Philodendron Pink Princess ARE Easy to Keep (And Pretty Cheap!)

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Philodendron Pink Princess are EXTREMELY popular for two reasons:

  1. They’re variegated. That’s always going to get people to part with their cash and
  2. It’s pink.

Philodendron Pink Princess have had a pretty weird rise to fame. They were developed in a lab hybridising (it’s rumoured) seven Philodendron species.

They’re not ‘available’ (is that the right word?) in the wild, but one of the not-so-secret parents is a Philodendron erubescens.

The history is actually a bit weird. They were developed in the 1970s as part of the McColley breeding programme but it was all kept super secret (aliens were involved, perhaps?).

Later attempts to research the parentage reached out someone that worked on the original programme. This person then claimed that the seven species that were meant to have been in Philodendron Pink Princess parentage weren’t capable of cross-breeding, so the whole thing was a farce.

So the seven species that (that were not revealed) were meant to be the PPP parents, er, weren’t. This screams of self-importance and ego. They probably had secret handshakes and robes and human sacrifice.

The common consensus now is that Philodendron Pink Princess was the result of random, natural mutation NOT a fancy breeding programme, but McCooley wanted to patent it. Either way, it was sold to a tissue culture company and is now pretty common.

They used to be one of those plants, like Pilea Peperomioides that were either CRAZY expensive or dirt cheap. Pre-pandemic, a plant that you would cost you a grand in the UK or US would be a few dollars in Australia.

Aaaand then the pandemic hit, and we all went wild for all things houseplants and pink. And variegated. They stopped being cheap anywhere, and stock was heavily controlled so the market wasn’t flooded.

And then about a year ago everyone stopped caring and now you can buy them in my local garden centre for a tenner.

Philodendron Pink Princess light requirements

Philodendron Pink Princess are happy in a variety of light conditions BUT if you keep one in low light then you risk losing the pink variegation. The brighter the light, the bigger the leaves, and the faster they’ll grow.

Philodendron Pink Princess are quite a slow growing species, so if you put it in low light then you may not see any movement for months.

As with most variegated plants, the pink parts of the leaf are more sensitive to sunburn than the darker parts, so if you want to move it into brighter light, make sure you acclimate it over time.

Do Philodendron Pink Princess like grow lights?

My Philodendron Pink Princess thrive under grow lights, and I think it has helped increase the amount of variegation.

Just bear in mind that heat can increase variegation as well as light, so I can’t say which it was. To be honest, the jury’s still out on whether we can actually influence variegation at all, so I can only report from what I’ve experienced and the anecdotal evidence of others.

Philodendron Pink Princess don’t have stable variegation but it’s widely reported that they very rarely completely revert, so if your PPP isn’t giving you much pink anymore after a few leaves, try increasing the light/warmth/humidity and there’s every chance you can get the variegation back.

Philodendron Pink Princess temperature requirements

In my experience, Philodendron Pink Princess is actually pretty chill when it comes to lower temperatures. Mine grows year-round, though slower and with smaller leaves in winter.

However, I got barely any sectoral variegation on new winter growth that could be attributed to the low temperature (or low light…I feel like I’m not being helpful here – increase both to be sure!). As I said, grow lights provide both heat and light, so they’re an option for over winter if you’re worried about crap growth.

Philodendron Pink Princess humidity requirements

Ok, so TECHNICALLY Philodendron Pink Princess don’t need particularly high humidity. They were lab grown so are a little hardier than wild-caught (?) specimens. They have pretty thick, shiny leaves that would suggest they don’t need to high humidity to thrive.

But they have this…issue.

And if you have a Philodendron Pink Princess, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

They have this weird inability to unfurl their leaves like a normal plant. They look all bunched up and weird, and then when they eventually do unfurl, they look like they could do with a good iron*.

Many people recommend spraying plants that need help unfurling, but I personally wouldn’t – getting new growth wet can cause as much damage as touching it. This leads me onto my next point, which is not to help the plant unfurl. You’re extremely likely to damage the plant – even just touching it can cause marks when it hardens off, so leave it alone.

If you don’t have a humidifier, try a cloche or even a clear plastic box with some damp moss in. The increase in humidity can help it ease out of the cataphyll a bit quicker.

*Do not iron your Philodendron Pink Princesses.

What soil do I use for Philodendron Pink Princess?

Like a lot of climbing Philodendron*, they’re really not that fussed, as long as you let the soil dry out a bit between waterings and it has a decent amount of aeration. You can make your own potting mix if you so desire or you can buy house plant potting mix and add some orchid bark for air flow.

A lot of people like to grow Philodendron Pink Princess in leca, because they transition well from soil and do well.

*PPP are somewhat reluctant climbers, probably due to their genetics. White Princess are the same. They’re happy to group up something, but they don’t like to attach their aerial roots to anything unless the humidity is *chef’s kiss*. Always tie them to a pole to avoid snappage!

How to get Philodendron Pink Princess to produce more pink leaves

As I said, there’s very little scientific evidence on how to preserve variegation, but a lot of anecdotal evidence.

Heat and light are the two main variables that have the most effect BUT we don’t know if it’s the heat/light directly affecting the variegation, OR (equally likely) providing the plant with more resources than it needs stops it suppressing the pink variegation.

Basically, treating your plant well is the best way to encourage variegation (when I can find something more concrete, I’ll let you know). Give it plenty of light, warmth, humidity, water, and nutrition, and you’re more likely to encourage higher amounts of variegation.

How to get Philodendron Pink Princess to grow faster

Same as above.

Philodendron Pink Princess are a particularly slow-growing Philodendron, but mine grew considerably faster under my MarsHydro grow light.

Leading neatly into the next section, many climbing aroids grow faster and produce bigger leaves if you grow them vertically, because they think they’re getting more light as they grow towards the sun (no one tell them about ceilings).

Does Philodendron Pink Princess need a moss pole?

Philodendron Pink Princess don’t NEED a moss pole, but they tend to grow with a large internodal spacing so can struggle to stay upright without some sort of support.

They’re unlikely to produce long enough aerial roots to plant, so won’t be able to support themselves unless you provide them with very high humidity.

Why are Philodendron Pink Princess so expensive?

In short, because people ar willing to pay a lot of money for a pink variegated plant. Pink Monstera don’t exist, but this is the closest thing we have. If someone could create a pink, fenestrated plant they would make a freaking FORTUNE.

How to propagate Philodendron Pink Princess

Philodendron Pink Princess propagates quite easily. In my experience, they’re easier to root than Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, but not as easy as Monstera deliciosa.

The old node-in-a-bag-of-moss trick that I use for propagating wet sticks works well.

The hardest thing about propagating Philodendron Pink Princess is finding a node, because all the ones I’ve had have been quite young and the nodes are super close together. I find that rooting them horizontally in moss , waiting for a few nodes to produce roots and then separating the nodes is the best way to get multiple cuttings without dealing will multiple cuttings getting rot.

Final thoughts

Philodendron Pink Princess are quite unique looking, and very popular (and sometimes expensive, especially a large specimen) but they’re pretty easy to grow. They’re naturally slow growing, but adding a grow light makes a huge difference to their rate of growth

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

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