How do you Grow Arugula from Seed?
This can be a difficult question to answer for beginner gardeners because of complex factors like weather, soil, and pests.
This article will help solve this problem and give ALL experience levels of gardeners Easy-to-Follow Tips on growing arugula from seed.
And I recommend scrolling to the bottom of this page to find answers to the 5 most frequently asked questions most gardeners have when growing arugula.
Tip #1: Choose THESE 3 Types of Arugula
While there are hundreds of varieties of lettuce you can grow, I am recommending 3 kinds to choose from when learning how to grow arugula from seed.
These are the easiest types when trying to learn how to grow lettuce from seed.
One of the most popular types of Arugula to grow and one of the easiest is the Astro Arugula.
If you do not like the spicy taste of other arugulas then Astro Arugula for you. This type of Arugula is much milder, yet still has a peppery flavor.
What you’ll love about this type of Arugula is that you can harvest it in as little as three weeks. Or you can wait until it is 6 weeks to have a much fuller leaf.
When you think about Arugula you think about Rocket Arugula.
Rocket Arugula is the most popular type of Arugula in North America.
This type of Arugula of light, crispy, and extremely flavorful. It makes a perfect base for salads or or wraps because of its spice.
This is also the easiest type of Arugula to grow. It takes only 40 days to full harvest and is perfect for shade or partial shade gardens.
Not only this, but this is the most common type of Arugula that you find in grocery stores and supermarkets.
If you would like to grow a type of arugula with larger leaves than you should grow Italian Cress.
Italian Cress arugula is the perfect type for anyone who wants to get a larger harvest and likes to add arugula to salads and sandwhiches.
What you’ll love about this type of arugula is that it can be grown indoors in the winter and matures in as early as 30 days! This is perfect for beginner gardeners!
Tip #2 Starting Seeds Indoors
Because of its ability to withstand low temperatures, growing arugula from seed can happen indoors and outdoors. Please read below for instructions on how to grow arugula from seed both indoors and outdoors.
Step 1 – Begin Planting Seed 6 weeks Before the Last Frost
You will want to start your seeds inside approximately 6 weeks before you plan on moving your arugula into your garden or moving your planter outside.
- You will first want to start by buying your seed. I recommend buying from Amazon because it is quick and inexpensive.
- You will then want to take 3-inch GrowKo Peat Pots and fill them up to approximately 80% full with Miracle-Gro Potting Mix.
- Next, spray your soil 5 to 8 times with a spray bottle. You will want the soil to be moist, not damp. Damp soil can cause unwanted fungus.
*Find Your Last Frost Date HERE*
Step 2 – Lightly sprinkle 4-5 Seeds Per Pot
- Because of how small arugula seeds are it is sometimes to grab the1 or 2 seeds and plant them. Instead, sprinkle 4-5 seeds per pot about 1/8 inch deep and then gently brush the soil over the seeds. *Note, it is ok if more than 5 seeds fill a hole.
- Then spray the soil again 5 to 8 times until it turns a dark color.
The video below also gives a great tutorial on how to plant seeds.
Step 3 – Provide Your Seeds with At Least 8 Hours of Sunlight
- After planting your seeds, provide at least 8 hours of sunlight by placing the pots by a window or a Grow Light if your windows do not receive enough sunlight.
*If you put your seeds closer than 4 inches they will burn and die. If you put them further away than 4 inches there is a chance they won’t get enough sun to germinate.*
You will also want to keep the room temperature between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit. With that being said, you can even grow arugula seeds in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- This is the temperature needed so that your seeds can turn into plants.
If you don’t have an area that will stay consistently around 50-65 degrees, I would recommend investing in a Plant Heating Mat.
- A Plant Heating Mat is the perfect way to keep your pots and seeds at a consistent temperature that we may not otherwise be able to.
Step 4 – Spray, Spray, Spray
After your initial planting, you will need to spray the soil once to twice a day for approximately 10 days.
