How to Plant Lettuce in a Container


Most people would prefer to eat fresh, wholesome vegetables picked at the peak of ripeness and flavor instead of bland, underripe supermarket varieties. However, many of the same people live in apartments or have small yards without space for a home garden. The nice thing about garden plants, though, is that they are generally not fussy--give them a reasonably deep and fertile soil and some sunshine, and most will do well in pots you can keep on a patio, a balcony or even a south-facing windowsill. Lettuce is a fine plant to consider growing if your garden space is limited. Lettuce needs soil of relatively shallow depth, so is ideal for container growing.

Step 1

Fill a shallow pot 4 to 6 inches deep with good quality potting soil or aged compost.

Step 2

Press the soil firmly to remove entrapped air spaces, and smooth the surface.

Step 3

Sprinkle lettuce seeds thinly over the surface. Try to maintain a half-inch spacing between seeds if possible.

Step 4

Use a scrap piece of window screening or a sieve to sift a fine layer of soil over the top of the seeds so that they are barely covered.

Step 5

Press the soil lightly to make good contact with the seeds.

Step 6

Set the pot in a tray or sink with 2 or 3 inches of water in it, and allow the water to soak into the container slowly from the bottom until the surface of the soil is slightly damp to the touch.

Step 7

Place the pot in a warm space--about 72 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal--until seedlings emerge, then put it in a sunny location.

Step 8

Thin seedlings to 3 or 4 inches apart once they are about an inch tall, then begin harvesting the leaves sparingly--not whole plants--when they reach about 3 inches in height.

Step 9

Feed plants once each week with a dilute solution of aged manure in water. The solution strength is not particularly critical, but it should resemble strong tea in color and transparency.

Things You'll Need

  • Wide, shallow pot
  • Quality potting soil or compost
  • Lettuce seeds
  • Scrap piece of window screen or a household sieve
  • Tray (large enough to hold the pot) or sink
  • Aged manure


  • Yardener: Planting Lettuce

Who Can Help

  • Urban Organic Gardener: How to Plant Lettuce in a Self Watering Container
  • VideoJug: How to Plant Lettuce
Keywords: container planting, lettuce in pots, growing container lettuce, grow potted lettuce, planting in pots

About this Author

Deborah Stephenson is a freelance writer and artist, who brings over 25 years of both professional and life experience to her writings. Stephenson features a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She is an anthropologist & naturalist, and has published a field guide on Michigan's flora & fauna as well as numerous political and environmental articles.