Houseplants add extra color to your room. But the constant water drops and wet leaves can be a worrisome sign for new owners. Every morning you will find them wet, as if they are sweating, and they will even have water droplets.
So, in this article, we will try to debunk the issue and help you understand why are your indoor plant leaves wet. So, let’s get right into it.
Most tropical plants release water through their leaves and stem during transpiration. However, when there is excess humidity around the plant, water pressure builds to a point where it is forced to release through leaves in excess, also known as guttation. Such a situation can lead to wet leaves.
There are various reasons and factors responsible for wet leaves on indoor plants. If you want to know why your indoor plants remain wet and release water droplets, keep reading this article to the end. We will also cover some tips to keep the leaves from wetting.
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Why are the leaves of the indoor plant wet?
The plants release water and get wet due to their natural process. It may be worrying to see the plants sweating, and you may doubt your plant’s health.
But don’t stress. Your plant is completely fine. They are just breathing in the air and releasing water. This water is extra that the plant doesn’t need.
Two natural processes which allow the plant to sweat are transpiration and guttation. Through these two processes, the plant releases the water from the leaves. It is the plant’s way of keeping itself healthy.
Transpiration is how the plant releases the water absorbed from the soil in the form of water vapors. In guttation, the water releases the excess water and minerals received by your watering in the form of water droplets.
The extra water getting into the air raises the humidity to some extent. This also helps other plants to receive moisture.
Difference between transpiration and guttation
Transpiration is a natural process of releasing water to clean the air in plants. Transpiration is when the water moves through the plant and evaporates from the parts open to the outside air. The open parts are leaves, stems, and flowers.
But guttation is the process where the plant releases the extra water and minerals due to overwatering. There is no harm in it. Releasing excess water is an indication that your plant is receiving excessive water.
The way to identify these two is by their way of releasing water. In transpiration, the water absorbed from the soil is released in the form of water vapor. In guttation, the excess water is released through droplets.
In transpiration, the plant releases pure water. But in guttation, the plant releases water containing all salts and minerals present in your water.
Transpiration affects the turgidity of the leaves, resulting in wilted leaves, whereas guttation has no such effects.
Transpiration occurs mainly on a sunny day. Guttation happens during the early morning or at night.
Factors determining the increase of transpiration due to which the leaves remain wet
There are many factors responsible for wet leaves in indoor plants:
- Sunlight (availability and intensity)
- Soil type
- Land slope
All of these don’t apply to indoor plants. But in general, the factors are identical. We will discuss only those related to indoor plants.
Transpiration relies on evaporation. A high temperature will increase the evaporation rate.
Along with that, the transpiration rate will increase too. As a result, your indoor plants tend to sweat too much to cool down their inner temperature.
Both external and internal temperatures will affect the transpiration rate.
One possible way to solve the problem is relocating the plant to a place where it cannot receive the sun’s direct rays.
If you have kept the plant near a wall hit by the sunlight, it might reflect and fall upon the plant. In such a case, you have to move your plant away from the sun.
Also, keep your plant away from heaters or radiators in your home.
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The rooms in between the leaf cells typically saturate water vapor. If the place where you have kept your houseplant has dry air around, water vapor will start spreading too much from the space of the cells.
The transpiration rate will increase if the air around is too much dry.
But if the air is moist, it will reduce the transpiration rate. Your houseplants will sweat much more if the humidity level is less.
To solve the problem, you can install a humidifier in your room. It will be beneficial if your room has many tropical indoor plants. Humidifiers can mimic the exact humidity the tropical plants receive in their natural habitat.
Other ways of increasing humidity are misting regularly, keeping the plants inside terrarium jars, keeping the potted plant on a tray with water and pebbles, or keeping the potted plant inside a big container and filling up the space in between the big and small container with sphagnum moss.
Light can determine the transpiration rate. It affects the transpiration rate as the size of the stomata openings in the leaves increases and decreases according to the light availability and intensity.
