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Why Do Philodendron Leaves Drip Water? (And Is It a Problem?)

Why Do Philodendron Leaves Drip Water? (And Is It a Problem?)

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Philodendron plants are great indoor plants for both new and experienced plant parents. It’s low-maintenance and a lovely addition to your garden or other areas in your home.

But, along the way, you might have concerns about this specific plant. Possibly questioning: why do philodendron leaves drip water?

If you’re a plant parent concerned about this, read on to see why this happens and how you can fix it.

Why Philodendron Leaves Drip Water

In this section, we’ll briefly understand why this phenomenon you see in your philodendron plant is simply a natural process it goes through.


This natural occurrence of dripping water among philodendron leaves and many other plants is called guttation.

It’s a process where plants excrete excess water and minerals out of their system through specialized pores called hydathodes.

Gravity pulls down the pressure from over-watered roots to exit through the leaf margins where these hydathodes are located.

Content of Water

It’s not only water that seeps out of the plant but also a combination of other minerals. This combination of fluid and minerals is known as the xylem sap.

Guttation also helps rehydrate the plant as water from the leaves drips down to its soil to keep it moist.

What Guttation Does

Simply put, guttation is the way plants maintain their growth and health. Thus, guttation isn’t a harmful process.

Philodendrons originated from tropical countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, and the Caribbean where there are high humidity levels.

With the amount of water they absorb because of this environment, philodendrons are subject to guttation to rid themselves of extra fluids.

However, there are certain factors why guttation also occurs with indoor philodendrons. Let’s find out what causes this.

3 Common Causes of Guttation and Proper Maintenance

Although guttation isn’t harmful, this can take a turn for the worst if your plants aren’t given proper care.

Philodendrons commonly go through guttation due to overwatering, over-fertilization, and insufficient sunlight. Below, we’ll see how these three factors cause guttation.

1 – Overwatering

Frequently watering your philodendrons without waiting for the water in the soil to dry out is not ideal.

Too much soil moisture also breeds pests and bacterial or fungal infections that are detrimental to plant health. Another sign your plant is overwatered is when its leaves turn yellow or gain brown spots.

In the case of under-watering, your leaves will also wilt, not having enough nutrients.

Philodendrons generally survive up to two weeks without water, but it’s best to water them as needed. Depending on the variant and size of your philodendrons, they usually require watering once a week or once every other week.

You can manually inspect the moisture level of your soil by checking if the top two inches of your soil are damp or dry. When the soil is dry to the touch, you can moderately water them.

It’s best to water them early in the morning as guttation occurs at night.

2 – Over-fertilization

Like overwatering, over-fertilizing is unnecessary for your philodendron.

Even the xylem sap dripping back into the soil can potentially carry bacteria from the air it’s exposed to. Evaporated xylem sap also leaves white stains on the leaf, affecting its quality.

Philodendrons thrive in well-balanced soil that absorbs sufficient oxygen, water, and nutrients. To avoid clogging, plant your philodendron in loose soil that drains water well and allows good airflow.

Poke holes through the soil to drain stagnant water and fertilize monthly with organic micronutrient-filled fertilizer as needed.

Opt to repot your plant if yellow leaves are prevalent, as that’s a sign of rotting roots. Repot your plants accordingly to the size they need to grow into.

Also, wipe excess xylem sap off with a cloth to prevent white spots on leaves.

3 – Insufficient Sunlight

A lot of philodendron species can survive in low-light places. But, it’s just as important to provide these plants with enough sunlight.

Not enough sunlight will turn your leaves pale and weaken your plant. In contrast, exposing them to intense light and heat can burn the leaves.

Thus, bright indirect sunlight is best. Placing your philodendrons near windows or shady areas in the house is ideal.

Suitable Environment for Philodendrons

A balanced environment of humidity and indirect sunlight will help your philodendrons flourish healthily.

In their natural habitat, philodendrons grow in rainforests and river or waterfall banks where humidity is naturally at optimal levels.

They can grow well in various humidity levels indoors too.

There are many methods to enhance humidity at home. You can relocate them to areas near water, like bathrooms and kitchens.

If you want to place them elsewhere, mist them regularly to maintain the humidity. Having a humidifier at home and keeping your philodendrons near it can also help increase humidity.

Final Thoughts

Now, we know the answer to the question: why do philodendron leaves drip water?

It is due to the natural process of guttation – the excretion of excess water and minerals.

Moreover, there are three common causes of guttation: over-watering, overfertilization, and insufficient sunlight.

With this in mind, you now know how to grow your philodendrons beautifully by giving them proper care and maintenance.

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Wednesday 3rd of January 2024

Interesting read about Guttation etc, but I have one question ,is the fluid that drips from my Philodendrons poisonous ?

Lisa Bridenstine

Saturday 6th of January 2024

Hi Brendan, The fluid may contain calcium oxalate that has been flushed out of the leaf. I do not know exactly how much calcium oxalate would be in the water, so it may be worth being cautious about it.