Lettuce Season is Back! How You Can Hand-Grow 4 Types of Lettuce In Pots Today!

love growing lettuce in pots.

Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in pots to grow your own food, especially with a new contaminated lettuce recall every few months.

Not only is homegrown lettuce tastier and cleaner, but it is healthier too! Lettuce contains many vitamins and minerals like vitamin A which is excellent for good eyesight and the immune system.

Growing lettuce in pots is also great if you don’t like harsh tasting vegetables like radishes. The mild taste can easily be paired with anything in wraps, burgers, soups, and well, salads!

So if you want to learn about growing lettuce in pots, you’ve come to the right place! Before we start, don’t forget to get your free gardening dictionary! Alright, let’s begin!

different types of lettuce growing in a raised garden bed

4 Types of Lettuce to Grow In Pots

Not all lettuce is created equal. There are so many varieties that they’re classified into 4 groups. Depending on what you want to get out of your lettuce, you might want to consider growing one type of lettuce. Let’s go through the types and their characteristics.

1. Looseleaf Lettuce. Perfect for Picking and Multiple Harvests

Looseleaf lettuce has to be one of my favorite types of lettuce to grow. They aren’t as tightly packed as other types and are perfect for picking at will.

I have two guinea pigs who require daily helping of lettuces, so it’s convenient for getting a serving once in a while. Seriously, my guinea pigs eat at least 80% of my lettuce harvest.

If you want to grow looseleaf lettuce, I recommend ‘Spotted Trout’ or ‘Little Gem’. The variety up above is Spotted Trout! It’s beautiful for salads.

closeup of butterhead lettuce

2. Butterhead Lettuce. It’s Beauty, it’s Grace, and It Has The Best Taste

Butterhead is one beauty of lettuce. It has a round head with smooth, loose leaves. You can harvest a whole head or pick leaves like a looseleaf. But I won’t blame you if you grow it just for its looks.

There’s a reason why it’s called Butterhead. It has a sweet, buttery taste that is sure to make you be a loyal Butterhead fan for life.

Some Butterhead varieties to try are ‘Bibb’, and ‘Buttercrunch’. I’ve grown Bibb lettuce, and let me tell you, it is certainly worth trying.

a pile of iceberg lettuce

3. Crisphead. A Tightly Packed, Round Ball of Goodness

Crisphead is the perfect lettuce for slicing and dicing its crunchy leaves. It also has quite the water content in comparison to the other 2. The outside leaves are perfect for wraps, while the inner leaves have a sweet taste and delightful texture!

Fun fact: Iceberg lettuce is one of the types of Crisphead lettuce!

I recommend growing igloo and iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce needs a little bit more time to grow in comparison to other varieties.

close up on romaine lettuce
Organic Healthy Green Romaine Lettuce Ready to Chop

4. Romaine Lettuce. Long, Elegant, and Comes in Fun Colors!

Romaine lettuce is one of the most popular lettuces in the store other than the iceberg! It’s like the everything lettuce. Its long shape is versatile like butterhead or looseleaf, but not as watery as Crisphead while still having its sweet taste!

Not to mention it comes in fun colors, try growing ‘Red Romaine’! Imagine growing beautiful red lettuce in the fall, oooh it makes me want to buy some red lettuce right now!

2 [+1] Ways to Start Growing Lettuce in Pots

When growing lettuce in pots, there are 2 [+1] ways to start lettuce. Check out this article for a more in-depth take on growing seeds vs. plants. Let’s blaze through the ways you can start growing lettuce in pots!

 balcony growing lettuce in pots

1. Starting Lettuce From Seed in Pots

When starting lettuce, I recommend growing in fall or spring. The harsh summer heat and sun will make your lettuce bolt faster than you can say fertilizer. Read the definition of “Bolt” here.

Plant a few seeds in a 3-inch pot about 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep. Lettuce seeds need light to germinate, so make sure not to bury your seeds too deep! If you do, your seedlings might come up spindly and weaker than they should.

Make sure to thin out your seedlings when they have their first set of true leaves to 1 plant per 3-inch pot or 1 plant every 4 inches. If you’re growing crisphead or butterhead, increase the distance to 6-8 inches.

