Guttation 101: This Is Why Your Monstera Deliciosa Is Dripping Water

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Monstera deliciosa have a habit of dripping water in the morning.

This is a perfectly natural, healthy process that is NOT an indication that there’s anything wrong with your plant.

It is annoying though.

Right, let’s dive straight in:

What is guttation?

Guttation is the process of excess water being forced out of the edges and tips of Monstera (and other plants) leaves through organs called passive or epidermal hydathodes.

Monstera absorb water through their roots. If they absorb too much water, the pressure in the plant becomes too high, so it can be released through the hydathodes.

Fun fact: hydathodes, unlike stomata, can’t open and close, and are a popular entry point for pathogens.

Botanists don’t actually know much about hydathodes, since there’s been relatively little research done on them, apart from in a few food crops, such as wheat. Research into aroids is extremely lacking (because they tend to be pretty difficult to get to, not particularly useful, and usually inedible).

weeping monstera

Is guttation dew or sap?

No, guttation is water being released from the plant out of the holes in the leaf edges. Dew is atmospheric moisture that forms on plants as water vapour condenses on cold surfaces.

Technically, guttation is sap, as it has low volumes of nutrients in it. It’s actually xylem sap, containing sugars and potassium.

However, guttation isn’t sticky sap – it’s pretty much the same consistency as water. If your plant has sticky sap on it, that’s more likely to be the result of extrafloral nectaries, and they’re common on Philodendron.

Extrafloral nectaries are organs that produce sugary sap, intended to attract bugs like ants. There are various theories as to why so many plants (over 90 flowering plant species exhibit extrafloral nectaries) wish to attract ants, but no one really knows. Some people believe plants can absorb nutrients from ant nests, others believe ants will eat pests (in which case, why fill them up on sap?)

As far as I’m aware, Monstera deliciosa don’t produce extrafloral nectaries, so if your Monstera is sticky, it’s probably from an external source.

Is guttation the same as transpiration?

No:

  • Transpiration is the process exiting through the stomata, guttation uses hydathodes
  • Transpiration happens during the day, guttation happens at night
  • Transpiration involves water loss through the leaf face, guttation happens at the leaf edges
  • Transpiration works with water vapour, guttation with liquid water
  • Transpiration involves pure water, guttation water contains salts and sugars
  • Transpiration happens regardless of humidity, guttation occurs in higher humidity
  • Plants can stop transpiring by closing their stomata, whereas hydathodes are permanently open
I think I need to get up earlier to get better guttation pictures

Why do plants guttate?

The main reason plants guttate is so that they don’t explode overnight.

Jokes, jokes. We don’t actually really know.

This is what we do know:

If the air is particularly humid, or the soil is particularly damp, the plant can end up taking in too much water. The usual point of exit would be through the stomata, but stomata are closed at night.

The main purpose of stomata is to facilitate gas exchange during photosynthesis, and since the plant isn’t photosynthesising at night, it makes sense to close them. Open stomata can welcome diseases, so makes sense to close them.

Guttation is thought to be the plant’s way of regulating water pressure at night when the stomata are closed – that’s why you usually see Monstera dripping water first thing in the morning.

However, the amount of water lost due to guttation is minimal, especially when compared to the amount of water that can escape via the stomata.

Scientists believe that guttation and epidermal hydathodes serve another purpose, because the risk involved in having constantly open pores is huge, and the amount of water lost to guttation is minimal.

Why can’t the plant just expel excess moisture in the morning?

Or open the stomata when the pressure builds too much?

she’s giving the bare minimum

Why bother having holes in the leaf edges that could let in disease when plants don’t really need them?

Studies (ok, two, which is hardly conclusive) seem to indicate that guttation can help protect plants from predation and disease by carrying pathogen-fighting proteins in the guttation liquid that also deter herbivores.

Another study showed that if the plant had its hydathodes blocked and therefore couldn’t guttate, the plant’s ability to transpire was halved. Do we know why? We do not. We have no idea. And since I couldn’t find a more recent study than 2014, I don’t think anyone really cares. Never mind.

