You haven’t seen a plant reach rock star status until you’ve encountered the Pink Princess. Its larger-than-life reputation for being the must-have indoor plant of the year has a following bigger than Western Australia, literally.
The Pink Princess craze spans globally, with cuttings and merch selling like hot cakes online. The demand is so high for the Pink Princess that stocks are usually sold out the minute these plants are available on the market.
What makes the Pink Princess so popular?
If you can virtually elbow your way through the long line of online buyers, you just might be able to get yourself a Pink Princess.
This stunner of a plant’s famous pink striations and heart-shaped leaves will level up any Instagram or Facebook feed. It’s just so darn photogenic. Plantfluencers and plant fans alike are obsessed with the Pink Princess for its striking variegated pink leaves (more on that later). Think bubblegum paint splashed on green leaves so dark, they’re almost black.
One thing’s for sure. Owning a Pink Princess will help you achieve god-level status in plant groups and forums. Decorate your home with this exotic plant and ask yourself why that is not a magnificent work of art right there.
Why is variegation important?
Any plant that’s named ‘Pink Princess’ deserves to be treated like royalty. There’s a delicate balance to its care, and its leaves’ variegation has a lot to do with it.
Variegation, a common result of genetic mutation, is the appearance of non-green colours in the plant’s leaves or stems. Apart from the usual green, other colours may appear like white, cream, or yellow. For the Pink Princess, it’s the eye-catching bubblegum pink that many a plant collector covet.
If that’s the case, why don’t plant breeders just eliminate green leaves altogether and make a purely pink plant? The answer is more than just aesthetic and lies in the function of the green colour in the leaves.
The green zones of the leaf, which contain chlorophyll, are the food-producing parts of the plant. This is particularly important for the plant’s growth. Don’t be too happy when your Pink Princess starts losing its green colour and starts having pink leaves all over. Cute as it looks, this means that your plant baby is losing its ability to make food for itself and is on the decline. In short, a purely pink plant is not a healthy plant. Not really good news for your Pink Princess, is it?
Philodendron Pink Princess plant description
- Growth width: 50 cm
- Growth height: 3m
- Leaf dimensions: can reach up to 25 cm long and 12 cm wide
- Foliage colour: variegated pink and green when mature
A young Pink Princess doesn’t start off with pink streaks. Instead, it has dark green olive leaves with white striations. As your Pink Princess matures, the white striations turn pink. Depending on your plant, the pink colour can reach the stems. No two Pink Princesses are the same, with each pattern unique to every plant.
Plant care: how to grow a Philodendron Pink Princess
- Use potting soil mixed with perlite for your plant. You can buy perlite separately if your potting mix does not contain perlite. 3 parts potting mix combined with 1 part perlite is the ideal ratio for your planting soil.
- Potting soil that is rich in organic matter will help your plant grow healthy and sturdy.
- When planting outdoors, dig a hole that’s twice as wide and deep as your plant’s container. Transfer your plant gently from the container into the soil.
- Pat the soil and check that the soil covering your plant is the same level as the surrounding soil. Make sure that your soil is loose and not too compact to allow sufficient airflow.
- Pink Princess grows best in moist, well-drained soil. Use a pot with a hole where the water can drain out. If you’re placing your Pink Princess indoors, use a container with a tray so that the water will not spill onto the floor.
- Depending on how hot the weather is in your area, water your Pink Princess to keep your soil moist but not overdrenched. Flooding can cause your plant’s roots to rot.
- When the top half inch of the soil is already dry, that’s the sign for you to water your plant again.
- Fertilise your Pink Princess during the summer months when it is actively growing. Fertilising during this season will help nourish your Pink Princess when it needs nutrients for growth the most.
- It’s not necessary to fertilise during the winter months as growth has slowed down during this season.
- Pink Princess plants like indirect sunlight. Even with its pink variegation, the green parts of the leaf need sunshine to process chlorophyll for food.
