The pink princess is easier to find than ever! And pink princess philodendron care is a breeze. Learn about this gorgeous pink-variegated plant, including how to keep it pink, pricing, reverting variegation, and more.
Let’s finally talk about pink princess philodendron care!
Hey plant people! I am finally getting around to writing a pink princess philodendron (PPP) post. Truth be told, I haven’t had one for too long. I’ve had small propagations but never a big, full plant.
Why? Well, because they were always super expensive. And I’m not against paying a lot of money for a plant—I have to really want the plant to justify it. The pink princess never really met that threshold.
Until now! Because the big grower Costa Farms is now mass producing pink princess philodendrons, the prices have come way down. I have seen them at Lowe’s and Wegmans (a grocery store in my area of the U.S.). Try telling that to someone selling one for $300 2 years ago…we wouldn’t believe you! 🙂
What is a pink princess philodendron?
Pink princess philodendron is a cultivar of philodendron erubescens. Its full name is philodendron erubescens “pink princess.” There are many different cultivars of philodendron erubescens, including a few I’ve written about:
- Philodendron black cardinal care
- “Painted Lady” philodendron care
- Philodendron prince of orange care
The pink-variegated “pink princess” cultivar is a man-made cultivar hybrid created in the 1970s. The pink variegation comes from a genetic mutation causing the mottled pink markings.
Why is philodendron pink princess so expensive?
But why has the plant always been so expensive? There are lots of reasons why plants fluctuate in value and are considered “rare” or “common.” Most of these come down to supply and demand.
The supply of pink princesses has always been relatively low. That’s because it’s a slower growing plant. It can also have the tendency to lose its variegation—that means losing the pink areas and reverting to solid-colored leaves.
This, combined with social media absolutely catapulting this plant into popularity, were an absolute recipe for skyrocketing prices. Lots of people wanted the plant. Not a lot of growers had the plant.
But prices slowly started coming down as more people got plants and propagated them at home. I started seeing regular people, not nurseries, selling reasonably prices PPPs in Facebook plant buy/sell/trade groups. That’s when I got my first baby. A friend gave me her pink princess rehab and I chopped it up, trying my hand at stem propagation.
And the when Costa Farms started mass producing them? Game over! You could find a PPP at Home Depot. Or Lowe’s. Or grocery stores. Basically anywhere that sold Costa farms plants. For the low price of about 25 bucks.
For a while, people would see them and buy them all up. But now things have really calmed down. I saw a few half-dead PPPs at Lowe’s when I was there the other day. Kind of sad.
You can also order them pretty much on demand from Costa’s website for $50, including shipping. And the plants you get from their online shop are held to a higher caliber than the plants they sell in stores.
And that’s where I got mine! I used a $10 off rewards coupon and finally got my relatively mature and healthy PPP for the low low price of $40.
Is pink princess philodendron hard to care for?
It’s not! A lot of the time rare and in-demand plants can be challenging to care for…like the albo monstera plant. Pink princess philodendron is actually a pretty easy plant to care for as long as you are mindful of a few things.
For example, planting it in the right soil, avoiding overwatering, and providing the plant with appropriate lighting. So let’s talk about lighting first and then get into a few other things you’ll need to know.
How much light does the plant need?
Your pink princess will be happiest in a room with bright, indirect light. Near a sunny south- or west-facing window would be my recommendation—though it’s definitely possible to have it right in a sunny east-facing window.
Light is also a critical component of this plant’s care because it directly influences the plant’s variegation. The variegated (in this case, pink) portions of each leaf lack chlorophyll, which is necessary for plants to photosynthesize.
When less of a leaf’s surface area can photosynthesize, the plant can require more light. And it can be a slower grower. So you definitely don’t want your PPP in low or medium light levels.
However, you also want to avoid direct sunlight. I usually do not have many problems with plants scorching when I have them indoors. Even by my sunniest windows.
But outdoors, it’s a different store. When I move my philodendrons outdoors for the summer, I keep them undera covered patio or gazebo. A tree with a dense canopy works, too. Some direct morning sun is usually fine since the light is weaker.
However, late morning, midday, and early evening direct sun will burn the plant. And once a plant’s foliage is burnt, it isn’t reversible.
If you think your plant is showing signs of scorching indoors, you can move the plant a few more inches away from the window. Finding the perfect lighting spot for any plant can be challenging, but once you find it, you’ll be golden!
