Troublesome terrariums bleeding you dry? Mischievous monsteras making you miserable? The Agony Plant is here for you and can tell you that you are not alone.

As fellow plant lovers, we're all too familiar with the woes a browning leaf or rotten roots can bring. Lucky for you, the Agony Plant knows a thing or two about getting your favourite houseplants fighting fit. In this instalment, we look at ageing cacti and how 'holey' your monstera should be.



My cactus is in bad shape / it was a solid bright green when I bought it, now it has all these discoloured areas.. that said there are a lot of new ‘ears’ do you have any advice on how to improve its health?

Agony Plant says: This could be caused by a couple of things. The first is something called corking, which is just part of the natural ageing process of the plant to reinforce old growth and support new growth - so is actually a sign of a healthy growing plant! 

The other reason it might be browning is due to atmospheric changes in temperature, humidity and lighting levels. As cacti are quite a hardy bunch, the scarring is purely cosmetic and should continue to grow, but if you have another dry, warm bright spot for it, you could see if it fares better there.




Hi there! Both the cheese plants in my house are in different rooms but with both, most of the leaves are solid without the characteristic slits in them. Why could this be?

Agony Plant says: This is likely down to the age of the plants. Whilst some varieties will have massive leaves full of holes from the off, the type we tend to get as houseplants here in the UK will start out small and develop leaves with more slit edges and fenestrations (the fancy name for the holes) as they mature and grow. 

The main theory for why they have these slits and holes is light - as rainforest floor dwellers, they come from a habitat of dappled light coming through a canopy of trees, so the thought is the leaves that are higher up have more holes to allow light through to the lower leaves. When they are young, they have fuller leaves so they can photosynthesise better to help them get established, so it may just be that yours needs a little more time before the leaves start to get that classic cheese plant look. 
If you want to help a monstera along its way, yearly repotting into a slightly bigger pot and giving them a bit of plant food every couple of weeks during the summer months should do the trick.

Are you in need of some of the Agony Plant's sage advice? Drop us an email to for some houseplant wisdom!



Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published