Clear droplets on crown

madreselvaOctober 18, 2009

As a housewarming gift, I got a large plant that looks like a giant dracaena marginata - I'm not sure, though, as it had no tag.

A couple of days ago, I noticed droplets at the base of some of the leaves, right where the leaves meet the stalk. When I touched one, it was sticky, not watery as I expected.

Is this cause for concern? I've been a houseplant enthusiast for years and have never seen this so I though I would ask here.

Thanks everyone!

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It's likely the result of a physiological process called 'guttation', which was recently discussed in another thread on this forum. A quick search here or on the net will reveal additional info if you're interested.

Al

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 8:22PM
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greattigerdane(z5NY)

If it feels sticky and the drips are not at the ends of the leaves, it could be a pest problem from something like aphids, or scale insects for instance.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 9:05PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Since the location is specific, and the material in droplets, it's doubtful it would be honeydew.

Al

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 9:49AM
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greattigerdane(z5NY)

I was leaning toward pest because water droplets that I have felt coming out my own plants are not sticky feeling at all. The drips feel like plain ole water, plus, I have never seen the excess water droplets 'guttation' drip at, or from, the "base" of leaves where the leaves meet the stalk, unless of course the drops are rolling backwards.

If the drops are really sticky feeling and there is also stickiness on the floor beneath the plant, it might be something other then water. You might want to give your plant a good going over just in case.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 12:21PM
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amccour

Can you post of a picture of the plant in question?

If it's a drac, then it'd make a lot of sense for the leaf tips to guttate, and then the resultant fluid to roll back. Also, if they' been there for awhile, the water would evaporate which would probably leave the resulting substance stickier and more concentrated. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 1:20PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The exudate involved in guttation is xylem sap, which would contain a healthy dose of photosynthate (sugar), which, when some of the liquid evaporates leaves something behind about the consistency of heavy corn syrup. I hadn't discounted insects entirely, just reasoning that if the OP's description is accurate, insects as the source seem unlikely (to me).

Al

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 1:21PM
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mr_subjunctive

I've seen this on some of the plants we had where I used to work; it is slightly sticky but doesn't seem to be associated with any insects. It's a weird location for guttation; most of the time when I've seen plants guttate, the water's been at the leaf margins, though Ficus benjamina and F. binnendijkii get something that I've been assuming was guttation at the spot where the petiole attaches to the leaf. Which is roughly analogous to the location on the Dracaenas.

Whatever it is, guttation or not, it doesn't seem to hurt the plants any, or indicate any problems. I've also only ever seen it on very big plants (more than 3 feet tall), though that could be coincidence.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 6:57PM
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madreselva

Thank you all for your responses. I looked up guttation and I'm leaning away from it only because the photos show the droplets in uniform formation whereas the droplets on the leaves of my plant appear in clusters. As mr s noted too, the photos I've seen show the droplets at the leaf margins.

I've been trying to post a photo but am having trouble since there is no direct way to upload.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 9:43PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Try a free site like Photobucket.com. One puts one's pix there & then from there, uploads to here.

In the case of Photobucket, to upload to here, one cuts & pastes the third line of code here & if one's done it right it looks like a paragraph of gobbledy-gook until one checks the Preview, where it will appear as the picture.

HTH = hope this helps.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 10:56PM
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madreselva

Here is the image (I hope). Thanks again for your feedback.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dracaena

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 2:24PM
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greattigerdane(z5NY)

I have not seen droplets in clusters like that before. Have you looked for any of pest? Do the drips come back if you dry them?
Is there another plant that's hanging over it?

It could be the close-up shot, but the plant doesn't look like a Deacaena marginata, the leaves look too wide, and there is no visable central stem.

Billy Rae

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 1:06AM
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mr_subjunctive

Yeah, that's more or less what they look like on the ones I've seen, too. I would bet you're fine, though do watch for mealybugs and scale anyway. (I've seen a lot of mealybugs on D. marginata in stores lately. Probably no connection, but it's always a good time to check for mealybugs and scale.)

The cultivar might be Dracaena marginata 'Tarzan,' by the way -- 'Tarzan' has wider leaves than the species, or most other varieties. (I'm not aware of any care differences between 'Tarzan' and others, just thought you might find it interesting.)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 1:19AM
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madreselva

Thanks again everyone.

The photo is too much of a close up so maybe the leaves do look wider, but I'm certain that the plant is a D. Marginata - it's 6 ft. tall.

The plant is alone, no other in the room with it. So are the drops nothing to worry about?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 9:25AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The drops are leftover evidence of simple guttation.

Al

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 11:22AM
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harris_jamal(7)

The same thing happens to my Aglaonema Commutatum "Pseudobracteatum" the same thing happens to my another cultivar called "brilliant". For some unknown reason this problem seems to be restricted to the White Aglaonema cultivars. The silver cultivars put out much less and the red/pink cultivars don't guttate at all.

The amount of guttation seems to be impacted by location. I have a "Pseudobracteatum" at home and at the office, but only the one at the office experiences this sugar guttation on it petioles; so much in fact that every time I touch the petiole I have to wash my hands. Strange!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 11:36AM
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madreselva

The plant was umin my home office near a bright NW facing window and was growing away from the light. I noticed the droplets only when I moved it to the bathroom. I'm fascinated by guttation as I've never seen it before ( have had houseplants for many years). Wikipedia is only slightly satisfying. Can anyone tell me more about it or suggest an article I can read?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 11:11PM
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