Secrets of the Sobbing Plants: Decoding the Drama of Weepy Houseplants
Have you ever seen a houseplant cry? Ok, well perhaps not actually weeping, but have you ever noticed that some houseplants drip a water-like substance from their leaves? If so, then you’ve witnessed a phenomenon that goes by the name of guttation.
Ever noticed water droplets on your plant’s leaves? It’s called guttation, and it’s a cool process where plants release excess water.
Guttation happens when plants release water droplets from the edges of their leaves. It’s a result of transpiration, where the roots take in water and then it’s released through small openings called stomata on the leaves.
When a plant takes in more water than it needs, the extra water is pushed out through tiny tubes called hydathodes, found at the edges of the leaves.
What does it look like?
Guttation is most common in plants that have thick, fleshy leaves, such as ferns and succulents, and it usually occurs at night or early in the morning, when the temperature and humidity are high and transpiration is low.
However, it’s not uncommon to find plants that cry also among your Philodendrons and Monsteras. As the roots absorb water from the soil, and it gets pushed up the vine, the excess is released at the tips of the leaves.
When the water droplets form, they can look like tears or beads of sweat on the leaves.
Should I be worried?
While guttation may look like a sign of distress in a plant, it is actually a normal and necessary process for the plant’s survival.
The water droplets contain excess minerals and nutrients that would be harmful if left inside the plant, so guttation serves to protect the plant by removing these excess substances.
Check moisture levels
However, if you notice that your house plants are constantly producing large amounts of water droplets, it may indicate a problem, such as overwatering and/or poor drainage. Be sure to feel the soil with your fingers to get a sense of moisture levels.
A good rule of thumb for most houseplants is the let the top five centimetres of soil dry out between watering, but always be sure to read up on your particular plant’s needs.