Alocasia is famous for its large leaves, which resemble elephants’ ears. If you have an Alocasia at your home, you might have noticed that the leaves are dripping water droplets from the tips and edges at some point.
Generally, the Alocasia drips water due to guttation. Guttation is the plant’s natural response to overwatering. When you overwater the plant or soak the soil, the plant releases the extra moisture through its leaves. It is the plant’s way of keeping itself safe from problems.
People tend to confuse guttation with transpiration and dew because the plant releases water in both cases. But there is a difference which we will discuss in this article.
Today, we will find out the reasons behind an Alocasia dripping water from its leaves, the ways to prevent the dripping, and the right way to water the Alocasia plants.
Table Of Contents
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Why do elephant ear plants drip water?
While growing plants in your home, you must know their requirements and fulfill them in time.
You must also be conscious of their moisture levels, especially during the summers.
Since summer is a hot and dry season, many gardeners give the plants more water than other seasons.
Otherwise, they will suffer from dehydration.
But that doesn’t mean that you should flood your plant.
When you water too much, you see the result of overwatering after a few days.
The leaves will have tiny water droplets on their tips and edges.
It looks as if the plant is crying.
Alocasia expels the excess water instead of storing it.
There is nothing to worry about here because it is the plant’s way of maintaining good health.
This water accumulates at the bottom of the leaf from the tip due to its shape.
What is guttation – how does it cause the Alocasia to weep?
The process of expelling the extra water from the leaves after absorption is called guttation.
It is not pure water.
Normally, it is a chemical substance called Xylem sap.
Along with water, sugar, minerals, and nutrients also come out.
If you notice closely, you will find that the water drops resemble sap or foam.
Guttation doesn’t happen in all plants.
It only takes place in the plants that naturally belong to high moisture environments or rainforests.
Alocasia is one of them.
You must be wondering how this whole procedure works.
Guttation happens through the presence of some cells in the plants called hydathodes.
These cells are the exit point of this water. When the plant doesn’t need further water, they expel this extra moisture from the hydathodes.
Guttation can occur anytime, but the most common timing is night and during the warm months.
When guttation occurs, it is a common and sure sign that your plant is overwatered.
Too much water pressurizes the plant and forces it to discharge the leaves.
The plant doesn’t only release the extra water during guttation.
It also expels extra sugar, salt, and amino acids.
Guttation vs. Transpiration vs. Dew
Most people confuse guttation, transpiration, and dewdrops because the plant releases extra water in all cases.
Transpiration is very common and similar to sweating.
The water roams about all over the plant.
The water will gather in the leaves during a humid and dewy climate.
In transpiration, the excess water evaporates and releases through the stomata and lenticels of the plant.
But guttation releases water in droplets, not by evaporation.
Guttation occurs during the early morning and night when there is mild or no sun.
But transpiration occurs in the daytime.
Transpiration happens when the weather is hot and humid.
But, guttation happens when the temperature is mild and cool.
However, humidity can increase guttation.
Transpiration emits only pure water, but guttation releases xylem sap.
The main difference between dew and these two processes is that the dewdrops occur due to the moisture level in the surrounding environment outside.
But guttation and transpiration occur within the plant.
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When does Alocasia drip water?
Alocasia will not drip water all the time.
There are specific times and situations when you will see them dripping the water.
Below I have shared some:
Early morning and night
The stomata and the lenticels close their pores when the sunlight is not much visible.
But the plant needs to release the excess moisture.
That is when hydathodes come to the rescue. The hydathodes remain open all the time.
That’s why the plant releases the moisture through these exit cells at night.
High moisture and wet days
When the humidity level rises to 80-90%, the plant fails to release the water by the normal process of transpiration.
In such conditions, they use guttation to expel the extra moisture.
It helps the plant to continue normal breathing.
Overwatering or poor drainage
These conditions tend to increase the moisture level of Alocasia greatly.
When you find them dripping water, check the soil’s moisture.
Either you are watering too much, or the soil holds moisture for a long time.
These two situations won’t be a problem unless they show signs of damage.
Before they show any signs, you must reconsider the soil and watering habits once you notice dripping water.
Also read: How Can You Save Overwatered Alocasia?
Is dripping water in Alocasia normal or a matter of concern?
Water dripping from the leaves of the Alocasia plant is not a matter of concern.
It is the plant’s natural way to stay healthy by releasing the excess water and nutrients from the leaves.
It is also considered the plant’s response to damp weather.
But, it is a matter of concern if it is combined with other problems.
For example, it will be a problem if Alocasia is drooping, yellowing, or browning along with dripping water.
It could be due to root rot or infestations.
In such a case, you should first take care of the real problem instead of the dripping water.
