This is a comprehensive beginner's guide on pink princess philodendron care. Botanically known as Philodendron Erubescens ‘Pink Princess,’ is quite a rare indoor vine plant.
Pink Princess Philodendron’s scarcity makes it quite expensive but all things considered, it’s worth every penny. With the heart-shaped leaves that are dark purplish-green with contrasting pink variegation, this type of philodendron is quite a masterpiece.
But not everyone likes buying expensive plants especially if they can grow them. The only problem is having all the right kind of information in one place. That’s why I thought it would be helpful to put everything I know about this plant in this guide.
I’m going to discuss everything you need to know about propagating, planting, and caring for Pink princess philodendron.
Therefore, I expect this to be quite a long and comprehensive post. For this reason, I’m going to share a quick summary of the most important guidelines (in case you’re in a hurry) and then dive deeper thereafter with more details.
Finally, you’ll be able to grow this conversation starter and have fun while at it.
Great! Let’s get to it.
Quick Guidelines on Growing & Caring for Pink Princess Philodendron
What’s Pink Princess Philodendron:
It's a rare dark (blackish) leaved mutated plant with pink variegation. The leaves emerge dark olive and turn toward black with age. Don’t confuse it with “Pink Congo” Philodendron which is a “scam” – Read more on this later.
USDA Hardiness Zones:
This plant will survive and thrive in frost-free Zones 10 and above. However, as an indoor plant, you should have to worry about the zone so much.
Where to get the cuttings to propagate:
Since it’s not easy to find this type of philodendron in most nurseries, your best bet is to as from your friends. If none of them have it, you can check it online at Etsy. Here’s the link – Pink Princess cuttings (no affiliation).
Propagating the plants:
You can easily propagate philodendron pink princess by stem cuttings. Make sure each stem piece has multiple aerial roots. And then dip them in water just as you would when propagating pothos.
Planting and potting mix:
Once the roots have grown to at least 1-inch in length on your cuttings, plant your philodendron ‘babies’ in evenly moist, rich, humus soils. This Tropical Plants Potting Mix is a great example.
Light and temperature:
While the Pink Princess Philodendron prefers partial shade, too much of it will reduce the variegation and produce leggy growth. Besides, they do well in regular room temperatures.
Water the plant when the surface soil is dry. They're drought-tolerant but don't do well when overwatered, which can cause the plant to rot. If you want to learn more about how to water potted plants in general, here’s a great article explaining exactly that.
Pest and disease control:
As you take care of everything, don’t forget to regularly monitor your plants for pests and diseases. Pink Princess philodendrons are susceptible to pests such as aphids, mealy bugs, scale, thrips, spider mites, and diseases such as bacterial leaf spot and leaf blight.
Common problems with growing pink princess philodendron:
These include; leaf tips curling downwards, leaf margins turning brown, V-shaped yellowing, etc. If you want to learn why these problems occur and how to fix them, keep reading.
Detailed Guide on Pink Princess Philodendron Care
Introduction to Pink Princess Philodendron
Philodendron Erubescens ‘Pink Princess’ is a tropical aroid in the Araceae family with rare dark (blackish) leaved houseplant with pink variegation. The leaves emerge dark olive and turn toward black with age.
This herbaceous perennial is native to Columbia.
Its pink coloration is variable, emerging as large splotches, small streaks, or occasionally an entire leaf. Philodendron Pink Princess rarely produces inflorescences especially when grown as a houseplant but when it does, the flower consists of a purple-red spathe surrounding a white spadix.
In the recent past, there has been a sharp rise in the demand for these plants. And with it, the rise in prices makes Pink Princess Philodendron one of the most expensive indoor plants. Besides, it’s considered a “collectors plant”.
The plant is appreciated as a novelty and has become quite a commodity among houseplant fanatics. In fact, so much so that it has attained the Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Also, the cost for Pink Princess is especially high since plants are not easily grown from seed due to their variegation being a result of mutation. This has resulted in sky-high prices, even though pink princesses are relatively easy to care for.
Noteworthy Characteristics (Plant Profile)
Common name: Pink Princess Philodendron or Blushing philodendron
Scientific/Botanical name: Philodendron Erubescens ‘Pink Princess’
Hardiness zones: 10 to 12
Mature Height: 4 – 6 feet
Mature Spread: 2 - 4 feet
Growing habit: Upright and vining
Native Area: South America (Colombia)
Pink Princess Philodendron Vs Pink Congo Philodendron
While you can easily confuse this plant with Philodendron pink congo (most people have), there are three key distinctions:
- The Pink Princess has a vining growth type and the Pink Congo doesn’t vine.
