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I have created a form to edit fields in a database table. This is basically what it does sale_stamp : <input type="text" name="sale_stamp" value="<?php echo $sale_stamp;?>" > $sale_stamp = $_POST['sale_stamp']; $sql = "UPDATE mytable SET sale_stamp = :sale_stamp WHERE id = :id"; $stmt=$db->prepare($sql); $stmt->execute(array( ':id' => $id, ':sale_stamp' => $sale_stamp); This works provided there are values entered but some fields may be blank and this fails for numeric fields. The generated sql is UPDATE asset set sale_stamp = '' WHERE id = '17' The table definition allows null, but when I leave the field blank in the table the generated sql has an empty string rather than null. How do I overcome this?