Why Do Indoor Plants Sweat?


That little bit of green sitting in your living room corner is an excellent source of comfort when enjoying your time at home. It makes the room seem fresher and the air lighter while adding a touch of color. The only downside is that every now and again, you end up with a bunch of tiny droplets on your floor, just enough to be bothersome.

But why do indoor plants sweat? Indoor plants sweat due to the natural daily process of generating oxygen or because they need to release the excess water that they have gathered. Neither is harmful to the plant; they just create tons of tiny droplets that fall to the floor.

When indoor plants sweat, they typically release extra water that they have gathered through the air or due to you overwatering them. As strange as it may seem, it is not detrimental to their health, nor does it show that they are in poor health. It is simply to maintain their nutritional balance.

Why Do Indoor Plants Sweat? 

If you’re unfamiliar with indoor plants and you’ve never before experienced your plants sweating, it may seem kind of unnerving. Little droplets of water everywhere, small puddles gathering at the plant base. Is your plant ok?

Of course, your plant is ok. Your plant is just doing what is natural to them. Taking in air and removing water. Sometimes this water is extra water that the plant does not need, but that doesn’t mean it is harmful. 

The plants use different methods to guarantee their health and that they will not be weighed down by too much water in their systems. They use both guttation and transpiration to remove this excess water.

Water Droplets

Most people will not notice when their indoor plants are sweating due to how small the water droplets are. We only become curious after they build up or become more frequent. 

These water droplets are how our plants get rid of extra water or are released as a natural part of the air cleaning process. The water leaves when air is taken in through the leaves, making water droplets. 

It is not harmful to our plants and can actually make them healthier and keep them healthy by making sure they do not take in too much moisture. It also puts some extra water into the air, making it more comfortable for us. 

The extra water in the air adds a little extra humidity to our homes. This not only affects us but the other plants in our home. They benefit from the moisture, especially if they’re not receiving enough to thrive. 

How Plants Transpire 

Transpiration is the process of water moving through a plant and then evaporating from its parts that are open to the outside air. These parts are:

  • Leaves
  • Stems
  • Flowers

The water is gathered through their roots in the soil or gathered from the air. At the end of some of their processes, it is released through the stoma; a small, closeable, pore-like structure found on the surfaces of leaves. 

This gathering of water through the roots, it’s movement through the plant tissues, and its release through the stoma in the leaves is considered the process of transpiration.

Transpiration rates will vary in each plant and also depends upon: 

  • Temperature 
  • Humidity
  • Sunlight availability 
  • Sunlight intensity
  • Precipitation (water availability)
  • Soil type
  • Saturation
  • Wind speed
  • Land slope

Obviously, not all will apply to indoor plants, but the general process is the same. 

Transpiration Vs. Guttiation

There are many issues that could affect your Indoor Plants as some just cannot make the transition from outdoors to indoors. One sign of not making the transfer is guttation. 

While transpiration is a natural and perfectly normal part of cleansing the air in all plants, guttation is the removal of excess water. 

It does not necessarily harm the plant; it is just a sign that it is getting too much water in its environment. This is slightly noticeable, especially when it develops out of the blue.

The easiest way to determine if it is transpiration or guttation is if the droplets are small and scattered or if they are large and frequent. If your plant is leaving large puddles of water on the floor, it is a good sign that it is guttation. There are also plenty of ways to prevent this type of sweating. 

Preventing Your Houseplants From Sweating 

It may not be detrimental to the plants’ health, but it does tend to leave odd puddles of water in your home. For most of us; their only slightly annoying to clean up. 

Either way, there are plenty of methods to try and prevent your houseplants from sweating. All the methods are 100% natural and will not harm your plants in any way. You could:

  • Monitor the weather
  • Reduce the amount of water 
  • Leave your plants be

Sometimes the best action is no action, and it is important to understand when that may be. Your plant is only doing what is natural for them, and messing up their processes can make things even worse.

Also, when you change anything involving your plant and their natural (or regular) environment, there is a chance that they may not respond well. You may be able to get rid of their sweat, but you may cause additional suffering and confusion that could lead to more serious problems that are not as easy to deal with.

Monitor The Weather

If you maintain a strict regimen of when and how much you water your plants, you may be confused when they begin sweating. Especially if it only seems to happen on certain days or certain times of the year.

This extra water that your plant is releasing extra water due to the weather outside, usually during humid spells. The extra water that they take in from the air in addition to the water that you’re already providing can lead to your plant sweating.

The easy solution is to either cut back on the water you’re giving your plant or to close the windows (or open if your house is humid) to reduce the risk of sweating.

To do this, you’re going to need to check the weather every couple of days to monitor how much humidity is in the air and how much is expected in the days to come. If you live in a very humid area, to begin with, you may not be able to reduce the sweating due to the natural environment.

Reduce Water

If your plant is sweating out what seems like an unhealthy amount of water, it is typically because you have overwatered it. This happens more often when you’ve just bought the plant, or you’ve moved to a new area.

Plants adjust to the atmosphere that their in and if you’ve moved to an area more humid than your last, your plant will require less water from you. If you continue to give them copious amounts of water, they will produce large amounts of sweat.

