Many people prefer indoor plants over outdoor plants, whether for the aesthetic of it or the health benefits of various plants in your living spaces. Therefore, you may question what it means when you notice your plants doing odd things, like water dripping from the leaves.
When indoor plants drip water from leaves, it means that the plant is experiencing transpiration, guttation, or condensation. Transpiration is when leaves release water vapor, guttation involves pressure on the roots squeezing out water, and condensation is when water vapor becomes liquid.
Some people notice that their indoor plants seem to ‘weep’ sometimes; however, this is very often a healthy response! The rest of this article will discuss the three processes of transpiration, guttation, and condensation more in-depth and the difference between them. I’ll also go over if you can stop your plants from dripping water and what to do when the dripping becomes excessive.
Why Your Indoor Plants Drip Water From Leaves
The two main processes that cause indoor plants to drip water from leaves include transpiration and guttation.
While both processes are essential in their ways, it’s important to know the difference between them to understand why your plant is dripping water from its leaves.
While transpiration and guttation are the most common reasons for water dripping from the leaves, condensation could be another factor causing dripping water.
So, let’s look at the three processes in more detail.
The Process of Transpiration
Transpiration involves the evaporation of water from the surface of the leaf. This process mainly occurs through the stomata, or in other words, the leaves’ pores. These “pores” act as a way for plants to breathe. They’re also critical to photosynthesis and the regulating of moisture in the plant.
During transpiration, water is pulled through the plant, released through the stomata, and evaporated into the air. The soil then reabsorbs the water through the soil, and the process repeats.
Additionally, the rate at which transpiration happens depends on various factors. While a lot of the time, you won’t even be able to see the water when it’s transpiring on the leaves, there are instances when you can. The factors that influence the rate of transpiration may include:
- Weather conditions
- Type of soil
Humidity is a significant, influential factor, as the more humid the air is, the more the plant will “sweat,” causing more water droplets to appear on your plant’s leaves.
It’s important to note that all plants go through the process of transpiration, even when you can’t see it. However, not all plants experience guttation, which I’ll discuss more in-depth in the next section.
Is Transpiration a Good Thing?
Knowing what transpiration is might be necessary, but knowing whether or not it’s healthy for your plant is also crucial. So, is transpiration a good thing?
Transpiration is a good thing. Transpiration is a sign that water is successfully moving throughout the plant and, therefore, maintaining a healthy plant water balance. Without transpiration, plants wouldn’t be able to release excess water. Consequently, it would wilt and die.
However, while transpiration is essential to plant health, too much can cause dehydration. Therefore, if your indoor plant is excessively transpiring, you must keep a close eye on its water intake. Excessive transpiration without the proper water intake can completely dehydrate the plant.
The Process of Guttation
The process of guttation is very similar to transpiration. However, with guttation, the plant’s anatomy includes hydathodes, which only occur in vascular plants. Hydathodes are also pores, but you’ll find them on the edge of the leaves rather than on the surface.
It’s essential to remember that the process of guttation can only occur when there’s pressure in the roots that forces that water out of the leaves. Therefore, large vascular plants can’t experience guttation, only smaller ones.
Some indoor plants that frequently go through the process of guttation include:
- ZZ Plant.
Guttation also appears in a uniformly spaced pattern around the leaf. Therefore, it’s easy to spot the difference between it and transpiration.
Is Guttation a Good Thing?
Although guttation and transpiration are similar in many ways, they have their essential differences. So, even though transpiration is healthy for your plant, is guttation?
Guttation is a good thing. Guttation is a sign that your plant is in good health. Like with transpiration, guttation releases excess water in the plant, so it’s a sign that you’re watering your plant correctly. However, too much guttation can be a sign of overwatering.
Too much of a good thing can be harmful, so if you notice your indoor plants dripping water from leaves due to guttation (and the water loss is excessive), this might be a sign to water the plant less. However, most of the time, guttation is an excellent sign of health.
The Process of Condensation
Another possible reason your plant is dripping water from leaves is the process of condensation, otherwise known as “dew.” Dew is a common occurrence in all plants, especially in humid climates.
Condensation occurs when humid air comes into contact with a cold surface, turning water vapor into liquid form. One of the most common examples of condensation, or dew formation, is when your grass is wet in the morning.
While many people may not think indoor plants can collect dew on their leaves, it is possible in humid environments or when the plant is under stress.
Therefore, if your environment is more humid and your indoor plant is dripping water from its leaves, this could be the reason.
Do Plants Benefit From Dew?
Unlike transpiration and guttation, dew forms due to environmental conditions, including high humidity. So, even though the other processes are considered good, is condensation beneficial to plants?
Plants do benefit from dew, especially plants that lack moisture. However, dew can negatively affect plants that receive more than enough moisture, leading to possible rot or fungus.
Can I Stop My Indoor Plants From Dripping Water From Leaves?
If you notice your indoor plants are dripping water from their leaves and you’re not a fan, your next step is to find a way to stop it. Although it can be a little unsettling to see, water dripping from leaves isn’t bad. But what if you want to stop it?
You can’t stop your indoor plants from dripping water from leaves. Your plant dripping water from its leaves is a sign that it’s in good health, so the only way to stop that would be to water it less. Therefore, it’s best to take the water dripping as a good sign.
So, unless your plant is dripping a significant amount of water from its leaves or other signs pointing to an unhealthy plant, it’s not something that should cause concern.
What To Do When Your Plant Excessively Drips Water
Now that I’ve covered that water dripping from your plant’s leaves is a good thing (most of the time), it’s time to discuss when it’s a bad thing and what to do about it. So, if your indoor plant’s leaves are dripping more water than they should, follow these steps:
- Understand the reason for the water dripping. As I’ve mentioned, there are a few reasons your plant drips water. If your plant is a vascular plant with hydathodes, guttation is likely the reason. Otherwise, you’re most likely looking at transpiration or condensation, the former of which only occurs in humid environments.
- Assess the plant. Are there signs of overwatering, such as your plant having wilted, discolored leaves, or other signs of ill health? If so, there’s probably a more significant issue with the plant, which could be overwatering.
- Confront any underlying problems with the plant. If there is a more severe issue with the plant, such as overwatering, root rot, or something else, you must deal with these issues, as it could be a reason for excessive water loss through the leaves.
- Buy a drip tray. If your plant seems healthy but still drips water from its leaves more than you would like, consider buying a drip tray. Although drip trays mainly serve to hold the water that spills through the bottom of the pot, they’ll work to catch any extra drips from the plant’s leaves, depending on the plant.
When indoor plants drip water from leaves, it’s most likely due to either transpiration or guttation, which helps plants remove excess water through the leaf’s “pores.” Both of these processes are entirely healthy and normal for plants to do.
However, indoor plants dripping water from leaves can also be due to condensation, also known as “dew.” You commonly find dew in humid environments, so if you expose a plant to high humidity, it could explain why your plant is dripping.
Whatever the reason may be, water dripping from leaves is usually normal and a sign of a healthy plant.
Related article: Do Houseplants Cause a Humidity Increase?