- Because your Pink Princess needs partial shade, the best place for it is near the window, where it can absorb filtered sunlight. Don’t distress your plant by placing it under full sun.
- A few hours under direct sunlight is fine, but take care not to expose it too long especially during midday or hot weather.
Weather and humidity
- Pink Princess plants thrive in a humid environment. A humidity level of 50% is ideal. Small, crinkled leaves signal that your Pink Princess needs more humidity.
- Worried that your home is not humid enough? Here’s a tip. You can create a humid micro-environment by grouping plants together, or placing them in the most humid part of your home – your bathroom!
- These plants are frost-sensitive. It is best to keep them indoors if you can during the winter months.
- When you see your Pink Princess turning all pink, that’s a red flag for you. It means that your plant may be having difficulty producing food for itself and is on the decline. You can still reverse this, though.
- Prune back to the leaf with a good mix of pink and green variegation. It should produce a new leaf with a more balanced distribution of colour.
- Too much pink is unhealthy for your plant, but take care not to eradicate it completely or it will sadly be Pink Princess no more.
- Prune dead leaves using secateurs. It’s important that your tools are sharpened to be able to make clean cuts and to avoid damaging your plant.
- Pruning is a good way to revitalise your Pink Princess and helps prevent leakage of much-needed nutrients to dead leaves.
- The Pink Princess is a vining plant and will need structural support as it grows. You can tie your Pink Princess to a post or rod to help it grow.
- Leaving your Pink Princess to grow on its own will cause its structure to disintegrate, as the stem cannot support the size and weight of its leaves.
Can you grow a Pink Princess from seeds?
Remember when we mentioned that the pink variegation is a result of genetic mutation? It would be practically impossible to know which seed will give you a genetically mutated plant until it starts sprouting pink variegation.
If you’re willing to try, you can certainly grow your own plant using Philodendron Pink Princess seeds, but getting a grown Pink Princess with fully visible pink leaves is a safer bet.
Where can I find a Philodendron Pink Princess for sale and how much is it?
You don’t have to look for a needle in a haystack when looking for a store in Australia that has Pink Princess Philodendron for sale. There are on-site and online stores you can buy from, like Bunnings, Etsy, Home of Houseplants, Gumtree, Plants in a Box, The Palm Place Nursery, Plants Direct, or Spotted Quoll (for pre-order). The Philodendron Pink Princess price ranges between $13 to $65, depending on your source and size of the plant.
Why are Pink Princess Philodendron so expensive?
It takes careful skill to come up with a healthy pink and green variegation for your Pink Princess. This means it can’t be readily produced by demand.
Philodendron Pink Princess vs. Pink Congo: are they the same?
How to put this delicately here… At one point in the plant community, the demand for exotic plants skyrocketed so much that buyers were willing to shell out big money to get them. One of the plants that emerged in the market was the Philodendron Pink Congo, posing itself as a pinker version of the Pink Princess. Instead of pink variegated leaves, the Pink Congo was purely bubblegum pink and sold at prices reaching up to $200 online.
It was all good until the pink leaves of the Pink Congo turned back to green, like an ordinary philodendron. Upon careful inspection, its leaves were also pointier than the Pink Princess. To cut a long story short, the Pink Congo turned out to be a scam brought by the surge in demand for the Pink Princess. It was a clear case of plant fraud.
I don’t want to waste the cutting I pruned from my Pink Princess plant. What can I do with it?
A lot! It would make a pretty centerpiece in your home, and a unique foliage addition to your floral arrangement. You can also give your rooted Philodendron Pink Princess cutting to family or friends if they’re willing to gamble on growing it!
Help! My Pink Princess is not growing as well as my other houseplants.
Variegated plants are less vigorous than non-variegated plants. Cute as your Pink Princess is, it cannot produce food for itself as well as a non-variegated philodendron because it has less chlorophyll. Give your Pink Princess enough indirect sunlight and fertilise during the growing season to boost its health and make it sturdy.