One look at a Pink Princess philodendron, with its deep green heart-shaped leaves adorned with swatches of passionate pink like a masterpiece of abstract art, can be enough to make the hearts of plant lovers leap in exaltation. One look at the list price for a mature plant, however, can be enough to make them sink in disappointment.
Just what is it that makes these fanciful perennials so forbiddingly pricey?
Why Is Pink Princess Philodendron So Expensive?
Many factors combine to give the aptly-named Pink Princess (Philodendron erubescens) its sky-high dollar value, but they all boil down to the rarity and difficulty of breeding. It’s not easy to successfully propagate a pink princess philodendron while keeping its trademark hot pink accents intact, let alone do so enough times to make it worth the trouble financially. As such, the plants tend to fetch a pretty penny.
Keep reading to learn more about this unique and enchanting hybrid and the characteristics that make it such a hot ticket item.
Why Pink Princess Philodendron Is So Expensive
To get a better understanding of why a typical Pink Princess specimen costs more than your last car insurance payment, consider the following facts:
1. The Plant is Considered Rare
The Pink Princess is not a naturally-occurring species of philodendron but a man-made crossbreed that was specifically designed to dazzle with its vivid coloration. Each plant must be painstakingly grown from delicate tissue cultures, a process that’s both time-consuming and scientifically rigorous.
2. Pink Variegation is Hard to Achieve
The plant’s flirty pink complexion can’t be recreated time and time again without a lot of trial and error. As it turns out, there isn’t just variety in the colors themselves but also in the number and strength of the genes that give rise to them. In other words, each plant has a different degree of “pinkness,” and there’s no way to know what it is until it’s sprouted.
3. There Are Not Many Growers or Sellers
Despite the profit potential, few part-time horticulturists are willing to commit to the difficult project of cultivating Pink Princess philodendron from scratch. As such, it can be a bit tougher to come by than other common houseplants. The relatively low supply only serves to increase its demand, as does its coveted status among “plantfluencers.”
4. Many New Plants Are Thrown Away Due to Undesirable Variegation
Growers often struggle to produce offshoots that boast the same stunning swatches as their parent plants. By some estimates, one-quarter to one-third of all Philodendron erubescens cultures end up displaying little or no pink, essentially making them unsellable. After all, who would pay good money for a “Pink Princess” that didn’t have so much as a spot of pink on it?
5. Collectors Are Willing to Pay Top Dollar for a Rare Beauty
This one is Economics 101: the rarer a given commodity, the higher its perceived value. As long as there are so many household flora enthusiasts out there who are happy to fork over hundreds of dollars for a single plant, its value will only continue to climb. And judging by the number of posts that keep popping up on social media, the Pink Princess craze is far from over.
Pink Princess Philodendron Price
On average, a modestly sized pink princess sells for around $50. It’s not uncommon, though, to see larger, more impressive plants listed for $200 or more. Even small cuttings can go for upwards of $100 in some markets.
By contrast, ordinary varieties of philodendron usually retail for $20 or less, even when fully grown. That’s quite a big difference.
Where to Buy a Pink Princess Philodendron
While it’s conceivable that you could stumble upon a clutch of pink princesses at your local gardening center or plant nursery, the best place to find them (as with most things) is online.
Both cuttings and whole plants turn up frequently on sites like Etsy and eBay, where growers know there will be plenty of interested parties seeking them out. Even so, you’ll need to act fast—as mentioned, the supply is limited and the growing process is slow.
Pink Princess Philodendron Care – Quick Guide
Assuming you’re lucky enough to acquire one of these charming plants without having to take out a second mortgage, here’s how to preserve its breathtaking beauty throughout its long life.
Soil and Fertilization
Pink Princess, and philodendrons more generally, prefer light, loamy, well-drained soil that offers lots of breathing room for its roots. Add a few drops of balanced liquid fertilizer to your soil once a month during the spring and summer when the plant does most of its growing, then dial the frequency back to once every six weeks or so in the fall and winter when it goes dormant.
Light and Temperature
Being tropical plants, philodendron thrives in bright, warm environments. Your sassy rose-colored showstopper should be quite comfortable when kept somewhere with temperatures above 55-60℉ (13-16℃) and an abundance of indirect light. The “indirect” part is key here—too much direct sunlight could cause unsightly burn spots to form on the tender leaves.
Water and Humidity
Get hands-on with your Pink Princess and make it a point to give it a drink whenever the uppermost layer of soil feels dry to the touch. If possible, situate the plant in a moderately humid environment, such as a bathroom or a cozy corner of the kitchen, to make sure it’s able to soak up ambient moisture between your regular waterings.
Why Is Philodendron Gloriosum So Expensive?
Philodendron gloriosum, another popular breed of Philodendron, is expensive for many of the same reasons that Pink Princess is—gorgeous foliage (brilliant green, with contrasting veins of ivory), a short list of simplistic needs and a lengthy lifespan. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the most in-demand philodendron varieties there is.
Why Is Philodendron Joepii So Expensive?
Unlike Philodendrons erubescens and gloriosum, which are prized largely for their looks, Philodendron Joepii commands a high cost because of its scarcity and temperamental nature. Almost extinct in the wild, it grows in only a handful of remote locations around the world, most of which are virtually inaccessible without the aid of a machete and climbing equipment.
With a nickname like “Pink Princess,” you wouldn’t expect Philodendron erubescens to be cheap, and it isn’t. But it’s impossible to put a price tag on happiness—if surrounding yourself with lush, lively, exuberantly colorful plants brings you joy in a way that few other things do, snagging one for your home would no doubt be a good use of your resources.