My Plants are Killing Me

My Own Little Shop of Horrors!

My plants are killing me

Remember my battle with the fungus gnats? Well, I’m proud to report that they are no longer among us! However, my plants are now mad at me. In fact, it’s possible my plants are trying to kill me!

Let me explain.

You see, in the battle to exterminate the gnats, I was advised by the nursery to stop watering my plants. No water = no gnats. But it was a multi-week process. I was told not to water the plants for at least three weeks. If a plant started drooping (and how could it not?), I was to segregate it from all the others and then, only give it a drop or two of water.

It all felt like plant cruelty. I was convinced someone would call the flora version of the ASPCA!

First, a Gnat Killer

After the 21-day no-water period, the number of gnats had diminished, but the little critters were persistent. Some lingered on, buzzing about, laying eggs, and re-populating. So, I gritted my teeth and held out, keeping my watering can empty and away from my poor, thirsting plants.

Finally, on Day 30, my plants — and I — were about ready to give up the ghost. And at that point, I began hearing things — or at least — I thought I was hearing things!

Science Says

And weirdly enough, I’m sort of correct. But, of course, only sort of. You see plants do make sounds! Science has proven it. Only the sounds are ultrasonic and therefore, inaudible to humans.

After six years of research, scientists in Israel have determined that plants make ultrasonic popping noises when they’re cut or become dehydrated or infected.

The scientists say the sounds might be their version of a call for help.

Now, this makes sense to me. Lots of people talk to their plants to encourage them to grow. I don’t do this, but I reckon turnaround is fair play. Besides, I complain when I’m suffering? So, why shouldn’t plants?

Plant Killer or Killer Plants?

And clearly, that’s what my dehydrated, buggy plants are doing. Now I get that “ultrasonic” means inaudible, but I have 29 plants. If all those water-starved plants cry out together — like some sort of tortured green chorus — surely the decibels add up, right? And I’m a light sleeper.

So, follow my sleep-deprived logic: I fear my plants are ganging up on me. Failing to get my attention by dropping leaves like mad, they’ve decided to disturb and destroy my already sleep-apnea-racked slumber. Yes, by engaging in nightly extreme sleep deprivation sonic tactics, my plants are trying to kill me!

I Need a Vacation!

Am I taking this too far? Perhaps, but between the gnats, the sleep apnea, and now, this scientific study about plants making popping sounds when hurt, sick, and dehydrated, I just don’t know. I just don’t.

Perhaps I should consider switching to artificial plants. Then, all I’ll have to do is dust. That I can do. No gnats. No watering required.

Or maybe I just need a vacation. In a desert. Where there are no plants. Or bugs.


About this week’s photo: It’s of Audrey II, the man-eating plant, featured in Little Shop of Horrors, the 1982 off-Broadway horror/comedy/musical and 1986 film, about a nerdy guy whose dreams of love and glory are imperiled by his gory plant’s insatiable appetite!

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