During low light conditions, the stomata openings in the plant leaves remain closed partially or totally. This reduces the transpiration rate in them. But when the sun rays are too high and intense, the openings remain wide open, increasing the transpiration rate.
Moreover, during the hot climate, the water vapor constantly moves outwards to decrease the plant’s heat and cool down the leaves.
While removing the inner heat of the leaves, the plant will increase sweating and prevent the leaves from getting affected by the sun. That is why the leaves remain wet.
As most houseplants need indirect sunlight to survive, consider moving your plant to a shaded or semi-shaded place.
You can keep your plant near the north or east-facing window. This direction will provide bright sunlight, which will not have much intensity.
Sometimes, south or west-facing windows get high-intensity sun. If your plant is in such a direction, try using some curtains to create filters. This will create indirect sunlight.
If you feel that moving your plant will give them too low light, you can use grow lights to give them the right light.
Also read: Also read: Do Indoor Plants Need Sunlight? (With 25 Examples)
If the air around your houseplant is still, the transpiration makes the air moist and damp in the surrounding of your plant. It encourages the building up of water vapor, further increasing the humidity.
But if the surrounding atmosphere of your houseplants is windy, the moist, damp air will vanish and leave behind dry air. Due to this, the plants increase the transpiration rate to create moist air around your houseplants. If the wind around is strong, the transpiration will be high.
Your plant will release more water during dry, windy days. The plants may close their opening if the wind is extreme as the cells start losing excessive water.
Move them away if your plant is too close to the air conditioner or window and door during the strong windy days.
Keep your plant away from the air conditioners. In the case of windows and doors, keep your plant a few feet away from them.
Do not keep them directly under the ceiling fan. Keep them in a place where the plant will receive very light airflow.
If your soil is too compact due to a lack of water, the plant undergoes dehydration. As a result, the opening of stomata in the leaves closes, and the transpiration rate reduces. This happens when you starve your plants of water.
You need to give your plant enough water. Water your indoor plants thoroughly at least once a week after checking the soil.
But make sure that your soil and your plant pot have a sound drainage system and drainage holes to drain excess water.
Will the indoor plant leaves get wet during the night?
The leaves of the indoor plants get wet during the very early morning or night due to guttation. The soil remains moist, and the roots are constantly absorbing water.
If you have overwatered your plant, the leaves will release the water in the form of droplets. It is the root pressure that causes the water to come out of the leaves. This is the reason, every morning, you may find water droplets on the tips and edges of the houseplant leaves.
It is said that plants do not transpire during the night. It is true, but not entirely. Some houseplants transpire even during the night.
It depends on plant type, especially those plants which like growing under low light. The low-light houseplants depend on the sun flecks to perform photosynthesis.
The stomata of the leaves indeed close at night. But they remain open slightly. That’s why the transpiration rate is relatively slower at night compared to daytime.
You will be able to differentiate and tell whether your plant is facing transpiration or guttation. In transpiration, the leaves feel wet, look sweaty. But in guttation, there will be droplets in the leaf margins.
Is it good that your indoor plant leaves get wet?
Transpiration and guttation do not cause any harm to indoor plants. It is a natural process, and it is the plants’ way to keep themselves in good condition. Transpiration helps get rid of the inner heat in the plants, whereas guttation helps get rid of excess water and salts.
So, there is nothing harm if you find your plant leaves getting wet automatically. You just make sure that while watering, you don’t splash water over the leaves.
But watch that your plant is not sweating too much. That will not be good, and your plant leaves will start wilting.
Can you prevent indoor plant leaves from getting wet?
However, transpiration and guttation do not cause any harm to houseplants, but they can be a bit irritating.
It is vital to stop the plant from being wet to some extent. There are three ways to do so:
- Monitoring the weather
- Reduce the quantity of water
- Letting the plant remain on its own
Although we can manage their sweating by the above three things, nothing is the best. As I mentioned many times earlier, it is the natural way to be in good health. If you try to make any change and mess up things in the process, your plant will start acting negatively.
