Pink princess philodendron care is about the same as other philodendrons, and propagation using a stem cutting isn’t hard, either! Learn how to propagate a cutting using a stem cutting with no leaves, as well as how to root stem cuttings with leaves.
Pink princess philodendron care and propagation using a stem cutting!
Is there a super trendy plant that you just can’t understand the obsession over? For me, it’s a pink princess philodendron. I think they are lovely, but I always said I wasn’t going to buy one until the prices came down.
Well, down they have come. In fact, Costa Farms even announced they are beginning to sell mass-produced pink princess philodendrons. I had NO idea they were planning to add them to their 2022 Trending Tropicals collection.
I haven’t seen the Costa PPPs in person yet, but I have noticed prices dropping dramatically on Facebook buy/sell/trade plant groups and even in local nurseries. I was searching for one near me for a while when my friend asked if I wanted to take her rehab princess to see what I could do with it.
I jumped at the opportunity! So I went from no pink princess philodendrons to several I’ve been trying to root in my plastic prop box. I’m going to talk about my experience rooting PPP plants from stem cuttings, as well as how to care for this plant in general.
Pink princess philodendron care: origin & background
Pink princess philodendron is a hybrid of another philodendron called philodendron erubescens, which is native to Colombia. Philodendron erubescens means “the blushing philodendron,” so that’s where the pink comes from.
The pink princess hybrid has splotchy, unpredictable pink variegation on dark green leaves (sometimes really dark green leaves, as seen in the pics in this post). The stems are typically maroon or magenta. It’s likely that the hybrid emerged in the 1970s, but from my research, there is very little concrete info out there on who created the PPP.
Why is philodendron pink princess so expensive?
Well…it’s pink. And even for someone who isn’t super into pink plants, I can admit that a highly variegated PPP is stunning! Plus, this plant is a climber that drapes beautifully up a moss pole like it’s relative the silver sword philodendron.
It became an incredibly popular and trendy plant thanks in part to plant influencers on Instagram and YouTube. But it would be untrue to blame the “rarity” of PPPs on influencers as people so often try to do. In fact, there are many reasons why this or any plant is considered rare.
One is that the plant is a slow grower with unstable variegation. When a plant grows slowly, that means it’s harder to keep up with demand. And unstable variegation means that you could grow plants that lose their variegation entirely or have variegation that isn’t that pretty…like the one below (in my opinion, don’t come at me!).
If a variegated plant has very little variegation, well…most people won’t want it! Just look at the philodendron birkin. Highly variegated plants are very sought after. So if you grew 100 plants, many of them could end up with no pink at all. Meaning you gotta charge more for the pink ones to recoup your losses.
And speaking of how they are grown—you can’t grow them from seeds. All pink princess plants are grown from tissue cultures. (Unless you propagate from existing plants, which can get you mixed results. More on that in a bit!)
So how do you keep pink princess philodendron pink?
I have read mixed guidance on this. In general, to keep variegated plants highly variegated, give them plenty of bright, indirect light. This is a good rule of thumb because variegated plants lack the chlorophyl non-variegated plants have. So that means they need more light.
But I have also read that when you grow a pink princess plant from a tissue culture, it is grown with a “maximum pinkness” level that you don’t know until the plant is grown. Talk about rolling the dice! You might get lucky and get a real stunner like the plant below, or you might get one that just has a few pink speckles.
Purchasing a well-variegated plant and growing it in ideal conditions is the best way to ensure you keep your pink princess philodendron pink. But, like the also-very-expensive-and-unstable Monstera Deliciosa Albo Variegata…you could end up with a losing battle.
Pink princess philodendron vs. philodendron “Pink Congo”
And now that you’re sufficiently stressed about keeping your pink princess pink, I want to give you the heads up about the difference between a pink princess philodendron and a philodendron “pink congo.” I first learned about this last year, and I’m glad I did!
While philodendron pink princesses are a hybrid product of the phildeodron erubescens, the philodendron pink congo is created by injecting chemicals into the plant. Dun dun dun! Sounds scary, doesn’t it?
Well, injecting chemicals doesn’t have to be that scary. I’ll probably start injecting them into my forehead here soon enough 🙂 But in this case, it is scary. Because it’s kind of a scam. That’s because the pink color is temporary.
