Growing Lettuce Indoors: Information On Caring For Indoor Lettuce
By: Susan Patterson, Master Gardener
If you like the fresh taste of homegrown lettuce, you don’t have to give it up once garden season is over. Perhaps you don’t have adequate garden space, however, with the right tools, you can have fresh lettuce all year. It’s extremely easy to get started growing lettuce indoors and if you are a big salad eater, you’ll save a ton of money doing it yourself rather than paying retail prices at the store.
How to Grow Lettuce in the Home
Choose containers for your indoor lettuce plants that hold at least ½ gallon of soil per plant. Select only high quality, loamy potting soil; organic is best and will offer the most nutrients.
Place two to three seeds just under the surface of the soil in each container. Allow a little space between each seed. Water each container thoroughly and keep the soil warm. For best results, place the planters under a light for 24 hours a day.
You can also cover your pot with a clear plastic bag and place it in a south-facing window. Check the soil moisture daily and water as needed. Depending on the type of lettuce planted, seeds will begin to sprout in 7 to 14 days. Take the bag off when the lettuce begins to sprout.
Caring for Indoor Lettuce
After the seeds have sprouted, thin each container down to one plant. Water lettuce plants at least twice a week. Check the soil daily, it shouldn’t dry out completely.
As long as you have used high quality soil and seed, there’s no need to fertilize the plants.
Keep lettuce plants in a location where they receive six to eight hours of light and temperature remains at least 60 degrees F. (16 C.). If you don’t have a sunny place to put the lettuce, you can use a few different types of lights, including compact fluorescent lights (15 watts) located above your lettuce. (These are fantastic if you’re on a budget.) Position the lights about 3 inches (8 cm.) away from your plants. If you have a larger budget, invest in high output T5 fluorescent lighting.
Harvest lettuce when it reaches a desirable height.
This article was last updated on
How to Grow Lettuce Indoors
Last Updated: December 4, 2020 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.
There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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Whether you've run out of space in your garden or you want to grow lettuce year round, you can grow lettuce plants quickly and easily indoors. Because lettuce thrives in room temperature conditions with direct sunlight, it adapts well to indoor conditions and can survive with basic care. Even if you've never grown a plant indoors before, all you need is standard potting soil, water, fertilizer, and a grow light or sunny window to help your plant grow strong. And, a month after planting, your lettuce plant will be ready to harvest!
Growing Requirements of Lettuce Plant
Here are some of the basic requirements to grow healthy and crunchy lettuce.
- Sun Exposure: Part sun!
- Soil: Loamy, well-drained soil rich in organic matter with neutral pH.
- Watering: Careful watering when growing indoors, don’t keep the plant wet.
- Fertilizer: Balanced fertilizer according to instructions at the label.
- Harvest: Once the plant grows 3-4 inches long and have 5-6 mature leaves.
- Companion Plants: Radish, carrot, cucumber, beet, asparagus, eggplant, cilantro, onion, tomato, and corn.
- Non Companions: Parsley, broccoli, cress, and celery.
Here’s all the information you need about growing lettuce
Growing lettuce indoors is easy, even if you don’t have a garden or a backyard. You can grow lettuce inside your home, and with proper soil and adequate water and soil, you’ll be ready to harvest in no time.
Let us know in the comments if you were able to grow lettuce indoors successfully. Also, please share this article with friends so they can also have lettuce all-year-round.
What Is The Best Way To Grow Lettuce Indoors?
The best way to grow lettuce indoors is in containers. However, you should only use wide and shallow models because lettuce has a shallow root structure. Also, opt for a pot with drainage holes because too much water can cause root rotting. Besides growing lettuce in a container, don’t forget you need to provide at least 12 hours of light. If the sun is limited, you can get grow lights.
How Do You Grow Lettuce Indoors In Water?
