Many gardeners love always to have fresh arugula, so they often write to us asking if it can be grown in pots. Yes, arugula can quickly thrive in pots. Throughout this article, I will explain everything about growing arugula in pots. The best thing about growing arugula in pots is that it is unnecessary to use large pots.
Also, if you live in areas with hot summers, you can grow arugula in pots to move it more easily to the shade. On the other hand, for those living in very harsh winters (snow), you can grow arugula in pots indoors. I will explain each case specifically for you to grow arugula in pots successfully.
Varieties of Arugula
Many varieties of arugula can be easily grown in pots. You can harvest some of these arugula varieties as microgreens in as few as 12 days, while others can be harvested 30 days after planting. Here are some of the arugula varieties I recommend for growing in pots:
Roquette arugula or Rocket arugula: Also known simply as “Rocket,” this is the classic arugula variety with a slightly peppery flavor. It has deeply lobed leaves and is commonly used in salads, sandwiches, and as a garnish. It’s quick-growing and popular for its spicy kick.
Arugula Microgreens: Arugula microgreens are young, edible seedlings of the arugula plant. They have a milder flavor than mature arugula and are often used as a nutrient-rich addition to salads, sandwiches, and dishes. They are known for their vibrant green color and tender texture.
Astro arugula: Astro arugula is known for its compact growth and attractive, deeply serrated leaves. It has a milder flavor compared to traditional arugula. This variety is ideal for those who want a more delicate and spicier flavor. It is suitable for both pot gardening and conventional garden beds.
Sylvetta arugula: Sylvetta arugula, also called “Wild Rocket,” is a perennial arugula variety with a more intense and peppery flavor than the traditional variety. It has deeply lobed leaves and a slightly bitter taste. It is often used in Mediterranean cuisine and can be cultivated year-round in mild climates.
I recommend these arugula varieties for growing in pots because they grow fast. I have grown them myself with excellent results in small pots. Other types of arugula grow a little longer and slower, so I do not recommend them for growing in pots.
Where to Grow Arugula in Pots
Like many other leafy greens, growing arugula in pots makes it easy to get consistently fresh arugula. Also, having arugula in pots allows you to move the pot anywhere in your home according to the needs of the arugula (more or less light).
You can grow arugula in any pot that is at least 6″ (15 cm) deep. We grow arugula even in plastic yogurt and ice cream pots. Practically any container is suitable for growing arugula. Just make sure the container has sufficient drainage holes.
Use a potting mix or a substrate that has good drainage. Also, ensure the substrate is rich in nutrients and organic matter. You can add some compost yourself. I recommend reading our article on how to make a worm composting bin.
It would be best to place the pot with the arugula in a place that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. You should move the pot to a shady spot in the summer on extremely hot days. An advantage of growing arugula in pots is that you can easily move the pot to places with better shade or lighter, depending on what the arugula needs at that time of growth.
When to Grow Arugula in Pots
Fortunately, you can grow arugula in pots all year round. Spring and fall are the best times to grow arugula in pots because the temperatures and the sun are not as intense.
On the other hand, in the summer and especially in areas with extreme heat, you should provide partial shade for potted arugula or move the pot to a shady spot during the midday hours. Too much sun will ruin arugula leaves.
Growing Arugula in Pots Indoors
During the winter, if you live in a region with winters where the temperature is not extremely cold, you can grow arugula in pots outdoors. If you live in a snowy area, you should grow arugula in pots indoors by placing the pot where it receives the most sunlight. In addition, it would be best to use a grow light so that the arugula can develop and grow properly.
Growing arugula in pots is versatile and allows you to easily move your pot to the best place in your garden or home. As gardeners, we have been growing arugula in pots for many years and encourage our readers always to have fresh arugula.
Growing Arugula in Pots Step by Step
As I mentioned earlier, growing arugula in pots is very simple, and you don’t need to use huge pots. Follow these steps to grow arugula in pots correctly:
Use a pot or container at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep with good drainage holes. A wider container will allow you to grow more arugula plants. You can use yogurt pots, ice cream, etc.
Arugula prefers well-draining, fertile soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (around 6.0 to 7.0). You can use a high-quality potting mix or blend potting soil and compost. Learn more about how to measure soil pH.
How many arugula plants per pot? Plant arugula between 1 and 6 inches (2.5 – 15 cm) keeping the rows separated 15 inches (38 cm).
Select quality arugula seeds for successful germination. Spread arugula seeds evenly over the surface of the soil. You can sow them relatively close together, as arugula plants are usually harvested young.
Gently press the arugula seeds into the soil, but avoid burying them too deeply; you should cover them with a thin layer of soil.
Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Use a watering can or a gentle hose attachment to water your arugula plants. It would be best if you consistently watered at the base of the plants to keep the leaves dry.
Arugula thrives in partial to full sun, so place your pots where they receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. Remember that in the summer, you should provide shade during the strongest sunlight hours.
In a few days, the arugula seeds will germinate. Always keep the substrate moist but not waterlogged.
How to Harvest Arugula in Pots
Depending on the variety of arugula you grow in pots, the leaves’ harvest days will differ. For example, suppose you want to obtain arugula microgreens. In that case, you only have to wait about 12 days after sowing the seeds. On the other hand, the Astro variety can harvest young leaves at 21 days, and adult leaves at 40 days. Depending on your taste and what you use the arugula leaves for, you will decide when to harvest the arugula leaves.
For continuous harvesting throughout the season, opt for the outer leaves of the arugula plant. Select them as near the base as possible, ensuring you leave a generous portion of inner growth intact to support the plant’s vitality and ongoing productivity. This approach will prompt the arugula to regenerate rapidly, allowing for successive modest harvests. Learn more about how to harvest arugula without killing the plant.
Growing arugula in pots is an excellent option for all those gardeners who want to have fresh arugula all year round or have little space at home. I know many people growing arugula in pots on their balconies and are very happy with the harvest.
In addition, growing arugula in pots will allow you to have fresh leaves of arugula throughout the year. In areas with cold winters, you can have your arugula growing indoors with a growing light. On the other hand, if you live in areas of extreme heat during the summer, you can easily move your potted arugula to shadier locations.