Lettuce Get Started in the Garden

All types of lettuce (romaine, butterhead, leaf, and head) all grow well in Louisiana.

Purchase fresh seed or transplants here!

Seed should be planted a one-eighth of an inch deep or less. Cover lettuce seed with vermiculite or simply press the seed firmly on top of the soil and lightly water them in to achieve a good stand.  Outdoor temperatures are generally warm here, so there may not be a need to germinate lettuce seed indoors at this time. But if temperatures cool and you move seeds indoors for germination, remember to place the trays in full sunlight or in the sunniest window you have. Many varieties of lettuce germinate better if light can reach the seed. Talk with us about Grow Lights. These lights are specially formulated to grow your plants from seed, or even your interior plants! They are in bulb form to fit your lamps or light sources!

All emerged seedlings need full sunlight or they will stretch. You know your seedlings are not receiving enough sunlight if the two cotyledon leaves are on top of a very leggy, thin, white stem.

The goal for all vegetable transplants, including lettuce, is to be short, stalky and darker green. Leaf lettuce can easily be directly seed into a well-prepared garden soil. We recommend adding in Happy Frog Soil Conditioner, which is an organic blend that amends the soil beautifully.


When planting, space head-type lettuces 12 inches apart. You can double-drill the row with 6 to 8 inches between drills.

Leaf lettuce can be harvested by plucking individual foliage off the plant or by trimming the entire bunch back to 2 inches in height. Head lettuces are harvested once.

Apply fertilizer on the harvest date and watch the lettuce re-emerge for a second harvest.

Because there are so many varieties of lettuce available, it is important to know the average days until harvest. If you are starting from seed, read the seed packet carefully. It should tell you the average number of days between sowing and harvesting. Many lettuces are harvested between 45 to 80 days after sowing. Harvesting immature lettuce is fine as the taste will be acceptable. However, overmature lettuce becomes very bitter. Lettuce is overmature when it bolts and forms a flower stalk. Often, lettuce is overmature even before the flower stalk emerges. If you pinch off a leaf or two at the base of the plant and a milky substance seeps from the wound, the lettuce is overmature.

Insects to watch out for include snails, aphids and worms. Only spray insecticides after correctly identifying the culprit. Insecticides should never be applied preventatively. We have products to help when you want to banish a bug.