You can grow lettuce indoors in water by removing the leaves from the stem, leaving about 1 inch of the stem. The next step is to place the stem in a shallow dish with water. Put it at a sunny window or beneath grow lights. You will need to change the water every 1 or 2 days to keep the water clean and free from bacteria. However, you should know that not all varieties of lettuce are suitable for this method.
How Do You Grow Lettuce Indoors In The Winter?
You can grow lettuce indoors in the winter by ensuring the plant gets at least 12 hours of light a day. You will need to use grow lights, especially for days when it’s extremely cold or insufficient sunlight. You will also need to ensure the temperature stays between 60 – 68 degrees for the best germination rates. As long as you control the light and the temperature, you will be able to harvest lettuce year-round.
What Kind of Lettuce Should I Grow?
There are many types of lettuce that will grow well inside your home. I wanted to give you an idea of a few options that you might enjoy but also let you know which might work best for the indoor set-up.
Here are my recommended options for lettuce:
I love romaine lettuce. I think it tastes wonderful, it is a sturdier type of lettuce, and is my preference when trying to grow lettuce from lettuce.
Since it is has such a strong base on it, it makes it easier to germinate in my opinion. Plus, if you try to watch how much gluten you ingest or carbohydrates, this type of lettuce is wonderful for using in the place of wraps or sandwich bread.
I’m a salad person. I think they are a wonderful meal by themselves, and one of my favorite meals is soup and salad. It is fresh, inexpensive, and easy to make.
So those are the reasons I love iceberg lettuce. It is pretty easy to grow and always taste so crisp and fresh.
However, growing this or Romaine lettuce in the house (besides if you are using it as a base to grow lettuce from) is a little more challenging because you need more space for the heads to develop.
But if you have ample of window space or indoor grow space, then that might not be an issue for you. I am limited on indoor grow space so this isn’t my first choice for my situation.
3. Leaf Lettuce
Leaf lettuce rocks! It is great to add in a salad so you can get different textures for your salad. It is also wonderful to use on sandwiches too.
Plus, this type of lettuce is great to grow indoors. It doesn’t take up much space because of the way it pops up in single sprigs of lettuce.
Therefore, if you are limited on indoor grow space, then you might want to consider this type of lettuce. You could grow a bunch of it in flower pots, mobile grow spaces, or in seed starting pots as well.
However, it wouldn’t be a good choice for trying to grow lettuce from lettuce.
Spinach isn’t necessarily considered a lettuce, but I use it in my salads a lot. I’m a huge spinach fan because of all of the vitamins and minerals it brings with it.
Plus, spinach is very similar to leaf lettuce. It is easy to grow in smaller indoor spaces and doesn’t require a lot of work.
However, if you don’t plant it in seed starter pots that make it easier to keep your seeds separated, then you’ll have to be sure to go back and space it properly later after germination happens. Otherwise, it could end up becoming over crowded and not producing as it should.
Well, there is my take on the different ways you can grow lettuce indoors. Having your own fresh salad bar year round is a wonderful feature to have in your home.
Plus, it could save you a bunch of money as well. Lettuce is usually inexpensive, but if you eat it as much as I do, you’d be surprised how it can add up.
But I’d love to hear from you on this matter. Have you ever grown lettuce in your home? Have you grown it year round? What tips can you offer? What struggles did you face? Have you found that there is a particular type of lettuce that grows better? If so, what method works best for it?
You can grow your lettuce inside in your indoor garden. It should take about three weeks until your first harvest. After that, you will want to harvest your lettuce 2 to 3 times a week to get the most out of it. One seed pod should last about 5 months, which means that you can harvest it for 4. You can make it more crispy with a fan and you should always tear it apart instead of cutting it when it comes to preparing a salad. This way your edges will not turn brown. From all the plants you can grow inside, this is definitely the fastest rising one. You will see how fast it grows back after you harvest it.
Thank you so much for reading this article. Have you ever tried growing salad greens indoors? How did it turn out? Please let me know in the comments below. Thanks again and have a nice day!