Growing Lettuce

lactuca sativa : Asteraceae / the daisy family

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

(Best months for growing Lettuce in Australia - sub-tropical regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • 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 8°C and 27°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 30 cm 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

Your comments and tips

07 Feb 09, georgie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
virtually every seedling lettuce I put in wilted and died within a week or so. what sort of conditions do they like??mine were in sun with enriched soil
07 Feb 09, (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I'm having trouble with birds shredding young lettuce plants before they're big enough to eat.Thought it could be the hotter summer and birds are thirsty,but they seem to prefer my lettuces better than water bowl.Any suggestions?(apart from covering the plants) Thanks, Ann
25 Nov 14, Matt Sheppard (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Believe it or not, try a small scarecrow in the garden. We have two gardens, each with similar plantings. In one the lettuces have been shredded but the one with the scarecrow is perfect....
02 Aug 19, Selwyn (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Try hanging old CD's up on string. I have heard that the birds don't like the flashing the CD's give off in the sun. Hope this helps.
10 Mar 09, Barb (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Georgie, Sounds like your lettuce maybe getting too much sun. I grow mine in filtered sun/semi shade in summer and they cope much better.
29 Mar 09, Bill Gibbo (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have tried 3 or 4 different types of lettuce seedlings and also grown them from seed - all have the same problem going straight to seed without hearting, they are watered by bore sprinkler every day and in full sun. Any ideas?
01 Apr 09, David (Australia - temperate climate)
Bill: Lettuce going straight to seed usually happens when it's too hot or dry (cabbage & silver beet tend too as well). As you water daily I am guessing that the lettuce are getting too much sun, have you tried shading them from afternoon sun? I have some lettuce growing in the shade of my tomato forest (planted a little close together this year). The lettuce get maybe 2 hours direct sun first thing, then shaded for the rest of the day, and they are doing really well.
07 Apr 09, Claudie (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi again What's the best way to grow lettuce? Plant the actual seeds or grow the seeds in cotton wool until seedlings then transfer? :)
09 Apr 09, Michelle (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi, My lettuce seem not be hearting, but growing straight up like little trees. Is this right? First time vegie gardener!
24 Mar 19, paul (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
When the root temperature of lettuce gets to 23 degrees the plant bolts - goes to seed. The plant does this as a survival mechanism. Something like, "Ouch, it's too hot! Quick, produce seeds before I die so my offspring will have a chance to grow in the future". That's lettuce. True also of coriander. Mulching the ground will help. Shadecloth will help. Taller/established plants nearby casting shadow is arguably best - see permaculture for design tips.
Showing 21 - 30 of 253 comments

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.

- John Mauger

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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. Gardenate 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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