- The variegation of the pink princess is stable as it occurs due to natural processes, whereas the pink congo variegation is a result of chemicals that are injected into the leaves, usually reverting to green a couple of months after being purchased.
- For the pink princess, pink coloration is variable, emerging as large splotches, small streaks, or occasionally an entire leaf while the congo’s leaves are always entirely pink – at least before they revert.
Interestingly, rare plant lovers have been duped into purchasing pink congo at exorbitant prices only for the plant to revert to green!
Just like all types of philodendrons, the pink princesses are toxic to pets and humans.
This is because they contain varying concentrations of needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals known as raphides. In nature, these crystals serve as a defense mechanism against herbivores.
Calcium oxalate crystals have an irritant action on the skin and (especially) on soft internal tissue. Accidental ingestion results in a severe burning sensation in the mouth and throat and warrants immediate medical attention.
Therefore, you should take care to keep these plants out of the reach of children and pets.
Where to get the cuttings to propagate
Due to the often high demand, these plants are not always readily available in most garden centers. Since it’s not easy to find this type of philodendron in most nurseries, your best bet is to ask and borrow from your friends.
If none of them have it, you can check them online at Etsy. Here’s the link – Pink Princess cuttings (no affiliation).
Propagating pink princess philodendron
The secret to succeeding in propagating plenty of bushier plants is to start right.
Starting right means, you’ve acquired clean planting materials free from pests and diseases. Secondly, you need to ensure that you sterilize all the equipment and propagation surfaces.
Once you get all these out of the way, you can easily propagate a large number of Pink Princess philodendron plants simply by taking stem cuttings and rooting them in water or suitable potting soil. Follow these simple steps to propagate your philodendron pink princess cuttings:
- Cut the plant stem so that the cutting has 2-3 leaves on top and 2-3 exposed nodes at the bottom of the cutting. You can do this using sterilized pruning shears or scissors.
- Place the cuttings on a clean surface and set them aside for about 16 hours to allow the cut edge to callous over.
- Once the edge has been calloused, place the cutting in water and put it in a location that receives bright, indirect light. Ensure that the exposed nodes of the cutting are submerged in the water at all times.
- Change the water weekly.
- Within 2-3 weeks you should begin to notice new roots sprouting from the cutting.
Planting and Potting mix
After the roots have grown to about 2-inches in length, you can transplant your philodendron ‘babies’ in evenly moist, rich, humus soils.
As an aroid, the pink princess philodendron enjoys airy, well-draining soil that is high in organic matter. A mixture of one-part standard potting soil, one-part perlite, and one-part orchid bark is ideal for the pink princess.
However, mixing these components to achieve an ideal potting mix on your own might not always be possible. In such a case, I’d recommend this ready-made Potting Mix for Tropical plants.
Potting and repotting
While members of the philodendron genus can tolerate being root-bound a little better than most houseplants, the Pink Princess don't actually like being root-bound. Hence your plant will be happiest and healthiest if you do repot regularly.
As a general rule, you should repot younger plants every spring or at the beginning of every season since they are rampant growers.
On the other hand, older plants are considerably harder to repot because of the climbing poles which provide support for your plants (more on this later). If you find this to be an issue, simply scrape off the top layers of the soil and replace it with fresh potting soil and new fertilizer.
But that is only possible if you have a large enough pot planter. Therefore, after the first year and before establishing the support structure, make sure you repot in a large pot.
The best pot for pink princess philodendron is one that is no more than 2 inches larger than the current pot.
I hope that makes sense!
Light to Keep Your Pink Princess Pink
This is the most interesting part of pink princess philodendron care. Especially, if you want to keep the pink variegation. Because without enough light the pink princess’s leaves will quickly begin reverting back to dark green and it will lose its stunning variegation.
On the other hand, too much of it will also reduce the variegation and produce leggy growth.
Therefore, you should choose a location that receives several hours of bright, indirect light. Besides, while indoors, the plant will tolerate a couple of hours of direct light, which may help to increase its variegation.
If you don’t have a location in your home that receives enough light, I’d recommend you buy grow lights for the plants.
Temperature and Humidity
Temperature and humidity always go hand in hand. The availability and intensity of one will always influence the other. And yet these two are important for the survival of your pink princess.
Luckily, these hardy plants will do just fine in regular room temperatures. But ideally, keep your plant in temperatures between 60 and 75° F and avoid exposing it to temperatures below 55° F. Otherwise, they’ll develop dark brown blotches as a result of cold injury.
