Monstera guttation is a totally healthy phenomenon unless it is due to over-fertilizing or overwatering. How can you distinguish between the two?
This guide is here to help you with just that. Give this one a thorough reading to learn all about guttation.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- Why Does Monstera Guttation Happen?
- What To Do in Case of Excessive Guttation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does Monstera Guttation Happen?
It looks like guttation leads to the formation of water droplets, but in reality, these droplets are made up of both water and minerals. In fact, they are a mixture called xylem sap in botany.
Below is a brief description of how the process of guttation actually comes about.
– Absorption of Excess Water
The roots of your Monstera deliciosa are constantly absorbing moisture from the soil. Numerous studies have shown that the rate of water absorption in the roots is the same during both nighttime and daytime.
Monsteras need to be watered at least one time per week in summer and once or twice a month in winter. The soil continues to stay moist over the next couple of days as it eventually dries out. Until the soil dries out completely, the roots continue to absorb water from it.
The plant uses this water according to its needs. Now, where does the extra water then go to? It is, of course, expelled out.
– No Transpiration at Night
Transpiration is the process through which the extra water is removed from the plant during the day. Most of this water is removed through microscopic pores present on the swiss cheese plant’s leaves called stomata.
A small percentage of transpiration also occurs directly from the surface of the leaves, stems and aerial roots. The rate at which transpiration occurs in indoor plants depends on the conditions of light, high humidity, temperatures as well as atmospheric pressure within the house.
However, this process stops majorly at night time. This is because stomata close at night and temperature and humidity also drop. So what does the plant do about excess water during the night? Guttation, of course!
– Root Pressure
When transpiration stops at the time of the night and water accumulate in the roots of the Monstera plants, this creates root pressure to develop.
The cells within the roots develop an osmotic gradient secondary to Monstera edema and all this excess water is pushed up the plant through the xylem channels.
– Formation of Xylum Sap
As the extra water moves from the roots of the swiss cheese plant up towards its leaves, it collects various solutes on its way and dissolves them. These include various nutrients, salts, hormones and minerals present within the plant. The solution that is ultimately formed is called xylem sap and looks like dew droplets.
– Droplets Form
Root pressure is strong enough to push water all the way from the roots to the tip of the leaves. These tips have special pores called hydathodes present on them. Hydathodea is also found along the margins of the leaves.
Unlike stomata, these pores remain open at night. Xylem sap is ultimately forced out of them at night. The shape of these pores determines the size of the guttation droplets, which is generally roundish.
What To Do in Case of Excessive Guttation
In case of too much guttation occurring in your Monstera deliciosa, you might need to improve watering and draining as soon as possible. Here are some of our tried and tested tips in this regard.
– Improve Your Watering Habits
First of all, stop watering your plants at night. This is one of the worst plant care habits out there. Watering at night causes the soil to take a much longer time to dry out and exponentially increases the risk of getting fungal and bacterial rot.
Secondly, always water on schedule after making sure that the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch. A moisture meter might come in handy here. It will tell you exactly when your soil needs to be watered.
– Change the Size of the Plant’s Pot
The size of the pot matters a lot when it comes to a plant being over or underwatered. The diameter of the rim of the pot does not need to be larger than the root ball of the plant by more than two to three inches.
The larger the pot, the more time it takes for the soil to dry up. If you water during the daytime, then the soil will still have a ton of water until nightfall. Consequently, guttation will also occur at a much more rapid pace.
Again, the prolonged collection of water in a larger pot means an escalated risk of rot and pest problems. If your pot is larger than normal, then it needs to be replaced by a smaller and better-suited pot.
– Work on the Soil’s Drainage
If your monstera is planted in tightly packed soil with deficient drainage, you need to replace it in order to fix excessive guttation. Keep in mind that all Monsteras like to grow in soil that has equal amounts of both peat and perlite.
Perlite creates spaces in the soil to make conduits for water removal whereas perlite absorbs water for use at a later time.
Another useful tip is to pour a layer of gravel first and then add soil on the top. This layer will make sure that the drainage holes stay open for a long time.
– Use a Mild Fertilizer
Over-fertilization is just as bad, if not worse, than under fertilization. This is because using too much chemical fertilizer causes your plant to suffer from burns that are chemical in nature. The leftover chemical toxins from fertilizer use become incorporated in xylem sap that is secreted on the leaves during guttation and burns them as well.
Use a mild and well-balanced fertilizer only. Even that should be diluted by adding water to bring down its concentration. For further precaution, water and moisten the roots of the plant before using fertilizer. Most importantly, don’t fertilize more than once per month.
Make flushing the soil every second to third month a habit of yours. Keep it under a tap or a water hose and keep running the water through the soil for a long time.
This water will dissolve and drain away all the built-up toxins from the soil. This way, they won’t become a part of Monstera albo guttation xylem sap.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is more to know when it comes to guttation. Read up on it further in the next section.
– Is Guttation Bad for Plants?
No, guttation is not bad for Monstera deliciosa or any other monstera species. It is a normal phenomenon common to all healthy plants. While too much guttation does indicate that your watering regime needs revision, it is not something to worry about.
With that being said, guttation does become dangerous if the plant is being over-fertilized. In this scenario, the chemicals and toxins from fertilizer use become incorporated within xylem sap.
The excess moisture is extruded out via guttation, where the water evaporates and leaves behind these minerals on leaf tips and edges. Your plant will get burned chemically as a result and might start dropping leaves.
How can you identify that your plant is being over-fertilized? You can see this when white-coloured round blotches on the edges and tips of the leaves start to appear.
– Is Monstera Guttation Toxic?
No, Monstera guttation or xylem sap is not toxic. It is mostly comprised of water and plant nutrients and is safe for pets and kids should they inadvertently touch or lick it.
It is also harmless in the sense that a dripping xylem sap on the floor, carpet or furniture will not ruin them. The only time this sap might be mildly toxic is when the plant is being overfertilized.
– Does Guttation Mean Overwatering?
No, guttation is not always due to overwatering. A moderate amount of guttation is a totally normal thing to happen. You can think of it as a nighttime counterpart to daytime transpiration and evaporation.
However, if your find your plant leaves literally dripping water in large amounts every night, then this could indicate overwatering. Check how dry or wet your soil is to confirm the diagnosis.
Thank you for making it this far. All that we have left for you now is a concise review of the most important points:
- Monstera Deliciosa goes through the process of guttation just like most other plants and guttation fungi.
- Tiny droplets of xylem sap that is a mixture of water and plant minerals appear on the leaf tips and margins at night time.
- Guttation is usually a harmless phenomenon that is only problematic if the plant is being overwatered.
- If you feel like your plant is losing too much water during guttation, then you must inspect its water and soil.
We hope you can rest easy now that you know how harmless guttation can be. As long as you are taking care of your plant’s needs, there is nothing to worry about.