Tuesday, July 12, 2011

List: Houseplants Which Have Pink Flowers

"Pink" is a tougher color to define than most, because it shades into a lot of other colors. Differentiating between "pink" and "lavender," "coral," or "red" can be tough sometimes. And then there are the problems with whether "fuchsia" is pink or purple or its own color entirely, and so on. You get the picture. Didn't have these sorts of problems with the yellow-flowers list or the orange-flowers list.1

As with previous lists like this, I'm looking at the plants from an interior-decorating perspective, not botany. So yes, I know that bracts aren't flowers, but I'm assuming that most people who find this page by Google search or whatever are looking for stuff that works visually, not scientifically.

Adenium obesum cvv. (only some varieties; most fall somewhere on the white-pink-red continuum, though)

Aechmea fasciata (the pink parts are the bracts; the actual flowers are blue-violet)

Cyclamen persicum cvv. (only some cvv.; white, red, lavender, striped, and two-tone flowers are also available)

Dracaena fragrans (seems to vary with culture; I've seen some photos that looked pink and others that looked white or cream-colored)

Euphorbia milii cvv. (The true flowers are yellow-green; the colored parts are bracts. Bracts may be white, yellow, red, or two-toned, though red and pink seem to be the most common)

Episcia cvv. (only some; red seems to be most common, but orange, coral, and yellow are also available)

Gymnocalycium baldianum and other spp. (most are white or very pale pink, though baldianum seems to be the exception)

Mandevilla cvv. (some; most are somewhere along the white-pink-red spectrum, with red being most common as far as I've seen)

Rhododendron cvv. (only some cvv.; most are in the neighborhood of white-pink-red, but lavender also happens. Plants sold for outdoor planting cover a much broader color range than those sold as tabletop plants, in my experience.)

Tradescantia sillamontana. (Always pink as far as I know.)

For recommends and anti-recommends, I've had positive experiences with five of the above (Aechmea, Cyclamen, Dracaena, Euphorbia, Episcia), bad personal experiences with two (Adenium, Tradescantia), bad professional experiences with two (Mandevilla, Rhododendron), and not much experience at all with one (Gymnocalycium).

Assuming that getting flowers out of the plant is important, my top recommendation would be Euphorbia milii: it does require a lot of light and regular fertilizer, but it's otherwise easy to bring into bloom, and a durable, forgiving plant.

Second recommendation would be Episcias. Since they don't all have pink flowers, it's important to be sure you know what you're getting, but once you have one, it should be fairly easy to keep going. (One does have to restart them regularly, but they produce plantlets on runners all the time, so restarting is mainly a matter of cutting off a plantlet and sticking it in a pot.)

Both the Aechmea and Dracaena are wonderful plants, but they don't bloom often, so I'll have to go with Tradescantia sillamontana as the third recommend, even though I've had bad luck with it personally. Again, it needs bright light to flower, and the individual flowers don't last long, but they're normally rugged plants (my experience notwithstanding), and in bright enough light the foliage will also turn pinkish.

For the anti-recommend, I'll go with Rhododendron. No doubt there's someone somewhere who keeps them going indoors for long periods, but the plants that are usually available for sale have been pushed hard to bloom, and consequently provide a very intense but brief show. At work, we mostly had trouble keeping them cool and wet enough. They'll defoliate dramatically if they get too dry, which is really easy to do in a container, and new growth is slow to come back on. They're pretty, but don't get attached.

