Growing Lettuce in Containers is a fun and easy process for having this fresh leafy green year-round! Let’s have a look at all the details!
Lettuce is one of the vegetables that are very easy to grow in pots and you can even grow it in small pots! Let’s have a look at all the information on Growing Lettuce in Containers.
Check out the best ways to grow lettuce here
Choosing a Pot
Almost all the lettuce varieties grow well in pots. As their shallow roots don’t need deep soil, they do best in wide and shallow containers. The pot must have adequate drainage holes in the bottom and should be at least 6-8 inches deep. You can use any material for pots such as plastic, clay, or terracotta pots.
You can also grow lettuce in hanging globe planters! Check them out here
Growing Lettuce in Containers
You can easily cultivate the lettuce from seeds or from seedlings. If you want to grow it from seeds, read this post. Alternatively, you can directly buy the seedlings from a nearby nursery. For continuous harvest do successive planting, sow seeds every two weeks throughout the growing season.
Note: In summer, when the weather starts to heat up the lettuce tends to bolt, to reduce this tendency keep your potted lettuce plant in a cool spot and provide proper shade.
Best Lettuce Varieties for Pots
- Celtuce – It is mainly cultivated for not its leaves but for its stems quite similar to celery.
- Romaine – Quite a popular kind to be used to Caesar salads. It takes up to 85-90 days to grow till maturity and can tolerate some heat.
- Crisphead – This kind forms crisp, just like its name suggests, firm, large heads with paler leaves and less flavor to offer as compared to others.
- Loose Leaf – It is one of the easiest kinds to grow and care for and an ideal choice if you are a first-time lettuce grower. It takes about 45-50 days to mature.
- Butterhead– This one is a favorite among many gardeners for their soft leaves taste mild and sweet and carries a very delicate flavor and a loosehead.
Find out more lettuce varieties here
Requirements for Growing Lettuce in Containers
The lettuce loves the sunlight, though it can be grown easily in a partially shaded area if you’re growing lettuce in a warm climate where the sun is intense, try to place the pot in a spot that receives only a few hours of the morning sun.
During the hottest hours of the day (in the afternoon), it is recommended to create a shade for the plant to prevent the drying of the soil as lettuce prefers slightly moist soil constantly. Also, move the container to a cool spot when the temperature rises as this favorite green are heat sensitive.
For growing healthy lettuce, use a good quality soil mix that has plenty of organic matter, such as compost and peat. The plant does best in pH levels of 6.0 to 7.0. Amending the soil with dry leaves or grass. We have a detailed article on making the best potting soil here.
In shallow pots, you may need to water frequently so that the plant will not dry out completely. Make sure that you not only keep the soil slightly moist but also avoid overwatering your container-grown lettuces as overwatering can kill the plants due to root rot.
Taking Care of Lettuce in Pots
Use a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 when the seedlings are 3-5 inches tall. You can also use liquid fertilizer for a quick boost. Amending the soil with vegetable or fruit scraps is also a great idea to keep the plants healthy.
Once the plants are little established, use the balanced feed once in 3-4 weeks according to the instructions on the label.
Pests and Diseases
Growing lettuces in containers require care from leaf-eating insects. However, if the plants are healthy there are fewer chances of infestation of pests or diseases.
Mildew, leaf spot, rot, and a variety of bacterial infections are common diseases that can attack lettuce. Caterpillars, cutworms, aphids, maggots, and beetles can also cause damage to the plant.
Once the lettuce leaves have reached the height of 4-6″ (the baby green size perfect for cut and come again method) or according to your desired size, either pick the outer leaves individually or harvest them by cutting the leaves off 1″ (2-3 cm) from above the base or crown. This way the plant will grow back and you’ll be able to harvest it again.
You can also pick the leaf lettuce before maturity, it’s simple, just remove the outer leaves when you need them in salads and keep the center leaves growing.
Note: Must remember, don’t cut into or below the crown, or else your plant will die.
Where to Grow Lettuce?
As the plant does not take a lot of space, growing it in balconies on railings, or in pots on a patio will be a great idea. You can also grow this vegetable on tall or wooden tiered planters, especially if you have less space.