Once a Unicorn plant, now found in many garden centers – the Philodendron × ‘Pink Princess’. Even though its price is declining, the Pink Princess is enjoying popularity like never before. Learn how to care for the Philodendron Pink Princess in this post.
The Philodendron erubescens originates from Colombia. There it is found mainly in forests. It grows as a climbing plant in the shade of trees.
The Philodendron ‘Pink Princess’ is a mutation that most likely originated in tissue culture.
Interestingly, this mutation very likely did not occur in a Philodendron erubescens but in a Philodendron erubescens hybrid. However, it is unknown with which plant the Philodendron was crossed. Therefore, the botanically correct name is Philodendron × ‘Pink Princess’.
According to some sources, this hybrid originated with Robert H. McColley, the fabled breeder of Philodendron ‘Florida Beauty’ and Philodendron ‘McColley’s Finale’.
Even today, most Pink Princesses on the market come from tissue culture.
Believe it or not, a few years ago, the Pink Princess was considered an uninteresting and almost worthless plant before the enormous hype. Growers often discarded them. Then, when the price skyrocketed, growers desperately searched for plant specimens. People even told stories of gardeners sifting through their compost for usable plant residue!
Today, the price and availability have normalized. You can purchase cuttings for under $10 on the secondary market. Larger specimens no longer cost $100 in garden centers and are regularly discounted. Due to the high availability and low prices, demand has decreased significantly.
As a Philodendron, the Pink Princess belongs to the Arum family (Araceae).
Philodendron × ‘Pink Princess’ is often referred to simply as Philodendron Pink Princess or just Pink Princess. Abbreviations such as PPP (Philodendron Pink Princess) or PP (Pink Princess) have also become common.
Sometimes it is also referred to as Red-leaf Philodendron or Blushing Philodendron.
Appearance and distinguishing features
The most distinctive identifying feature of the Pink Princess is its bold pink variegation. It can be seen not only on the oval, almost heart-shaped leaves but also on the stem.
The underside of the leaves has a chocolate appearance. That is due to the dark red that blends with the dark green of the glossy leaves. The pink color is created because the reddish pigments are more prominent on these surfaces. If the leaf were green, the variegation would be white.
Unlike many other variegated plants, the Pink Princess’s variegation is unpredictable. I have seen cases where more than seven leaves were without variegation. However, the 8th leaf was then marked by a stunning fullmoon variegation. In my experience, however, the best chance of retrieving a lost variegation, i.e., when your Philodendron × ‘Pink Princess’ is greened, is to cut it back and propagate the cuttings.
Philodendron erubescens ‘Pink Princess’ grows to about 24 inches tall. Here the leaves reach lengths of up to 8 inches and widths of up to 5 inches.
Other varieties of Philodendron erubescens
- Philodendron × ‘Green Princess‘
- Philodendron × ‘Orange Princess‘ (Also called Philodendron × ‘Red Princess’)
- Philodendron × ‘Persimmon Princess‘
- Philodendron × ‘White Knight‘
- Philodendron × ‘White Princess‘
- Philodendron × ‘White Wizard‘
What is Philodendron Pink Princess ‘Marble’?
Philodendron × ‘Pink Princess Marble’ is uncertain whether it is a species of Pink Princess or just a conventional PP with a made-up name. What is certain, however, is that it is not an official cultivar or a recognized species. Depending on where one inquires, one reads that Pink Princess ‘Marble’ has cream variegations in addition to the shades of pink. Overall, the distribution and size of the variegation are very similar to that of a Monstera Thai Constellation.
The plants are currently much more expensive than the Pink Princess. Young plants are available from a few dealers for $120 and older plants for $200.
Like the Philodendron Pink Princess, the Pink Princess ‘Marble’ comes from tissue culture.
The perfect location for the Philodendron erubescens ‘Pink Princess’.
To keep the variegation, PPP needs bright, indirect light. Morning and evening sun are also welcome. However, too much direct sun can burn the leaves.
The temperature may be between 55 °F and 95 °F. 64 °F to 79 °F are considered optimal temperatures for rapid growth.
