It’s a dream plant for many, but taking care of a pink princess philodendron requires a little more monitoring and maintenance than other indoor houseplants. Besides the usual needs (a perfect balance of indirect light, watering when it needs it and not on a schedule), you will have to regularly prune back the leaves for the silky bubblegum color to pop.
They are the definition of an aesthetic plant. Besides the bright pink variegated foliage, even the long, leggy stems can get pink and white variegated color to them.
While it’s a challenge to keep them healthy and thriving, if you do see success, you’d be hard pressed to find a more stunning plant.
But, not only are these plants hard to come by, the Pink Princess is so expensive because they’re trending on social media and online plant enthusiast communities. With so many online groups sharing their gorgeous plants, of course the PPP rises to the top as a showstopper.
So if you’re thinking about getting one, or are lucky enough to have just brought one home, here’s everything you need to know about caring for a Pink Princess Philodendron.
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Philodendron Pink Princess Care
Keeping the beautiful blush patches means you’ve got to keep this plant happy and healthy. One of the biggest things new plant owners forget is that these are a tropical variety, so humidity is important. You want at least 50% humidity, if not a little more.
Tip – using a small humidifier is the easiest way to help your plants thrive with little work.
Here’s the one I love on Amazon.
If you don’t keep the humidity just right, the leaves will slowly start to curl and dry out. The problem is that many people see this and think it needs more water. But it just needs a more humid environment. This creates a cycle of constant overwatering which will eventually lead to rot.
In addition, keep it away from drafty areas and vents.
And make sure your PPP is always in a pot with draining holes at the bottom. You can keep it in its nursery pot for a while and pop it into a nicer looking decorative pot.
I recommend watering your pink princess when the soil is dry about 2 inches down. These aren’t a set-it-and-forget-it type of plant in which you can water on a weekly schedule.
You’ll have to monitor the soil to determine when it needs water, as it will change throughout the year with the growing season.
So, the easiest way to determine when it needs water is to stick your finger in the soil down to your first knuckle or so – if it feels dry and not much dirt sticks to your finger when you pull it out, time for a drink. If the soil is still tacky, hold off for another couple of days and then check again.
If the leaves are turning yellow on your pink princess philodendron, this is often a sign of overwatering. One way to help with giving it the right amount of water is to use the bottom watering method (as long as it’s in a pot with drainage holes):
- Fill a plastic tub with about 6-8 inches of water, and place your pot directly in the tub for about 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of the pot). The plant will soak up the water it needs through the soil and roots.
This plant needs more sunlight than other types of tropicals due to the delicate variegation.
Never place it in a spot where it will get direct sunlight. Hot afternoon sun will easily scorch your plant, so it’s important to keep it away from west facing windows. Since they’re so delicate, the pink variegated sections also get sunburned more easily than the green leaves.
Long periods of bright indirect light is best for the pink princess.
During the short days of winter, a grow light will help make sure it’s getting enough light to keep its beautiful bubblegum coloring!
Otherwise the leaves could revert to green in low light conditions.
I recommend using any high quality indoor houseplant potting soil as long as it’s well draining with lots of aeration. Your pink princess won’t like sitting in a moist pot with excess water for very long.
And to mimic the native growing conditions of the tropical forests of Columbia, a mix of orchid bark or sphagnum moss will help the roots breathe.
No matter what mix you use, it’s always a good idea to add perlite (about 20 percent) to be extra sure that your soil is well-draining.
I also suggest planting it in a terracotta, clay or ceramic pot as an added tool to help whisk away added excess moisture.
These pink and gold ceramic planters from Amazon would look perfect with your pink philodendron.
Read more about choosing the right type of terracotta or clay pot.
Pink Princess Philodendron aren’t the fastest growers, but they can get to be well over six feet tall and a couple feet wide. New leaves usually start out more of an olive-shade and then turn to a deeper green color.
They are a ‘leggy’ plant and actually have a growth pattern similar to a vine or a climbing plant.
A high quality all purpose houseplant fertilizer will help it grow faster and stronger, but this won’t help the leaves stay or turn pink.
