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Is Arugula A Perennial?

Is Arugula A Perennial

Is arugula a perennial. The simple answer is yes and no. Now that’s confusing right? Well, not really.

You see, there are two types of arugula varieties. One is perennial while the other is an annual. Sounds a little like “a tale of two cities”.

Let me explain. The arugula you probably use every other day or grow in your garden is an annual. It’s what I called the domesticated arugula.

The close cousin though is wild and is a perennial.

One of the enemies to growing arugula in the garden is cold weather. Frost in particular is not a friend of this herb. Arugula has the ability to withstand a very mild frost but will not survive moderate to heavy frosts.

So while  the domesticated arugula is an annual, it does have the ability to reseed itself. If the conditions are right and it only has a mild winter to deal with, then it can come back again in the spring.

In some respects, that makes it a form of perennial. But the problem is relying on this theory happening every year is that you might get a mild winter one year and a cold one the next.

The wild cousin arugula however, has the ability to take on and survive a mild frost and can sprout again the next season.

So is arugula a perennial? Again, yes and no. Domestic arugula is an annual but the wild variety is perennial. Keep reading as I am going to delve a little deeper into the arugula leafy green.

What Is Arugula?

best conditions to grow arugulaSo let’s learn a little about arugula and what it is.

Arugula (Eruca Vesicaria) is a leafy green herb/vegetable that is commonly found in farmers markets and grocery stores.

It is a member of the Brassicaceae family and can grow up to fifteen inches tall. Arugula has a peppery taste and can be eaten raw, cooked, or blended into a salad.

We’ve already answered the question is arugula a perennial but I want to just say that people are prepared to debate you on this question. So don’t be surprised if you get a mild argument.

The best way to answer this question is how I answered it above. Domestic arugula is annual. Wild arugula is perennial.

You’ll often here the term garden rocket used when people are talking about arugula. You know, I never did ask why it’s referred to as the garden rocket.

The best I can ascertain as to why rocket is used is it’s made up as a derivative of several words from several languages but please don’t quote me on this. The best explanation I saw was on the Eurocentres.com blog which said:

“This a peppery green leaf that you often get in salads. Once again, ‘arugula’ is taken from Italian and is popular in the US, while “rocket” is simply an English version of the French word ‘roquette’.”

So that’s arugula in a nutshell.

Best Conditions To Grow Arugula Perennial

nutrition facts of arugulaArugula can be grown both indoors and outdoors. If you live in an apartment or condo without a backyard, then use your sunniest window and a good size pot.

I recommend at least three gallons as Arugula can grow fast and spread. You’ll just need to clip it back occasionally. This is important too because when I say clip, I mean clip or cut, don’t yank the stems off.

So here are the things to keep in mind when growing arugula.

1. Use an area that gets full sun for at least eight hours a day. If you are growing it inside, and the window you’re using only gets sun for several hours, switch windows or if you can, take it outside. But best of all, invest in a grow light. These are an excellent way to maintain the light that arugula needs to flourish.

2. Whether you’re growing it in a pot or in an outside garden, the soil has to be nutrient rich. Consider this premium organic product especially if growing in a container. Another good option is Jessie Mae’s Money Tree Soil. One more thing about the soil, make sure it drains well as you don’t want your plants sitting in a pool of water.

3. Avoid planting in a cold climate. By cold, we are talking below forty degrees Fahrenheit. Arugula likes mild to warm temperatures. With a grow light though, you can grow this plant successfully indoors in cold climates.

How To Grow Arugula

How do you grow arugula? Or more to the point, is arugula an easy plant tp grow. The answer is a resounding yes.

You can’t really do much wrong in growing this leafy green. We are assuming you are growing it from seeds. Arugula seeds are available at most places that sell garden products. I usually get mine online when I need them.

So here’s the quick guide in how to grow arugula.

1. Moisten the soil evenly. Outside, use a sprinkler attachment on the hose while inside, use the end of your thumb on the hose nozzle to spread the water evenly. Yes, this could be messy.

2. Now plant the seeds. How deep? A quarter of an inch to a third of an inch. Inside, definitely one quarter inch is ideal but outside, a fraction deeper may be a smart thing to do because of the likelihood birds will be hunting those seeds as soon as they are in the ground. The seeds should be at least one to one and a quarter inches apart. Outside, put at least a foot distance between the rows.

3. Now wait for the magic to happen! By spreading the water evenly over the soil making sure that there are no pockets of sitting water present, your seeds should begin to show themselves within ten days.

As I said, this is a process that is very hard to mess up. Arugula is easy to grow.

One trick I learned from my parents was they would plant another crop of seeds about four weeks later to ensure they had an ongoing harvest in the future.

The following short video provides some great tips in how to keep the arugula coming. Pay particular attention to how it is cut.

Conclusion: Is Arugula A Perennial?

how do you grow herbsIn conclusion, while arugula is a hardy annual, it may be possible to overwinter it in some climates, making it a perennial.

If you are lucky enough to have a climate that allows arugula to overwinter, you can save time and money by planting it once and harvesting it for several seasons.

Arugula was a big part of our diets being of full Italian descent.

Just remember that when you maintain your plants, clipping or cutting is the method and not pulling.

Arugula is a delicious and nutritious addition to any garden, so be sure to give it a try!

Is Arugula A Perennial Plant
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JD Dean

Growing up on a farm gave me and my family some huge advantages. One of them was learning to grow our own food. Apart from acres and acres of crops, we had a magnificent fruit and vegetable garden plus, we canned our own food. I’m hoping to pass on some of this expertise and experience to you.

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