Just before Phedre Fitton died of ovarian cancer four years ago, she gave her husband one final instruction: to water her plants in the washroom.

Intent on fulfilling his late wife’s request, Nigel Fitton dutifully watered the plants in the home they shared in Johannesburg, South Africa for years.

Antonia Nicol, the couple’s daughter, told CTVNews.ca that her father was so proud of himself for keeping his wife’s plants alive for so long.

That is, until he discovered his wife had managed to prank him one last time.

About a year ago, Nicol, a firefighter based in London, England, was helping her father move his belongings into a retirement home when they discovered the plants he had been faithfully watering were, in fact, fake.

“There wasn't much light in the bathroom, so my mum had replaced the plants with plastic ones. None of us knew,” she wrote in a message on Thursday. “We all found it hilarious. Especially my dad who had been so impressed he hadn't killed them off.”

So, where did all of that water go if the plants weren’t actually absorbing it?

“My poor dad probably thought the toilet had a permanent leak as there was always water on the floor,” Nicol wrote in a comment on her post.

Nicol was reminded of the moment recently and shared the story on Twitter, where it has since received more than 33,000 retweets and 109,315 likes. She wrote that she could hear “my mum chuckling” when they made the discovery.

“She was very funny. Had a cheeky sense of humour for sure,” she wrote in one comment. “It's really made us all happy as a family to remember her like this.”

Plant prank

Nicol said her parents met when they were 16 years old and were together ever since.

“They were best friends. They worked together, travelled together and were never apart,” she wrote.

In the days since sharing the story on social media, Nicol said her father has been embracing all of the attention.

“My dad has just sent a message saying that it's brought a tear to his eye and he hopes it's made people happy,” she said.

In fact, he enjoyed reminiscing about the prank so much he even reenacted watering the fake plants for a photo he sent to his daughter.

“It's got our family and friends all chatting about my mum again which is really lovely and it feels like she's right here with us, laughing along,” Nicol said.

Plant prank