Why is my plant leggy?
“Legginess” in plants occurs when they are in lower light conditions. The stems stretch and the space between the leaves increases as well. The leaves often shrink in size, too.
This all occurs because the plant is “reaching” for more light. It’s desperate! When one of my plants gets leggy I generally prune off the leggy growth and adjust the lighting conditions.
Keep in mind that the pink princess is a climber, though. So it will naturally look a bit longer and leaner than some other bushy philodendrons. Its growth pattern reminds me a lot of one of my all-time favorites, the silver sword philodendron.
Can a philodendron pink princess get more pink with better light?
It is possible, yes. I mentioned that PPPs do not have stable variegation. That means that they can revert. We’ll talk more about reverting PPPs later in the post.
But for now, just know that providing a pink princess with adequate lighting conditions is the best way to encourage healthy variegation in new growth. If you choose to, you could also add a grow light to supplement.
What is the best soil?
Soil is easy for most philodendrons. Look for something light and well-draining designed for houseplants. Most of these are totally fine to use right out of the bag with no additives.
If your soil is too heavy, you can add some additional perlite, coco coir (a great peat moss alternative), and coconut husks to lighten it up. But I find that it isn’t usually necessary for philodendrons.
My go-to soils these days are usually Foxfarm Ocean Forest or Master Nursery Bumper Crop. I rarely have to amend the Foxfarm Ocean Forest, but the bumper crop seems a bit heavier to me. When I recently repotted my little Thai constellation monstera, I mixed in some shredded coconut husks, and that did the trick.
A light and well-draining soil is necessary because philodendrons do not like to sit in soaking wet soil. The right soil will retain all of the moisture it needs when you water it, letting everything else flow freely out of the pot’s drainage holes.
How often should I water my PPP?
And speaking of water—I find philodendrons in general to be pretty easy. I like to let about the top half of the soil dry out before watering the plant again. But I find that many can go even longer.
Just try not to let it dry out completely like you would a succulent or cactus. And when I water my plants I like to soak them in a sink or shower. Overwatering isn’t caused by the amount of water given; it’s caused by the frequency of watering.
When you water too much, you’ll suffocate the roots and likely cause root rot. Root rot occurs when the soil is too waterlogged, and no oxygen can get to the roots.
This is another reason why using a light, airy, well-draining soil is so important. If the soil doesn’t retain too much water and you don’t water too often, it’s hard to mess it up with a pink princess!
What is the ideal temperature & humidity?
The pink princess philodendron does well in all normal household humidity levels. Shoot for temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Slight dips in evening temperatures are also fine.
Higher temperatures can be okay, too—it definitely gets higher than 85 degrees outside in the summer where I am. Just monitor the soil to make sure you don’t need to water it more frequently if it’s super hot for a period of time.
Pink princess is not cold or frost hardy, though. Growth will slow down and the plant will begin to suffer if the plant is routinely in temperatures below 55-60 degrees Fahenrenheit.
It also does well in normal household humidity levels, but it will greatly benefit from slightly higher humidity. For example, about 50%—this is a pretty high humidity level for a home, and you’ll likely need a whole-room humidifier to achieve it.
If you notice crispy browning edges or tips on your plant’s leaves—especially on the variegated parts—this could be a sign that humidity is too low. I’ve struggled with this on highly variegated parts of my Thai constellation monstera plants.
But if the plant seems fine without a humidifier, don’t sweat it. All homes and climates are different, so see what works best for your plant and home before pulling out all of the stops when it comes to humidity.
How do you know it’s repotting time?
There are many schools of thought on this. Many people say they repot every plant they bring home as soon as it comes in the door. I almost never do this because I haven’t found it to be necessary.
Instead, I monitor the bottom of the pot to see when the plant’s roots start growing out of the drainage holes. This is a definite sign you need to size the pot up an inch or two.
If your plant is showing signs of suffering and you can’t figure out why—but you don’t see roots growing out of the drainage holes—you can take the plant out of its pot to make sure the roots aren’t getting too rootbound and circling the bottom of the pot.
When you repot your pink princess, make sure to use some fresh soil. I usually try not to disturb root balls; I just add an inch or two of fresh soil in, pop the plant in, and fill in around it with more fresh soil. The roots will find their way.
Is the philodendron pink princess a climber?
