Because sometimes it’s not easy being green

pink leaves
Photo by TorriPhoto / Getty Images
Low angle view of colorful pink and green tropical leaves of maranta (prayer plant)

I recently  learned that the media company where my husband works has, I’m not joking, a “no plants” policy. It’s not because they’re philistines; it’s because the color green is “not on brand” for the company. I guess sometimes it’s not easy being green. That’s fine—the plant kingdom offers lots of ways to keep us tickled pink. In fact, pink-leaved houseplants are blowing *up* on Instagram right now, and all I can say is

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I mean, variegated plants are gorgeous too, but lately my Instagram feed is full of pink (and black! and white!) plant varieties and I just want to fill my room with them.  In case you hadn’t heard, #onwednesdaysweplantpink and here are a few of the superstars:

Philodendron erubescens ‘Pink Princess’ and ‘Pink Congo’

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The ‘Pink Princess’ philodendron was the first to land on my radar. All the cutie houseplant kids were gushing about them on Instagram, and for good reason. Variegated, black and pink? *Swoon* 

There’s been some recent drama / alarm about ‘Pink Congo’ being a scam, that the color is “chemically induced.” Well, I hate to break it to you, but all plant colors are chemically induced(science!). Variegated plants will typically turn green if they don’t receive enough sunlight; bright indirect sunlight is the key to most houseplant success, but keep in mind that plants do need some chlorophyll to photosynthesize and stay alive. Even with proper care, plants can revert to green. 

Peperomia caperata ‘Pink Lady’

I’ve always loved the texture on the emerald ripple peperomia, but the soft baby pink on this variegated number is so sweet it almost makes my teeth hurt. You can grow these easy houseplants in bright light, and allow them to dry out between waterings.

Aglaonema spp. ‘Pink Dalmatian’

There are tons of pink-leaved Chinese evergreens: ‘Pink Moon’ has a pink stem and midrib; ‘Pink Dalmatian’ (pictured above) has pink spots; ‘Lady Valentine’ is pink with green splotches and veins. There are hot pink speckled ones ones (‘Pink Panther’) and fuchsia ones without spots (‘Pink Dud’). Salmon-pink ‘Favonian’ is another glory. It’s a veritable buffet of pink!  Chinese evergreen is a pretty standard houseplant with basic care needs: rich, moist soil and bright filtered light will do the trick.

Echeveria ‘Laui’

These little darlings look like something the Little Mermaid would grow in her pad. Bright light will keep these sweet succulents in the pink. they can also be grown in outdoor containers; try them with purple prickly pear (Opuntia violacea ‘Santa-rita Tubac’) and blue fescue for the ultimate pastel-princess party. For #curlyhairdontcare leaf texture, try Echeveria gibbiflora ‘Ruffles‘ or ‘Dick’s Pink.’ 

Caladium x hortulanum ‘Pink Beauty’

This pink-leaved beauty is so popular on Instagram that it may as well be Chrissy Teigen. ‘Spring Fling’ is another unbeatable variety, with dark green veins on flamingo-pink leaves. Grow them with other tropical-vibe houseplants for an instant South Seas staycation. These dainty little sweeties like filtered light or shade and moist, organic soils. 

Tradescantia ‘Blushing Bride,’ ‘Sailor Rosa,’ ‘Rainbow’ (‘Tricolor’), and ‘Lilac’

These gorgeous danglers are wonderful as hanging plants, and the variegation is mixed so you get lots of pretty color all on the same plant. Spiderwort is among the easiest plants to grow and propagate, too—so you can start lots of little babies to fill up your windows for free. Grow this plant’s kissin’ cousin (bridal veil, or creeping inchplant; Callisia repens variegata) in the same way; it also sprouts readily from cuttings. 

Pachyphytum oviferum ‘Pink Moonstones’

These cute lil’ pastel nuggets look so sweet in succulent terrariums or in a pot topped with sparkly white sand for a water-wise fairy garden. They’re also a snap to propagate (and to proplift). They really do look like juicy little moonstones. 

Syngonium podophyllum ‘Pink’ and ‘Berry Allusion’

This bubblegum baby has the same arrowhead leaf shape as a Caladium, but it’s much more laid back to grow, requiring just basic potting mix, regular watering, and a medium-sunny window. It’s pretty easy to find these pink ones, too—I even saw ‘Berry Allusion at Trader Joe’s

Ficus elastica ‘Ruby’

Besides being basically bulletproof, these gorgeously variegated rubber plants help remove toxins from your air. Isn’t that nice of them? These can take dimmer light, but their variegation will fade to green the longer they’re kept in the shade. 

Begonia ‘Inca Fire’

This pink-and-purple begonia has iridescent, reflective leaves, thanks to epidermal lens cells that help the plant get more light in the shady understory of their natural habitat. It makes them look almost metallic in the light, like wings on the ghost of David Bowie.

Graptosedum ‘Ghosty’

Speaking of ghosts, get a load of this opalescent beaut. And with its warm, rosy, golden hour tone, ‘Alpenglow’ is another good choice for lovers of pink-leaved succulents. 

Ceropegia woodii ‘Variegata’

Rosary was already one of my very favorite hanging plants, and now that I know a baby pink-leaved variety exists I’m just beside myself. They look an absolute treat here with string of pearls (my preferred name for the trailing succulent in the photo, Senecio rowleyanus). 

Saintpaulia ionantha ‘Buckeye Candy Kisses,’ ‘Toronto Belle,’ ‘Wrangler’s Pink Patches,’ ‘K’s Pink Agate,’ &c

Pink leaves on these splendid cultivars just confirms my belief that African violet is one little old lady plant that is definitely making a comeback. Mine don’t bloom very often, but that’s okay—when they do bloom I feel like I’ve earned it. In the meantime, I can enjoy the pink-leaved plant in lieu of blossoms.