When it comes to humidity, like other plants native to the tropics, pink princesses thrive under conditions of high relative humidity. This presents a problem as we move plants indoors.
According to the University of Missouri, the average interior setting during winter has a relative humidity lower than that of the Sahara Desert!
Therefore, you should consider using an indoor plant humidifier to improve the environment for your plants.
Most potted plants tend to dry out more quickly than their in-ground counterparts.
To determine if your pink princess philodendron needs watering, poke your finger an inch into the soil to make sure it is dry below the surface.
Alternatively, there are inexpensive watering gauges you can find at many hardware and home or online stores like Amazon that help you learn when a plant is dry.
Some of the more elaborate ones even include a computer chip and database of common plants, integrating a specific plant water needs with the current soil moisture.
If you determine a potted plant is dry, lift it to feel the weight. Doing this with various pots you’ll soon develop a feel for when to water, just by the weight of the pot.
It’s vital to ensure that your pink princess is never sitting in waterlogged soil as they are susceptible to root rot.
This is especially important during its active growing season which is between spring and the summer. Stop fertilizing your plant in the early fall as it enters its dormant period. Over-fertilizing especially with slow-release fertilizers will cause curling of the leaves in P. erubescens ‘Pink Princess’.
Pruning is beneficial to pink princess philodendrons since it helps them maintain a compact size. This is because they can sometimes get a little too large for their space or become long and leggy. Also, once they get older some of the leaves will revert to solid green which isn’t appealing.
Pruning will help to remove out stems and leaves that have reverted to solid, non-variegated foliage.
The best time of the year to prune P. erubscens ‘pink princess’ is during the spring or fall, though you can remove yellow leaves or trim thin growth at any time of year.
To prune the pink princess, make cuts using sharp, sterile scissors or pruning shears.
Supporting the vines
Once your philodendron is ready to climb (mostly after the first year), you need to provide support of a trellis or other structure for the vines.
To further encourage the climbing (optional but beneficial), gently tie the main vine to the support and train it upward. The hope is that it will eventually decide to grab onto the trellis/pole on its own.
Pest and disease control
The pink princess philodendron is susceptible to several common houseplant pests and diseases.
Therefore, as you take care of everything, don’t forget to regularly monitor your plants for pests and diseases. The common pests include aphids, mealy bugs, scale, thrips, spider mites, and fungus gnats.
Root rots are caused by a large number of soil-borne fungi. Pythium spp., Phytophthora spp., Rhizoctonia solani, and Fusarium spp. are the most common. These fungi thrive in wet soil conditions as a result of overwatering.
To prevent this, only water your philodendrons when the soil feels dry to the touch.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
This is caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. Dieffenbachiae.
You can detect this by the presence of translucent spots on leaf margins becoming reddish-brown with yellow halos. Large spots are tan and irregularly shaped.
To manage this disease, purchase plants or stem cuttings that are free from the disease, avoid overhead watering, and remove infected leaves and discard them.
Bacterial Blight Philodendron selloum
Caused by a pathogen called Erwinia caratovora pv. Carotovora E. chrysanthemi.
This disease manifests itself by small very dark green spots on leaves expanding rapidly and spreading to petioles. Infected leaves collapse in a wet rot that smells foul.
You should avoid overhead watering. Remove infected leaves of plants not severely affected. Water in a manner that keeps the surfaces of leaves and petiole dry at all times and you’ll be good to go!
Common problems with growing pink princess philodendron
There are some problems that you’re likely to encounter while growing philodendron pink princess. These problems are not necessarily caused by pests or diseases but rather physiological disorders as a result of deficiencies, environmental, or sub-optimal growing conditions.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
Dark brown blotches between leaf veins
This is a sure sign of cold injury as a result of low temperature. Temperatures below 50° F will cause this problem. Therefore, don’t place your pink princess philodendron plants near air conditioners and if possible maintain temperatures above 55° F.
V-shaped yellowing on the leaves
V-shaped yellowing of the leaves signifies Magnesium deficiency as a result of insufficient magnesium in the potting mix. To correct this problem, apply one teaspoon magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt for plants) per gallon of water.
Pink Princess philodendron leaf tips curling downwards
Most commonly accompanied with brown leaf margins, leaf tips curls are a sign that you’re over-fertilizing your plants.
To correct the situation, reduce fertilizer rate and leach the soil if slow-release fertilizer is not present. Repot if excessive slow-release fertilizer was used.
There you have it!
This has been a relatively long guide on how to grow and care for your Pink Princess philodendron. I hope with this information; you’ll be able to enjoy growing these plants regardless of your experience.
And most importantly, have fun while at it!
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