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?

You may even ask, can plants cry? Why is my plant crying?


Rest assured, this is not an uncommon phenomenon 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? Why do plants cry?

The “crying” is called Guttation.

So what is guttation in plants?

Some refer to this as transpiration (crying leaf), but what you see is called guttation, which appears as leaves in tears.

They are closely related. Let’s look at guttation vs. transpiration.



Transpiration can take place through the exposed surface of the 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, increases the water pressure in the cells bordering each stomata.

Monstera leaf with water droplet.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @weznieprzesadzaj

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 the expansion of the cells.

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

Monstera leaf with Guttation (crying)Pin
Photo Credit:


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

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

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

Water droplet on green leaf.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @mintybongwater

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

Stressed Plants Cry

As a related topic, recent studies have found that plants also send cries for help when stressed, hurt, thirsty, or infected. 

The scientists discovered this when they placed plants, including corn, tomato plants, and tobacco plants, in an acoustic box without background noise in a greenhouse. 

Water drop on green leaf, indoor plants background.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @dizzy_smile_

They set up ultrasonic microphones pointing at the stems that record 20-250 kilohertz frequencies. 

According to Lilach Hadany and the team at Tel-Aviv University, plants produce popping noises at frequencies of 40-80 kilohertz that are too high-pitched, and humans cannot hear them.

In contrast, small animals like mice and bats and even insects like moths may be able to hear the plants crying.

Stressed plants produce about 30 to 50 sounds per hour, while unstressed plants emit about one sound per hour. 

Water droplet on leaf tip, indoors, clear focus.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @_i_shout

These sounds from the crying plant resemble popcorn but with very short clicks.

One explanation for the plant that cries occurrence is cavitation. It’s when tiny air bubbles burst, causing vibrations. 

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