Is guttation a sign of overwatering?

No. Guttation is extremely common in healthy Monstera that have not been overwatered.

Monstera are less likely to guttate if their soil is dry, and tend to guttate immediately after they’ve been watered.

If your Monstera is guttating, that’s not a sign that it’s been overwatered.

However, if your Monstera is guttating every day, that could be a sign that it’s staying too wet for too long.

The good news is, you still have time to check. If root rot had set in, then the roots will take in less water (because the rotten ones will no longer be functioning) and your Monstera won’t be dripping water.

that does look like salt buildup tbh, but I’m just gonna leave it be

How do you stop guttation?

It’s best to let your Monstera guttate – remember the study that found that reducing guttation also reduced transpiration and therefore photosynthesis?

However, there are things you can do to reduce it:

The easiest way to stop guttation is to keep your Monstera in a dry environment – so dry soil with low humidity. Make sure the soil is incredibly well-draining, and just moisten the roots everyday with a sprayer, rather than watering them properly. You’d also need to keep humidity low.

Unless you’re extremely diligent at keeping the roots damp, you’ll end up doing more harm than good.

You could try keeping your Monstera in water – mine definitely guttates less in water, but it doesn’t stop completely. Weirdly, plants in semi-hydro guttate just as often as plants in soil.

In the experiments I mentioned before, the scientists either physically blocked the hydathodes or increased the atmospheric vapour pressure deficit – i.e. lowered the humidity.

there are a couple of guttation marks, but nothing major

Should you wipe off guttation?

I don’t, preferring to remove it with my arms as I brush past my Monstera with my morning coffee. It’s not necessary to dry your Monstera’s tears (or sweat, or pee, or however you like to look at it) but the fluid does contain salts that can leave white marks on the ends of your leaves.

I’ve never had an issue with Monstera getting guttation marks, but I have from Alocasia.

Are there any side effects of guttation?

Other than potentially marks on your Monstera leaves and marks on your furniture, I don’t think so. However, since we know so little about guttation, perhaps there is!

However, in the wider world, it’s thought that bees can die from drinking the guttation drops from plants that have been treated with imidacloprid. So if you use systemic pesticides on your Monstera, don’t let any bees near it in the morning (source).

There are also studies that seem to say that allowing guttation water to fall back into the soil can reduce nitrogen uptake by the roots. However, these studies do state that further research needs to be done (source).

So in conclusion:

  • Guttation is perfectly natural
  • It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve been overwatering

Before you go, here are a couple of articles you might find interesting:

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

66 thoughts on “Guttation 101: This Is Why Your Monstera Deliciosa Is Dripping Water”

  1. Oh thanks for this!! I bought my first monstera a few weeks ago and gave it a good watering a few days ago, and woke up to what looked dew drops this morning. I checked in case I’d left the window behind it open all night – nope. Water leak from the apartment above? Thank god, no. So reached for trusted Google and found your helpful article. I feel much better now. Have a great day!

  2. I’m glad I could set your mind at ease! Good luck with your Monstera, may it grow big and strong.

  3. I put my varigated monstera outside for a few hours so it could get some “fresh air”. Unfortunately, it was windy and the new, beautifully varigated leaf broke off. 🙁 The plant has been weeping for a day now and I am very glad to have found this. Thank you!

  4. oh noooo what a nightmare! Don’t worry, that scenario is one that wild Monstera will come across all the time, so the plant will survive. You can put the leaf in water – they last a pretty long time.

    Sometimes single leaves grow roots and will last even longer, but unless there’s a node there, it’ll remain a single leaf.

  5. I thought I was going insane, I kept finding water droplets on my new monstera! My first thought was that we had a leak and never noticed, and even got up on a chair and felt the ceiling for wet patches! Thank you for this wonderful article, I honestly had no idea plants did this!

