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Why Is My Elephant Ear Plant Dripping Water? (Solved)

The elephant ear is a fast-growing plant that thrives in almost any indoor environment. Thanks to the plant’s impressively large leaves, your living spaces will be bathed in lush greenery.

However, it is not tolerant of wet soil and will attempt to correct overwatering through leaf drips.

Your elephant ear plant may be weeping water, which indicates overwatering.

Overwatered elephant ear plants frequently exhibit guttation or leaf drips. These alocasia plants are sensitive to excessive moisture and will try to compensate by secreting water droplets from their foliage. Reduce the amount of water you give your elephant ear, and it will stop dripping.

Is Leaf Dripping a Bad Sign for My Elephant Ear?

Elephant ear plants, along with other evergreens like dieffenbachia, are well-known for controlling the amount of moisture in their cells through the dripping of leaves.

Leaf pores called Hydathodes secrete water droplets during this process.

Ear plants use this natural process to regulate their growing conditions by releasing water droplets from the leaf edges or tips.

This happens when the air around your plant is highly humid and the soil moisture level is extremely high. Is it a bad sign if you notice leaf drips from your elephant plant?

It all depends. Alocasias dripping water isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Plants use this physiological mechanism to eliminate excess moisture to avoid problems like edema, rot, or cell damage. Keeping your elephant ear plant healthy is made more accessible with leaf drips.

However, water dripping from the plant’s leaves can be a sign of overwatering. In moist soil, disease-causing bacteria and fungi can thrive, making it an ideal environment for rot.

Excess moisture in the soil can also harm the root system, deprive the roots of oxygen, and reduce the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients and vital fluids.

If the damp conditions are not addressed, the plants will suffer from root rot and wilting. In addition, water-soaked spots can appear on the leaves, and the foliage turns yellow.

Causes of Elephant Ear Plant Dripping Water

[1] Physiological Processes

Leaf dripping is frequently caused by physiological processes occurring within your elephant ear plant.

Simply put, photosynthesis is a biological process on which your plant depends for its sustenance and continued growth.

It aids in converting water and carbon dioxide from the air into usable energy for your plant.

Elephant ear leaves absorb CO2 and sunlight through their leaves and moisture through their roots to power their photosynthesis.

Water is continuously taken up by the stem during photosynthesis and transported to the leaf tissue.

In the meantime, your elephant ear is engaged in another physiological process known as respiration.

It is a process in which the cells in the leaves use the sugar produced by photosynthesis to create usable energy for plant function and health.

This respiration produces water vapor as a byproduct. In addition, tiny pores on the leaves known as stomata dissipate water vapor into the atmosphere in most cases.

The process by which water vapor evaporates through stomata is called transpiration.

It’s interesting to note that transpiration can result in a vacuum effect, wherein the pressure difference can help draw more water from the root system.

A never-ending cycle of moisture is taking place. When the leaves’ stomata are open during the daytime, this cycle of absorption, respiration, and transpiration is most likely to happen.

However, these leaf pores close during the night, causing water to accumulate in the leaves. Droplets are one way the foliage lets go of extra moisture.

[2] Alocasia Guttation

Guttation, also known as leaf drips, is a physical reaction to excess moisture in the tissue.

The phenomenon is similar to transpiration in that water molecules are released from your plant’s foliage.

Guttation is most common when your elephant ear plant has been overwatered regularly.

So the root system starts absorbing more water than the plant can use through respiration and maintaining the turgor pressure.

In addition, elephant ear leaves expel xylem sap, which contains the extra moisture accumulated in the leaf tissue.

Contrary to popular belief, although Guttation and transpiration have some similarities, they are not synonymous. The most apparent differences between the two are:

  • Guttation is usually favored when the soil is saturated with moisture and humid air around your elephant ear plant.
  • During the day, water vapor from respiration can be lost through evaporation through leaf stomata, so transpiration occurs primarily during the day. On the other hand, Guttation occurs primarily at night when the stomata of the leaves are closed.
  • Water is lost as vapor during transpiration, whereas excess moisture is released as liquid droplets during Guttation.
  • The water vapor lost through transpiration is nearly pure. Meanwhile, the liquid excreted via Guttation isn’t just water. Instead, it is xylem, which is primarily composed of water and organic compounds and water-soluble minerals.

Plants like elephant ears absorb more water from the surrounding air and soil than they can use, resulting in a surplus of water.

In addition, leaves with closed stomata retain water in their cells when night falls, and your plant isn’t evaporatively transpiring.

Alocasias and elephant ear plants like this one correct this moisture imbalance through the guttation process.

Also, leaf hydathodes release excess water as the foliage pressure increases (tiny pores at the tip and along the margins of the leaves).

[3] Low Light Conditions

Excess moisture in the soil or leaf tissue can lead to leaf drips. Due to the lack of sunlight, elephant ear plants are more susceptible to water droplets dripping from their leaves.

The amount of water that alocasia uses in a dark corner or low light is reduced during humid spells. Conversely, insufficient light and excess soil moisture encourage the growth of Guttation in plants.

If your plant is placed in a damp or poorly-ventilated area, the same is true. Elephant ear plants need a lot of air movement to keep their humidity levels in check.

When Should I Worry About Guttation?

Guttation isn’t always a bad sign. Likewise, guttural expressions aren’t always a bad thing.

It simply means that the air around your elephant ear is highly humid.

In alocasia’s native subtropical and tropical habitats, this is frequently the case during rainy seasons.

Of course, Guttation is also an indication that the soil is too wet.

Elephant ear plants thrive in moist soil, but too much moisture or sogginess can cause problems such as root rot.

That is why you should be concerned if you notice Guttation along with other warning signs of overwatering and root rot:

Soil doesn’t dry out even several days after watering. That is a sign that roots have been compromised.

  • Presence of yellowing foliage on your plant.
  • Stunted growth is accompanied by persistent wilting of leaves despite irrigation.
  • Brown spots or patches on the foliage, stems, and other plant parts.
  • Mold growth on the soil surface.
  • Mushy, brown, or black rotting roots with a distinctively rotten smell.
  • The branches are weak and rotting at the base of the plant.

Root rot can be deadly for your plant. It’s therefore wise to take Guttation as an early warning sign to keep off the watering can for a while.

Is It Normal for Elephant Ear Plants To Drip Water? 

Yes, leaf drips and Guttation are common in tropical evergreens like elephant ear plants.

ZZ plants, anthuriums, caladiums, arums, dieffenbachias, philodendrons, and monsteras are all examples of this.

They have evolved to use Guttation as a tool for self-regulation to deal with wet soil and high humidity levels because they are native to warm and humid climates.

How To Stop Your Alocasia From Dripping Water

You can use several strategies to stop your elephant ear plant from dripping water.

  • Water properly – You should dial down your alocasia plant water intake by waiting until the first inch of the soil has dried out slightly. Irrigate your plant until the liquid oozes out of the bottom drainage holes. Let it drain thoroughly and allow the medium to dry out before the next watering session. 
  • Provide more sunlight – You can help your alocasia lose more moisture through transpiration during the daytime by placing it in a warm, brightly-lit location. Make sure temperatures don’t dip below 50°F(10°C). 
  • Improve air circulation – Use a fan, prune some of the leaves, and space out your houseplants to increase air circulation between leaves and around your elephant ear. Ensure the location is sheltered from cold or hot drafts.
  • Repot your elephant ear plant – If the soil drainage is the issue, consider repotting your alocasia in a well-drained loamy potting mix. It would help if you did so every year or two.
  • Feed Well – Apply a high-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizer every week during the growing season. This will ensure that your plant thrives and uses more water.