Sticky drops on your orchid

Sticky drops on orchids: What is it?Sticky drops on your orchid

When I was still new to the field of orchid culture, I was shocked one morning to notice small, sticky drops on the leaves and flower stems of one of my orchids. Panic! Are they the remains of pests? Or maybe it is a sign that I have done something wrong?

I immediately began to leaf through my orchid books. After a long search I found what I was looking for. The phenomenon is called
Guttation drops. What exactly it has to do with it and what you can do against it, you will learn in this article.

One thing in advance: sticky drops are no reason to panic!

This much I can say in advance: Should you discover sticky drops on your orchids, this is in most cases no reason to panic. The drops are simply liquid with a high sugar content. This makes them sticky accordingly. They are excreted by the orchid itself, so they are not a product of pests or anything like that.

Sticky drops on your orchid

Guttation drops (circled in red) tend to occur on the edges of leaves, but as seen here, also on flower stems.

There is still some ignorance about why some orchids tend to form guttation drops. Fact: It has not yet been conclusively clarified why orchids secrete these sticky drops.

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Large temperature difference between day and night as a cause?

A popular theory is that orchids react to larger temperature differences between day and night, which are especially common in autumn or winter. For example, your orchid is on a windowsill in an unheated room.

During the day the room is warmed up by the sun. In the evening and towards the night it cools down. It exists between day. Night so a greater difference in temperature. The orchid notices this difference and is thus stimulated to excrete liquid with a high sugar content.

Another theory is that stress causes the orchid to secrete guttation drops. This would then of course include the stress due to large temperature difference. But also, for example, drought stress or stress caused by extreme site conditions such as heat or draught.

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Some species are more prone to the formation of guttation drops

I could observe it as said at one of my orchids myself. The temperature difference between day and night was not huge, but it was a few degrees cooler in the room at night. On the other hand, some other orchids were in exactly the same place. Special no guttation drops off.

My thesis is therefore that it is not only the stimulus due to the temperature difference that matters. But there are simply species and their crossbreeds that are more prone to the formation of guttation drops than others. In my case it was a Phalaenopsis Liodora, which likes to form sticky drops. Maybe you have one of these at home too and made similar observations?!

Sticky drops on your orchid

Phalaenopsis Liodora – a cross that in my experience is particularly prone to guttation drops.

Remove sticky drops?

The question remains whether it is worthwhile or makes sense to remove the guttation drops from the leaves and flower stems. I've always just let them stick so far, as once I knew it wasn't anything worse they didn't bother me much.

But if you like, you can try to gently wipe the drops with a cloth and lukewarm water. As the droplets are quite sticky, it is sometimes more and sometimes less easy to remove them. Not removing them, however, as I said, also does not matter.

I hope I could free you with this contribution of some question marks to the topic sticky drops at your orchids and take you the worries and wish you further much pleasure with the orchid culture. Further tips for the care of orchids pleasing? This way!

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