Arugula plant is one of the easiest leafy green vegetables to be grown either in the garden soil or in containers. Arugula can be grown in containers indoors, on patio, and balcony.
The steps involve in growing arugula are straightforward and the gardening care is also simple. Follow along with this handy guide to learn how to grow arugula in containers.
How to grow arugula in containers
Here is step by step guide on how to grow arugula in containers indoors successfully:
1. Choose the best arugula variety
The first step to growing delicious and successful arugula starts with choosing good arugula variety. Some varieties of arugula are better than other varieties in terms of taste, flavors, and yields. So, choose wisely the variety you will grow. There are plenty of them. However, the most commonly grown varieties are Italian and common arugula varieties.
Another important thing to consider before choosing a variety is adaptability. Look whether there is a variety that is well adapted to your climatic conditions. You can find this arugula variety from your local growers.
2. Choose good container with reasonable size
Arugula loves to be spaced. Do not overcrowd them as this can cause diseases such as downy mildew and bacterial leaf spot. So, find a big container that is at least 16 inches wide and 6 inches deep.
Additionally, arugula does not like warm environment. So, use a container that is made from ceramic materials or clay. Do not use containers that are coated with black materials or made from plastics, and nylon. These materials (plastics, nylon, and polyethylene bags) can absorp heat and warm up the interior of the container, which eventually damage the arugula plant. Create holes underneath if the containers do not get one. This hole can help drain excess water out of the container.
3. Fill the container with potting mixes
If you find the right container that suits you, fill the container with potting mixes. Add a well-drained and fertile soil mixes with pH near neutral. Do not use garden soil directly. If you want to use garden soil, you need to sterilize the soil with heat. This sterilization helps kill weed seeds and pathogens. Then, add compost or cocco peat, coarse sand, chopped wood chips, and agricultural lime. To this end, you can add your garden soil in the container.
4. Sow arugula seeds 0.25 inch deep
After you finish setting up the potting mixes in the soil, plant the arugula seeds in the container 0.25 inch deep. Gently cover the seeds with small soil. You can plant upto 4 seeds in the container and later thin out the less vigorous ones when they germinated.
Related: Learn how to grow plants from seeds here
5. Moisten the soil mix and seeds
After you are done planting the arugula seeds in the pot, gently spray water to moisten the arugula seeds and potting soil. Germination only takes place in moist environment. But, while moisture is required for germination, do not overwater the seeds. Overwatering can waterlog in the container and eventually damage the seeds. So, just water enough to keep the soil mixes and arugula seeds moist.
6. Place the container in cooled and Sunny environment
Find a well-ventilated place that receives about 6 hours of direct sunlight and place the container. Arugula loves full sun but does not like warm-weather environment. So, when you observe that the environment is warmer, move the containers to shade or indoors. Leaving the container in warm-weather environment can damage your arugula seeds, seedlings, or plants.
7. Feed your arugula with 10-10-10 fertilizer
From planting to germination and during the seedling stage, you need to mix in a small amount of slow-releasing granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 fertilizer. When they have grown into mature arugula plants, feed them with a liquid fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen. You can alternatively use compost tea. (Learn how to make compost tea from kitchen waste here.)
8. Water your arugula regularly
Arugula plants love a moist environment. So, water them regularly. But, do not flood your arugula seeds or plants with water. Water only around the base of the plant. Watering on the leaves can attract pests and diseases. So, do not water on the arugula leaves and avoid flooding the plants. Just water when you observe the top inches of potting soil becomes dry.
9. Harvest your arugula after 35-40 days
Arugula is a fast growing vegetable like lettuce and spinach. Arugula only takes 4-7 weeks to mature after planting. After 35-40 days you can start to harvest the leaves. Leaves are quite delicious when they are young and tender. If you leave them to become fully matured, the leaves may not be palatable because they are bitter. So, harvest and enjoy the leaves when they are still young. You can harvest leaves more than one time. Since when you harvest, the arugula regrow fresh leaves. Use a garden shears to cut the outer leaves. Do not use your hands to pull the leaves if you want the arugula plant to regrow. You can also use knife to harvest.
Other parts of arugula plant that you may consider eating is the flower and flower bud. Arugula can go to seed so easily. So, if you like, you can enjoy the flowers in salad dressings.
Tip: Learn more on how to harvest plants from here
What is the right time for growing arugula?
As earlier said, arugula plant is a cool-season vegetable and loves full sun. So, the best time to grow arugula are spring and fall. You can either grow in fall or spring. If you want to grow 2 times in one growing season, you can start the seeds in later winter and then harvest in spring. While the second one, you can start the seeds in a late summer and harvest in fall.
Tip: learn more about the growing temperature of arugula here
How to take care of arugula
Basically, arugula is a low maintenance plant does not require much care. You only need to fertilize once and the plant will grow well. Despite, feeding the plant with fertilizer is optional, however, timely application of nitrogen-rich fertilizer will help produce plenty of green leaves and also helps arugula plants withstand the attack of diseases and pests.
Another important thing to take care of is overcrowding. Do not overcrowd arugula plants in one place. Thin out seedlings that are closely parked and leave only 1-2 stands per container. If you want to leave two arugula plants in a container, space them about 3-5 inches apart. Watch for pests and diseases. If you notice any sign of abnormality, look at what is the problem and control. (Tip: learn more about arugula growing problems.)
Frequently asked questions
Can you grow arugula in pots?
As I earlier said, arugula can be grown in pots. Arugula plant is quite relatively small and also self-contained, meaning arugula can be grown in pots or any garden space.
Read also: Learn How To Grow Broccoli From Scraps And Seeds here
Does arugula grow back after picking?
Yes, arugula can regrow after you pick the leaves. Harvest the leaves around the main stem when they are about 3-4 inches.
How do you know when arugula is ready to harvest?
Generally, under normal conditions, arugula will be ready about 40 days after planting. You can also harvest the leaves after they reached 4-5 inches.
Read also: Learn How To Grow Spinach From Cuttings And Seeds here
How do you harvest arugula so it keeps growing?
If you want your arugula to keep growing after the first harvest, make sure you harvest when the leaves are young. This helps arugula to continue producing leaves for several months. Additionally, cut only the outer leaves with scissors just around the stem or base of the main arugula.
How do you keep arugula from bolting?
You can keep arugula from bolting by regularly picking the outer leaves. You need also not to expose arugula to extreme cold or warm weather.
Does arugula reseed itself?
Yes, arugula may reseed if left unharvested the following year. Other plants with the same behavior include lettuce, radishes, and mustard.
Can you eat arugula that has flowered?
Yes, you can eat both arugula flowers and leaves. However, it is good to check for allergy because this is very common with flowers.
In this article, I looked at how to grow arugula in containers. I hope you will find this article helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.