Can Pink Princess Philodendron Revert After Repotting?
If you recently repotted or just brought home a pink princess philodendron only for it to revert and lose variegation, you may be frustrated after spending so much money on a rare houseplant. This can happen under certain circumstances, unfortunately. In this article, gardening expert Madison Moulton examines why the pink princess sometimes reverts, and how you can do your best to prevent it from happening.
Every houseplant enthusiast is after the popular Pink Princess Philodendron. A social media sensation, this climbing plant has fascinating pink variegation in stunning patterns that you can’t look away from.
But, this color does not always last forever. In the incorrect conditions, these plants can lose their variegation, returning to a glossy green again. If this happens, it kind of defeats the purpose of purchasing such a rare plant in the first place.
Luckily, this change is not always permanent, and there are several things you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place. But first, let’s discuss the question on many houseplant lovers’ minds – what exactly is a Pink Princess Philodendron and where do they come from?
About Pink Princess Philodendron
This philodendron is a mutated cultivar of Philodendron erubescens. It is believed that this species was crossed with other popular Philodendrons, such as Philodendron tatei and Philodendron wendlandii, to produce the stunning plant taking social media by storm.
Like other plants in the Philodendron genus, they fall under the Araceae or arum family. This makes them closely related to other houseplants like Anthuriums or Monsteras, all united by their pointed spadix flowers.
The stunning variegation is the result of generations of crossing and thousands of specimens – one of which happened to have the gorgeous pink variegation these plants are known for.
This singular mutation was found to be stable, replicated through successive generations of propagation. Thus, this rare cultivar was born and developed for release on the rare plant market.
These recently hybridized plants are impossible to find in the wild as they are lab-grown. However, the species this cultivar falls under (Philodendron erubescens) is native to the tropical forests of Colombia.
This native habitat gives clues as to the conditions these plants require – warm temperatures and high humidity. However, as this cultivvar is variegated, they are slightly fussier than other houseplants and need to stick to these conditions more closely to truly thrive.
A highly variegated plant is impossible to ignore. The color is what these plants are famous for, with spots of deep and pastel pink variegation, grey patches, and light or dark green across the leaves. The stems compliment the leaves perfectly with a deep red that makes the pink pop.
These plants can reach several feet tall under the right conditions, easily filling up any empty corners in your home. They can be trained around a moss pole or other support to grow even taller, with their stunning leaves spanning several inches across.
Like other Philodendrons, this plant contains calcium oxalate crystals that are toxic to humans and pets. Keep these plants away from animals and children to avoid accidental ingestion.
Can Pink Princess Philodendron Revert?
This cultivar is popular for their variegation patterns and fascinating colors. So, it can be incredibly distressing to spend hundreds of dollars on a single plant, only to find the leaves lose all their color and become green again.
It is certainly possible for Pink Princesses to revert. The colors in the leaves are the result of variegation, a mutation that causes cells to be unable to synthesize chlorophyll.
The sections of the leaves without chlorophyll do not photosynthesize. So, when the plant doesn’t have the right amount of light to produce food and keep itself alive, it will start to produce more chlorophyll to ensure its survival.
This green chlorophyll will start to seep into the variegated sections of the plant, eventually turning them completely green. The plant will also grow far slower than usual and may show other signs of struggle.
To clarify, we’re not talking about imitations that are artificially colored. You may come across plants labeled Pink Princesses in order to fetch a high price that change back to green within a few weeks of bringing them home.
One such plant is the Pink Congo Philodendron which caused a stir on social media after consumers discovered the leaves are not pink long-term. These plants turn green because that is their true color, not because they lost their variegation.
Is it Permanent?
If you have a true Pink Princess Philodendron, this color change is not permanent. It can be difficult to rectify, but with the right care and a bit of patience, new leaves can become pink again.
This is not the case for imitation plants. These plants are modified by growers to turn the leaves pink and don’t naturally have that colored variegation. Once they turn green (when the modifications run out), they will stay green for the rest of their lives.
If your Pink Princess has reverted, that is an indication that the plant is not getting enough light. The first step to fixing the problem is to move the plant to an area with brighter sunlight.
It’s best to do this in stages to allow the plant to acclimatize to the new light levels. Don’t throw them into the direct sun on the first day – the leaves will simply burn and cause the plant to struggle even more.
Instead, place them in front of a bright window filtered by a sheer curtain. Start with a few more hours of bright indirect sunlight and slowly introduce the plant to an hour or two or direct morning sun.
Higher light levels result in greater photosynthesis, meaning the plant will stop producing excess chlorophyll. You may not notice any change straight away. But, over time, the new growth that pops up will likely develop that sought-after pink hue houseplant enthusiasts love.
How To Stop Your Plant From Reverting
Reverting plants are difficult to fix and take time to return their overall pink tone. It can take several months or even years before most of the leaves are pink again. It’s far better to prevent the leaves from reverting than it is to fix the problem once it occurs.
Light is key to maintaining this plant’s color. Keep them in bright indirect light for a minimum of 8 hours per day. Some morning sun is also suitable (1-2 hours) but they cannot handle midday or afternoon sun which will likely burn the leaves.
Try an east-facing window for the best results, or a south-facing window filtered by a sheer curtain. North-facing and low-light areas are not suitable for these plants, especially if you want to keep the color the same as the day you bought it.
General care and ideal conditions will also keep the plant in good health, brightening the color of the leaves.
Water when the top few inches of soil have dried out by testing regularly with your finger or a skewer. Fertilize once every 4-6 weeks with a balanced fertilizer, reading the instructions carefully to avoid overfertilizing.
Every couple of months, wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth. This improves photosynthesis, ensuring your plant makes the most of the light it is given.
If your Pink Princess happens to revert, there is no need to worry. Although it is a long process, it’s not impossible to fix. Unfortunately, this is something that many owners end up dealing with, depending on where the plant itself was purchased. With the right lighting conditions, you can bring back the stunning pink colors we all know and love.