lettuce growing stages

Lettuce Growing Stages – Growing Romaine Lettuce and More

Lettuce is a cool-weather crop that is easy to grow in a home garden. In this article, we will cover the basics of growing lettuce, including how long it takes to grow, when to harvest your crop, as well as lettuce growing stages.
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How Long Does It Take for Lettuce to Fully Grow?

When it comes to lettuce growing stages, it takes around two to three weeks for most types of lettuce to fully mature. The time it takes for your lettuce to fully grow will depend on the variety you are growing, as well as the growing conditions (temperature, sunlight, etc.). Let’s take a look at the different stages of growth for three popular types of lettuce: romaine, iceberg, and buttercrunch.

Romaine Lettuce Growing Stages

Romaine lettuce typically takes 45-55 days to mature. The first stage of growth is the germination stage, which lasts 3-10 days. During this stage, the seedling emerges from the soil and develops its first true leaves. The next stage is the vegetative stage, during which the plant grows rapidly and develops a deep root system. The final stage is the reproductive stage, during which the plant produces flowers and forms seed heads.

Iceberg Lettuce Growing Stages

Iceberg lettuce has a shorter maturity time of just 30-40 days. The germination stage lasts 3-5 days, after which the seedling emerges from the soil and develops its first true leaves. The vegetative stage follows next, during which the plant grows rapidly and develops a deep root system. Finally, the plant enters into the reproductive stage and produces flower heads.

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Buttercrunch Lettuce Growing Stages

Buttercrunch lettuce has a similar maturity time to iceberg lettuce, taking 30-40 days to reach full maturity. However, during the germination stage (which lasts 3-5 days), only the cotyledons (seed leaves) emerge from the soil. It is not until the vegetative stage (day 10-14) that the plant develops its first true leaves. After that point, buttercrunch lettuce proceeds through its vegetative and reproductive stages at a similar pace to romaine and Iceberg lettuces.

Should I Plant Lettuce Seeds or Plants?

If you are wondering whether to plant lettuce seeds or plants, the answer depends on the growing conditions in your area and the amount of time you have. Lettuce seeds can be planted directly in the soil, but they will take longer to germinate (3-10 days) and grow to maturity (45-55 days).

Lettuce growing stages can be shortened by planting seedlings, which are young plants that have already germinated and grown their first true leaves. Seedlings can be purchased at most garden stores and nurseries.

Check our blog post on how to grow lettuce and get the details for your future salad!

When Should I Harvest My Lettuce Crop?

The best time to harvest your lettuce crop is in the morning, after the leaves have had a chance to fully expand in the sunlight. Lettuce leaves will be at their tastiest and most nutritious when they are full-sized, but still have a slight crunch to them. To harvest, cut the lettuce leaves at the base of the plant with a sharp knife or garden shears.

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Lettuce Seed Germination

Now that you know about lettuce growing stages and how long it takes for lettuce to fully grow, you may be wondering about lettuce seed germination. Lettuce seeds can be planted directly in the soil, but they will take longer to germinate (3-10 days) and grow to maturity (45-55 days). The best way to speed up the process is to start your seeds indoors in a seed tray or pot. Fill the tray or pot with moistened potting mix, sow the seeds thinly, and cover with a layer of plastic wrap or soil. Place the tray or pot in a warm (70-80°F), sunny location, and keep the soil moist.

When the seedlings have grown their first true leaves, they can be transplanted outdoors into the garden or into larger pots. Be sure to harden them off first by placing them in a sheltered location outdoors for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the amount of time they spend outside over the course of 1-2 weeks.

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