How To Grow Lettuce – Which?

Lettuce is quick and easy to grow. If you do not have a garden, it works well for a container on your balcony or patio.

How to grow lettuce: month after month

The best types of salad

Which? Members can sign in now and check out our Best Buy brands. If you are not a member, participate in which? for quick access.

How we try salad

We planted a number of lettuce varieties indoors in May and the lettuce was planted outside in a flower bed in the first week of June. We have protected them with insect repellent gauze to prevent damage to leaves and roots. Since it did not rain during the experiment, we watered them when necessary to prevent the soil from drying out. All species were harvested in early July when they were fully grown, then sorted, tasted and weighed, but some heads were left in the ground to see how long it would take before problems arose. The weather was very hot during the trial and the high temperatures caused many species to shoot (produce flowers) sooner than we would normally expect.

When to sow

The one from mid-February indoors in units or seed trays filled with Best Buy compost to sow seedsGrow plants in units or small pots in a cool, well-lit place until they are large enough to plant outdoors.

From the end of March it is also possible to sow seeds outdoors in well-prepared, loose soil in smooth, straight drills. After sowing, keep the soil moist until the seeds grow vigorously. Dilute the plants at a distance of 30 cm.

If you are going to cut whole heads at harvest, sow every three to four weeks to ensure a regular supply of lettuce. If you only want to harvest the outer leaves, you do not need to sow as often. If you sow in March, you get leaves from spring to summer, and if you sow in August, you get leaves from autumn to winter.

Take care of your plants


Planted in well-drained soil in the sun or partial shade or in individual pots Best Buy compost for containersPlace early seeds under a bell or cover with chips to protect them from sun and cold.


Weed regularly, especially if the plants are small.

to water

In dry weather, water the soil regularly around the roots of the plants in the soil so that the soil does not dry out completely. Avoid wetting the leaves. Plants growing in pots need to be watered more often. more than once a day in warm, dry weather. Touch the compost to make sure it is dry to the touch before watering.

How and when to harvest

Harvest in: June to October from sowing in spring and winter and spring from sowing in August

A head-forming salad should be picked when the head is close to the touch. Cut the lettuce from the roots at the base of the head.

Loose varieties can be selected as individual leaves when they reach an edible size. Choose leaves on the outside and the plants will continue to grow and produce more crops. Do not be alarmed if they resemble palm trees with the trunk under the leaves.

Common growth problems

Snails and slugs

Snails eat leaves, especially if the plants are small. Choose what you find. Protect with organic iron phosphate snail balls, which are not considered harmful to wildlife, or water that is biologically controlled for earthworms every six weeks (this only kills snails).

Read more about snails and slugs.


Aphids can attack roots and leaves. Cover the plants with insecticidal gauze to prevent contamination.

Read more about aphids.

Gray mold

Gray mold (botrytis) infects leaves in humid weather. This fungal infection begins as discolored spots on the leaves and grows into hairy, gray spots. Remove the infected part of the plant if detected early, or pull up the whole plant if it is highly infected.

Read more about gray mold.


Tipburn is caused by a lack of calcium, often when water absorption is reduced in dry soil and the symptoms are brown and withered leaf edges. The leaves also blow because the skin cannot keep up with the growth rate caused by hot weather and the heads can split apart if the fluid is irregular.

Read more about Tipburn.


High temperatures do not go well with salads. Problems arise when it exceeds 25 ° C. The ball is most prominent when the plant begins to produce flowering in the middle, but the leaves get a bitter taste even before you see flowering.

Read more about screw connections.