonesia is a cross between Philodendron ‘Pink Princess’ and Philodendron ‘White Knight.’ It shares similar characteristics to the Pink Princess, including burgundy petioles, leaf shape, and color patterns. The variegation in its leaves emerges pink but turns white as they mature.

Cultivating the Pink Princess Philodendron

Light and Temperature

To provide optimal conditions for your Pink Princess Philodendron, it’s important to consider its natural habitat—lush tropical rainforests in Central and South America, where it thrives as an understory plant.

Bright, indirect light is crucial for the Pink Princess, simulating the dappled sunlight it would receive beneath the rainforest canopy. Position your plant near an east- or west-facing window, allowing it to bask in several hours of bright sunlight while also providing shade throughout the day.

The Pink Princess will let you know if it’s receiving too much or too little light. Excessive sunlight will cause the blackish leaves to turn green, while extended periods of direct sun can scorch the foliage. Insufficient light may prompt the plant to produce new green leaves, resulting in a loss of variegation.

As for temperature, the Pink Princess prefers a range between 60°F and 85°F. While it can tolerate temperatures as low as 55°F, prolonged exposure to such chilly conditions can halt its growth. Avoid placing the plant near sources of extreme heat or cold, such as fireplaces, heating vents, or air conditioning units.

Watering and Humidity

Proper watering is crucial for the Pink Princess Philodendron, as it can’t tolerate being overwatered or underwatered. While tropical plants often evoke thoughts of abundant moisture, this climbing plant can tolerate short periods of dryness.

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Allow the top 2 inches of soil to partially dry out before watering, and always check the soil moisture using the finger test. If the top layer feels dry, it’s time to water. Ensure thorough watering until the excess flows out through the drainage holes, but never let the plant sit in standing water to avoid root rot.

Watering frequency depends on factors like light, temperature, and humidity. During summer, keep the soil slightly damp, but reduce watering in winter to prevent waterlogging.

The Pink Princess Philodendron thrives in high humidity environments, much like other beloved houseplants from the Araceae family, such as Philodendron ‘Birkin,’ Anthurium andraeanum, Syngonium podophyllum, and Alocasia x amazonica ‘Polly.’ Ideally, maintain humidity levels above 50 percent. If your home lacks sufficient humidity, consider using a humidifier, grouping your plants together, misting the leaves, or placing your Pink Princess in a naturally humid environment like a bathroom.

Soil and Planting

Most aroids, including the Pink Princess Philodendron, prefer loose, fast-draining, nutrient-rich soil mixes. You can purchase a specialized soil mix formulated for Philodendrons or create your own by combining orchid bark, houseplant potting soil, coco coir, and perlite. The general rule of thumb is to use a 4:3:2:1 ratio (4 parts orchid bark, 3 parts potting soil, 2 parts coco coir, and 1 part perlite).

When planting, choose a pot that allows room for root growth. Measure the root ball and select a pot that is approximately 2 inches larger in both width and height. Ensure the pot has drainage holes or use a plastic container with holes placed inside a larger decorative pot. Water the plant before repotting to reduce stress, and remember to repot every one to three years, depending on the plant’s age.

Fertilizing

The Pink Princess Philodendron is not particularly demanding when it comes to fertilization. While it generally doesn’t require regular feeding, an occasional balanced liquid fertilizer in a diluted concentration (half-dose) during the growing season can benefit the plant. Always water the plant well before fertilizing to ensure the nutrients are distributed evenly throughout the soil mix.

Avoid fertilizing during the winter months when the plant is not actively growing. By following these guidelines, you can provide the Pink Princess with the nutrients it needs to flourish.

Pruning

Though the Pink Princess Philodendron has vining tendencies, it can be pruned to maintain a more bushy appearance. Pruning can also encourage new growth points, achieved by cutting the stem between nodes—small bumps where each leaf meets the stem or vine. Spring is the best time to prune, just before the plant begins its growth phase.

You can also prune your Pink Princess Philodendron to balance its variegation. If you prefer a more speckled pattern, identify the most evenly variegated leaf and make a cut above its node. This pruning technique prompts the new leaf to mimic the variegation pattern of the leaf below it.

Dividing or Repotting

Young Pink Princess Philodendrons grow rapidly, producing approximately one new leaf per month. Repotting annually is necessary during this phase. As the plant matures, repotting every two to three years is sufficient.

When repotting, ensure there is enough space for the roots to grow. Measure the root ball and select a pot that is 2 inches larger in all dimensions. Opt for a pot with drainage holes or use a plastic container with holes placed inside a larger decorative pot. Water the plant thoroughly before repotting, and remember to incrementally choose larger pots each time.

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If your plant becomes too unwieldy or you desire a smaller plant, you can divide it. Gently lift the root ball out of the pot, comb away the soil, and separate the plant into smaller sections. Repot each section individually.

Propagating the Pink Princess Philodendron

Given the Pink Princess Philodendron’s popularity, it’s likely that friends and fellow plant enthusiasts may request cuttings. Fortunately, propagating the Pink Princess is relatively easy and can be done through cuttings or division. However, it’s important to note that variegation type and amount cannot be guaranteed through propagation.

Propagating through Cuttings

To propagate using cuttings, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the best areas of growth on your Pink Princess Philodendron, focusing on sections with ample variegation. Cut stems about 1/4 inch below nodes, ensuring that each cutting possesses a couple of healthy leaves displaying pink coloring.
  2. Place the stems in water, ensuring that the nodes are immersed while the leaves remain above the water. Position the cuttings in a warm, well-lit area.
  3. After around a month, you should notice root systems beginning to form. These roots should become strong enough to support the cuttings within approximately five weeks.
  4. Once the roots have grown about 2 inches in length, transplant the cuttings into an aroid soil mix. After three weeks, the roots should be well-established in their new soil.

Propagating through Division

To propagate through division, follow these steps:

  1. Water your Pink Princess Philodendron well before attempting division. Carefully lift the root ball out of the pot, gently combing away the soil to expose the root system.
  2. Examine the roots to identify baby plants with developed stems and root systems. Look for approximately four stems attached to the root. These can be separated and repotted individually.

A Word of Caution: Pink Princess Philodendron Seeds

If you encounter sellers offering Pink Princess Philodendron seeds, it’s important to exercise caution and refrain from purchasing them. While the seeds may produce new plants, they will not possess the signature variegation of the Pink Princess. Instead, they will grow into leafy green plants that do not justify the expense. Reliable variegation can only be propagated through cuttings from a mother plant.

Pest and Disease Management

The Pink Princess Philodendron is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, keep an eye out for aphids or mealybugs, which may infest the leaves. You can control these pests organically using homemade insecticidal soap or by simply removing affected leaves.

Wilted leaves can indicate unfavorable conditions. If detected early, you can adjust watering (overwatering is often the cause), sunlight exposure, or humidity levels to restore your Pink Princess to good health.

Cultivating the Royalty of Houseplants

The Pink Princess Philodendron is undeniably captivating, with its striking pink variegation and unique aesthetic. By providing an environment that mimics its natural habitat and following the guidelines for care and maintenance outlined in this guide, you can keep this regal plant healthy and vibrant.

To purchase the Pink Princess Philodendron, consider visiting reputable sellers such as Ames Farm Center. Embark on your journey with this enchanting houseplant, and let the Pink Princess grace your home with its royal presence.

Pink Princess Philodendron