How Much Space Does Arugula Need to Grow: A Quick Guide

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Arugula is a popular leafy green often found in salads and dishes for its unique, peppery taste. Cultivating your own arugula at home is a rewarding experience, as it is a fast-growing plant that is well-adapted to a variety of growing conditions. Understanding the space requirements for arugula can help you plan your garden accordingly and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

When planting arugula seeds, it is recommended to sow them 1/4 inch deep and 1-2 inches apart in rows that are about 10 inches apart. This spacing allows for adequate air circulation, reducing the risk of fungal growth while also allowing enough room for the plants to grow and develop fully (The Old Farmer’s Almanac). For those who prefer to broadcast seeds, mixing arugula with other salad greens and scattering them across the garden bed can also yield good results.

Arugula Basics

Growing Conditions

Arugula flourishes in cool temperatures, ideally between 40°F and 55°F. It can be grown in both full sun and partial shade conditions. Arugula prefers soil with a pH level of 6.0-7.0 and requires consistent, even moisture. To ensure optimal growth, plant arugula alongside companion plants like beets, carrots, celery, and cucumbers.

Types of Arugula

There are various types of arugula, each with its own flavor profile and growing conditions. Some popular types include:

  • Wild Arugula: Also known as Sylvetta or Diplotaxis, this type is spicier and slower-growing than common arugula. It has thinner, more deeply lobed leaves and a more intense flavor.
  • Common Arugula: Eruca Sativa, the most widely cultivated in gardens, is tender with a slightly spicy, peppery taste. The leaves are broader than wild arugula, and it grows relatively quickly.
  • Wasabi Arugula: This unique variety has a strong, wasabi-like flavor and is ideal for a sharp kick in salads and other dishes.

When growing arugula, it’s essential to consider the desired harvest size and method. For baby leaves, space plants 1″ apart, and for medium-sized plants, space them 2-4″ apart. In a square foot garden, you can plant 4-9 arugula plants. Make sure to harvest the leaves when they are young and tender, as older leaves can become tough and bitter.

Space Requirements for Arugula

Seed Spacing

When sowing arugula seeds, it’s essential to provide adequate space for the plants to grow well. Seed spacing should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. This will ensure that each seedling has enough room to develop and produce healthy leaves for harvest. (source)

Row Spacing

When planning your arugula garden, consider the space between rows. A general guideline for row spacing is 6 to 18 inches (15-45 cm) apart. This allows for ample sunlight and airflow between the rows, promoting healthy growth and reducing the risk of disease. (source)

Container Gardening

If you’re growing arugula in containers, it is important to choose an appropriate container size. A minimum depth of 6 inches (15 cm) is recommended for proper root development. For multiple plants, ensure that there is sufficient spacing—about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart—between the seeds for adequate growth. (source)

Different Ways to Space Arugula

There are several methods to space arugula in your garden:

  • Intensive spacing: Sow seeds close together and thin out seedlings as they grow, harvesting young leaves during the thinning process. (source)
  • Broadcast sowing: Spread seeds evenly over the planting area and mix with other greens, harvesting leaves when small. (source)
  • Succession planting: Sow arugula seeds every 2 to 3 weeks throughout the season for a continual harvest of fresh leaves. (source)

Arugula can be grown in various ways, and the spacing technique you choose will largely depend on your gardening goals and available space. Regardless of the method, ensure that there is adequate room for the plants to grow and thrive.

Optimizing Space for Growth

Arugula is a versatile and delicious leafy green that can be grown in various ways to make the most of your garden’s space. In this section, we’ll explore three methods to optimize space for arugula growth: succession planting, vertical gardening, and companion planting.

Succession Planting

Succession planting is a technique that involves sowing seeds at staggered intervals to ensure a continuous harvest. Arugula is an ideal candidate for this method due to its quick maturation (often ready to harvest within 4-6 weeks).

Start by sowing seeds ¼-inch deep and about 1 inch apart in rows 10 inches apart, as recommended by The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Plant new batches of seeds every 2-3 weeks to keep arugula crops fresh and abundant. Once plants have several sets of leaves, you can begin harvesting, as per the guidelines provided by Gardening Know How.

Vertical Gardening

Vertical gardening involves using structures like trellises, planters, or shelves to grow plants upward, making the most of limited space. Arugula can be grown in containers or pots, making it a suitable candidate for vertical gardening. According to The Spruce, arugula has a shallow root system, so it adapts well to container gardening. Choose pots or containers with good drainage, and keep the soil consistently moist for optimal growth.

Companion Planting

Companion planting refers to the practice of planting different crops close together for mutual benefit. Growing arugula alongside other salad greens, such as lettuce and spinach, can help to maximize space and create a diverse, nutritious garden.

Ensure ample room for root development by spacing arugula plants 4 inches apart for young leaves, and 6 inches apart for mature leaves or seeds, as advised by Epic Gardening. Create a mixed salad bed or stagger arugula plants among your other salad greens, taking care to maintain proper spacing for all plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much space does arugula need to grow?

Arugula typically requires 6-inch (15 cm) spacing between plants. When planting seeds, sow them approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart and later gradually thin the seedlings to achieve the proper spacing (source).

How long does it take for arugula to be ready for harvest?

Arugula can be ready to harvest in as little as 2-3 weeks under ideal conditions, and it usually takes 4-7 weeks for the leaves to fully mature for harvest(source).

Can I grow arugula in a container?

Yes, arugula can be successfully grown in containers. Choose a pot with good drainage and fill it with a high-quality potting mix. Ensure that there is enough room for the plants to grow, maintaining the recommended 6-inch (15 cm) spacing(source).

How do I plant arugula seeds?

Arugula seeds should be sown about ¼-inch (6 mm) deep and 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart in rows 10 inches (25 cm) apart(source). Cover the seeds lightly with soil, making sure not to bury them too deep as they need light to germinate(source).

What is the best time to plant arugula seeds?

Arugula seeds can germinate in soil temperatures as low as 40°F (4°C). You can sow the seeds outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked in spring. See local frost dates. Also, sow in late summer or early fall to enjoy a fall or winter harvest(source).


In summary, arugula requires different spacing depending on the growth stage and method. For baby leaves, space plants 1″ (2.5cm) apart; for medium-sized plants, use 2-4″ (5-10 cm) spacing. In garden rows or containers, provide 4″ (10 cm) between plants, and place 4-9 plants in a square foot garden.

You can promote faster germination by soaking seeds in water beforehand, and sow them ¼-inch deep and about 1 inch apart in 10-inch rows. Remember to plant arugula seeds directly into the garden, at a depth of 1/2 inch and 1 inch apart in rows with 4 to 8 inches between rows.

Harvest arugula leaves when they reach about 3 inches long, as they’re at their tenderest and sweetest stage. To prolong the harvest season, sow a new succession of seeds every 2 weeks.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to enjoy a continuous supply of delicious arugula, perfect for salads and other culinary creations. Happy gardening!