  6. Yeah, I was moving mine to a different spot a couple of years ago and water was running down my arms – it’s so weird when you don’t know where it’s coming from!

  7. Thank you so much!! I’ve been wondering for a while my mostera does this and yet looks so healthy! xx

  8. Wow… really? This is really informative… I just bought a montsera yesterday, water it when I got home because the soil is kinda dry. Then earlier this morning my fingertip got wet when I touched the leaf. I thought my hand was probably wet so I just ignored it, But then this afternoon I noticed there is water droplet on the tip of one leaf, then other leaves have water droplet too. I found it weird. So I started to search and your article was the first one to give me an answer to my curiosity. It’s a common phenomena. Now I don’t have to worry about my montsera… Thanks again.

  9. You’re welcome! Yeah, it’s totally normal. In my experience monstera are pretty forgiving plants – great for beginners.

  10. Thank you for this. I bought my monstera four days ago, and I haven’t watered it yet because every day I’ve been seeing these droplets on its ends… I assumed it was over watered at the nursery, and there also are two white dots on one of its leaves (this article REALLY covered all my questions, lol) I just wanted to confirm, since it is guttating? Or whatever, lol, it has sufficient water right now then, and I won’t need to water it for a while still, ya? Can you tell this is my first plant, haha!

  11. Yeah, I’d leave it to dry out for a bit. It’s best to check the soil (I’m a big moisture metre fan), but it’s unlikely to need more water if it’s guttating.

    Congrats on your first plant! May it be the first of many!

  12. Thank you for this humorous & informative article! I have a photo of mine with the big droplets on top of the largest leaves (which was puzzling, as it wasn’t on the small ones), and a white spot on one of the leaves, if you’d like to have an example for your article. (I would’ve posted it here if there were an option.) I just got it yesterday. The soil was drenched, but…it was $12.99 at Trader Joe’s so I expected it would need some TLC. 😉

  13. I find that only a few of the leaves have droplets on the end – it usually depends how much water they need to get rid of. I’m not sure why the water would stay on top of the leaf – could it have dropped from a higher leaf?

    The white spot could be from a bit of physical damage or past thrips action. Thrips LOVE monstera, and monstera are usually pretty happy to host the odd bug without too much damage (I just spray the leaves with diluted neem oil and wipe the bugs off).

    Most likely is that someone tried to help the leaf unfurl and damaged it. Almost every one of my plants bears some scar from me doing this (am impatient and bad) and they fade over time.

    Awesome bargain by the way! I’d love to put the photo in the article – email me (caroline@planethouseplant) and drop me a link to a site or social handle and I’ll credit you.

  14. Amazing article, it helped me a lot since I had no idea what was going on with my monstera. Thank you so much! 🙂

  15. Very good read. I have a few different plants that very often have droplets, and at first I was worried. Thank you for the information, and for making this article fun! 🙂

  16. Thank you for your post, helped calm me down! I just got my monstera yesterday. This morning i woke up and saw water droplets and panicked that they will turn brown — i actually started wiping the leaves! Then i googled it and found you! I think im just gonna leave her for a while til she needs watering. Im gonna keep reading your stuff!

  17. Thanks so much! Don’t worry, monstera are super forgiving as long as you don’t overwater – I’m sure they’ll be fine!

    Moisture metres were invaluable to me when I was a beginner (and I still use it now as a second opinion) so definitely get one if you’re not sure when to water. That being said, wiping the leaves is a great habit to get into, so keep it up!

  18. This was great! I just picked up a monstera last week and there is a leaf that has unraveled and grown tremendously since I took him home. I’m wondering if I should rotate the plant often to avoid leaning and potentially drooping (is that a thing?) Also, I have 2 small stems at the bottom that are turning yellow/brown for some reason – should I snip these, and if so where do I snip? Thanks so much this was helpful info for my first plant child!