In addition to the factors of light and temperature, you should pay attention to humidity. Although it is possible to keep the plant in low humidity, cosmetic damage, such as brown leaf tips, may occur.
Houseplants thrive in humidity levels of 50% or higher. Here you can find different methods to increase the humidity.
To further promote growth, you can provide the Philodendron with a climbing aid such as a moss pole or a trellis.
Overwintering Philodendron Pink Princess
The Pink Princess overwinters best in summer conditions. However, since these can be kept in very few cases, the care must be adjusted somewhat.
Often, from the light conditions, the Philodendron can be overwintered in the summer location. Try to keep the temperature above 55 °F even at night. Still maintain a distance from heaters and doors to avoid cool drafts and dry heating air.
Both fertilizing and watering will be reduced during overwintering. Water only when the substrate has dried on the surface. In many cases, fertilizing once a month is sufficient.
Watering Philodendron erubescens “Pink Princess”
When watering the PPP, it is crucial never to let the root ball dry out completely. You can do this by allowing the substrate to dry out between watering.
You can control this with either your finger or a stick. Insert the finger or stick about one inch deep into the substrate. It is still wet if it sticks to the finger or stick when you pull it out. In this case, watering is not yet necessary.
However, if no substrate remains stuck, watering can be resumed.
In summer, watering intervals can sometimes be only a few days, while in winter, sometimes no watering may be necessary for weeks.
Fertilizing Philodendron “Pink Princess”
The Pink Princess can be fertilized with either No products found. or No products found.. In the growth phase, you can apply fertilizer weekly to every two weeks.
In this case, the fertilizer is administered via watering. Never apply the fertilizer directly to the substrate.
In winter, one dose a month is often sufficient. Here, however, you must divide this one dose among the watering. This way, the plant gets nutrients evenly.
The perfect substrate for PPP
As an arum plant, Pink Princess prefers an airy and structurally stable substrate. That allows air to circulate at the roots. Also, there must be no wetness. Therefore, good drainage is necessary. Substrates rich in nutrients give the Pink Princess a sound basis for healthy growth.
The best is a mix for arum plants, which you can easily mix yourself.
Especially if you have purchased your young plant or even a baby plant, you may have to repot several times a year. However, once the Pink Princess has reached a specific size, repotting once a year is sufficient.
The best time for repotting is spring and the beginning of summer.
Use also repotting as a chance to renew the substrate. For mature plants, this should be done every two to three years.
During growth, I recommend repotting into a pot two to three sizes larger each time you repot.
If you use a moss pole, I recommend changing it after two to three years.
As with all other plants, you should constantly remove dead and diseased leaves from the Pink Princess. Use a clean and sharp blade for cutting. That will prevent bruising and reduce the risk of infection.
For variegated plants or plants with variegation, pruning can also influence variegation.
Influence the variegation of the Pink Princess
Since the variegation of Philodendron erubescens ‘Pink Princess’ can be spontaneous, pruning may have to be done to regain variegation. If the Pink Princess turns green, this step is almost unavoidable.
However, before you cut back the Philodendron, ensure its current location meets all requirements. Often the variegation will return on its own after three to four leaves.
If it does not, you can prune the houseplant back. Pruning is done according to the leaf that has the characteristics you want.
In the case of a lost variegation, the shoot is cut behind the last variegated leaf so that the variegated leaf forms the new shoot tip.
Propagate Philodendron erubescens ‘Pink Princess’
You can propagate the PPP by cuttings and mossing. Purely theoretically, propagation can also be done by seeds. However, most seeds are sterile. If a seed germinates, it does not necessarily have to show the characteristics of the mother plant.
Therefore, propagation by seed is not suitable for the Pink Princess.
Propagation by mossing
Mossing is considered to be the most successful propagation method. That is mainly because you already root the potential cutting on the mother plant. All you need is some Sphagnum moss and cling film.
First, identify aerial roots on your Pink Princess. Now moisten the Sphagnum moss and place it around the roots. Then wrap it with plastic wrap to trap the moisture. Keep the moss evenly moist from this point on.