Not pictured:
(If you know of other plants that would belong in this list, or believe that one of the ones I've included is here by mistake, leave me a comment.)
  • Abutilon cvv. (some)
  • Acalypha reptans (more of a pinkish-red than a true pink)
  • Aeschynanthus 'Thai Pink'
  • Aloinopsis sp. (some spp.? Very light pink or white)
  • Anacampseros rufescens (pinkish-purple)
  • Anthurium cvv. (some)
  • Ardisia elliptica (flowers infrequent indoors, and very pale pink)
  • Argyroderma spp. (some spp.; pinkish-purple)
  • Begonia cvv. (many, esp. cane-types and rhizomatous types, though not all bloom pink, and some are reluctant to bloom at all)
  • Bougainvillea cvv. (some; pinkish-purple)
  • Brugmansia cvv. (some)
  • Bryophyllum tubiflorum (coral-pk? I haven't seen the flowers in person, and Google image search was only somewhat helpful)
  • Calliandra emarginata (not sure it really counts as a houseplant, though)
  • orchids in the Cattleya alliance (some; they also have a tendency toward pinkish-purple, rather than true pink)
  • Ceropegia woodii (both pink and purple)
  • Chirita cvv./spp. including C. linearis (most Chiritas tend to be blue or purple, though)
  • Cleistocactus spp. (some? pinkish-orange)
  • Clerodendrum x speciosum. (the actual flowers are red, but the bracts are pinkish-red)
  • Codiaeum variegatum (rarely: usually flowers are white, but sometimes they're light pink. The flowers aren't particularly ornamental either way.)
  • Cordyline fruticosa (also not hugely ornamental, but the flowers are pink)
  • Crassula alpestris (very light pink)
  • Crassula 'Buddha's Temple'
  • Crassula coccinea
  • Crassula ovata (barely; mostly white, with only a hint of pink)
  • Crassula rupestris (sometimes?)
  • Crassula sarcocaulis
  • Cymbidium cvv. (some cvv.)
  • Dendrobium cvv. (some; usually more lavender or pink-purple than straight pink)
  • Echeveria cvv. (some; flowers are often pink or pink-orange with a yellow "mouth")
  • Echinocereus cvv. (some; those that are pinkish tend to lean to the purple/lavender side)
  • Echinopsis cvv. (some; usually either white or very light pink)
  • Epiphyllum cvv. (few; most of what's available appear to be white, but there are red and red-pink varieties out there)
  • Euphorbia pulcherrima (some; bracts; true flowers are yellowish-green)
  • Ferocactus spp. (few; pinkish-purple or pinkish-red)
  • Fuchsia cvv. (most; reddish-pink)
  • Gasteria cvv. (few; pinkish-orange)
  • Gerbera cvv. (some, though I wouldn't necessarily call it suitable as a houseplant)
  • Guzmania cvv. (a few varieties have hot pink or pinkish-purple bracts)
  • Hatiora cvv. (the ones called "Easter Cactus," and not all of them. These were formerly called Rhipsalis or Rhipsalidopsis.)
  • Heliconia cvv. (bracts on a few varieties are pink; usually bracts are red and/or yellow)
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (only some varieties)
  • Hippeastrum cvv. (some varieties)
  • Hoya archboldiana (pink and white)
  • Hoya bella (most of the flower is white, but some is pink)
  • Hoya carnosa (usually pink and red but variable)
  • Hoya compacta
  • Hoya darwinii (light pink)
  • Hoya davidcummingii (pink and yellow)
  • Hoya globulifera
  • Hoya megalaster (dark pink)
  • Hoya obovata (dark pink and light pink)
  • Hoya pubicalyx (variable; flowers are some combination of pinkish-red, dark pink, pale pink, and white)
  • Hoya purpureo-fusca (pink and yellow)
  • Hoya rubida (dark pink)
  • Hydrangea cvv. (sometimes; I wouldn't call it a houseplant, but some people do.)
  • Hypoestes phyllostachya (pinkish-purple)
  • Impatiens cvv. (some varieties)
  • Jasminum spp.? (occasionally, some of the Jasminums we had at work would produce blooms with a slight pinkish tinge to them, but I don't know if that was cultural or a particular variety or what)
  • Justicia carnea (maybe not a great houseplant, but flowers are vivid pinkish-red)
  • Justicia scheidweileri (the bracts are hot pink; true flowers are purple)
  • Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (some varieties)
  • Kalanchoe eriophylla (variable; some white or lavender)
