Saturday, 16 January 2016

One of these things is not like the others - what is wrong with my lettuces?!

So I think I need some advice.  I will probably also ask this question of my dad and of my grandma, but the more input the merrier I say!

I have been growing some lettuces (lettice? What's the plural of lettuce?) which I bought as seedlings.  All came from the same punnet and were of a similar size when planted.

Five fitted into one large round and fairly shallow dish.  The other got put into a large pot sort of as an afterthought with a rose bush!

Five little lettuces planted in a pot.

Close up of one little lettuce.  These have probably been out in the garden for about a month.
The single plant is thriving so much more than the 5 together.

The loner in the rose pot.

Clearly a much larger lettuce after the same time of growing!
So - what is the problem?

Is it too much water?  The single plant gets far less water as my sprinkling system doesn't reach it - it's pretty much neglected.

Is it the deeper dirt for roots?

This one is in a much deeper pot than the others.
Are the 5 too close together?

Significantly more shallow pot.  And closer to the sprinkler system.  Also gets a bit more sun, although still mostly shade in the afternoon.
Is it slightly more shade?  The single plant is probably 1-2m further into the yard than the other pots, and as such would get less sun.  But all the plants would get predominantly morning sun and be in shade for some of the day.

Is it likely to be pests? (I do admit I use snail pellets as I just can't get any other pest control to work, and we have no pets that could access these)

Is it a combination of all of these?!

I really want my lettuce plants to grow well as it is so nice to have an ongoing supply of salad greens.  So any advice will be gladly taken!


  1. 3 easy fixed problems, looks like the shallow pot is filled with what no doubt was advertised as potting mix on the packet but in reality is about as good for the plant as eating a few handfuls of grass would be for us! The shallow pot shouldn't make them grow so slowly will only limit their size. U need to buy a bag of the best manure you can get and repot the 5 small ones in a bigger pot if possible with proper dirt. Even go to the park and find some soil that is nice and heavy and dark and take some to put with the manure. You can also give plants too much love, they only need water when the soil has almost dried out but don't let it be dry for more than 12 hours. Last of all get some dynamic lifter. Put it on top of the soil. Easy!

    1. I didn't know you read my blog Paul! I think the potting mix is ok, it's mixed in with other dirt and some of my compost, but I think you're probably right about the water, so it might be a bit water logged. I just find it hard to manage the watering with being away so much so the sprinklers seemed a good idea. And I could get some dynamic lifter.... I will see how I go with your suggestions!

  2. Hi Nez! I agree with Paul re quality of putting mix, there's don't really useless stuff being sold; always buy top range, and add some other goodness if it's not a very sorry term potting.
    I would think a shallow pot would definitely limit the size of almost any plant, so that's my #1 issue. Also, most lettuces are really cool weather plants, so they might be happier out of the direct heat. I'm growing mine in a sheltered spot where they only get early morning sun, but still plenty of indirect light. In winter I grow lots in full Sun but that wouldn't work at this time of year at our place: too hot.
    You might get 1 or 2 bigger ones in the shallow pot, but 5 close together would need more soil. Try potting them out so each plant has plenty of room to spread roots! More soil also = less frequent watering needed, bonus.

    If it's pests you should be able to see clear evidence of them if you look closely...

    That's all - how are your other veg going? Hope you're enjoying it! X

    1. Sorry for the typos, it's 4am!

    2. Hey Pye thanks for the advice. 4am feeds then?! Looks like my nice grey pots were on special for a reason hey - cause they're not much use! :-) I've already moved the pot into more shade and I am looking to transplant them into another pot asap.
      PS Give that gorgeous baby Louis a kiss for me!

  3. Hey, I've grown lettuce in 1/2 wine barrels and terracotta pots. The barrels were great but the terracotta dried out too quickly as will a concrete pot.Also, I covered the ground around the plants with lucerne/mulch or straw which stops the ground from drying out too much.....just a thought, Mi

  4. Thanks Myra! That's a good point about the mulch, I have a big bale of sugar cane mulch but I often forget to use it - I should put it out there.