After one to three months, you should be able to see roots in the moss. You can cut off the shoot in front of and behind the rooted part if there are enough roots. You can place the resulting cutting directly in the substrate.
The care does not differ from the care of the mother plant.
Propagation by cuttings
The easiest way to propagate your Philodendron Pink Princess is by cuttings if it already has a climbing shoot. In this case, the leaf nodes are easy to identify.
Each cutting should have at least one leaf. In addition, if aerial roots are also present, rooting will be easier and faster.
Cut the shoot between two leaf nodes. Use a sharp and clean blade for the cut. That will prevent bruising and reduce the risk of infection of the cut.
Allow the cuttings to dry for a few hours after cutting. You can speed up this process by applying cinnamon or activated charcoal. Both have an antibacterial and antifungal effect, respectively (prevent fungal diseases).
Depending on your preference, you can root the cuttings in water, perlite, or moist Sphagnum moss. If you choose the water method, I recommend changing the water at least weekly. Do not place cuttings in water on a heating mat!
Now place the cuttings in a bright and warm place (without direct sunlight).
The rooting process can take up to two months. As a rule, however, small roots are already visible after two to three weeks. As soon as these are about one inch long, you can put the cuttings into the substrate.
From the care, they are now no longer different from the mother plant. However, remember that the smaller pots will be watered over more quickly and dry out faster.
Diseases, pests, and care mistakes
Overall, the Pink Princess is tough. The usual diseases are rarely seen in her. Only care mistakes can cause problems. The most common care mistakes are listed below.
As mentioned in the last paragraph, the Philodendron erubescens “Pink Princess” is spared mainly from our diseases. One disease, which is primarily caused by care mistakes, is root rot.
In case of root rot, you should remove all rotting roots. Then put the plant in a fresh substrate and keep it relatively dry. For detailed instructions on how to treat root rot, see our article on how to treat root rot.
The Pink Princess is also quite resistant to pests. Besides the usual suspect, fungus gnats and spider mites also like to visit it, especially in winter.
The dry heating air provides the red spider mite with optimal living conditions. That is why they are often an uninvited guest in winter.
You can recognize spider mites by their web-like formations under the leaves and in the leaf axils. In some cases, the leaves initially show small yellow to brown spots. Deformations of the leaves can also be an indicator.
A small infestation can be quickly controlled by rinsing the plant and spraying it with neem oil*.
However, if the infestation is more significant, I recommend using No products found..
If you’re opposed to sprays, you can use beneficial insects like No products found..
The pink variegation turns brown
If the variegation or variegation turns brown, it is often due to one of two reasons:
- too much or too strong light
- too little humidity
Try to keep the humidity at least 50%. In its location, the Philodendron should receive bright, indirect light.
Brown leaf tips and leaf edges
If leaf edges or leaf tips turn brown, it is due to insufficient humidity. To prevent this cosmetic damage, you should keep the humidity at least 50%. Especially in winter, it drops due to the dry air from the radiators.
Here you can find methods to increase the humidity. Spoiler: the easiest way is to use a humidifier.
Yellow or brown leaves
Yellow but also brown leaves are often the result of over- or under-watering. Therefore, check the substrate. If it is wet, it is overwatered; if the root ball is dry, it is underwatered.
Especially in case of overwatering, but also after watering in case of underwatering, you should check the roots for root rot. If they rot, remove them immediately and change the substrate and the pot.
Note that neither yellow nor brown leaves turn green again. Leave disease-free yellow leaves on the plant until they turn brown or the plant sheds them. This way, the houseplant can still draw reserves from them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Philodendron Pink Princess poisonous?
Like many other arum plants, Philodendron Pink Princess contains calcium oxalate crystals and is therefore classified as poisonous.
So place your Pink Princess, which is out of reach for children and pets.
Why does my Philodendron Pink Princess lose its variegation?
If the Philodendron Pink Princess does not get enough light, the amount of variegation will decrease. Therefore, provide sufficient bright, indirect light.
Take advantage of this!
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