How To Plant Arugula

General Introduction

Also known as “rocket” or “roquette,” arugula is a fast-growing, cool-season salad green that adds a tangy, mustard-like flavor to salads. Here’s how to plant and grow arugula in your garden!

Arugula is often found in mesclun mixes. Plant early or late in the growing season and you will be able to harvest as soon as 4 weeks after sowing. The seedlings are hardy and tolerate some frost.


  • Arugula prefers humus-rich, well-drained soil, but will tolerate a wide variety of conditions.
  • Plant outdoors in full sun or part shade as soon as the soil can be worked in spring. See local frost dates.
  • Sow in late-summer for a fall or early-winter harvest.
  • Plant ¼-inch deep and about 1 inch apart in rows 10 inches apart. Alternatively, broadcast arugula seeds alone or mix with other greens.
  • Seeds germinate in a few days.
  • Sow new seeds every 2 to 3 weeks for a continuous harvest.


  • Keep soil evenly moist.
  • Thin seedlings to about 6 inches apart, using the thinnings for salads.
  • To reduce heat stress, provide some shade for warm-season plantings.


  • Flea beetles
  • Cabbage worms
  • Downy mildew


  • The leaves taste best when young.
  • Harvest leaves when they are about 2-3 inches long.
  • Pull up the whole plants or cut individual leaves.
  • The white flowers are edible. 

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Runway’ – Very fast growing plant with large-lobed leaves.
  • ‘Garden’ – Fast growing plants produce leaves with a mild, radish-like flavor.
  • ‘Italian Rocket’ – Also known as ‘Wild Italian Rocket’. Finely cut leaves with sharp flavor.
  • ‘Sylvetta’ – Small-lobed leaves. Slow growing and slow to bolt.
  • ‘Astro’ – Fast growing with a mild flavor.

Wit & Wisdom

  • Ancient Egyptians and Romans considered arugula leaves and seed oil to be an aphrodisiac.
  • In India, arugula seed oil is known as taramira and is used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.
  • Learn how to grow other types of salad greens in your garden.


  • Arugula Salad
  • Arugula and Watercress Salad with Orange-Poppy Seed Dressing
  • Arugula and Blood Orange Salad
  • Roasted Beets and Arugula
  • Fettuccine with Arugula and Mushrooms

Cooking Notes

  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Omelettes and eggs
  • Sandwiches
  • Grains
  • Pizza toppings (Dress arugula lightly in a lemony vinaigrette.)

How To Plant Arugula

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