It will take approximately 10 days for your seeds to germinate or “pop” through the soil.
Once your seeds have germinated and sprouted through the soil, you will want to continue to spray them twice a day for 4 more months until they are ready to transplant outside.
Step 5- Prune & Transplant your Arugula Plant into a Larger Pot
Once your arugula grows for about 3-4 weeks you can either begin to thin it to allow only one plant to grow or keep all plants in the pots. If you keep all plants there is a chance that they will not grow as full as just one arugula.
You can do this by taking scissors and snipping the smaller of the plants right at the soil line. This will allow the healthier arugula plant to grow to its full potential.
Next, you can transplant your arugula plant to a 5 Gallon Nursery Pot.
Again, you will want to fill these pots about 80% full with your potting mix.
Next, you will want to make a hole approximately 3 inches deep (about the size of your arugula plant at this point).
Then turn your existing small pot upside down, pinch the bottom of it, and then gently pull the soil and your plant out.
You will then place it in your 5-gallon pot and fill it with soil.
Immediately after you do this, spray the soil about 5 to 10 times.
You will then want to leave your arugula in this pot until it is ready to transplant outside.
Step 6 – Introduce your Arugula to Outside Weather
This next step is what most beginner gardeners miss, but is critical to your success.
For about two weeks, you will want to slowly introduce your Arugula to the outside.
On the first day, you will want to place your Arugula (still in its pot) outside in direct sunlight for approximately 2 hours.
Each day thereafter, place the Arugula outside for an additional hour until you build up to 6 straight hours.
Tip #3: Transplant Arugula Outside
Once the last frost of the year has happened you can transplant your Arugula outside. If you transplant your Arugula before the last frost it may die. To help prevent this I recommend planting it in a raised garden bed.
- Related: Best Raised Garden Beds
Below, is a 2 step process for transplanting your Arugula outside into your garden.
Step 1 – Do THIS if you will be keeping your Arugula in its container all summer!
If you decide to keep your Arugula in the pots then there is no need to transplant. You will only need to apply compost or Miracle-Gro Potting Mix
- Apply approximately 1/4 inch of potting mix to your planter
- As soon as you apply your fertilizer make sure to water the ARugula for approximately 15 to 30 seconds
- Every week until harvest water your Arugula twice a day and keep it in full sun to promote fruit growth.
If you want to learn more about growing Arugula in containers, I recommend watching the below video:
Step 2 – Do THIS to Transplant your Arugula into your Garden!
- About 1 month before you plan on transplanting your arugula into a garden dig holes about 8 inches deep and filling it with compost. Space holes 12-18 inches apart.
- Dig your holes in an area that will receive partial shade.
- Then after the last frost transplant your arugula into the garden exactly the same way you transplanted it into the larger pots.
- Immediately after you transplant your arugula outside add
Miracle-Gro Plant Food and water the soil for about 30 seconds.
- Finally, water your arugula once a day for about 30 seconds. Continue doing this until you harvest your arugula mid-summer.
- Related To: Best Garden Hoses
Tip #4: Starting Arugula Seeds in a Garden
Arugula is one of the easiest vegetables to grow outside, no matter where you live.
Whether you do not have the ability to start your seeds indoors or just want to start your seeds directly in a garden then I recommend following the below directions:
Step 1: Start Your Seeds After the Last Frost
You should always start your arugula seeds after the last frost. Arugula seeds will germinate best at temperatures between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit.
With that being said, they can even grow in weather as low as 40 degrees!
If you want to know your last frost date then I recommend Clicking HERE.
Step 2: Plant Your Seeds This Way!
Once you decide to start seeds outside you will want to do the following simple steps:
- Find a location that is partial shade and cooler and has a pH level between 6.0-7.0.
- Dig 1/8 inch holes with the tip of your finger or a pencil.
- Keep holes approximately 2 feet apart to allow for the most arugula grow.
