You can’t step into a nursery or garden center without spotting at least a handful of philodendrons sitting around. There are hundreds of species and different varieties. The reason behind their popularity is no mystery. The Philodendron genus is filled with easy, beginner-friendly plants of all shapes, sizes, and colors. How can anything stand out in such a crowd?
The Philodendron erubescens ‘White Princess’ manages it with style. It’s a gorgeous variegated spin on the classic, lush green that most people expect. If you want to bring one home, though, you’ll have to put in a bit of effort. This variety is quite rare.
Still, rare or not, it doesn’t require a lot of complex care. All Philodendrons tend to live long lives (if they’re properly cared for) without stressing their caregivers too much in the process. The extra effort it takes to acquire a Philodendron erubescens ‘White Princess’ feels more worthwhile as you realize you could enjoy it for decades to come!
Keep reading to learn what this plant needs to grow and thrive. It brings beauty into your life and your home – these are the things it needs in return!
|Common Name||White Princess|
|Botanical Name||Philodendron erubescens ‘White Princess’|
|Native Areas||Central and South America|
|Sun/Light Requirements||Bright, indirect light|
|Soil||Aroid, well-draining, slightly acidic|
|Temperature||60˚F to 75˚F|
|Hardiness Zones||USDA Zones 10 to 12|
White Princess Philodendron Appearance
The Philodendron ‘White Princess’ gets its name from the white splashes of color that grace its green leaves. The variegated colors appear in patches or dots on the top side of the leaves. They stand out as stark and elegant against the sea of green. The patches are white, sometimes cream in color, and soften this philodendron’s aesthetic. It’s no wonder that this plant earned a royal title.
Those hallmark heart-shaped leaves can grow to nearly eight inches in size, while the plant itself reaches heights of around three feet indoors. With the right care and conditions, your Philodendron erubescens ‘White Princess’ can get even taller, though! Some have grown up to five feet tall with a width of around two feet.
Don’t count on it to reach those sizes quickly, though. This plant can take an entire decade to reach full maturity. It’s a good thing that they live for so long!
White Princess Philodendron Care Requirements
The rarity of Philodendron erubescens ‘White Princess’ is plenty of reason to take excellent care of it. There’s good news for plant owners, though. This beauty might be a princess, but it is no diva! It doesn’t take too much energy to get it set up in a great environment and establish the sort of care schedule to help it thrive.
As you read through these requirements, keep one thing in mind. The Philodendron genus is full of tropical plants accustomed to rainforest and tropical environments. They’re not all-weather plants. If you live in a very dry or very cold area, count on making a bit more effort to keep this plant happy. For the happiest plant, get as close to its natural conditions as possible. After all, it was made to fit them!
As you search for the perfect lighting, keep in mind that Philodendron erubescens is confined to the forest beneath the canopy. All sunlight has to penetrate the dense combination of leaves, branches, and trucks before it reaches the plants closer to the ground.
How do you bring that home and offer it to your Philodendron erubescens ‘White Princess’? Situate it in front of an east-facing or north-facing window to soak up a lot of bright, indirect light.
Low light can slow its growth, which is an unfortunate turn of events for a plant that is already prone to slow growth. Direct sun is an issue, too. It can cause leaf scorch and burn or damage the stunning leaves that make this plant so popular. Don’t risk it – find a spot in your home where it can get plenty of indirect light and stay healthy!
Philodendron erubescens ‘White Princess’ doesn’t have high watering needs. They’re more on the moderate side, and you’ll probably be picking up the watering can once a week or so during the growing season.
Performing a soil test is a safer bet than trying to set out specific times for watering, though. Just push your finger into the soil, stopping around the middle knuckle. If the top couple of inches feel dry, that’s your sign to give your princess a drink. Make sure any excess drains out from the bottom of the container. You don’t want to leave your plant sitting in soggy water. That’s one of the most dangerous conditions for any Philodendron species.
If you have other philodendrons at home or have cared for them in the past, this species needs the same sort of soil. Well-draining, nutrient-rich, with plenty of organic matter. Aroid mixes work wonderfully. You can make your own soil with orchid bark, perlite, peat moss, coco coir, or any similar ingredients you prefer to try out. Organic compost (like worm castings is a great choice, too.
Regardless of your chosen list of ingredients, make sure the soil has plenty of drainage material! Moist soil is a good thing, but waterlogged soil is practically begging for root rot to set in! This plant is too spectacular to lose to something like overwatering.
Do not expect this plant to tolerate the cold. Once temperatures start to drop below standard household levels (60˚F to around 75˚F), you need to find a new spot for your Philodendron ‘White Princess’ to live. Cooler temperatures, let alone freezing temperatures, can damage your plant. If it gets cold enough, you could lose it entirely! So get your princess inside and keep it away from cold, drafty parts of the house.
Your plant will be comfortable at a fairly large range of humidity. As long as you keep it somewhere between 50% and 80%, you’ll hear no complaints from the princess. High humidity is the ideal setup, but anything above 50% will do.
If you are struggling to keep things at 50% or higher due to the air or environment where you live, set up a small pebble tray with water. Place your plant on top of it. That pebble tray does some heavy lifting when it comes to maintaining humidity levels!
Use a well-balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer) to ensure your plant is receiving all the nutrients it needs. Feed it once a month or so until fall begins.
Look for any signs of over-fertilizing, such as browning near the bottom of the step or burned leaves, rinse off our plant, and water it to remove any lingering fertilizer.
Pruning a White Princess Philodendron
This self-heading Philodendron won’t need much from you in the pruning department. Essentially, the best way you can help out is by removing the dead and decaying leaves. These plants don’t grow large, and they work very hard for whatever height and width they get, so you probably won’t be itching to cut it back.
If you do choose to prune it, save some of the steps for propagation. After all, you went through the trouble of finding a Philodendron erubescens ‘White Princess.’ You should take the opportunity to make more!
White Princess Philodendron Propagation
Stem cuttings are the easiest way to propagate this plant by far. Since it is a self-heading plant, it will take a bit of finesse to get the right cutting. Make sure there are two to three nodes left at the bottom of any cutting and plant it in your soil mixture of choice. Keep the soil moist and place the cutting into bright, indirect light.
It takes about a month, but you’ll eventually see new growth. Congratulations! Now you have two pretty princesses at home.
Repotting a White Princess Philodendron
Slow growth means this plant isn’t going to rapidly outgrow its pot. Still, it’s busy under the top of the soil and this philodendron’s roots are always growing and reaching. Eventually, every year or two years, you’ll see those roots start to poke through drainage holes. You’ll know it’s time to repot.
New plants tend to expand and grow faster than more mature plants. They’ll be ready to leave their original pot before their first year is up. Afterward, things get more leisurely.
Root rot is another reason to repot. It’s urgent if you suspect your plant has root rot. Sometimes, repotting is the only way to save it.
Pests and Insects
Spider mites and mealybugs are common threats, although this plant can withstand them for a while. If you feel or see cotton-like material on the leaves of your plant or notice fine, intricate webbing, you’re dealing with some sort of pest problem.
Avoid overwatering, as this attracts various pests and invites disease, and give the leaves a good wiping down. You can spray the plant with plant-safe oils or treat it with horticultural soap. Whatever you do, don’t put it off. Pests can severely damage your princess.
Variegated plants are prized and sought after, and one look at the Philodendron erubescens ‘White Princess’ explains why. If you can track one of these rare but spectacular plants down…do it! Your home will thank you.