Floppy philodendrons getting you down? Fussy fiddle leaf just not playing nice? Even the most green-fingered amongst us can be struck down by the occasional sullen looking houseplant! Lucky for you, the Agony Plant is here to impart her wisdom!

In this week's issue, we look at some slimy cuttings and a succulent serial killer.

Hello! I've been trying to take cutting of my philodendron, but keeping just getting slimy mush - what am I doing wrong?

Agony Plant says: There's a few things that could be going wrong here - so let's cover all bases of taking a cutting. First things first, make sure you're using a clean, sharp knife or pair of scissors to take the cutting - this will help prevent any potentially harmful bacteria transferring onto the cutting. On the same note, clean your rooting vessel thoroughly before adding water and your cutting.

Secondly, let's talk water. Whilst tap water is generally fine for philodendron cuttings, using filtered, distilled or bottled water can help eliminate any further nasties. Change your water once a week, or more regularly if you're finding any cloudiness or algae forming. Make sure that you only have stems in the water - no leaves, as these will rot in the water.

Finally, check the temperature is pretty constant - if it's by a radiator or air con that's constantly on and off, the changing temperature will effect the integrity of your roots. Good luck and happy propagating! 


Help! I have a lot of plants and mostly all do really well - except succulents. EVERY succulent that has ever entered my house (and believe me there's been many) has perished. Sometimes it takes a few months, sometimes it's days (I recently acquired a well established string of hearts, and within a week it was dead) - but ultimately they all die - what am I doing wrong?!

Agony Plant says: Ahhh the old succulent serial killer! First off, let me assure you that you're not the only one - I've met many and used to be one myself! Despite their reputation as very easy going plants, succulents are actually a little tricky to get right. I have found that sometimes your successes with other plants can be the hubris which causes your succulent downfall - succulents have very different requirements to your monstera or prayer plant. 

As desert dwellers, they like warm, dry conditions. Are you keeping your plants somewhere humid, or with inconsistent temperatures? Overwatering can also be an issue, so put that watering can down - it only needs a little drink every couple of weeks at the absolute max! Finally, are they getting enough light? If there's somewhere brighter that you can put them, then do!

If you're still struggling, try a Sanseviera - these are very robust and have similar requirements, so would make a good practice plant before you start to expand your succulent collection!

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


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