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How Plants Get Their Pink

How Plants Get Their Pink

There's just something about the color pink, isn't there? It evokes so much passion, and there's an intuitive emotion that's obvious when you give someone a pink present. It says "I love you", but has the capacity to carry that message platonically as well as romantically. It's timeless and thoughtful. 

When it comes to plants, you might be surprised by the number of pink plants that are available on the market!

First, the science

The pink colorations in plants (along with purples, reds, and blacks) are caused by a group of plant pigments called anthocyanins. You encounter anthocyanins on a daily basis - they're the reason blueberries are blue, strawberries are red, and the leaves in autumn have that distinct red/purple touch beyond the characteristic orange tones (which are caused by another group of pigments called carotenoids). 

There's a number of reasons why a plant might employ the use of anthocyanins, but generally speaking they occur most frequently in the parts of the plant that the plant wants other animals to interact with. Bright colors attract animals to the fruits of the plant so that the fruit can be eaten and its seeds dispersed; flowers that are brightly colored stand out against the backdrop of green and help pollinators find the pollen.

In houseplants, humans have selectively bred for varieties that contain high anthocyanin counts to achieve that beautiful pink foliage. Because it's a plant pigment that's used pretty much universally across the plant kingdom, having more of it in the leaves doesn't hurt the plant or decrease its longevity.

Because each leaf has less green coloration in it and more pink, these leaves need slightly more light than usual to achieve the same level of glucose output through photosynthesis. Less green = less chlorophyll, which is the primary mechanism by which a plant undergoes photosynthetic processes. This rarely causes any problems, however - especially considering that many of these plants naturally exist in the shady places under heavy tree canopies, so any jump in light requirements is very manageable.

Some of our pink plants!

Without further ado, here are five pink plants that we carry for the discerning pink connoisseur! Each of the photos links to that plant's respective product page.

 

Chinese Evergreen 'Red Ruby'

Aglaonema make for fantastic gift plants as they have an easy care routine and aren't too fussy about their environment. They want an indirect light and, in many homes, a weekly watering will suffice just fine. A beautiful symbol of a thriving relationship with healthy communication.

 

Polka Dot Plant 'Camina'

Hypoestes feels very soft and wants to be misted frequently - perfect for all the people out there who have a lot of love to give! Hypoestes also doesn't want direct sunlight, making it perfect for places in the home besides a window. Or maybe a desk at work!

 

Pink Earth Star

Earth Stars are epiphytes, which almost always grow on trees - but not these ones! They love to be potted in normal organic potting soil, making them much simpler to care for than the average epiphyte. They also like to dry out between waterings and aren't fussy about a missed watering. They can even handle some direct sun!

 

Arrowhead Vine 'Neon'

Syngonium are commonly known as "arrowhead plants" due to the triangular shape of their leaves. They come in many colors but the Neon, or Strawberries and Cream variety is a gorgeous creamy pink dream!

The Syngonium Neon variety has glossy to velvety leaves with beautiful dusty pink to baby pink leaves. It its mature form, Syngonium have an elegant draping growth pattern that look particularly good in a hanging basket or on a shelf!

 

Inch Plant (Wandering Jew) 'Tricolor Pink'

The tricolor version of the Wandering Jew, or Tradescantia Fluminensis, is an amazing find! The delicate pinks and lighter areas bring a beautiful burst of visual texture to any plant collection.

A ground-cover plant in its natural state, this plant can grow to cover the area of soil that you give it - or, popularly, you can hang it and let it drape down. It even produces small clusters of white three-petaled flowers in the summer!

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