Rye (Annual) Growing Guide

Lolium multiflorum

Rye (Annual)

Crop Rotation Group



Any soil, including poorly drained sites.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant



When using annual rye to improve very poor soil, mixing a balanced organic fertiliser into the soil before planting will give better results.


In spring, widely spaced rye plants can serve as trellises for garden peas.


Single Plants: 10cm (3") each way (minimum)
Rows: 10cm (3") with 10cm (3") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Although customarily grown in autumn, annual rye can be used as a fast-growing green manure in all but the hottest summer months. Broadcast seed into cultivated soil so that the seeds are about 2 cm apart and 0.5 cm deep. Firm the seeds into the ground, and then water to promote fast germination.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Mature annual rye plants can be difficult to dig out, so mow down the plants and turn under the residue when the plants are young.


In a home garden, annual rye cover crops are easiest to manage if they are mowed every few weeks. The clippings make excellent mulch.


Annual rye has few problems with pests or diseases.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Rye (Annual)