How Do You Get More Pink Leaves on Your Pink Princess Philodendron?
Remember that with variegated plants, any color on your leaf that isn’t green (e.g., pink or white) means it doesn’t have chlorophyll – which is what it needs to feed and sustain itself.
This is why you want a balance of green and pink leaves. Strive for a 50/50 ratio. To keep the pink color thriving in your philodendron, you’ll have to cut it back regularly to encourage new variegation growth.
Prune back the stem above the node, which is where new life will sprout from.
Ideally, look for spots or signs of variegation on the stems (like lines or stripes of pink), and this is where you want to take a cutting. This will give you the highest chance of producing new pink leaves.
In addition to regular pruning, keeping your plant as happy and healthy as possible will help it produce more pink variegation. This means the right amount of bright indirect light, water when it’s just dry, loose and aerated soil, and a constant level of about 50% humidity.
The Pink Myth
Unfortunately, the leaves don’t stay pink forever. The pink color on each leaf only lasts about a year, and then turns brown. If you want it to sprout pink again, you will have to cut it back and propagate it.
Don’t be fooled by paying high prices for this plant since the pink color doesn’t last forever.
Also, it’s very unlikely that you can grow these plants with high pink variegation from seed, as the beautiful pink color comes from a mutation in the plant. Therefore it only grows this way from cuttings of other, more mature plants.
So don’t get ripped off by thinking you can buy pink princess philodendron seeds! While they can technically be grown from seed, the amount of energy required to grow means they will likely produce leaves that are all green without the variegated pink.
Common Problems with the Pink Princess
If your plant produces a fully pink leaf, as gorgeous as it may be, this is not a sign of health.
Without any green, the leaf can’t photosynthesize, and therefore not contribute to the needs of the plant. Enjoy the vibrant color while it lasts, as this leaf will eventually turn yellow, curl up and die off.
Now, if it’s only one leaf doing this, it doesn’t mean your whole plant is dying. This is a good time to reassess the light it’s getting as well as the amount of humidity and water its receiving.
If you’re not sure about the humidity level, try misting your plant a couple times a week, and group it with other plants nearby. Do this for a couple of weeks to see how it responds.
On the other hand, if your plant keeps producing all-pink leaves, it won’t be able to sustain itself for very long since it’s not able to produce food from lack of chlorophyll. Prune back all the pink leaves to encourage it to (hopefully) produce more green leaves.
This could be a sign of too much light, so try moving it to a spot with soft morning sun, or somewhere with even less light depending on where you had it.
Another common problem is that most people start off with a cutting or a very young plant, and place them in a pot that’s way too big.
You only want a pot that’s an inch or two wider and deeper and then actual plant, otherwise the amount of soil will hold too much water and slowly drown the plant.
Don’t Be Fooled By Knock-Off Plants: the Pink Congo
Since the pink princess philo has become so popular, it’s become rare to come by. Thus, a knock-off plant has emerged in an effort to try and offer an alternative to unsuspecting plant lovers.
If you come across a Pink Congo Philodendron, please do not buy these! They’ve been bred to rival the pink princess and look very similar in its pink appeal. But the Pink Congo has been treated with a chemical to encourage a temporary spike in the vibrant pink color. Similar to what some in the food industry use to make fruit ripen quicker.
Rest assured that this pink color will fade not long after you’ve brought it home.
So, Are Pink Princesses Really Worth the Hype?
If you consider yourself a proficient plant parent, are up for a challenge, and have acquired a plant or a cutting for a reasonable price, the Pink Princess Philodendron would be worth owning.
After becoming climatized in your home and with the perfect living conditions and care, it could absolutely grow into a beautiful mature plant – plus several babies since this girl has to be pruned down regularly.
However, if you’re just starting out with your plant obsession, these plants are fussy and will likely produce more frustration than rosy foliage.
Instead, try a Ruby Rubber Tree (the ficus elastica ruby) or a Stromanthe Triostar for similar pink and variegated vibes.
Read more about these and other pink houseplant alternatives in my pink plant guide.