Your friends are coming over to enjoy your favorite signature cocktail- a cool mojito on a warm summer’s day. Just as you are preparing, you notice something peculiar about the main herb: the mint has white spots. If you have never seen this before, then you might be concerned.
There are white spots on mint leaves due to damage caused by spider mites or other suckling bugs. You may notice the presence of webbing near your plant as a telltale sign. Unless the mint leaves are covered in a white fungal film, have a foul odor or appearance, they are generally safe to consume.
Of course, if you have never seen this before, then it can surely be alarming. After all, you do not want to serve yourself or your guests an herb that has gone bad due to pests (or another cause). Fortunately for you, there are some pretty easy ways to get rid of spider mites and other insects that are wreaking havoc on the survival and aesthetic of your plants. Continue reading to learn more.
Is it Safe to Eat Mint Leaves with White Spots?
Most of the time, we have been conditioned to immediately toss food that has mysterious spots on it straight into the garbage. After all, we would not want to consume something that could cause negative health consequences for us or our friends and family. But, what about mint?
More often than not, it is safe to eat mint leaves with white spots. The white spots likely come from spider mites, and as long as the leaves are not covered in a fungal film and do not give off a foul odor or drastically disgusting appearance, then they should be good to go.
Of course, if you have hesitations and you have other fresh leaves available that do not have the white spots, then you are welcome to use your digression. However, you more than likely will be in the clear with white spots on your mint leaves considering where these come from.
In short, what happens with spider mites and other bugs is that their “mouths” are shaped like tiny needles, so when they go to consume portions of the plant, they will affect the overall coloration due to the chemicals they release onto the leaves themselves.
Additionally, you might find that spider mites are not the issue, but that leafhoppers or other mites are causing the white spots on your mint leaves. Be sure to brush away any visible substance that is on your leaf and wash it before consuming if you have any concerns.
How Do You Get Rid of White Spots on Mint Leaves?
So the white spots on your mint leaves might not be harming your plant entirely, nor are they necessarily causing your plant to become harmful for consumption. Nevertheless, it is still important to rid your plants of these white spots if possible, especially if you are confident in knowing where the white spots on the mint leaves are coming from.
To get rid of white spots on mint leaves, there are a few options that you can consider:
Cut back the plant
If you are not in an urgent rush, then you can cut back on your plant and allow fresh, new mint leaves to grow. This will, in a sense, stop the life cycle of the bugs or mites that are causing the issues with your mint plant in the first place.
But, of course, this will mean that you will lose a considerable portion of your plant. If you are willing to sacrifice the mint plant that has been taken over by tiny white spots on its leaves, then this option will more likely than not work.
Just be sure to monitor the leaves that you choose to leave on the plant and cut them back if need be once the rest of the plant begins to grow.
Spread out your mint plants
Often, people have reported that they will find more white spots when they clump their mint plants all together in one common location. Interestingly, this can occur as the mites or bugs (or whatever is causing your issue) finds the tasty mint and begins to reap its benefits.
To counteract this, you can “confuse” the bugs (or at least cause them to have to work a little harder) by spreading out the mint plants. This will not get rid of pre-existing white spots, but it will make it more difficult for the tiny mites or bugs to find your mint plants and take them all down.
Clean the leaves
There are a few different mixtures that you can use to clean the leaves of the plant. More or less, this will require delicacy in practice while rubbing a small mixture of a few different options directly on the leaves of the mint plant.
When you clean the leaves, you will likely not notice the white spots disappear immediately. You are not trying to scrub them off here, but instead, you are helping the mint leaf to restore to its natural properties.
A few different options for cleaning the leaves include a very diluted soap and water mixture, a mixture including neem oil, and any mixture that is known to repel spider mites or whichever type of bug that you have determined is causing the white spots on your mint leaves.
Be sure to avoid using traditional pesticides on your mint leaves as these are not very well known for being able to rid your mint leaves of spider mites or comparable problems. Because of this, it would be a major waste of time and money to begin adding traditional pesticides to your plant when the pesticides might not even work.
Bring in a beneficial insect
Now, this option will not work for a few of the different known white spot instigators, but it can work for spider mites and other bugs. Bringing in a beneficial insect means that you are using a natural way to rid your mint plant from the cause (the prey bug or mite) that is causing all of the white spots in the first place.
When considering this option, just be sure to do your research as you would not want to bring in yet another bug that would eventually harm your mint leaves. Obviously, with choosing any of these methods, your goal is to keep your mint plant alive and prosperous.
How to Tell if Mint is Bad or Spoiled?
So, let’s get back to that tasty mojito. If you are anything like me, then you will be craving its delicious flavor from the moment the words are spoken. Because of this, you want to be sure that your ingredients are well-prepared, and that your mint is definitely not bad or spoiled.
There are a few ways to tell if your mint is bad or spoiled. Primarily, use your senses of taste, touch, and smell to recognize a spoiled mint. Bad or spoiled mint will taste more bitter than traditional mint tastes. You might describe it as “just slightly off”, but this means that it has gone bad.
Regarding touch, bad or spoiled mint will not hold its firm shape and will be more limp or soft to the touch. Fresh mint, on the other hand, is more firm and holds its shape. Finally, bad or spoiled mint will smell foul. It might not have a strong enough odor to recognize from a distance, but you will be able to tell once you bring the mint leaf close to you to whiff.
So, if you are concerned that your mint is bad or spoiled but you are unsure, then be sure to take a minute to review the plant with your basic senses. Bad or spoiled mint truly will not be difficult to tell as it will be readily apparent in either of these “senses” tests.
In the case of preparing your favorite mojito (or other drink/food that requires the delicious application of mint leaves), you will want to avoid bad or spoiled mint. Truly, fresh mint offers something unique to the flavor of any recipe that calls for it. It is worthy of your investment in even a small-sized mint plant in or around your home.