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

01 Feb 22, Raymond Rich (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Will it be to late to sow Lettuce seed in Johannesburg region in February. Have a well protected area from early cold and can provide sufficient water when rainfall reduces from March.
02 Feb 22, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Try it.
25 Jan 22, (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, when you say lettuce needs sunlight, does that have to be direct sunlight or can it be under a patio shelter that has a clear plastic roof? My veggie patch is in full sun, a very hot spot and they always bolt quickly, so I would like to try them out of direct sun, but in a bright area and easy access for keeping on top of the watering. Do you think this would still work? Thanks.
28 Feb 22, Rob (Australia - temperate climate)
Get some short garden stakes and peg some thick shade cloth to them. On really hot days, this saved ALL of my lettuce and only cost a few dollars.
04 Feb 22, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
Most clear plastic is considered direct sunlight - unless there are special filters in the plastic. That is to say, if the only thing between your lettuce and the sun is regular clear plastic, you should be fine. As and FYI there are multiple categories: 1. Direct sunlight - some plants require direct sunlight on their leaves 2. BRIGHT shade; for example when I lived in a Condo, my balcony had no direct sunlight, but because the buildings beside my building had huge glass windows I had VERY bright shade and could grow most full sun potted plants. This also applies to living near the water, where the sun gets reflected-- MOST full sun plants are fine with REFLECTED light but not all. This could also be a a very sunny field, with shade cast from one building, chances are good that would be very bright shade 3. Sun/Shade with all its variations 4. Light shade and 5. Deep shade like the middle of a dense forest. I see no reason why you could not grow SOME of your veggies in the bright shade. I find that many plants labelled full sun, are not. For example: strawberries are generally labelled full sun. However, strawberries TEND to grow naturally in the shade of other plants: woodland or forest floor, in meadows shaded by other plants. I've noticed that any of my strawberries that get full sun tend to have burnt leaves, and the best yielding strawberry plants are in a cool predominately shady areas. I suspect that planting your plants that tend to bolt in a cooler shadier area would be very helpful. I've even grown cherry tomatoes in very bright shade with great success.
28 Jan 22, Anonymous of Bundaberg (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Without sunlight plants become thin weak and spindly. There are varieties to grow in summer and others to grow in Autumn Winter. I generally don't grow things from end of Nov to end of Feb because of the heat and summer conditions - heavy rain and wind.
04 Feb 22, Smithy (Australia - tropical climate)
Lettuce struggles in heat. Finding the balance is not easy but all plants need sun
02 Feb 22, John Mauger (Australia - temperate climate)
Lettuce grows best in cooler conditions. Varieties of lettuce that are grown in the summer (Great Lakes, etc) tend to be coarser textured and not quite as sweet as varieties grown in cooler weather. Because they are a leaf vegetable and not a 'fruit' vegetable they will tolerate less light. Morning sun up until late morning would be fine. Too much shade will make them weak and spindly. Trust this helps.
04 Feb 22, Smithy (Australia - tropical climate)
Shadecloth covers assist in growing. Keep up the water.
22 Sep 21, Ana Maria (USA - Zone 10b climate)
Is Sept 25th to early to start fall Lettuce in my zone 10b? San Felipe, baja, north.
Showing 1 - 10 of 233 comments

Get some short garden stakes and peg some thick shade cloth to them. On really hot days, this saved ALL of my lettuce and only cost a few dollars.

- Rob

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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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