The same goes for if you’ve moved to an area that is less humid. Your plant will stop releasing water, and you’ll need to give it additional water. If the droplets become too much, then you have overcompensated and need to cut back.

This is a pretty simple problem and has a pretty simple solution. Just adjust the amount of water you’re providing your plants. It might take a little trial and error to find the perfect balance, but it shouldn’t take too long. Make sure to keep the plants under watch to monitor their reactions.

Leave It Be

If it is not the weather and changing the plant’s water intake does not change how much water is being released, then you may need to leave it be.

When a plant is not responding to how much water you’re giving them, then they may be dealing with residual effects of high humidity or being overwatered in the past. All the plant is trying to do is cope so that they may return to their original state. 

This method is the most frustrating because it requires you to deal with the little water puddles and droplets that your plant is sweating. It is also best for your plants because it allows them to work it out on their own. 

Cleaning Your Indoor Plants

One way to make sure that your plant is in good health and is able to receive the proper amount of water and are able to release extra water is by regularly cleaning them. You don’t need any chemicals or harsh scrub brushes; it’s a simple, gentle cleaning.

It may not have originally been on your todo list, but cleaning your indoor plants helps keep them in their best health. You remove built-up dust so that they can get the right amount of sunshine while also providing a great opportunity to remove dead leaves and stems.

If you don’t clean your indoor plants every now and again, it can restrict the plant from releasing their excess water and cause more problems than you started with. The safest bet is to clean your plants every other month (or once a month if you notice a lot of dust). 

How To Clean Your Plants

The size of your plant will determine the ease with which you will be able to clean your plants, but the overall process remains the same. 

First, you need to get your plants in good shape, such as removing dead leaves and old dirt. Then you want to get the leaves cleared off. 

For small plants, bring them to your kitchen sink and use your sprayer to give them a good rinse. For medium plants, you can use your shower and tub to rinse them off. For large plants, you may need to drag them outside to spray them off with a water hose.

If your plants have been sitting for a while, you may need to do a deeper cleaning. In this case, you should take a dampened, soft rag and wipe off all of the leaves on your plant to guarantee full removal of the dust.

Natural Cleansing 

When you don’t want to take the time and hand wash your indoor plants, you always have another option; cleaning the natural way. 

It is exactly what it sounds like. You take your plants outside when you’re expecting rain and the dust will easily be rinsed off. 

If you’re having an issue with sweating, this is also a great way to restart your plant and allow them to regain their natural balance. After you bring them inside, they’ll be even better than they were before.

Products To Avoid

One of the worst things you can try and use on your plant is leaf shine. No matter what brand or where you buy it, if it’s not organic, then it is deadly.

Leaf shine clogs up the pores of a plant also known as the stomata. It creates an oily, greasy layer that prevents air from entering and water from leaving. 

You may be tempted to use it due to the nice shine that it creates on their leaves, but it does more damage than good, and there are plenty of natural options that you could use instead.

Luckily, if you clean your plant regularly, it will give you the same type of shine without having to use any additional products. If you’re not getting a healthy shine, you may not be providing them enough water, or they may be sick.

Tips To Keep Your Indoor Plants Healthy

Just like there are ways to help out with your plant sweating, there are plenty of things that can help you care for your plants. They thrive when given proper attention, and it takes time to build healthy habits.

Each plant has different needs and different levels of care that they require to stay healthy. Even so, there are a few universal tips that will benefit all plants, and when your plant is in good health, you’re able to keep your home clean and mess-free.

Here are a few tips to keep your plants happy and healthy:

  • Pick the right light
  • Keep humidity and prevent drafts
  • Use quality potting soil
  • Fertilize
  • Watch out for pests
  • Water properly
  • Choose the right planter
  • Water properly
  • Keep it clean

If you are not sure what you need to make sure your plant is being properly cared for, take a trip to a nursery or garden center with a picture of your plant and ask how to care for it. You may also be able to find instructions and preferences online if you know the name of your plant.

Pick The Right Light

Some indoor plants can be very picky when it comes to their preferred light availability, and some prefer strong light while others thrive in the soft morning light.

Placement around and distance from the window in the room where they reside will determine the amount of light that they are receiving and can be adjusted easily. Although, in this case, you will need to keep up with how the light may change throughout the year, and you will need to adjust your plans accordingly.

Your plants will let you know if they are getting too much or too little light. If they do not get enough light, they will become leggy and less compact. If they get too much light typically turns the leaves dull green and yellowish and can even cause the plant to wilt despite how much water it is provided.

Additionally, if your plant has too much light, it will become small and stilted. If they are not able to get enough light, they may become leggy and less compact in an attempt to reach more light.

Choosing The Right Planter

Each type of plant requires a certain type of planter. Large plants need larger planters, plants that have intricate roots need deeper planters, plants that mainly live on the surface need wide planters, etc. 

Your plant will not be able to thrive if they are not provided in the right environment. A wrong planter can stunt their growth and restrict the amount of nutrients they are able to gather in the soil.

