The unsaturated flow of liquid through packed beds of large particles was studied using six different liquids, all with contact angles greater than 90degrees on the bed packing (wax spheres of 9, 15 and 19.4 mm diameter). The liquid flow was discrete in nature, as drops for low flow rates and rivulets for high flow rates. For unsaturated liquid flows, the actual percolation velocity, not superficial velocity, should be used to characterize the flow. The percolation velocity did not vary with packed-bed depth, but was a strong function of liquid flow rate, liquid and particle properties. Effects of liquid and particle properties (but not flow rate) are well captured by a simple correlation between the liquid-particle friction factor and Reynolds number based on actual percolation velocities. Liquid dispersion, characterized by the maximum dispersion angle, varies significantly with liquid and particle properties. The tentative correlation suggested here needs further validation for a wider range of conditions.