  19. Rotating is great to stop leaning, but you may want to add a moss pole so your monstera can climb.

    Are the stems separate from the main plant? Monstera often have a couple of small leaves/stems at the bottom – they’re usually older leaves so it’s natural that they’re browning. Small leaves can’t make much energy, so the plant might sacrifice them and use the energy to grow bigger leaves.

  20. Thanks for the info. I purchased one from Lowe’s about a month ago and was wondering why mine was crying. One of the leaves was so wet it finally dropped and popped. I wiped the stem and moisture came out of it as well. I have yet to water it although I was running a humidifier in the room for my other plants. I’m still trying to figure what’s best for her. I named her Monae’. Any suggestions?

  21. It’s great that you gave a humidifier – it’ll help Monae to grow faster. In terms of watering, Monstera are happy to get fairly dry, so wait until she’s stopped guttering and the soil is dry. Plants are often overwatered in garden centres so it may take a while for her to dry out. Like, weeks.

    Keep an eye out for signs of root rot (like black spots) but don’t repot unless you think it’s necessary (like she has root rot or is busting out of the pot).

    If you want to grow big leaves, then give Monae plenty of light. Monstera will survive perfectly fine in lower light situations, but they love bright indirect light, I sometimes put mine outside in the shade for an extra boost.

  22. Thanks for your article! I’m an ex-plant killer and I really want to keep things alive 🙂 So I’m doing my research along the way. I bought my Monstera yesterday, the soil was dry so I watered her. Today I noticed the droplets and knew I had over watered. So I fell better now knowing that wasn’t the case. Thanks again!

  23. Monstera are great plants for people wanting to learn how to keep plants alive. Kudos for doing your research, and I wish you luck!

  24. Thanks for the info! I just picked one up from Trader Joe’s and she’s been wetting herself consistently every day since. I have also been noticing tiny mold patches on the top Soil and when I lifted and looked in the holes at the bottom there’s what looks like green slime??? Lol do you think I should repot her with some fresh soil?

    Definitely my fave plant site so far 🙂

  25. Often plants are waaaaay over watered in the store, so she may need to dry out – I sometimes put soaked plants outside (in the shade) because they dry out much quicker, but that’s not necessary. In tine she’ll dry out.

    The mold is probs a side effect of overwatering and whilst it’s not a problem for the plant (unless you keep overwatering), you can end up with fungus gnats. You can just scoop it off with a spoon and chuck it out.

    I wouldn’t repot unless you start seeing signs of root rot (mushy stems, black spots on the leaves) because it’s stressful for the plant. Wait until there’s roots coking out of the holes in the bottom.

    The green slime is probs algae, and isn’t a problem (I don’t think). My plants in clear pots sometimes get it and they haven’t suffered. It sounds like your plant was left sitting in a tray of water all the time, which is (sadly) fairly common practice.

    Leave her in her pot and give her as much light, warmth and humidity as you can (without burning her) and she’ll soon settle in!

    I’m glad you like the site! Let me know if there any topics you’d like me to tackle!

  26. I have a Monstera my husband bought me from a budget supermarket three years ago I keep it in my conservatory it’s had three new leaves its five foot tall (bought it was about a foot) the last new leaf this year is eighteen ins by twelve and it’s beautiful! My pride an joy!

  27. Thanks for this. It seems logical that my monstera is expelling excess water as you say, but I just gave it a bit more water this time because the leaves were curling slightly and I read that this can be a sign of under watering. It’s hard to get the balance right!

  28. Isn’t it though? It would be so much easier if all plants behaved the same but they don’t – I have three Monsteras and only one of them gets curling leaves when it’s thirsty – the other two go from seeming totally fine to crisping up overnight!

  29. Thank you – lots of helpful info; good detail and great writing style! A joy to read and I come away feeling stress free and confident. (Will also nip out and get a terracotta pot, I think!)

  30. So helpful! Just got my first monstera and couldn’t figure out what the drops were! Also, the place I purchased it from must’ve been using too much fertilizer, as it had the “burn” marks on some of the leaves as well! Great, comprehensive info.