  • Kohleria cvv. (some varieties, though usually Kohleria flowers are red, orange, or purple)
  • Lampranthus blandus (after trying it myself, I'm not convinced that this should count as a houseplant, but the flowers -- which I've never seen in person -- are pinkish-purple)
  • Mammillaria spp./cvv. (some varieties are pinkish-purple or dark pink; others flower white)
  • Medinilla cvv. (most are pink; lavender and orange also exist)
  • Melocactus spp. (most; hot pink)
  • Mimosa pudica (arguably more lavender than pink, but sometimes they photograph as pink)
  • Miltoniopsis cvv. (most have some pink somewhere, usually dark pink)
  • Musa cvv. (few; bracts)
  • Nematanthus cvv. (few; pinkish-orange or pinkish-red)
  • Neoregelia cvv. (actual flowers are violet-blue, but in some varieties, the leaves at the center of the plant flush hot pink when flowering begins)
  • Nerium oleander (some; maybe not really a houseplant, though)
  • orchids in the Oncidium alliance (some, though it's not the most common color)
  • Opuntia spp. (few; most are yellow)
  • Oxalis triangularis (variable between pink, white, and lavender)
  • Pachypodium spp. (few; most flower yellow or white)
  • Paphiopedilum cvv. (few I'd call true pink; most are white/purple/yellow/brown, but some have smudgy pink areas between white/violet)
  • Parodia cvv.? (most are yellow, orange or red)
  • Passiflora cv. 'Banana' (maybe other cvv.?)
  • Pelargonium cvv. (some)
  • Pereskia grandifolia (flowers pinkish-violet, though other Pereskias don't; may or may not be suitable as houseplant)
  • Phalaenopsis cvv. (some; more pink-purple than true pink)
  • Phragmipedium cvv. (a few)
  • Pilea mollis 'Moon Valley'
  • Pilosocereus leucocephalus, P. palmeri (pale pink)
  • Pinguicula spp. (a few; most are purple, lavender, or blue-violet)
  • Pleiospilos nelii (most Pleiospilos flowers are yellow/orange)
  • Plumeria cvv. (a few; arguably not a houseplant)
  • Portulacaria afra (I was surprised too.)
  • Ruellia makoyana (pinkish-purple; have never seen it grown indoors but I'm told people sometimes do)
  • Saintpaulia cvv. (some)
  • Saxifraga stolonifera (barely: mostly the flowers are white and yellow)
  • Schlumbergera cvv. (few, more pinkish-purple or pink-orange than straight pink)
  • Sedum burrito (uncertain; there weren't many photos, but the flowers sure looked like a dark pink-purple)
  • Sempervivum cvv. (most/all?)
  • Sinningia cvv. (few)
  • Spathoglottis cvv. (some)
  • Stenocereus thurberi
  • Streptocarpus cvv. (few; most seem to be white, lavender, purple, or blue)
  • Stromanthe sanguinea (dk pk to red; not especially attractive but they still count)
  • Tillandsia cvv. (air plants) (I've seen at least one with pink bracts and lavender flowers)
  • Tillandsia cyanea (hot pink bracts, blue-violet true flowers)
  • Tolmiea menziesii (not ornamental; small and sort of a weird pink-brown color)
  • Tradescantia pallida
  • Tradescantia zebrina (usually)
  • Vanda cvv. (some, pink or pink-purple)
  • Zantedeschia cvv. (some; spathes)
  • Zingiber malaysianum (bracts vary in color from yel to pk, though blooming is unlikely indoors)

1 The color I will really hate doing is white: I won't have any trouble finding pictures, but the list of houseplants with white flowers is going to be huge.


Paul said...

Again, I have to tout the brugmansia:

mr_subjunctive said...


Sorry. I'm not trying to disrespect the brugs. When I'm making one of these lists, I go through all the yearbook photos and add anything to the list that fits the category, the reason being that I know that I have a photo to go with any of those plants. It doesn't usually occur to me to consider Brugmansia because I don't currently have a yearbook photo for Brugmansia. Maybe someday.

Anonymous said...

Do you have a variety name for the pink-flowered episcia pictured in your 2011/07 blog?

mr_subjunctive said...


I don't. Sorry. In my head, I think of it as "the prayer plant Episcia," because the markings, in some light conditions, resemble those of the prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura kerchoveana), but that's only my name for it, nothing official.