Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rest in Peace, Plant

If you lived with me in Waltham, you may remember A's peace plant, which sat in the living room, near the TV. After college, I inherited the plant, and it kept me company in three more apartments before finding its final home at B's house. Through the years, it provided me with lovely white flowers (which produced more pollen than you'd expect) and lush green leaves year round, asking for very little sun and not complaining when I'd forget to water it for days (or over a week). Even though I watered it for years without providing any plant food, it still flowered. It was a truly devoted and generous plant.

The peace plant's end drew near this summer, when I decided it had grown enough to warrant dividing into two additional pots. I carefully did the job outside, providing new soil and plenty of water to each of the three. They spent the summer and fall happily on the back porch. But temperatures dropped precipitously, and before I knew it, several leaves had turned black. All three peace plants were in need of TLC. I brought them inside and lined them up along a window, and tried to revive them.

Their recovery was underway when we started noticing flies in the house. Under the impression that they were fruit flies, I tried to drown them in red wine or to collect them on a banana peel. The flies had no interest in either! After killing several, I realized they were not fruit flies; their abdomens were much narrower, though they had similar wings and flight patterns. I had to find out where they were coming from. Thinking the peace plants might be the source, we covered them loosely in a clear plastic sheet, but the flies continued appearing. Finally, frustrated with the flies and convinced that the plastic sheet wasn't helping at all, I removed the sheet and found about 50 fly corpses surrounding the peace plants. They were indeed the source, and there was nothing more we could do to curb the infestation. I immediately sacrificed the plants into the compost pile. The flies are gone.

The peace plant will be remembered for its generosity and white flowers.

Rest in peace, plant.

1 comment:

  1. Alice3:23 PM

    so sad, but its a common problem with putting house plants outside or bringing outside plants in for the winter. you can always have a new one! SR just divided the parent again...