Plant Type: Annual
Scientific Name: Lactuca sativa
Light: full sun – shade in summer
Soil Type: Good drainage, rich, loose, loam
Soil Temperature: 40° +
ph Range: 6.0 – 7.0
Watering: Keep moist
Plant (Payson): March 1 – May 1 / August 1 – September 15
Planting Method: Seed
Germination: 7 – 14 days 5
Transplant: Not recommended
Maturity: 45 – 55 days
Common Pests: Slugs, aphids, leaf hoppers
Common Diseases: Damping off, downey mildew


Originating in the Mediterranean, lettuce has been grown and cultivated for thousands of years. Generally, it is a good source of both vitamins K and A. There are many, many varieties from head lettuces such as iceberg & butter to romaine to frisees to leaf lettuces like red & green leaf.


Does not grow well if PH is low so additions of manure and compost will help provide the right PH balance and nutrients needed for a successful crop.


Lettuce likes cool but not cold weather. Some varieties are more tolerant and can be planted in spring as soon as you can work the soil while others require warmer temperatures. Although lettuce can grow in full sun, in Arizona, it grows best in cool loose, soil that has partial shade from the brutal sun.


Plant lettuce in rich soil that drains well. Don’t let shallow roots dry out or it may become bitter. Provide shade for newly planted lettuce.

Plant directly in soil –  for even distribution of tiny lettuce seeds –  mix dark color seeds in a shaker with sand and sprinkle on your row. For light color seeds mix with fine potting soil in your shaker. This technique helps to see the seeds as you plant and results in evenly spread seeds over the planting area.

MULCHING – Apply thin layer to help maintain the consistent moisture and cool soil temperatures lettuce needs
WATERING – Evenly moist – not soggy.
-Slow release nitrogen at planting
– Carefully by hand
– Mulching and watering with a drip system help prevent disease
– Aphids: spray with water to wash them away

Harvest butterhead, romaine, and loose-leaf types by removing the outer leaves, digging up the whole plant, or cutting the plant about an inch above the soil surface. For leaf lettuce, cut about mid-way down, above the crown on each plant – they will continue to grow all season long.


Lettuce can be kept fresh and crispy in the refrigerator for a month if you wrap it completely in aluminum foil. Storing leaves in a Ziplock bag with about an inch of water will keep leaves fresh for several days to weeks. Stand the leaves upright in the water and close the bag. For shorter term storage, romaine can be kept 7-10 days vacuum sealed in a mason jar.

Helpful Links

To aid in your gardening success, here are some useful, trusted links for more information on lettuce.

How To Mulch Your Garden | Types of Mulch - The Almanac

What Is Mulch | How To Use 8 Types in Your Garden - The Spruce

How To Mulch Your Garden In The Fall - The Spruce

Please remember Payson Community Garden is an organic garden. Some of these sites may contain recommendations for non-organic products. Please see this website or Plant Fair Nursery website for a list of recommended products
that meet the organic standards of Payson Community Garden.

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