Lettuce is a cool-season plant, so plant it 3-4 weeks before your last or first frost date. Frost dates are essential to keep track of with cool-season plants, so make sure you know all about them!

When your lettuce seedlings have 5 true leaves, transplant them to a 6-inch pot.

Replant your seeds every 2 weeks to have a continuous harvest!

A woman washes a mug over the sink in the kitchen potted green lettuce in the foreground home garden

2. Growing Lettuce in Pots from Bought Plants

By buying lettuce seedlings, you already have your work cut out for you!

All you need to do is repot your seedlings into a 6-inch pot to get it settled into their new home. Do this immediately so your lettuce won’t be root-bound and dehydrated.

Make sure to repot your lettuce the right way, cool-season plants can be picky about being repotted!

fresh lettuce growing in a pot

+1. Germinating Seeds in Paper Towels

The reason why I didn’t include this with the 1st bullet is because of how vastly different the processes are. With germinating lettuce seeds in paper towels, you can get seedlings days earlier than if you sowed them in the ground. Here’s how you do it in this article.

All you need are paper towels, seeds, and a plastic bag!

Various plants with lettuce in the foreground with gardening gloves

What You’ll Need to Grow Lettuce in Pots

Like radishes, lettuce is quite picky with its sun and temperature. If it’s suddenly warm, your lettuce will go ahead with bolting, which causes the leaves to taste bitter and gross.

Temperature

Lettuce is a cool-weather plant that enjoys a little bit of chill. This is why it’s perfect to grow year-round. So when you can, try to get your lettuce plant in its pot before it starts warming up in the summer! Nothing dehydrates a lettuce plant more than the hot sun.

Sun

Speaking of sun, just because your lettuce likes cool temperatures doesn’t mean they don’t like the sun! Lettuce grows fastest in full sun but is one of the only vegetables that tolerate partial shade as well. Keep your lettuce in a place that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight if you want vig beautiful leaves.

Fertilizer

A lot of cool-season plants deficit from too much fertilizer, but as a leafy green, lettuce appreciates a boost or too. Water-soluble nitrogen-packed fertilizer applied once every few months along with good soil will keep your lettuce happy and healthy! You can try out using an Epsom salt fertilizer if you don’t have any at home!

Soil

On the topic of soil, grow your lettuce in a pot full of good quality potting soil. Make sure it has lots of compost and perlite to keep your lettuce vigorous. But why not use regular garden soil?

Water

Since lettuce is mostly water, you’ll want to pay attention to this. Water your lettuce when the top inch is dry or when the leaves are visibly wilting.

close up of looseleaf lettuce

How to Harvest + Store Lettuce

You can choose to harvest lettuce when it’s at the baby greens stage or fully mature.

If you’re growing looseleaf, romaine, or butterhead, pluck off the leaves when needed. You can also cut your entire plant at the base to get a larger harvest and have a second or third harvest! If you’re growing Crisphead, dig the entire lettuce out when the ball is firm.

Regardless of what kind of lettuce you’re growing, don’t wait too long after it’s mature to harvest it. By leaving it past its prime, it can turn bitter and rot!

For storing your lettuce, store it in a plastic bag and use your lettuce within 10 days. Cut it up for your soups and salads, or use whole leaves for your burgers and wraps!

What Next, Sarika?

Now is the time to go out and get you some lettuce plants and turn your life around. You can do it! I just gave you a guide on growing lettuce in pots, but it’ll only result in success if you go and take action! So go ahead and read more about other cool-season plants to add to your mix!

To learn more about plants to grow during this time of year, check out “5 Plants to Grow in September”, and “Live Your Healthy Life in 21 Days from Growing Radishes!”.

Before you go, don’t forget to snag your gardening dictionary! I collected and defined more the 100 of the most common gardening terms you’ll come across. So that next time you encounter a gardening word, you’re not scratching your head and saying, “Huh?”.

If you’d like to learn more about plants to grow in pots, subscribe to my Plant of the Month newsletter! I share my personal gardening experiences and teach you about a new plant to grow every month! You can always unsubscribe!

And that’s all for now. Happy Gardening, till we meet again.

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My name is Sarika, and I am the founder of “The Blossoming Gardener”! Let me tell you a little bit about myself…Read more

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