What's That White Stuff On My Mint Plant???

MidnightStormJuly 8, 2006

I just bought an apple mint plant a few weeks ago. It looks like it's doing very well except that I noticed something white on the stems this morning. It didn't appear to be white flies; it was more like tiny patches of sticky white substance that appeared on several of the stems up near the top on each.

Is this some kind of disease? Or is the beginning of some kind of butterfly larvae or something?

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Well, I SUSPECT mealies! eek! never seen them on mint before...but there's always a first. I'd either spray them with alcohol, making sure none gets on the roots, or take a Q-tip and dab them with alcohol... and keep rechecking to see if they've come back.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 8:30PM
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If the plant is outside and the substance is foamy or looks like, well, spit (spume to be polite), then it is probably the nymphs of the spittlebug.


Here is a link that might be useful: Spittlebug Spume

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 8:01AM
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Thanks for the responses. I have already cut off the portions of the mint that were affected with the mystery 'stuff' so I can't check it more closely. My plant is in a container outside but from what I remember, I think it might have been the spittle spume. I went to the link and read about it but I wasn't sure about the remedy.

Since I use the mint in iced tea it was a pretty disgusting thing to find on the leaves. What (if anything) can I do to prevent the spittle spume in the future?

Thank you

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 8:20AM
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MNS, there's not a lot you can do to prevent the spume, since it is produced by the nymphs of the spittlebug (AKA leafhopper, froghopper) as they develop. But, since you should always rinse off any leaves or flowers you pick before using, and since the spume does rinse off easily, it should not be a problem to remove it, as disgusting as you may find the substance. At least you can see it. There are a lot of other 'things' on the plants we consume that are not as visible and, thus, not removed. ThatÂs why you should always rinse well before using.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 12:22PM
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Spittlebug/Frog hopper nymphs are usually past the "nymph' and "spittle" stage by now. Here it is April thru May and by June they have hopped off. I won't see them again in this stage until next spring. On many plants you will see twiting and curling (malformations) of leaves where they have attached themeselves below (in the axils or stems) to feed. They are encased in this white foamy froth to protect them from predators while completing their nymphal stages


    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 5:29PM
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