The philodendron pink congo’s leaves don’t stay pink, and there’s nothing you can do about it. While there are things you can do to encourage healthy variegation in a pink princess philodendron, a pink congo’s leaves will fade naturally over time. Usually a few months or so. And they won’t ever be pink again.
So if you’re okay with the plant lasting a few months to maybe a year, maybe it’s not so bad! I mean, people buy cut flowers that die after a few days all the time. I’m not here to judge.
The best way to spot a plant that is a philodendron pink congo and not a philodendron pink princess is to look at the variegation. If the plant has leaves that are entirely pink and no leaves with splotchy pink variegation, it’s probably a chemical making things pink.
What kind of light does a pink princess need?
I mentioned that one of the ways to keep a PPP pink is to give it plenty of bright, indirectly light. However, the key word here is indirect. Bright direct light will burn the plant’s delicate foliage and turn it brownish, and you can’t reverse that damage.
If you put your PPP in a spot with low to medium light levels, the variegation will likely decrease, and the growth rate will probably slow down even more. Add a grow light if you’re worried about light levels. I have my PPP props all in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet in my DIY plastic propagation box under grow lights that stay on 12 hours a day at full strength.
Read more about using grow lights with houseplants!
PPP soil & water needs
Plant your PPP baby in a chunky, well-draining soil. I have all of my philodendron plants in a regular indoor houseplant soil that comes pre-mixed with additives to help facilitate drainage and aeration.
I like to throw in an additional handful of perlite, coco coir (a great alternative to peat), or both to help with drainage. If a plant is really sensitive to overwatering and root rot, like the Thai constellation monstera, I will also add in chunky orchid bark.
All of these things help to get the right amount of moisture to the roots when you water the plant. You want to soak the soil and let all of the excess water drain out of the plant pot’s drainage holes. The plant will take what it needs and thank you for not drowning it 🙂
You can wait to water your pink princess until the top few inches of soil have dried out. However, don’t let it dry out completely. If you notice the leaves starting to curl in, you’ve gone a hair too long. Sticking your finger in the top of the soil is always a good test!
Does philodendron pink princess like humidity?
Philodendrons in general enjoy humid temperatures. They are from tropical climates, after all! But they adjust quite well to normal household humidity levels.
Giving your pink princess philodendron more humidity will help encourage healthy new growth. I have also found that extra humidity can help prevent browning on the variegated spots of some highly variegated plants.
I’m planning to take one of my PPP propagations outside for the summer this year to hopefully jump-start its growth! It has been super happy in the extremely high-humidity propagation box it’s in. I keep the lid on almost all of the time.
And along with humidity, the pink princess enjoys warmer temperatures. This plant is not cold hardy and should not be kept in temperatures that are consistently below 50 degrees. A few night time cold snaps will probably be fine.
Pink princess philodendron propagation
I mentioned earlier that all pink princess philodendron plants were grown via tissue culture. But that isn’t entirely true. I suppose all mother plants were grown that way, but you can also propagate a pink princess philodendron.
My friend gave me a sad-looking PPP rehab plant to try my hand at propagation. So I got to work chopping it up and salvaging the good growth. I went one step further and chopped up some leaf-less stem areas, too—you can propagate those!
Here is what the plant looked like when I got it:
And here’s how I chopped it up!
First I removed the whole pink princess from the soil and separated each stem. Then I trimmed off all dead or dying foliage. Almost none of these leaves were really worth salvaging despite looking semi-OK in the above pics. So there were very few leaves left when I was done.
Then I put them in my plant propagation box in my greenhouse cabinet. I also added a heated seedling mat underneath since it was the dead of winter here and very cold. Plus the strip grow lights above the box!
What you see in the pictures below started off as stems only. The new growth sprouted in multiple areas on the stems, and the variegation is already looking lovely! You can see in these pics how the leaves for progressively larger and some new roots began to sprout.
I kept the moss consistently moist in my prop box and also kept the lid on 95% of the time. Occasionally I’d check on the cuttings and put the lid right back on. Every few weeks I’d keep it off for an hour or so to air things out, but watch the moisture levels if you do that. Moss can dry out fast.
I also had a few stem cuttings, like this one, that had existing leaves but needed to grow new roots. It has been SLOW going, I’ll tell you that! It has taken months and months just to get the root growth I have below. I want to let these roots get a bit longer before I transplant to soil.
Once I transplant these to soil, I’ll make sure to update with additional pics of what the roots look like and how the plants do with the transition.