The Pink Princess Philodendron is a wildly popular houseplant, mainly for its vibrant pink leaves. This multi-colored foliage is known as variegation. But not all plants grow as pink as we would like, such as mine in the picture below. This post is all about how to get the pink back.
The Importance of Balanced Variegation
Where the leaf is a variegated color (any color other than green), there is no chlorophyll. Plants need chlorophyll so they can photosynthesize and create energy for growth. So if your plant is producing entirely pink leaves, it will struggle to photosynthesize and eventually die. A balance of green and variegated leaves is essential to a happy and thriving Pink Princess Philodendron.
My Pink Princess is made up almost entirely of green leaves. As you can see in the picture below, that one spot of pink is as variegated as it gets.
So how do you get more pink back into the leaves?
PRUNE YOUR PRINCESS
Take a cutting from your main plant using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. It is important that you cut below the node – the area where the stem and leaf join. Sometimes you will see the beginning of roots appear where the node is. Each cutting must include a node, because this is where new leaves grow.
If your plant stem is long and leggy (like mine) it’s a good idea to prune anyway to encourage thicker growth. Insufficient light could be the reason for this stretched stem growth. Move your plant to an area where it can receive bright indirect light.
Be careful of the dark red sap when making the cut, this can irritate the skin and stain clothes or surfaces. Either wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
PINK PRINCESS PROPAGATION
Pop your cuttings into water so they can grow roots. This is a method of propagation, which will let you create multiple Pink Princesses! Once your cuttings are in water, place them in a bright spot where they can get sufficient light. Try to avoid direct sunlight which can burn the leaves. It’s also a good idea to change the water once a week.
4 Weeks Later
The roots are looking good, just 4 weeks after being separated from the main plant. I found it interesting that these roots are a deep red color instead of white.
You might also notice a new leaf developing while the cutting is in water! This indicated to me that it’s ready to be planted into soil.
The Pink Princess Philodendron prefers a well-draining soil that has high organic matter content. They can also grow in sphagnum peat moss. When watering, let the top inch of soil dry out completely before you next give it a drink.
New growth on the main plant has started about 3-4 weeks after the cuttings were taken.
9 Weeks Later
The little sprout we saw in the above image has now unfurled into a healthy, dark green leaf with a bright patch of pink variegation on the end. This is definitely the most amount of pink which has appeared on the whole plant so far.
This is the cutting that was rooting in water, which is now planted into premium potting mix soil. The small leaf we saw emerging while in the glass bottle has now grown to be half pink!
After seeing the results of this pruning project, I’m pretty pleased with the conclusion that cutting back your philodendron will result in producing more balanced variegated growth.
Thanks for reading! If you like the Pink Princess Philodendron, you’ll probably like other vine plants such as Devil’s Ivy. Check out our popular blog post on How to Style Devil’s Ivy.