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Why do some plants have dewdrops and not others?

Guttating plants

Most of the plants that surround us tend to show guttation drops – which we often mistaken for dewdrops!

Get to know which of your favorite plants might show signs of guttation, and what it means for their health.

Shown here: on Alchemilla mollis

Here is a partial list of plants that have been shown to guttate. Have you observed guttation on any of your own plants? What are the crying plants you’ve encountered?

Common guttating plants

Plants that tend to guttateMany very common plants tend to guttate when conditions are right. They all share their short height in common: guttation rarely occurs higher than 3 feet (1 meter) above ground. Only a few tree species that love wet soils are very prone to guttating.

  • Plants with sawtooth-like leaf edges (serrated leaves) are usually good guttators.


Grassy plants guttatealmost all types of grasses, from the Pennisetum family to the banana tree, including fescue and bamboo. More often then not, when your lawn is wet in the morning, it’s not dew but guttation.

Food crops and vegetables:

Strawberry guttation and other fruitLots of vegetables show signs of guttation early in the morning:

Tomato, rye, potato, wheat, barley, okra, gabi (or taro), squash, cabbage, maize, red beet, , cucumber, strawberry, peppers, …

Orchard Fruits:

Orchard trees that guttateSome trees guttate, but they mostly only do so while short and young, with the exception of grapevine (guttation even when old).

olive tree

Ornamental shrubs:

Ivy, Hydrangea, Hibiscus, rose trees


Lady’s mantle, Heuchera, Helianthus, Impatiens, Sunpatiens, dead-nettle, wallflower


Houseplants that guttationMost types of succulents (Echeveria, Jade tree, Senecio, Kalanchoe…) and a great many houseplants such as Monstera, Dieffenbachia, Ficus, Philodendron, Spathiphyllum, the ZZ plant Even members of the Dracaena family do it.

Orchids also guttate but the hydathode cells are on the leaf surface, not around the edges.

  • In tropical regions, a lot of guttation occurs. This is because air moisture is often very high, which makes transpiration difficult. In a jungle, it’s quite common for it to be “raining” from the canopy even though not a cloud is in sight.
  • In mangroves, guttation is how the trees return excess salt to the sea.

On a different scale, other organisms that aren’t really plants also exhibit guttation: algae and fungi.

Plants that don’t guttate

Conifers don't guttateMost plants of the citrus family don’t guttate – this makes them more vulnerable to edema.

Taller trees, especially in temperate regions which are cooler and drier than the tropics, don’t guttate much.

Conifers also don’t guttate.

Images: Pixabay: amar42, Jürgen, kie-ker, Myriam Zilles, Ulrike Leone, AP

Written by Gaspard Lorthiois | Loves helping out, especially when it comes to growing things. Worked in herbal medicine, runs a farm, and dabbles in tech. Master's degree and engineer.
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