Growing Lettuce: How to Plant Lettuce Indoors or in Containers Year Round

Do you love salad? Well, if so, then you need to keep reading this article. The reason is because I’m going to share with you how to grow lettuce indoors.

Yes, this means that you can grow lettuce year round.

This also means that you can enjoy fresh greens even with snow on the ground.

And if you are like me, then this is great news because I hate being forced to buy veggies from the store during winter months. I find it even more exciting that there are at least 5 different methods to growing my own lettuce indoors.

So if you find this idea exciting then read on. Your year round salad awaits you!

Lettuce Plant Info

  • Hardiness Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Soil: Loam, PH between 6.0 to 7.5, loose, well-drained, fertile
  • Sun Exposure: Part sun
  • Planting:
    • Start Indoors: 25 to 46 days before the last frost date
    • Start Indoors (in fall): 77 to 97 days before the first frost date
    • Hardening Off: 7 to 10 days before transplanting
    • Transplant Outdoors: Between 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after the last frost date
  • Spacing: 6 to 12 inches between plants and 12 to 14 inches between rows
  • Depth: ¼ to ½ seed depth
  • Best Companions: Carrot, radish, strawberry, cucumber, beet, asparagus, corn, eggplant, peas, potato, spinach, brussel sprouts, onion, sunflower, tomato
  • Worst Companions: Celery, cress, parsley, broccoli
  • Watering: Deeply at least once a week, frequently during dry spell
  • Fertilizing: Side dress with balanced fertilizer 3 weeks after transplanting
  • Common Problems: Aphids, cutworms, armyworm, loopers, tarnished plant bug, western spotted cucumber beetle, anthracnose, bolting, bottom rot, downy mildew, damping-off, varnish spot, mosaic virus, watery soft rot, leaf drop, septoria leaf spot
  • Harvest: When there are 5 to 6 mature leaves of 2 inches long

1. Growing Lettuce From Lettuce

via Back to My Roots

Did you know that you can actually grow lettuce from another head of lettuce? Well, you can! This method works best with Romaine lettuce.

So you begin by taking a head of romaine lettuce and cutting the end off of it. You use the rest of the lettuce as you normally would.

Then you place the base of the lettuce in a small bowl of warm water. You’ll want to place the bowl of warm water near window where it can receive some sunlight. You’ll need to leave it cut side up for about a week.

Over that week you should begin to see small amounts of growth.

Next, you’ll want to take that head of lettuce that is now sprouting and place it into a flower pot. You’ll need to plant it in potting soil and make sure the whole base is buried. Just be sure not to cover up the new growth.

Then you’ll need to water the plant regularly and watch it grow. You can do this with each head of lettuce this plant produces. Plus, the plant will keep producing.

So you could theoretically have a never ending supply of lettuce right in your kitchen.

2. A Garbage Bag is for More Than Trash

You will begin by purchasing a gallon sized black trash bag. You’ll need to snip the corners off of it so that it can have a mostly rounded top. It makes the process easier.

Then you’ll need to poke holes all in the garbage bag in order for the soil to properly drain.

Next, you’ll want to fill the bag half way with moistened potting soil. You’ll then sprinkle the lettuce seeds lightly into the bag.

Then you’ll want to finish covering the seeds with the rest of the potting soil. Place the bag on a plate in order for it to catch any drainage.

Your next move is to gently spray water on the seeds and use a lid to a pot to cover the top of the bag. It shouldn’t be a snug fit but not too loose either so you won’t lose too much heat.

Then place the bag in a windowsill or on a sunny spot on the counter. Over the next week you should keep spraying the seeds gently. When germination has occurred you’ll need to uncover the bag.

Finally, when the plant grows large enough you can harvest lettuce leaves right on your counter at any time. It is that easy to keep constant lettuce growing in your window or on your counter.

3. Lettuce From a Flower Pot

This is probably the most traditional indoor way of growing lettuce. It is also super simple. You’ll want to begin by picking a favorite decorative flower pot. It doesn’t have to be super large as lettuce roots aren’t very deep.

Then you’ll want to fill the pot ¾ of the way with potting soil. Next, you’ll plant lettuce seeds in the pot.  Because lettuce seeds are so small, it is important to remember that you’ll need to go back over the grow area when germination has occurred in order to thin it out.

After you have planted the lettuce seeds, you’ll need to fill the pot the rest of the way with potting soil. Then spritz the soil with water.

Over time germination will take place and the seeds will need to be thinned. As the lettuce grows you harvest the leaves as needed.

4. The Mobile Salad Garden

This is probably my favorite grow option. I think it looks so nice and is very functional too. It is called The Mobile Salad Garden.

So there is nothing fancy about how you grow lettuce in this salad garden. It has a planting station, and you will plant the lettuce seeds as I mentioned when planting it in a flower pot.

But what makes this set-up so great is that it doesn’t look out of place. You can place it virtually anywhere and it won’t be an eye sore. To me, this is important.

I struggle with growing things in the house a lot because I want it to be functional, but I don’t want it to clutter up my house or stand out and be abrasive to my decor.

Which is why I think this little cart would make it easier to grow you own lettuce and keep all of the items you need to grow it neatly organized.

As an added bonus, if you are someone that likes to build, you could actually build your own lettuce cart. You could make the cart out of warm wood instead of stainless steel and help it to fit into your home that much easier.

I’ve even seen grow carts that have a place for grow lights to hang over your plants. I think they are a neat way to stay organized and grow things in a fashionable way.

5. You Need Lights….Grow Lights

via Ozark Natural Foods

The final method I’m sharing with you on how to grow your own lettuce indoors is by using grow lights. As I just mentioned, you can combine this with some of the other methods.

But when I grow plants indoors under grow lights, I place them on a stainless steel shelf. Then I place them inside seed starter trays or plastic flower pots. It just makes it easier to not over plant that way.

Next, I make sure to keep them spritzed with water in the trays and watch for germination.

However, I don’t have to worry about where I place them for sunlight because the grow lights do the job. Another tip I have for grow lights, is that I don’t actually use grow lights. I use shop lights. I’ve found them to be just as effective and cost a fraction of what grow lights do.

So if you don’t have a ton of window space, don’t think that growing lettuce indoors is out of the equation for you. Just invest in a set-up that works for you and pair it with grow lights.

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:

1. Romaine

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.

2. Iceberg

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.

4. Spinach

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?

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