Why Do the Leaves of My Houseplant Drip?

Dripping Leaf
Photo: © Marie Iannotti

There are so many problems that can affect houseplants. They are at the mercy of the temperature and climate indoors and very often the conditions people prefer are not what plants will thrive in. Light is low and humidity is often non-existent.

It's not uncommon for houseplants to grow more slowly than they would outdoors, in ideal conditions. You may also notice more frequent wilting or leaves that shrivel or turn brown and drop.

These things won't kill your houseplant, but it may stress them.

Even when you think you are doing everything right by your plants, they may have trouble adjusting. Sometimes they can adapt to conditions indoors and sometimes they can't. Dripping leaves is one way houseplants right their growing conditions on their own.

Why Do Houseplant Leaves Seem to Drip?

When houseplant leaves develop droplets of water on their tips, it is probably just transpiration. Leaves dripping water is a natural occurrence, like people sweating.  Natural, but messy, and there are some things you can do to control dripping leaves.

When plants take in more water than they need or if it's really humid or dewy out, they release the excess through the leaves. This generally occurs in the summer, especially if windows are open. The humidity during the day and the moisture in the air when the dew settles in morning are all absorb, to some degree, by plant leaves.

Usually this is a good thing. However when a plant is already saturated, it needs to release the excess moisture and it does so by transpiration through its leaves.

You won't see a flood of water being released, just a droplet or two on the tips. This will fall off or evaporate and you won't see it happen again until conditions are once again right.

What to Do About Dripping Houseplant Leaves

This transpiration is not hurting your plants, but it might be harming your furniture or floors. There's an easy way to cut back on the dripping - cut back on how much you water your plants.

The leaves are dripping because they already have as much moisture as they can hold. During humid spells, most plants will not need as much water as they normally wood. Let you plants be your guide and adjust the amount of water you give them accordingly. Cut back from weekly watering to every other week or so and monitor the plants to see if they still drip or if you have gone too far in the other direction and they are now wilting between waterings. The amount of water needed will change throughout the year.

More Houseplant Problems to Watch For

While dripping leaves are not really a problem, there are plenty of other troubles waiting to befall your houseplants. Here are some to be on the lookout for: