How to Harvest Lettuce So that It Keeps Growing

Suyash is a Master Gardener and the Editorial and Strategy Director at With a focus on houseplant care, he combines over a decade of hands-on horticultural experience with editorial expertise to guide and educate plant enthusiasts.
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Wondering what could be the best way to harvest lettuce to get more of it? Here’s how to do it right!

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Harvesting lettuce is not always like snipping off the entire plant the moment you see the leaves plump and full. To make sure you let the plant stay to provide you more leaves, there’s an art to cutting its leaves and this is where we come to help you!

Few Basics of Growing Lettuce the Right Way

The best part about growing lettuce is that this plant can do well for almost entire year-round, as it is an annual crop. 

  • Lettuce will always do best in a cold season. Avoid planting the crop in the summer months unless you live in a cold climate.
  • Keep a close eye on the bolting. Avoid it from happening at all costs as it will make lettuce bitter. The best way to save it from bolting is to never plant it before summer.

How to Harvest Lettuce so that it Keeps Growing?

Before we dive into the the right method of it, let’s understand the type of lettuces as the method runs a little different for both of them. 

1. Head Lettuce

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First, we’ll talk about head lettuce, which, as the name suggests, has a tight and compact head. Iceberg and butterhead lettuce are two of the most prominent examples of these.

Harvesting this one is simple—take off the entire head when the plant gets mature. You just need to keep one thing in mind—leave the base along with its roots in the ground, and snip only the head off.

What this will do? Well, it will make the base grow heads again, one or two times more!

2. Leaf Lettuce

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As the name implies, leaf lettuces do not form compact heads, and have loose leaves that you can harvest individually. Green and red leaf are some popular leaf lettuce varieties.

Simply harvest the leaves when they are young (mature and large ones taste bitter) and tender from the base of the plant (Around 1 inch above), when you need them. This way, the plant will keep on growing more leaves!

Just keep the plant safe from excessive heat and keep on harvesting the tender leaves to save it from bolting/seeding. Even if you see the signs of bolting, cut away the centre section, which will buy you more time (more leaves!).

Harvesting Different Types of Lettuce

1. Butterhead Lettuce

Always snip away the external leaves, leaving the internal ones intact as they will help the plant to regenerate and grow further. You can also follow the cut and come again method.

2. Romaine Lettuce

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Always let the lettuce grow fully, with a lot of leaves, before you harvest the plant. Take out the external leaves carefully without damaging the inner ones. Do make sure you are harvesting them on time otherwise they will become mature and bitter.

3. Iceberg Lettuce

Harvesting the plant with the leaf by leaf method is the best. Do make sure that you are using sanitized tools as the plant is susceptible to infections.

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