Moreover, the plant may not like the changes you have done to stop their sweating. Chances are, instead of solving the problem, you will trouble your plant and increase its difficulty, giving rise to other problems.
With that being said, let’s now see how you can prevent wet leaves.
Monitoring the weather
Maintaining a strict watering routine will confuse you if your plant leaves are wet during specific days or years.
The leaves release extra water mainly depending on the outside weather during high humidity. They are already taking in water from the air. If you water them again too much, it will result in excessive sweating, which won’t be suitable for your plant.
The best solution is to reduce or increase the watering frequency according to the weather. You can close or open your windows and doors according to the humidity level.
If your houseplant is releasing water droplets frequently, it may be because you are overwatering your plant. This happens when you have bought a new plant, or you recently transplanted one.
If your plant is being exposed to more humidity, it will need less water. If you continuously give them too much, they will release the quantity of water droplets. This can result in wilted leaves.
If your plant remains in a place with low humidity, it will need more water.
Leave your plant alone
If the surrounding weather or the watering frequency does not change anything about your plant and it is still wet, let your plant be.
If your plant is not reacting to the changes you made, they are conducting their natural process. The plant is constantly trying to get back to its original state by releasing water.
The only problem is the water pool in your home. Place a giant saucer under your potted plant so that the water droplets fall on them, then on the floor.
Cleaning indoor plants
Cleaning the plants helps to keep them healthy. Cleaning will prevent trapping water in the leaves. Some indoor plants with fuzzy leaves tend to trap water in them. Moreover, cleaning will also help to remove the dust from the leaves.
Not cleaning will prevent the leaves from releasing the excess water and will give rise to other problems.
- For small plants, spray water.
- For medium plants, give them a good shower to rinse.
- For bigger plants, take them outside to rinse.
If the old plants have never been cleaned before, the dust on the leaves should be pretty hard to get rid of. You will have to use a wet cloth and wipe all the leaves to remove all the dust from them.
This can be performed during the rains. If it is going to rain in your region, take your potted plants outside. The rain will clear all the dust. But make sure that water doesn’t remain on the leaves forever. Do not keep them for a long time, as that can cause overwatering.
Avoid using any outside products as they might be harmful to your plants.
Tips to keep your indoor plant healthy
Different types of houseplants have different needs. There are some care tips in general, which are applicable for all the houseplants:
- Give them an adequate amount of light. Remember, they need bright indirect sunlight to remain healthy. So avoid exposing them to direct sun.
- Perform infrequent but deep watering. Water your plant very well, only once or twice a week.
- Use soil that can drain excess water and can retain enough moisture.
- Fertilize them. Frequency differs for different plants. Research and then use.
- Give them high humidity and save them from temperature stress and fluctuations. Keep them away from heat and cold drafts.
- Observe them daily. Watch out for pests and diseases. If you find any, treat asap. Consider using neem oil once a month. It helps in preventing both pests and diseases to some extent.
- Choose the right size of the pot. Pot size must rely upon the plant size. Too small or too big will give rise to other problems.
- Do not forget to keep your plant clean.
Indoor plants’ leaves get wet because they face transpiration and guttation, a natural process to release water for good health. It is not at all detrimental to indoor plants. So, there is nothing to worry about it.
Just keep taking care of the plant by providing them with all their requirements and regular cleaning. Do not wet your plant leaves by splashing water on the leaves while watering. Perform bottom watering close to the soil.
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Do plants like getting their leaves wet?
Although plants get wet naturally, some do not enjoy that. That is the reason regular cleaning is essential.
Follow the preventive measures of sweating to avoid the indoor plants from getting wet. Another thing does not water from the top. Avoid watering the leaves.
Is it wrong to get plant leaves wet?
Wetting the plant can reduce the temperature of the leaves, but it is not recommended daily. If water is trapped in the leaves, it will result in wilted and droopy leaves and attract pests and fungus.
Ref: Characterization of Transpiration Rates for Different Indoor Plants, Thai National AGRIS Centre, Plant guttation, Guttation.
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