How to Grow Arugula

Written by Gabrielle Smith

Arugula, or Rocket, is a fast-growing plant native to the Mediterranean, Turkey, and western Asia, and has been around for centuries! 

Packed with nutrients and health benefits, Arugula contains vitamins such as calcium, iron, and Vitamins A,C, and K.

Arugula is the perfect plant to start your gardening career, as it is resilient and fast growing!

You will have your garden filled with fresh Arugula in no time

Botanical Name:Eruca vesicaria
Common Name(s):Arugula, Rocket Salad, Roquette
Plant TypePerennial herb 
Place of Origin:Mediterranean, Turkey, Western Asia
Sun Exposure: Direct, full sun 
Watering Schedule:Every 7-10 days 
Seasonality: Spring 
Bloom Time: Summer 
Toxicity:Safe for cats and dogs 

Rule of (Green) Thumb: Arugula is a shallow-rooted plant, that grows in rosettes.

ARUGULA LIGHT REQUIREMENTS:

Before we get into all of the soil, light, and water requirements, it is important to go over the address the most basic question: Where is arugula grown?  

Find a place in your garden where your plant will get full sun for at least 6 or more hours. Once you have a sunny location, ensure your soil is minimum 40 degrees fahrenheit to encourage growth and ensure frost levels aren’t too high to prevent growth.

ARUGULA WATER REQUIREMENTS:

In order to keep your Arugula plant healthy and growing, ensure your plant’s soil is kept consistently moist. Although your plant’s soil should be watered regularly, be sure not to overwater to protect your plant from bolting. 

Bolting is a process that occurs when your Arugula plant receives too much water or too much sunlight. Bolting is when the plant goes straight to flowering. When Arugula bolts, its flower sprouts and disperses seeds without developing much foliage. 

Rule of (Green) Thumb: How much you water your arugula will depend on your climate. The drier it is, the more frequently you'll have to water your plant!

ARUGULA TEMPERATURE REQUIREMENTS:

Arugula seeds are best planted in colder temperatures. This plant can withstand light frost and soil of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the best results, it is recommended that you plant your arugula seeds in early spring or as soon as the soil is able to be handled. - If you live in an area with moderate temperatures, plant your Arugula seeds in late summer/ early fall for a winter harvest. 

ARUGULA HUMIDITY REQUIREMENTS:

Arugula prefers drier climates, so providing any excessive levels of humidity is not preferred. - Remember though, that the drier the climate the more frequently you'll have to water your plant!

ARUGULA SOIL:

Now that you have the perfect spot for your little Arugula seedlings, you have to ensure that the soil is just right!

The perfect soil for your Arugula plant is loamy soil. Loamy soil is well-draining and fertile soil. It is equal parts sand/silt/clay. This soil type tends to be acidic but is high in nutrients and retains moisture very well.

In addition to loamy soil, your Arugula plant thrives in slightly acidic soil. Soil with a pH level between 6 and 7 is perfect for this plant.

SOWING ARUGULA SEEDS:

Once you have a sunny spot and have prepared your garden with loamy soil, it is time to sow your Arugula seed!

Your seeds should be placed about ¼ an inch into the soil and about 1 inch apart. For each row of seeds, make sure there is about 10 inches between each Arugula plant spacing. 

Keep sowing new seeds! Once you have planted your original Arugula seeds, replant new seeds every 2 to 3 weeks for a longer harvest.

GERMINATING ARUGULA SEEDS: 

Once your Arugula seeds are sowed, the germination process begins. In colder weather, expect your seeds to take about 7 to 9 days to begin germinating. In warmer weather, the germination process will take a week. 

Rule of (Green) Thumb: Germination is the beginning of the growth process of a seed into a sprout. 

ARUGULA FERTILIZER:

The Arugula is an extremely fast growing plant on its own, but if you want to give it some extra nutrients to support faster growing, give it a small, singular application of a high nitrogen fertilizer or some compost. 

Nitrogen in fertilizer is used specifically for vegetative growth. In a typical fertilizer there are equal parts nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium.

For a high nitrogen fertilizer, the amount varies between fully nitrogen, to a higher portion of nitrogen over phosphate and potassium. Below is a list of organic and inorganic high nitrogen fertilizers.

Inorganic High Nitrogen Fertilizer: Non-organic fertilizer is one that is not found naturally and is manufactured by humans.

Nitrogen is manufactured by processing nitrogen and hydrogen to create ammonia. The ammonia is then broken down to create the nitrogen that is used in fertilizers.

If you choose to use an inorganic fertilizer try one of these:
01. Lawn Fertilizer - typically has a makeup of 20 parts nitrogen, 1 part phosphate, and 5 parts potassium.

02. General Plant Fertilizer: typically has a makeup of 15 parts nitrogen, 5 parts phosphate, 8 parts potassium.

Organic High Nitrogen Fertilizer: Organic fertilizer is a fertilizer that is naturally produced. This means there are no artificial chemicals or products in it.

If you choose to use an organic fertilizer try one of these:
01. Blood Meal: blood meal is a powder that is a byproduct of blood from cows and hogs found in slaughterhouses.

02. Feather Meal: feather meal is created when high temperatures are applied to bird feathers and ground up into a small powder. The keratin that is found in feathers is high in nitrogen, making this a high nitrogen fertilizer. 

ARUGULA DISEASES & PESTS:

Arugula, like any other plant is susceptible to pests and diseases. Here are few to look out for: 

01. Flea Beetles: These are tiny black or brown insects, that will chew through your plant's leaves. You may realize you have a flea beetle issue if you notice tiny holes on the foliage. You can treat this by using an insecticide, but make sure you're vigilant! These tend to co - me back!

02. Slugs and Snails - These critters love moist leaves and soil, so they will more likely show up on watering days. You can get rid of slugs by removing them from your garden by hand, or setting traps to lure them into. 

Rule of (Green) Thumb: The best way to prevent future pests in your garden, is by rotating your crops. - Plant your seeds in a different location each season.

ARUGULA TOXICITY:

Though arugula is a popular veggie, if consumed in large quantities it can actually be toxic to your body. Arugula contains erucic acid, so an excess amount of this can prove harmful. 

Download the Flora App for more tips and tricks on how to take care of your Arugula!