Philodendron ‘Pink Princess’: An Introduction, And Is It Really Worth the Hype?

Basic Witch

If you read my ranking on the most photogenic Philodendron plants in 2020, you probably learned that the Philodendron' Pink Princess' really is the talk of the town this year. You are probably on the lookout for one of them, or you already own one. Or, maybe you just simply want to know more.

Because of the high demand, a Pink Princess is currently ranging from $200 - $600 per plant. Although the price is highly inflated, many people are still willing to pay the price to get one of these trendy plants. Here is an article about the many facts regarding this highly sought after plant.

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Photo credit to PlantCareToday

What is 'Pink Princess'?

The Philodendron Pink Princess is a tradename for Philodendron erubescens ('red' in Latin). It is a trailing plant in the family Araceae.

In addition to the maroon and dark green leaves with pink variegations, the plant is also identified by large waxy leaves. These leaves can grow up to 9" (22 cm) long and 5" (12 cm) wide in a mature form.

The pink variegation on the leaves is due to a lack of chlorophyll, making plants' leaves green. The numerous "half-moon" and all-pink leaf "PPP" photos circulating on Instagram look good. However, the green leaves are essential for the Pink Princess to photosynthesize.

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A 'half-moon' leaf. Photo credit to @UrbanJungleCuttings

During photosynthesis, chlorophyll helps to create oxygen and glucose for healthy growth. In layman's terms, the green leaves help the Pink Princess make sure to grow bigger.

Since all plants in the Philodendron family are originated in tropical regions, the Philodendron Pink Princess grows well indoors. However, if you live in a tropical area yourself, you can indeed grow a Pink Princess in your garden.

Is Pink Princess Toxic?

Unfortunately, Pink Princess is toxic to pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) states that variegated philodendrons are toxic to cats and dogs, including humans. Their sap contains calcium oxalate crystals, which cause severe irritation to the skin or when ingested.

Is Pink Princess Easy to Care For?

In general, the plants in the Philodendron family tend to be sturdy. Their thick stems and leathery leaves can protect them from excessive water loss, making them resistant to drought. The Pink Princess is no exception.

With the basic Philodendron care, a Pink Princess should grow well with very minimal problem.

However, it has been reported that the Pink Princess is less tolerant of constantly soggy soil. On the contrary, it prefers dry soil between each watering.

Due to its variegated leaves, a Pink Princess tends to grow slower than most Philodendrons since it lacks the chlorophyll in its pink leaves. This can be remedied if the Pink Princess is given brighter indirect light. Many plant collectors would put the Pink Princess under a plant grow light.

What's with the Expensive Price Tag?

Today, a four-leaf, moderately variegated Pink Princess is sold for around $350 per plant. Depending on the size and the intensity of variegation, the plant can sell within the range of $200 - $600.

Many people assume the climbing price is due to the plant's rarity in the market. But surprisingly, the Pink Princess is actually massively cultivated in multiple nurseries and is not rare. The only reason it has a high price point is that even with the tissue cultures producing the mass amount of Pink Princess, the demand is still higher than the supplies.

A year and a half ago, one can get a decent-sized Pink Princess for under $100. And now the price is at least twice the amount. This is due to the exploding effect of its image circulating on social media, creating a "Pink Princess craze."

Is It Worth the Hype?

Without a doubt, the Philodendron Pink Princess is extremely photogenic when its pink variegation is carefully curated. However, many plant collectors agree that the Pink Princess is very much overrated at the moment. Its variegation is tricky to maintain, and its price is very much inflated.

In the foreseeable future, once the supply meets the demand, it is evident that the Pink Princess will no longer have an inflated price. And as more people get their hands on the Pink Princess, there might start to be more objective evaluation of the houseplant.

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Pink Princess tissue cultures. Photo credit to AmongtheJungle

"Reverted" Pink Princess

The pink variegation on Pink Princess results from a genetic mutation in part of the plant's cells. These mutated cells are continually competing with the regular cells that produce green leaves when a new leaf is created.

The plant will grow faster and healthier with more green leaves because the pink variegation is actually a genetic defect. However, when given brighter lights, the plant is content with the photosynthesis it can get done and tends to produce more pink variegations.

However, when given insufficient lighting, a Pink Princess will grow more green leaves to photosynthesize more efficiently to survive. This will result in the Pink Princess 'revert' to all green form. It is not a big deal for the plant itself. Still, it is undoubtedly a loss for the owner, who probably spent a fortune to obtain this variegated plant.

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A reverted Pink Princess. Photo credit to Ana.

Once reverted, it is tough to bring back the pink variegation. And the same rule applies to propagation. If a Pink Princess leaf with less or minimal variegation is propagated, it is likely to grow to be a reverted, all green philodendron.

In the next article, I will thoroughly go through a complete care guide of the Philodendron Pink Princess.

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