Growing Lettuce

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
P P P P P       P P P P

(Best months for growing Lettuce in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden, or start in seed trays and plant out in 4-6 weeks.. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 46°F and 81°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 12 inches apart
  • Harvest in 8-12 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Carrots, Onions, Strawberries, Beets, Brassicas, Radish, Marigold, Borage, Chervil, Florence fennel, leeks.
  • Avoid growing close to: Parsley, Celery
  • Lettuce seedlings
  • Lettuce table-ready

Lettuce offer a range of shapes, sizes and colours but they are all easy to grow. Choose a variety marked on the seed packet as suitable for the time of year as some do badly in the very hot months. Try to provide some shade to prevent them 'bolting' to flower and seed in the hottest months.

Sow in rows and use thinnings as small salad greens

Lettuce are shallow rooted so water daily in hot or dry weather to prevent bitter flavour. and bolting.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Lettuce

Wash well, spin or shake dry and use in salads and sandwiches

Your comments and tips

11 Jul 20, Valmai (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I live on east coast and wondered whether it is a good idea to plant lettuce seeds and what type for summer 2020/2021?
13 Jul 20, (Australia - temperate climate)
The open leaf varieties. Cos, butter crunch, oak leaf etc. Lettuce seedlings take a lot of care to grow. Seeds need to to be very close to the surface to germinate, only a couple of mm of fine potting mix or seed raising mixture to cover them. Water with a sprayer or mister not with a hose. Water 2-3 times a day, keep the soil moist. Will need to grow them for 3-4 weeks before transplanting them.
30 Apr 20, Keith (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Hi I punnet my lettuce but the turn colour the next day. They start getting brown especially when I cut my lettuce on a rainy day and pack them. What I'm i doing wrong ?
06 May 20, Anon (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
When you cut lettuce dry it out before putting in a bag and into the fridge. A spinning colander is best.
20 Jan 20, Miles (Australia - temperate climate)
I am trying to grow lettuce in soil I have added my home compost to. All seedlings get nibbled down to nothing at night and I can't identify what is going it. I live in Perth and very keen to know what is doing it and how I can control them
21 Jan 20, anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Go out at night and see what is eating the seedlings. Sparrows eat my lettuce the first couple of months of the year. I have a bird trap now. They also eat the heart out of my snow peas certain times of the year. Work out how to put a border around each plant or the whole block of lettuce. Like a 90mm pipe 100mm long and put oil or grease or Vaseline on the outside. Or look up similar things on the internet for slugs, snails etc. Or build a frame and cover with shade cloth.
25 Nov 19, william rowe (USA - Zone 9b climate)
When is the optimal time to grow romaine lettuce in 9B, Ocala,Fl
28 Sep 19, Libby Prenton (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I live in Northland and have moved from the UK so am lacking experience in what grows well in this warm climate. I struggled to grow salads through the summer last year. Which varieties of lettuce grow/stand better through hot weather without so much tendency to go bitter or bolt? Thanks, Libby
07 Oct 19, Anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I'm Australian sub tropical and if you are similar weather then we mainly grow things from March into winter and some things from late winter into spring/early summer. Most of what you read in Australia and probably NZ applies to temperate and colder climates. They all talk about planting after the last frost. Where I live we generally don't have frosts. Never had one in my yard in 40 years. Things don't grow much here in July August otherwise can grow things most of the year. Summer hot and requires a lot of watering and attention and only certain things will grow. I rest my ground in summer.
02 Oct 19, Anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
As it says here read the packet for when to plant. Generally the open (not heading) type are better for summer, butter head or butter crunch etc. Try and provide some shade during the day, in the sun in the morning in the shade in the afternoon or shade cloth frame. .
Showing 1 - 10 of 218 comments

Could you please let me know how much water a lettuce needs to stop it going to seed. I have planted several types over the past six months, but they either don,t grow very well or just go to seed.The soil has plenty of fertiliser and the wife turns on the micro sprinkler system each day for around 10 mins.The soil seems damp and i also use sugar cane mulch to stop the soil from drying out, I live in Queensland and the sun is on the lettuce best part of the day at the moment i have cos growing (for about six weeks) and one is just going to seed (feed that to the chooks) and the others look like they might be.The runner beans are doing very well and i have had some great spring onions as well, any help on this would be great.

- Richard Wood

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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