- Lightly sprinkle 4-5 arugula seeds in each spot. It should be noted that not all seeds will germinate and you can always thin your plants out after they grow.
- Lightly cover your seeds and spray 8-10 times until the soil turns a dark brown color.
Step 3: Continue Watering your Seeds
After you initially plant your arugula seeds you will want to water them 2-3 times a day until the soil is dark brown.
You will do this until the seeds germinate and then continue doing this until they become at least 3 inches tall.
*If the weather is hotter than usual for your garden then you may need to water several more times a day then described above.
Tip #5: Effectively Care for your Arugula THIS Way!
Below are caring tips for your Arugula throughout the summer:
- Keep Your Soil Healthy – Quickly inspect your soil for fungus, harmful insects, and weeds before you plant and throughout the summer. Remove and replace it with new soil as needed.
- Water the soil, not the plants. By watering leaves, you increase the risk of spreading fungus and other diseases. Do not overwater as it will increase the likelihood of disease.
- Remove diseased and dead plants. This is the easiest way to prevent the spread of deadly diseases. If you notice yellow spots on leaves it means you may have blight fungus and will want to remove the leaves.
- Plant your arugula at a new spot yearly. This is key to preventing seasonal diseases and insects from attacking the same plants year in and year out.
- Prevent Insects. The best way to prevent them is through an insecticide. If you don’t want aphids, slugs, or cabbage worms ruining all your hard work I recommend purchasing Garden Safe Pesticide
Tip #6: Effectively Harvest Arugula THIS Way!
Below are several tips to remember when harvesting arugula:
- Harvest your Arugula 3 to 10 weeks after planting.
- Harvest your arugula frequently. This will help thin it out, ensure the best flavor possible, and helps to prevent seeding.
- Always pick your arugula where it meets the stalk.
- Pick your arugula from the outside to the inside.
Frequently Asked Questions (5 Questions)
1. What are the best ways to store Arugula?
Below, will give you several guidelines to store arugula longer:
- Once you harvest your arugula it will store at room temperature for only 1-day maximum.
- If you wash your arugula and place it in a zip-lock bag your arugula can last 2-3 days.
- If you wash your arugula and place it in a zip lock bag with several layers of damp paper towels your arugula can store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
2. What are the Best Uses for Arugula?
There are numerous uses for arugula in food. Below, are some of the best ways to use arugula:
Related: 30 Arugula Recipes
3. What type of Arugula Seeds should I Use?
There are four types of seeds that can be used to grow arugula; heirloom, organic, hybrid, and GMO.
I recommend using Heirloom or Hybrid seeds. Gardeners do not have access to GMO seeds and organic seeds is a marketing term and not truly a type of seed.
- These seeds contain all the arugula original traits and produce some of the most beautiful and best-tasting arugula out there.
- The downside of this seed is that it is the costliest (due to its rarity).
- In addition, expect the least amount of yield from this type of seed due to susception of disease and other elements.
- Hybrid seeds were made from combining the genes of the same group of plants. This is not a bad thing.
- This type of seed is what most gardeners use when learning how to grow arugula from seed.
- The goal with hybrids is to produce a plant that contains the best features of both parent plants.
- This seed is critical if you want the most resistant plant against mother nature’s elements, insects, and diseases or want the most yield!
4. What Type of Fertilizer Should I Use for My Arugula?
The best type of fertilizer for arugula is compost.
- Related: Ultimate Composting Guide: What to Compost
- Related: Yimby Tumbler Composter: 5 Reasons to Buy Today
And if you don’t have the time or ability to create compost then I recommend buying Miracle-Gro Plant Food for your arugula.
5. What Type of Soil Should I Use for My Arugula Plants?
If you will be keeping your arugula plants in containers all year then you will want a well-draining potting mix that provides the correct amount of nutrients like Miracle-Gro Potting Mix.
If you will be planting your arugula into a garden then you will want to add a nutritious garden soil mix into the ground, such as Miracle-Gro Expand N Gro