Yes, the philodendron pink princess is a climbing plant! It might not look like it when you buy one because your plant will probably be smaller and less mature. However, PPPs greatly benefit from a moss pole as they grow.
Healthy, happy PPPs can grow many feet tall, but this can take many years. To help your plant along, add a moss pole and gently tie the plant’s stem to it. Mist the aerial roots and the pole to encourage it to grab on as it grows.
Fertilizer & pruning needs
I haven’t really fertilzed my plants in the past. But this year I started using Foxfarm Grow Big fertilizer. Just a bit in the watering can about once a month. It isn’t cheap, but a bottle lasts me the whole growing season for my houseplants and my garden. They responded really well, so I think I’ll continue this during spring and summer every year!
As far as pruning goes, you can always feel free to trim away dying, dead, or otherwise unsightly older foliage. But you might want to do some preventative pruning, too—much like you should do on a philodendron white knight.
Ultimately you want to make sure your plant has a good healthy mixture of variegation. Some leaves that are mostly green but have some pink variegation are fine. Not all leaves will be highly variegated.
And you don’t want many all pink leaves—if any. Remember that the pink parts lack chlorophyll, so they aren’t doing anything to support the plant. If you have one all pink leaf, that’s fine. Just monitor things and trim it off if it starts to decline.
Even too many highly variegated leaves can be problematic. As is always my advice, monitor your plant. If you see signs of struggling and all else seems to be fine, try pruning away some of the highly variegated leaves so the plant can rebound.
Can a reverted pink princess turn pink again?
Have you noticed that the new leaves on your pink princess philodendron are all green? This is called reverting. It sucks, but it’s always a risk with variegated plants that aren’t stable.
If you want to try to encourage your reverted pink princess to grow pink variegated growth again, you can cut the plant back to the last variegated leaf. Make sure you’re providing plenty of bright, indirect light.
If the new growth comes out variegated, you’re golden.
If it doesn’t, you can try pruning the plant back farther. I had to do this to my philodendron birkin as a last-ditch attempt to prevent a full revesion, and pruning it back did work. So it’s absolutely worth a try!
How can you tell a fake pink princess philodendron?
Prices have seriously dropped, giving much less incentive to scammers to sell fake pink princess philodendrons. My first recommendation to avoid fake PPPs is to buy from a reputable seller. No random sellers on Facebook or sketchy Etsy shops.
Only purchase from reliable sellers and nurseries or highly rated online shops. Because it can be kind of hard to tell a fake pink princess philodendron from a “pink congo” philodendron in pictures online.
Never. buy. a. pink. congo. Don’t do it! These are plants that have been injected with a chemical to make the leaves pink. You can generally spot a fake PPP—a pink congo—because some of the leaves will be all pink. There don’t be that gorgeous mottled varegation.
And the chemical treatment doesn’t even last. The leaves will fade after a few months back to the regular all green color. Don’t fall for it. Pink congo isn’t a thing.
Can the pink princess philodendron be grown from seed?
Ah, another scam. Don’t buy pink princess philodendron “seeds.” UNfortunately this plant cannot be grown from seeds. The seeds you are buying are likely the all-green philodendron erubescens that the PPP is a cultivar of.
You might be wondering how nurseries mass produce it, then. They use a process called tissue culture, which is beyond my knowledge as a plant hobbyist.
How do you propagate a pink princess philodendron?
Lucky for you I have a lot of experience in this area! My first PPP was grown from a chunk of a stem. It took forever…but it was a fun process. You can read all about it in my pink princess philodendron propagation post, including lots of pics. I’ll provide an overview here.
The best way to propagate a PPP is through a stem cutting. First take a cutting that has a few leaves on it and a few exposed growth points. You can remove a set of leaves to expose growth points.
I like rooting pink princess cuttings in a mixture of sphagnum moss and perlite, which is a process you can read about in my Sphagnum Moss Propagation 101 post. You can also root it in water first.
Once new roots sprout, you can transfer the cutting to soil. Water deeply and put the plant in bright, indirect light. Make sure to water the plant once the top inch or so of soil dries out while the plant is rooting in soil.
Is the pink princess philodendron safe for pets?
Unfortunately the pink princess philodendron is toxic to pets, but only if they ingest it. It contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause gastrointestinal upset. I also recommend keeping the plant away from kids, as it isn’t a good idea for them to ingest, either. Keep it up high or in a cabinet 🙂