Don’t let limited space keep you from enjoying delicious home-grown romaine lettuce! No matter the size of your garden, we’ll show you how to produce a bountiful romaine crop in containers all season long.
The first thing to consider when growing romaine lettuce in a container is what kind of pot you’re going to use.
Romaine lettuce have a fairly small root system, so just about any ole container you have lying around will do. But if you’re looking to get technical, a good rule of thumb is to aim for a container that is roughly 288 cubic inches (4,719 cubic centimetres) in size.
Depending on the size of the pot you’re using, you can also put multiple romaine plants in one container. Growing multiple romaine lettuce in one pot is a great way to increase yield while working with limited space. It’s typically suggested to space romaine plants 1 - 2 feet (30 - 60 centimetres) away from each other. But for most varieties, you can get away with packing romaine lettuce in a little tighter than this.
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Plastic pots, terracotta, and fabric grow bags all make fine containers for romaine lettuce. When choosing a pot to plant romaine lettuce in, the type of material it’s made out of doesn’t really matter. What does matter, however, is how well that material releases excess water.
Poor drainage is the number one killer of romaine lettuce grown in pots. If your romaine lettuce sit in standing water for too long, their roots will rot and the plants will likely wither away.
If you’re using a plastic container for growing romaine lettuce, it’s crucial there are 2 - 4 holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain.
Terracotta pots, along with fabric grow bags, are a great container option for romaine lettuce because they are naturally porous. Most terracotta pots also come with a hole in the bottom for additional drainage.
If growing your romaine lettuce in grow bags, be sure to test how well they drain before planting. If water doesn’t leak through the bag quickly, you may want to add one or two holes to the bottom to keep the roots of your romaine plant healthy and happy.
Drainage also plays a key part in the type of soil you choose for romaine containers.
Traditional soil, such as the type of dirt you can dig up in your backyard, is much too dense for romaine lettuce planted in pots. It will trap moisture in the container to the point where it can cause fungal issues for romaine lettuce as well as root rot.
Instead, opt for potting soil or soil specifically designated as safe for container gardening. Avoid all others.
Hopefully by now you’ve seen that growing romaine lettuce in pots is pretty easy so long as you have the right container and right soil.
The key, as stated before, is drainage. You will likely notice that romaine lettuce grown in containers are much thirstier than romaine lettuce grown in a traditional garden bed. Be sure to adjust your schedule to water more frequently.
Of course, the same rules apply to container grown romaine lettuce that apply to romaine lettuce grown in a traditional garden, such as the amount of sunlight they need and when to plant them. You can find that information (and more!) in our complete guide on growing romaine lettuce.