How to Plant, Grow & Care Delicious Romaine Lettuce In Pots [A Step by Step Guide]

Last Updated on June 24, 2022 by masudalam

This is a complete guide on how to grow romaine lettuce in pots.

In this guide you will learn:

  • Things to consider before start.
  • Step by step guide for growing romaine lettuce in pots.
  • Commonly asked question.
  • Lots more..

Lets get started.

Romaine lettuce, also known as Cos lettuce, is a kind of lettuce that grows with dark green leaves which look open and overlaid in a tight bunch. Romaine lettuce is an easy plant to grow especially as a beginner. If you are not having a garden to directly plant your lettuce then you should not worry because, now-a-days, growing in pots is becoming quite common. All you need to do is choose a good size container. There are several things that you should know before starting. In this article, you will learn more about how to plant romaine lettuce in containers.

Things to Consider Before Growing Romaine Lettuce in Pots

There are things that you should look into before growing romaine lettuce. These factors to be considered are discussed below.

Best Variety for Pot

Romaine lettuce is crisp and crunchy and it has also proven quite heat tolerant. Romaine lettuce varieties are green, red, bronze, or speckled. The varieties include Cimarron, EZ Serve, Forellenschluss, Little Caesar, Little Gem, Parris Island, Paris White, and Vivian. These varieties of Romaine lettuce can grow in pots because they have shallow roots. The least size container should be six inches in depth with draining holes. Your romaine lettuce varieties have a high chance of doing well in pots as long as you water well and expose the plant to the right amount of sunlight.

Know the Best Time to Grow

Romaine lettuce does well in temperatures between 60-70 degrees. This means that this variety can survive in a cool location. This, however, does not mean that they don’t need sun. Four to seven hours of sunlight per day is enough and will help the lettuce develop at a faster rate. Romaine lettuce can be a constant harvest from your garden all year long. However, it is mostly considered a spring and fall crop.

In early spring, you can position your pots in an area that gets plenty of sunlight from the southern area. As the temperature becomes warmer, you can place the containers where there’s more morning sun thus there will not be exposed to the hot afternoon heat.

Prepare Soil

Romaine lettuce does well in loamy soil with good drainage characteristics. It also needs a continuous supply of moisture. You can add organic materials such as compost or manure to increase drainage, provide important nutrients, and improve the lettuce’s growing conditions. When growing romaine lettuce place the seeds on the soil then cover them up with more soil.

Romaine lettuce contains a lot of water. You should ensure that the lettuce is watered well to avoid dryness. Growing romaine lettuce in stagnant water will not generate good results. To ensure that you have moist soil, you need to fill your pot with high-quality loam soil. Loam soils hold onto moisture better as they allow for quick drainage of water not needed by the plants.

Since you are growing romaine lettuce in a pot, you can set the pot in a large tray for some time. This process will enable the soil to absorb the moisture it needs before you begin planting.

Read More: How to prepare soil for vegetable garden?

Choose Seed

Romaine lettuce has strong and broad leaves with thick midribs and is densely packed. For you to harvest this kind of romaine lettuce, you should be careful in your choice of seeds. When it comes to planting romaine lettuce, there are three kinds of growing seeds. Some seeds are planted inside away from sunlight. The pot can stay indoors for the seeds to sow for approximately ten to twelve weeks before the last spring frost. Once the seeds are sown in about four to six weeks, you can remove the pot and place it outside. Romaine lettuce can withstand spring frosts since it’s a cold season plant.

The other option is to sow the seeds into the pot and once you are done place the pot outside. You should consider doing this 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost. Although tiny, romaine seeds are tough. They survive cold soil and they will rarely rot in wet soil.

The last way is to purchase transplants at your local nursery. This will be a good choice if you do not want to grow your romaine lettuce from seed. Purchasing 4-6 plants from the nursery to grow in a pot is a good way to go about it.

Find a Suitable Container with Good Drainage Hole

When you think of how to grow romaine lettuce in pots, one of the vital things that you need to consider is the draining holes. Romaine lettuce grows well in pots due to its shallow roots. Your container of choice should have good drainage holes. The pot should have enough drainage holes in the bottom. Drainage holes will prevent the soil from becoming over-saturated. This means that the soil is moist and not soggy. If you have a tray under the pot, ensure you empty the tray of standing water. For containers, you can either settle for plastic, clay, or terracotta.

Water Carefully

You should attend to your plants well. As the plants start growing, look into the soil daily to ensure it is moist enough. If the soil is dry, water the plants. The drainage holes in the pot allow extra water to drain enabling the soil to retain the water that it needs. You also need to remember to remove the tray under the pot to get rid of the standing water.


Romaine lettuce is an easy keeper and it’s not in constant need of many nutrients. If you start with high-quality, fresh soil then you can do without a fertilizer. Once you reuse the same soil for a fall harvest, you should sprinkle fertilizer before sowing your seeds.

Fertilizing will have an immediate boost when romaine lettuce seedlings are between two to four inches. Fertilizers help plump the leaves of romaine lettuce and also chase away any bitterness. Fertilizers also help romaine lettuce grow. You need to settle for a well-balanced fertilizer with equal parts of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate. Fertilization if necessary should be done roughly after two weeks.

