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Since I live in the San Francisco Fog Belt, I suffer from a variety of soil-borne funguses, including mint rust. In fact, mint rust is so severe that in the past I've had to rip out my mint every year and replant it from scratch in sterile soil and containers.

I've tried copper-based fungicides, but (a) they don't work very well and (b) they're toxic so not good for a culinary herb like mint. What can I do?

1 Answer 1


I bought some Neem Oil to control spider mites, a task for which it has been largely ineffective. However, on trying it on the mint, the mint rust went away almost immediately ... within 4 days the mint pot was sending out new shoots and leaves and looking healthier than it had all year. Plus Neem Oil is non-toxic.

I apply Neem Oil using a hand-sprayer, mixed 1 tsp / 1 L of water.

UPDATED based on comment below: Neem Oil is not non-toxic, but Generally Recognized as Safe. As a result, mint treated with Neem Oil should be washed before consumption, especially if being fed to young children.

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    Although Neem oil is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), it is NOT non-toxic. According to ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2259944, neem oil can be quite toxic to young children.
    – That Idiot
    Oct 6, 2014 at 15:37
  • Oh, interesting! Will dig further ...
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 8, 2014 at 0:43
  • There is more info on the toxicity of neem oil in this question
    – THelper
    Oct 8, 2014 at 7:43

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