To pick out the best planter for your indoor plants, you need to consider:

  • Size 
  • Material
  • Color

Size is a pretty obvious factor, but the material is almost just as important. You wouldn’t want to put a plant that needs to breathe into a plastic pot instead of clay.

Color may be a surprise, and may not be as big of a deal, but if a plant does not do well with heat, you wouldn’t want to put them into a dark-colored pot. You would need to put them into a light-colored or white pot to prevent them from overheating or their soil drying out.

Use Quality Potting Soil

Fertilizer is not the only thing that impacts plant roots and growth; potting soil also plays a large part. Potting soil provides everything that regular garden soil may not be able to offer, especially aspects that are twice as important in a planter.

Good potting soil encourages the growth of healthy roots by giving the plant a balance of aeration, proper nutrition, and moisture-holding abilities. It also provides the right amount of support without having to pack the soil into the planter and without losing any of its other qualities.

The best potting soil will prevent your plant from becoming drenched and instead allow the proper distribution of water throughout the planter. Without proper soil, your plant can be easily overcome with water and begin to grow surface mold or even give your plant root rot. 

Good potting soil can be found at local nurseries and garden centers. Occasionally it can also be found at Farmer’s Markets.

Preventing Drafts

Dry, warm air can easily dry out the leaves and soil of indoor plants. Without rain or a sporadic source of water, dry soil and leaves can quickly lead to the death or damaging of your plants (unless they are specifically meant for such an environment).

The need for a sporadic source of water comes from the fact that sometimes you may not be expecting the plant to dry out or you may not notice. Most of the time, we create a schedule of when to water our plants and rarely deviate from, preventing our plants from becoming overwatered.

Thankfully, plants with automatic water dispensers in their soil can usually recover from being briefly dried out and can prevent any long-term damage. 

Drafts are easily avoidable, all you need to look out for and prevent putting your indoor plants near are:

  • Heater vents
  • Doorways
  • Drafty windows
  • Unventilated rooms

Increasing Humidity 

Indoor plants are more likely to suffer from not having enough water rather than having too much water (which is why sweating is such an odd thing) since there is nothing in their environment that naturally provides the extra moisture indoor plants sometimes need. 

Most of the time, you need to increase the humidity available to your plants. The most common method of doing this is setting the plants on trays that are layered with small pebbles and filled with water.

If you only have a few plants and are willing to relocate them within your home, place them into your bathroom or kitchen as these places have more humidity than the rest of the house. A bathroom would be the best choice for plants that love areas highest in humidity. 

You can also try misting your plants. Unfortunately, this method only offers temporary humidity and offers very little help. It may increase the chances of your plants, developing a foliage disease as well.

Watching Out For Pests

One of the most annoying issues that you may face with your indoor plants is pests. They are not as common as if you had the plants outdoors, but they still manage to show up.

Pesticides are not required to fight these pests; you only need to keep an eye out for some of the more troublesome insects such as:

  • Aphids
  • Scale
  • Whiteflies

You’ll need to check your plants weekly for these and treat them only when necessary.

Benefits Of Indoor Plants

The hassle of maintaining your indoor plants can sometimes be overwhelming and make you feel as if it is not worth it. You need to push through these feelings and remember why you got them in the first place.

Indoor plants are meant to not only add greenery into your home, but to interact with your mind, body, and home in a way that enhances your quality of life.

The plants around your home can benefit you and keep your home in a welcoming state in many ways, such as:

  • Making breathing easier
  • Purifying the air
  • Sharpening focus
  • Improving health

There are even recommendations of how many plants you should have in your space based on what you want to experience the most. For the most part, adding a small plant to your spaces can greatly benefit both your mind and your body. 

Improving Your Health 

Having plants in your home may not be the “saving grace” of all diseases or issues, but according to researchers at Kansas State University they can speed up recovery rates of people recovering from surgeries and sickness.

They even reduce the amount of anxiety you feel, making taking tests, and dealing with blood pressure easier. Additionally, it can decrease your fatigue, making them a booster for your mental health.

As plants make oxygen, keeping some in your home can purify the air and make it easier to breathe. Clean air means clean lungs, and clean lungs will prevent labored breathing and coughing over time.

Indoor plants provide extra humidity in a room (when they are in good health) due to transpiration. This extra bit of humidity encourages lung health and keeps respiratory diseases at bay.

Best Plants For Indoors 

To make sure that you have a plant that will benefit you the most, here are a few suggestions of the best plants for your home and what they can do for you.

Gerbera Daisy – A great choice for bedrooms or living spaces to refresh your nighttime air. Gerbera Daisy’s release their oxygen at night and purifies the air.

Peace Lily – Peace Lilies thrive in damp areas of the home, specifically in bathrooms. They are known to remove mold from the air. 

Boston Fern – They sit wonderfully in living spaces, but should not be placed in dry winter rooms. You must also make sure to mist daily for best health. Boston Ferns will humidify the air.

English Ivy – Perfect for dorm rooms and office spaces. English Ivy removes the benzene from the air. 

Dragon Tree – Dragon Trees work well in living spaces. They purify the air and can remove formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and xylene from areas where they reside.

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