Solving the Mystery: Why is Your Swiss Cheese Plant Dripping Water?
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If it looks like your Swiss cheese plant is dripping water, or ‘crying’, some people even describe it as sweating, it could be because of one of two reasons. You could be overwatering your plant, and it’s using a process called transpiration to get rid of the excess water. Or, it could be a perfectly natural process called guttation. I discuss both of these in this article and give advice on what to do about each.
Over-watering often leads to a process called transpiration
The first thing to check is whether you’re over-watering your cheese plant. Other signs of over-watering include the leaves turning yellow – especially the larger leaves at the bottom of the plant. The leaves may still seem full of water, though. Continued over-watering can lead to the roots becoming soft and mushy and the fungal infection root rot moving in, which can actually kill the plant. It’s a serious possible issue that should be dealt with as soon as possible with proper watering and drainage.
What to do to prevent overwatering
You should water your Swiss cheese plant when the top 3cm or so of the soil is dry. Water the plant from the top over a sink and let all the excess water run out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
If, after watering, the soil is wet rather than moist, add a few more drainage holes to the pot if possible. And scoop out some of the wet soil and replace it with a new and dry potting mix.
So what if you have a very large plant like I do, almost 6ft tall. I have my plants growing in their pots, and then I have another decorative pot with no holes in it. I usually water my plants, once a week and then once the water has drained through, empty the decorative pot of excess water.
Check also that the roots of the plant are dry and healthy. My guide, Swiss cheese plant pests and diseases, has a good section on root rot to help you identify this disease and to deal with it.
Guttation, a natural process, often leads to my Monstera plants sweating
Your Swiss cheese plant dripping water may be an entirely natural process. Guttation is a natural process that happens in plants when they’re taking up more water from the roots than they can use. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re overwatering your Swiss cheese plant. But you should check that you’re not.
If your plant’s soil is moist but not wet, then your watering regime is OK. The dripping is due to the plants needing to get rid of extra water by forming liquid droplets of xylem sap on the surface of the leaves. Xylem sap contains minerals and other nutrients for the plant to use. Otherwise, the leaves are perfectly healthy. Sometimes the leaves can also start to split at the edges too.
What to do
There are two schools of thought about whether to remove the liquid from the leaves. Personally, I do, but it’s totally up to you.
The liquid contains water and minerals that the plant is trying to get rid of. So gently wiping it away may be helping the plant in doing this. To me it also helps the plants look more healthy.
However, other experts I have talked to about this also say to leave the liquid where it is, as it’s the plant’s way of getting rid of water at its own speed. Wiping the liquid away may interfere with the water loss.
I think the key here is how often your leaves are dripping. If it’s just a few times a month, then leave the liquid in place. However, if it’s every few days or so, then there’s a problem with the plant. Recheck if you’re giving it the correct amount of water.