Lactuca sativa

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 3 Professionals
Common Name: lettuce
Type: Annual
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Mediterranean Regions to Siberia
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable
Leaf: Colorful


Soil conditions are important; soil should be well drained and possess a good measure of organic matter. Ph should be 7 or above, with moisture available at all times. Summer locations may be lightly shaded, otherwise full sun is best. Generally sow 60 days before expected harvest (30 days for baby lettuce) with sowing every 2 or 3 weeks to insure continuing harvest. Germination above 80°F is problematical. Since lettuce doesn’t transplant well, use peat pots if transplanting is necessary. Direct seeding is usually preferred, 3 seeds every 8", thinning to one plant every 8" with 10" to 18" between rows. Floating row covers are helpful.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lettuce types include romaine, butter head, iceberg, and loose leaf. All are at their best if grown quickly.


Slugs and snails, cutworms, and aphids are all potential problems and in cool damp weather, downy mildew and gray mold can occur. Bolting in warm weather is a problem and is especially likely if crop is permitted to dry out.