Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)
Germination Soil Temp:
Days to Germinate
Date to sow Indoors:
Date to sow Outdoors:
1/4 - 1/2 inch
40 - 60 Degrees
7 - 14
4 weeks before transplanting
When soil can be worked throughout the cold season
6.5 - 7.0
55 - 65 Degrees
Leaf Lettuce: 1/2 inch
Head Lettuce: 8 - 12 inches
Bibb Lettuce: 6 - 8 inches
Light to Moderate
Full sun, some shade
High N, P and K
Avoid other leaf lettuces, endive, escarole, cabbage and artichoke
There are hundreds of varieties of lettuce providing a variety of colors, forms, tastes, textures, and seasons for growing. Lettuce is a leafy green vegetable that can be harvested as a young microgreen or as a fully mature leaf. Lettuce is a fast-growing and rewarding vegetable to grow. Mesclun mixes are a common way to purchase a variety of lettuce seed.
Moisture-rich soil mixed with compost will provide adequate moisture and heat protection.
The faster lettuce grows, the sweeter the taste. To encourage growth, use compost or add a balance fertilizer and water. However, keep in mind that too much nutrition can cause a bitter taste.
Directly sow tiny seeds in rows (use a stick or board as a guide) or grow in containers. Cover lightly with 1/4 inch of soil and water with a breaker to keep seeds from splashing.
Lettuce may need some shade as summer heats up. Warm weather will cause lettuce to mature quickly by bolting and forming flower heads. Bolting plants have a bitter taste.
Radish, strawberries, beets, broccoli, bush and pole beans, carrots, cucumber, onion.
Bibb: Buttercrunch, Summer Bibb and Tom Thumb
Head: Great Lakes, Itchaca, Speckled, Summertime and Tennis Ball
Green Leaf: Black-seeded Simpson, Grand Rapids and Oak Leaf
Red Leaf: Red Sails, Red Salad Bowl and Ruby
Romaine: Green Towers, Parris Island Cos and Sangria
Microgreens should be harvested when they are 2 - 3 inches. Most lettuces mature in 50 - 60 days, heading lettuce matures in 90 days. Harvest outer leaves when they are large enough to eat. A stem will form in th emiddle. Harvest cut leaf lettuce by cutting the leaves, but leaving a stem; the new leaves will continue to grow. Harvest heads by cutting the entire plant, but wait until the plant is mature and tender.
Lettuce has nutritional benefits that include chlorophyll, folic acid, and vitamins K, A, B1, B2 and C
> Back to the Vegetable Page
Source: UT Extension, PB1578 - Tennessee Master Gardener Handbook