I had a beautiful Jade Plant. It started out very small. It was a housewarming gift from my mother over three years ago. The back story is, nearly all my life, my mom’s had jade plants of her own. They’ve come to be a symbol of our family. When we moved, the plant moved with us. So it was only natural for her to buy me my own when I got my first house.
Last summer, the beautiful plant grew bigger. I transplanted it to a larger pot. And it continued to grow. I was very excited. As we worked to beautify and fix Bedford Manor, my Jade plant planted its roots and grew. It was very symbolic.
This last winter was one of the coldest we’d had in many years. It stayed colder, longer. The temperatures dropped below freezing at night, for many nights. I decided the smart thing to do would be to bring my Jade plant in from the elements and protect it. I was wrong.
It sat, lovingly, on the counter between the refrigerator and kitchen sink. As I would do dishes at night, I would remember to water it. I’d talk to it. Take care of it. But after a few weeks I noticed it wasn’t so healthy any more. And then I noticed it. I thought it was a sort of water stain on the succulent leaves. But it wasn’t. It turned out to be what’s known as Powdry Mildew.
Now, Jade plants are hearty, resistant plants. Hardly anything can get to it. Except, of course, this Powdry Mildew. It infiltrates the plant and can even infect the soil. Since the days were now sunny and warmer, I’d placed the Jade back on the front porch. But it was too late.
The desert sun wasn’t as sunny as I’d needed. The warmth wasn’t as warm. My plant began to crumble. The leaves dropped and fell like, well, like leaves. Like the dead leaves that they were. Was there a connection that during this time I was going through some strong struggles at home? Finances and health are always at the top of my Prayer List. And neither seemed to be going in my favor for quite some time.
I did an internet search. “Jade plant disease”. And discovered the nasty Powdry Mildew. Thankfully, since Jades are hearty, there was hope. But it would take an extreme cure. Especially not knowing if the soil itself was infected.
The simple start is to concoct a mixture of 1 gallon water, 1/2 tablespoon liquid soap, and 1 tablespoon baking soda. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and use it. Every morning. Spray the leaves and plant and topsoil. A very simple, inexpensive remedy. For days I sprayed the Jade. I sprayed the leaves. The trunk. The soil. But nothing helped.
On to the not-so-simple Part Two: I had to cut it back. I had to prune back and remove all of the dead and infected growth, and hope the Jade would survive.
I cried as I cut stem after stem after stem. What was left was just a few inches of trunk, sticking up from the pot like… well, like this.
Nevertheless, I was hopeful because I could still see the moist green inside the trunk. After a few days, some of the cut ends shriveled up and dropped off. I was heartbroken. This plant that was once strong, big, beautiful, gorgeous… this plant was dying. And it’s possible I killed it by bringing it inside for the winter. Jades aren’t meant to thrive inside except for short periods of time.
I refused to give up. Day after day for the last three weeks, I watered it on alternate mornings. I sprayed every cut, every trunk, every grain of soil each morning and sometimes in the evenings.
It stayed green.
And something else was happening. My finances started to improve. My health started to improve. The anemia is fading. The eczema is manageable. I’m sleeping a little better at night. The bills are getting paid. I don’t know how. But through much prayer, the bills are getting paid.
Last week, I began to pray for my Jade. It’s not just a plant. It’s a symbol of Bedford Manor. Sure. I could get another Jade. But it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t be the One that’s been here for all the improvements and changes. It wouldn’t be the One my mommy gave me out of love. Anything else would just be a replacement.
Please, God. Don’t give me a replacement plant. Heal the original one. It’s symbolic. It’s history. It’s mine. Heal the one I have. Please.
And as I went to spray the Jade this evening, I saw this.
Wonderful new growth!
My Jade is coming back to life. There are not less than eleven new buds just beginning to bloom. My euphoria is understated. If my treasured plant can endure, so can I.
There is Hope for Bedford Manor.
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!