Guttation = Crying Plants – Why They Tear or Cry?

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Have you ever woke up in the morning to see your plants – crying teardrops (guttation) – or dripping water from the ends of their leaves?

Rest assured this is not an uncommon phenomena in plants. Let’s look at those drops from crying leaves and try to stay away from being too technical.


What Is Guttation?

Do plants cry?

The “crying” is called Guttation – Some refer to this as transpiration (crying leaf), but what you are seeing is specifically called guttation and it appears as leaf dripping water.

They are closely related, lets look at guttation vs transpiration



Transpiration can take place through the exposed surface of cell walls of plants but the greatest amount takes place through the stomata.

Stomates are specialized guard cells controlling the size of tiny pores, stomata, for gas exchange and the release of water vapor.

We have the movement of soil moisture or xylem sap from the plant roots to the leaves.

This movement supplies the food-manufacturing cells with water molecules needed for photosynthesis and provides the moisture necessary for dispersing carbon dioxide into and oxygen out of these cells.

Various factors influence the rate of transpiration. Photosynthesis, induced by light, has the effect of increasing the water pressure in the cells bordering each stomata.

The widening of the stomata increases water loss in plants.

Low humidity promotes the dispersing of water vapor from the air passages inside the leaf into the outside air. High humidity will do otherwise. A lack of water in the soil cuts down the water supply to the cells, thus limiting expansion of the cells.

Transpiration rate is highest on a bright, dry day and lowest at night or in drought conditions. It all gets down to the fact plants must get rid of the excess fluids in their leaves.


When leaves lose water as a liquid phase through special cells called hydathodes it is referred to as guttation.

These guttation “tears” appear at the leaf margins or tips and contain various salts, sugars and other organic substances.

Guttation process can also lead to the penetration of unwanted bacteria that can cause plant disease problems. The use of some leaf cleaners and leaf shines can also plug up the hydathodes and cause browning tips.

One question that always comes up whenever I see a drop of water is, will the – tears – hurt my floor, or carpet, etc.

I would recommend wiping up these water droplets produced by guttation – you never know what is in the salts and sugars that could stain these objects.

I hope we haven’t gotten too technical but – crying plants or guttation- is a natural occurrence.

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