lettuce container garden

How to Create a Lettuce Container Garden

Your Salad Container Garden

A lettuce container garden is one of the easiest options for any amateur looking to start a small garden on their patio or balcony. These plants grow well in smaller spaces, and they ensure you have fresh greens for the entire warm season with just a couple of pots! Learn more about how to plant lettuce in pots and which varieties you should consider for your garden today.

Why Lettuce?

While not all vegetables are made to grow in pots, lettuce plants don’t have deep roots, which makes them perfect for compact growing. Lettuce container gardens also have fast-growing plants with a short harvest time. Plant varieties that you can cut and will grow again very quickly for leafy greens in every meal!

Getting Started

salad greens outdoor garden

With our lettuce growing guide, we guarantee you’ll have a salad container garden in no time! Get started today when you follow these instructions for how to plant lettuce in pots.

1- Find the Right Spot

    Lettuce container gardens prefer a lot of sunlight, but they don’t like heat so much. If you live in a sunny climate with moderate heat, any area that offers full sunlight is perfect. But if you’re in a hot, arid environment, you may want to find a partially shaded area or sunny indoor spot for your salad garden.

    2- Choosing Your Containers

      Because of their shallow roots, wider, shallower containers are the best choice. You can opt for window boxes or raised box planters as long as you provide your lettuce container garden with a depth of at least six inches. For circular pots, aim to have 8-10” in diameter. You also want to ensure plenty of drainage holes at the bottom to prevent standing water, which will rot your plants.

      Bonus Note: In warmer environments, choose heat-resistant pot materials so your salad container garden doesn’t overheat from the inside out.

      3- Your Soil Options

        Like with any plant, the right soil or mix is where everything starts. Soil provides much of the nutrients your lettuce container garden needs. You’ll need a mix that has plenty of organic matter, as well as good drainage and aeration. Mix in peat moss and compost to elevate your soil’s nutrition content. 

        Never fill your containers to the brim with soil. Leave a few inches of space at the top of your pots to prevent soil from washing out when you water the plants.

        4- When to Plant Your Lettuce

          While lettuce may be able to survive the summer heat, it does best in the early spring. You can plant from seed a couple of weeks before the last frost or buy your plants already growing at a local hardware store and repot them in your own space.

          5- How to Plant Lettuce in Your Pots

            salad greens in a planter

            We’ll cover both planting from seed and transplanting growing plants in this part of the guide:

            From Seed

            After preparing the soil, sow your lettuce seeds very densely, about .25 - .50” deep. Cover the seeds with a little more soil and keep them moist until germination. Once the seeds start to sprout, you can thin out the seedlings and space them out a little more regularly, about 4 - 6” inches apart for smaller varieties, 8” for medium varieties, and 12 - 18” apart for larger varieties.

            Transplanting a Lettuce Container Garden

            With already growing plants, simply measure out the distances in your containers and repot them into the right spots. You’ll want to take the seedlings out of the original containers and loosen their roots before placing them in the new hole. Fill in the hole with more soil and press down firmly.

            6- Consider Companion Plants

              Companion planting is when you place mutually beneficial plants in the same container. Your support plants may add nutrients to the soil, deter pests, and enhance the flavor of your lettuce container garden. Some of our favorite companion plants include:

              Caring for Your Lettuce Garden

              1. Water Your Lettuce Frequently
              2. Boost Nutrition With Fertilizer
              3. Manage Bolting With Succession Planting
              4. Keep Weeds Out

              Recommended Lettuce Varieties

              lettuce in balcony garden

              Nearly every type of lettuce grows well in a container, so you have tons of freedom to accommodate your climate and flavor preferences. Here are a few of our favorites for a lettuce container garden. 

              • Crisphead Varieties: Great Lakes, Igloo, Hanson Improved
              • Loose Leaf Varieties: Green Ice, Deer Tongue, Red Sails
              • Romaine Varieties: Vivian, Paris White, Cimarron
              • Butterhead: Bibb Lettuce, Butter Oak, Blushed Butterhead

              You might also consider more nutrient-dense leafy greens, like arugula and kale, as companion plants for your garden.

              Time to Get Started!

              Now that you see how simple growing lettuce for your salad can be, it’s time to get started! Use our resources to help your plants thrive, and explore our blog for unique ideas and suggestions.