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Why do Pothos Leaves Dripping Water?

Pothos plants will occasionally have water droplets at the tips of their leaves. Often, this phenomenon is mentioned as pothos leaves sweating or dripping water. Scientifically, this process is called guttation.

There are a few explanations to why guttation is happening that I’m going to address in this article, along with the remedies for water dripping off your pothos leaves.

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With a few exceptions, guttation in pothos plants can be stopped and your plant will usually go back to normal. But first, let’s clarify what guttation is and what are its underlying causes.

What is Guttation?

While it may look like your pothos plant is producing tears or sweat, it’s just getting rid of excess water in the plant.

The way the plant clears excess water is through the water glands or hydrathodes located on the tip of the pothos leaves.

There are two reasons why guttation happens:

  • High humidity levels
  • Constant overwatering

Let’s look at both causes of guttation in pothos plants:

1. High humidity

Although pothos plants enjoy moisture and humidity, when humidity levels change drastically or suddenly, a pressure difference arises between the roots of the plant and the leaves of the plant.

Guttation or sweating of the leaves helps to balance the pressure and get rid of the excess moisture the plant no longer needs since the moisture levels in the air are high.

You’ll notice your pothos sweating on warm, humid days or when moved from a relatively drier location to a high humidity location.

You may also come across the leaves of your pothos plant dripping water if you introduce a humidifier in a room where humidity levels were previously lower.

Therefore, guttation is just the plant’s way of signalling that air moisture may be too high and the plant needs to release excess moisture from its tissues to balance the pressure within the plant.

2. Overwatering

Overwatering is already problematic for pothos plants as it is, leading to root rot and eventually the death of the plant.

Watering your pothos with more water that it needs will once again create extra pressure at the roots, causing the plant to try to get rid of the extra water in its leaves, which it achieves by clearing excess moisture through the sweat glands on the leaves.

Therefore, if you notice the leaves dripping water, you should assess the moisture level in the air and rethink your watering regimen.

Reducing watering will help address the problem and the way to do it is to assess the moisture level of the soil every time you want to water a pothos plant.

Simply insert your index finger up to the first knuckle and see whether the soil at the tip of your finger is wet or dry. If it’s still wet, check back in a couple of days. Water only if the soil starts to feel dry.

Is Guttation Bad for Pothos?

Guttation is a natural process that isn’t bad in itself for a pothos plant. In fact, it helps the plant to deal with the excess moisture and pressure that’s caused by overwatering or high humidity.

Too much humidity coupled with overwatering, however, are bad for a pothos plant. Guttation is just a manifestation of these things.

Don’t panic if you see a pothos plant or other house plants dripping water from their leaves. Simply address the issue by decreasing watering and/or humidity levels, and your plant should revert back to normal.

Should You Wipe off Drips from Pothos Leaves?

From the plant’s perspective, there’s typically no need to wipe off drips that you may notice on the leaves.

It is good practice, however, to keep the leaves clean and dry. Wiping off the leaves of your houseplants also ensures that the sweat glands can stay clear, plus you will wipe off any dust, dirt or debris that accumulates on the leaves.

Another potential reason why you may want to wipe off drips from your pothos leaves is to prevent them from falling on your shelves, tabletops or floors and potentially leaving stains.

Still, there are cases when it’s best to just wipe off water droplets from the leaves. Leaves that are moist are more likely to harbour fungi and other bacteria or pests, so keeping the leaves free of moisture and dirt will minimize the chances of leaf diseases.

Therefore, it’s not necessary as such to wipe off leaves that are undergoing guttation, but you can do so if you’re worried about stains on your furniture or mould forming on the leaves.

Are Drips from Pothos Leaves Toxic?

The droplets on your pothos leaves aren’t toxic, although pothos plants are toxic. These are made up of mostly water and sometimes trace amounts of nutrients as well as sugars.

Therefore, the water droplets that emerge as a result of guttation are non-toxic and completely harmless.

Can You Prevent Guttation in Pothos?

Guttation is something that happens naturally in your plants. It isn’t something that you can necessarily control or actively prevent from happening.

What you can and should do, however, is to make sure your pothos plant is not overwatered and humidity levels aren’t fluctuating too much.

Healthy plants will guttate and release excess water. You can examine your watering schedule, as a result, to try to determine whether your pothos is getting too much water.

Some plants are more prone to guttate than others, even without being overwatered or humidity levels being too high.

Conclusion

The water droplets that you may notice on your pothos leaves are not something you should be overly concerned about.

When the roots of the plant receive too much water (i.e. when the plant is constantly overwatered), pressure builds, and the plant will try to expel the excess water through the leaves.

Even though pothos plants are toxic, the water droplets that are thus released aren’t. They’re harmless.

Even so, wiping them off the leaves will help keep the leaves dry and prevent potential problems that arise when there’s just too much moisture on the leaves.

Posted in Pothos - Updated: November 8, 2021

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