Planting Procedure of Romaine Lettuce in Pots

Growing romaine lettuce in a pot is an easy and fun process. For you to end up with fresh, leafy, and green romaine lettuce there is a procedure that you should follow. These steps will help you know how to go about planting romaine lettuce in pots.

Step 1: Choose a Pot

Romaine lettuce has shallow roots enabling them to grow well in pots. Due to these shallow roots, you don’t need a deep pot. A wide and shallow container is what is suitable for growing romaine lettuce. Your pot of choice could either be clay, plastic, or terracotta and should have good draining holes.

Step 2: Fill the Pot with Soil

For your romaine lettuce to be healthy, you should be cautious of your choice of soil. Fill the pot with potting specific soil. Your potting soil of choice needs to be rich in organic matter and be able to retain water. The pot has to feel like a garden for the romaine lettuce to grow well. Leave a little space on the top for easy harvesting when the time comes. Gently press the soil as you await the seeds.

Step 3: Plant the Seeds

Before planting the seeds, you should ensure that your soil is moist to enable fast germination. Evenly distribute the seeds on the entire pot. Cover up the seeds with a little bit of soil. Seeds tend to generate well in the dark.

Step 4: Water the Soil

Water the soil and leave it. You should keep on checking the soil daily to ensure that it’s moist. Dry soil will harm the romaine lettuce. In about three weeks, you are likely to have romaine lettuce growing and in four to five weeks the lettuce may be ready for harvesting.

Step 5: Sunlight

Just like all plants, romaine lettuce needs sunlight too. Growing romaine lettuce in pots allows you to move the pot towards the sun. You can also remove the pot from the sun that is too hot. Romaine lettuce does not like the strong sun so you need to keep it in moderate to full sun. Lettuce does well in 4-7 hours of sunlight.

Pest and Diseases Control

Romaine lettuce just like other plants is exposed to pests and diseases. Pests and diseases could either damage the romaine lettuce badly or completely kill the plant. Pests that could affect romaine lettuce include aphids, armyworms, crickets, darkling beetles, corn earworms, snails, vegetable weevils, whiteflies, or grasshoppers.

Depending on your climate and region, you may find some or all of these pests on your romaine lettuce. For pests and disease control, you may opt for cultural controls like the use of mulch or the removal of debris and vegetation. You may also choose to adopt biological ways like natural predation. If these ways are not helping then switch to chemical controls.

When and How to Harvest Romaine Lettuce from Pot?

You will know your romaine lettuce is ready for harvesting once it is dark green and its leaves look open. The leaves should also overlap in a tight bunch. You need to harvest romaine lettuce once it’s full size but just before it’s reached maturity. Harvesting romaine lettuce can be between nine to ten weeks after planting the seeds. When grown from seeds romaine lettuce takes a less period to mature.

When it comes to harvesting ready romaine lettuce, you can pinch off some leaves around the outer edges of the plant about an inch from the crown. This method allows you to cut and come back again for more romaine lettuce when it develops again.

Commonly Asked Questions (FAQs)

i) Does Romaine Lettuce Grow Well in Containers?

Have you been wondering how to grow romaine lettuce in pots? You should not wonder anymore because romaine lettuce can grow well in containers. This ability is due to the lettuce’s shallow roots. You can grow romaine lettuce in either clay, plastic, or terracotta. Your pot of choice needs to have draining holes to drain off excess water.

ii) How Much Sunlight Does Romaine Lettuce Need?

Romaine lettuce needs moderate to full sunlight. Since growing romaine lettuce in pots allows you to move the pot, you can place it where there is enough sunlight. In case of too much sunlight, the pot allows you to move the plants. Romaine lettuce needs 4 to 7 hours of sunlight.

iii) How Long Does it Take to Grow Romaine Lettuce?

Romaine lettuce takes 60 to 80 days to harvest. Romaine lettuce does not bolt in warm summers therefore this quality enables it to have an extended growing. You can harvest romaine lettuce when it’s in full size but just before it reaches maturity.

iv) How Do You Know When Romaine Lettuce is ready to pick?

Romaine lettuce usually takes three months when grown from seeds to fully mature. When your romaine lettuce starts to look dark green and the leaves look open then you can tell that it’s mature enough. Romaine lettuce when ready is crisp has a savory taste and is thick. Romaine lettuce picked early tends to be bitter.

Harvesting romaine lettuce when it’s in full size and before its reached maturity will give you tasty lettuce. Lettuce is savory when picked while somehow young and tender. It’s advisable to pick your romaine lettuce in the morning. Romaine lettuce harvested in the morning is tastier because it has not been exposed to sunlight. Using your romaine lettuce immediately after harvesting is always advisable although you can still store the head lettuce for up to two weeks.

v) Will Romaine Lettuce Regrow After Cutting?

As long as you harvest your romaine lettuce in the right way, you are likely to have another harvest. This is because romaine lettuce does grow back after cutting. You should be careful while harvesting if you want the romaine lettuce to grow back. This will prevent you from damaging the plant. Before the romaine lettuce reaches maturity, you can harvest parts of the lettuce. You can remove the outer leaves of the romaine lettuce leaving the center part to continue growing.

If time passes and your romaine lettuce is not growing back after harvesting then it’s preferable to plant the second round of romaine lettuce.

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