  31. Hi ! Thank you for the article on the lovely monstera ! Anyhow … the top soil on mine was white . I decided to remove it . Its there an explanation to that . I’m I over watering it ? And the leaves are turning yellow then crusty brown
    🙁 Thank you !!

  32. The white sounds like mold – it’s largely harmless but it’s often a sign of overwatering, as you suspected. I would take it out the pot and check for signs of root rot. Remove any mushy brown roots and return to the pot. Don’t water until the soil is totally dry and it should be fine. They’re pretty resilient!

  33. Thank you!
    Yesterday I found a monsterra plant in the street. I took it home. It has been massively over watered and its leaves were weeping. Now I know why. I know how to take care of it.

  34. Hello,I have a Swiss cheese plant which I got at the end of January about 80/90cm,it’s already growing and spreading quite fast,I noticed droplets from the leaves and after reading your advice I’ve unfortunately overwatered,hopefully I haven’t caused any damage.there are some roots appearing from the bottom of the pot,do I need to repot my plant….if so what size pot would you recommend and when do I do this ??? What potting soil do I need ? and lastly should I add a moss pole,many thanks Elaine

  35. Thanks so much for your informative splurb (hahaha).
    Love our witty comments and they are not rude or petty in anyway. In fact they give a light hearted effect that could have been just another boring blog. Well done and very informative. Thank you once again.
    Kind regards Dee

  36. Aw, thanks so much! I don’t like offending people but I also don’t want to take myself too seriously. It’s a fine balance. I really appreciate the support!

  37. Thank you so much for all the info!! I now know just about everything there is to know about plant pee lol.
    I do have a question; is the xylem sap that is leaking on/around my monstera toxic to cats? I have a cat who’s not interested in nibbling on the leaves however I’m worried that, since monstera are notoriously toxic to cats, the droplets might be as well.
    Thanks!!

  38. Ooo good question, and, er, I’m not sure. The toxins in the leaves are calcium oxalates which are insoluble, so they shouldn’t be in the sap.

    That being said, there is evidence that insecticides can be found in the water produced in guttation, so maybe keep your cat away if your treating for pests.

  39. Thank you so much for this information. I have a baby monstera that is getting quite big already – I think it is about 12 months old. Thank you for the information about the yellowing leaves as the first leaves (the smallest ones) when I first bought it yellowed and dropped off but no others have turned or fallen off since. I now let it dry out before I water it now but still even when dry has droplets on the tips of the leaves. It was only a couple of pounds in the supermarket and am so glad that I bought it such a calming influence in this upside down world.

  40. Im glad it’s bringing you so much comfort! If it seems happy, leave it be (rule #1 when it comes to plant care), but if it’s guttating when the soil seems dry the soil might be a bit dense. A bit of perlite should help if it starts showing signs of root rot.

  41. Thank you for this! I was wondering what these tiny droplets were! I don’t think I over watered but who knows. I bottom water every couple weeks or so but did a bigger dose since some leaves were unfurling and thought it might need a boost, so I poured some fertilized water from the top. I did notice one leave has had a translucent spot on one leaf, the sudden has a dark brown spot in the middle of it. I wonder if that has to do with it “blistering?” Again, thanks and I’ll wait a while before I water again.

  42. You’re welcome! The translucent spot sounds like edema, which is when the cells burst. Like guttation it can be a sign of overwatering, but some plants (such as alocasia) are pretty prone to just doing it anyway.

    The spots that have edema are more vulnerable to things like sun and fertiliser burn, so that could be a cause.

    As long as the rest of the plant looks ok, I’d just accept that brown spot and move on!

  43. Where are you getting your Thai Constellation for only £90? Where I live single leaf cuttings go for more than that so I haven’t been able to get one yet.

  44. I got mine from a garden centre near York, in January 2020. I think I was in the right place at the right time!

  45. Love this as am a total newbie. But how you have simplified it down into basic English and similar to the human body, makes it relatable so thank you. I have subscribed.

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