How to Grow Lettuce in Containers - Backyard Boss
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How to Grow Lettuce in Containers

By now, we all know the importance of add greens to your diet. That being said, all the best veggies and greens tend to stack up in price. Fortunately, the seeds are much more affordable, and it’s incredibly easy to grow your lettuce.

If you don’t have a yard or garden area to grow your veggies, you’ll be happy to hear that lettuce thrives in containers and will happily find a spot perched on a windowsill, balcony, or patio area. If you’re not sure where to start, this guide is here to help. 

Below, you’ll discover the reasons to grow lettuce in containers, the tools you’ll need, and a step-by-step guide to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.

Reasons to Grow Lettuce in Containers

Growing lettuce in bamboo container
Image credits: Sirirak via Canva

Whether you have space in your garden or not, there are a few reasons to grow lettuce in containers. The first is perhaps the most obvious: since you can grow lettuce indoors, you can opt for an earlier start to the season. If you can provide it with the proper conditions, you can grow these greens year-round.

Growing lettuce in containers also provides better temperature control. Lettuce thrives in temperatures around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit but can’t survive frosts. Although they can withstand short times in the cold, it’s not worth the risk. It is an issue since the growing season is in the early spring when frosts tend to occur. If you grow lettuce in a container, you can move it indoors whenever necessary or place it in a shaded area on hot, sunny days.

Finally, growing lettuce in containers is a great way to combat pests. The plants are less accessible for bugs and critters, but if one does become infected it’s much easier to deal with and isolate. Plus, you can replace the soil every season to ensure no bugs made it through the Winter.

Tools You Will Need to Grow Lettuce in Pots

Woman Plants Seedlings in the Eco Friendly Pots
Image credits: pundapanda via Canva

Apart from a cool, sunny location, there are several tools and products you’ll need to plant and care for the greens. Find all the essentials in the list featured below.

How to Grow Lettuce in Containers

Step 1: Choose a Location

Container Vegetable Garden
Image credits: Funwithfood via Canva

One of the most important things to remember when growing lettuce is that it requires a cool but sunny location. They require plenty of light but don’t like to be too hot–around 70 degrees Fahrenheit is a bit high. The best location will be one that gets plenty of morning light but remains shady during the hotter hours of the afternoon.

Step 2: Select a Pot

Stacks of terracotta pots
Image credits: mattcornock via openverse

The next step in the process is choosing the correct pot. Drainage is crucial to ensure you don’t overwater the plant. Also, lettuce has a root system that reaches about six inches in depth, meaning a shallower, longer pot will be the ideal option. More surface area will allow the plant to grow fuller, providing plenty of greens.

Step 3: Find the Right Soil

Filling Pot with Soil
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Like all plants, lettuce requires high-quality soil to thrive. Opt for soil with proper drainage while still holding onto moisture to help the lettuce maintain access to water. A good rule of thumb to ensure you’re not overwatering or underwatering your greens is to check the moisture of the soil. If it’s dry about an inch deep, it’s time to water!

Step 4: Pick a Variety of Lettuce

Different varieties of lettuce
Image credits: maxmann via Pixabay

Now that you’ve chosen a location, pot(s), and high-quality soil, it’s time to decide what variety or varieties of lettuce you’d like to grow. From romaine to kale, there are plenty of different types to choose from. Of course, your personal preference is the first thing to consider. Just keep in mind some varieties require more space or different conditions to thrive. If you’d like to grow more than one in the same pot, consider their specific needs.

Step 5: Sow Your Seeds

Planting a seedling
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Now, it’s time to plant your lettuce seeds. Start by filling your seed pots with soil. Then, create small holes spaced about one inch apart that go about 1/4 inch deep. Plant the seeds by pressing them into the soil and misting them with water until they germinate.

If you planted your lettuce in the ground wait until the seedlings have emerged and are about four to six weeks old – Then it’s time to transplant them into your pots. Fill the pot(s) with soil, place your seedlings into the soil, and pat it down. Water the soil to ensure it is moist and place it in a sunny, cool area. Continue to water the plant once or twice a week, depending on the moisture levels of the soil.

Step 6: Harvest

Hands Harvesting Lettuce
Image credits: Lettuce Grow via Unsplash

Once your lettuce leaves are about six inches long, they are ready to be harvested. The harvesting process is incredibly simple: either pinch or cut off the leaves at the base of the plant. Most lettuce varieties tend to continue to grow, so it’s important to remove the outermost leaves every time you harvest. Otherwise, you can cut the entire head off at the end of the season.

Store your lettuce in a cool, dark place immediately after harvesting to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible. Keep it in lidded glass or a plastic container with a layer of paper towel at the bottom to help it stay crisp and delicious.

Lettuce Know How it Goes!

Lettuce is a delicious addition to any meal, and it’s affordable, convenient, and easy to grow in containers! It requires very little attention and adds plenty of greenery to your mini container garden, making it a functional and aesthetically pleasing addition to your space.

So, will you try growing lettuce in a container? Let us know below! And for more tips and tricks when growing your veggies, check out this list of the best 15 backyard vegetable gardening ideas for beginners.