Other reasons for which dripping water is considered harmful are:
Constant dripping can keep the soil damp for a long time and invite fungus infestation.
Additionally, constant guttation keeps the cells of the plant open, thus making an easy way for the fungus to enter and stay within the plant.
As a result, the leaves will have white spots.
What to do when the Alocasia drips water?
When you closely check the plants, you will find water droplets at the tips and edges of the leaves.
When you see such conditions in your plant, it is a clear sign of overwatering.
You might have given them more water than required.
Watch out for any other signs of overwatering like root rot, stem rot, or discolored leaves.
Check the condition of the soil and roots too.
If there are no such signs, simply stop watering for some days and wait to see the plant’s reaction.
You will find that Alocasia has stopped dripping water.
If your plant is dripping water frequently, check the soil’s moisture level before watering it.
Though Alocasia enjoys slightly moist soil, you must use a soil mix that doesn’t hold moisture for a long time.
Generally, guttation is not harmful. But it is harmful if you are overfertilizing it.
The fertilizer salts accumulate at the tips and edges of the leaves with the xylem sap through guttation.
It burns the foliage.
To identify overfertilization, check the tips of the leaves.
When you find white crusts on the tips of the leaves, it is time to reduce fertilization.
How do you stop Alocasia from dripping water?
Alocasia dripping water from the leaves is not something that should make you worry.
But it doesn’t look good.
Many gardeners feel annoyed by the sight of an Alocasia plant dripping water.
Constant dripping also create a mess on your floor.
It is irritating to wake up and see the floor spilled with water.
To get rid of this frustration, you can take steps to prevent dripping from the plant.
Since it happens due to too much moisture, you can provide them with less water.
They drip water more during humid and wet weather because of high moisture levels.
- Always water the plants during the early morning, not in the evening and night. The plant will get the whole day to dry out by night. This can prevent the plant from dripping.
- Avoid using tap water. Tap water has harsh minerals like chlorine, fluorine, and other bicarbonates. These can increase the level of guttation. Use distilled water or rainwater.
- If you must use tap water, let it sit overnight. All the minerals will evaporate and free the water from these minerals.
- Overfertilization gives an overdose of nutrients to the plants. Excess nutrients can increase guttation. Additionally, when it accumulates with water discharge at the tips, it can burn the leaves. If you are confused, use water in less amount and frequency.
Is the water dripping from Alocasia poisonous?
While growing plants indoors, it is very important to investigate safety measures, especially for consumption.
Since most of us have children and pets at home, it is essential to understand this.
Generally, the water dripping from the Alocasia plant is not considered poisonous to humans or pets.
The water contains some oils and dissolved chemicals from the plant.
These are not poisonous.
Still, you must train your pets and children not to wander around the plant or consume the water.
Direct consumption of the leaves will result in digestive issues and skin irritation.
Composition of the guttation fluid
The water released through guttation is not water.
It is a chemical substance called xylem sap.
The water contains sugar, minerals, and nutrients too.
The component of the water also depends on soil fertility.
The leaves may burn the soil, is having high contents of nitrogen.
Below is a list of the components of guttation fluid:
- Sugars like amino acids, glucose, and galactose nutrients
- Minerals like potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, etc
- Compounds and proteins used by the plant
- Toxins and contaminants
- Bacteria, viruses, and fungus, both active and inactive ones
Though the fluid expelled through guttation is considered non-toxic, you should not let your children or pets loiter near them or lick the expelled water from the floor.
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A brief guide on watering Alocasia
- You must water the Alocasia plants before the soil dries out completely. Alocasia grows best when the soil is slightly moist.
- While watering, make sure that the soil is slightly moist and not flooded. That can cause root rot.
- Water the Alocasia plants until the excess water drains out from the drainage holes. Ensure the drainage system of the container. Otherwise, the water will remain stagnant and result in root rot.
- During the summers, water the Alocasia regularly. Note that you must provide Alocasia with at least 2 to 3 inches of water per week. However, always check the moisture level before watering instead of following any routine. Allow the top 2-3 inches of the soil to dry out before watering.
Alocasia dripping water is a natural behavior of the plant. It keeps the plant healthy by discharging excess moisture and other minerals. You don’t need to worry about it.
The only problem is constant dripping can mess up your floor and furniture. Though guttation is safe, constant guttation is not good. You can prevent it by reducing watering and over-fertilizing. Use distilled water or rainwater and ignore direct use of tap water to avoid the mineral deposit.
Never water during the evening or night. Early morning or within 7 AM is the best time to water your Alocasia.
Reference: Science Direct, Propagation of Alocasia, The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Alocasia sanderiana, Alocasia micholitziana.
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