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How Much Water Does Lettuce Need? — Let Us Explain!

How Much Water Does Lettuce Need? — Let Us Explain!

If you’re thinking about growing lettuce this year one of the first things you must understand is how much water it needs.

The water content of lettuce is approximately 96-percent or higher. If you think about it, that’s quite a bit of water.

But, just exactly how much water do lettuce plants really need though?

Read on below and find out the answer, as well as several lettuce watering tips and more!


How Much Water Does Lettuce Need?

Lettuce needs watering every four to five days on a regular basis for the majority of their lifespan. Depending on your climate zone and weather patterns, the first two weeks after planting may require watering on a daily basis. After lettuce sprouts, reduce to approximately twice per week.


Provide Constant Water

Lettuce is a plant that requires not only a good bit of water through the season, but also a pretty constant supply of it in general. Seeds need watered every day, maturing lettuce needs water every three to four days, and if the weather is hot or dry, perhaps every day or two.

You may also opt to water lettuce via driplines and other forms of irrigation. In this case, avoid watering overhead with sprinkler systems and use pipes or hoses that deliver water straight to the base and rootzone of the plants. 


Water Lettuce Seeds Daily

Lettuce is one of the most common plants to plant yourself. That said, when planting lettuce from seeds, which is the most common way to do it (you can also grow lettuce from cuttings and stumps!), remember to water them much heavier than normal. 

Soak the soil until it is fully saturated with water, plant the seeds, and water the soil again every day for 10 to 15 days. Once the seeds turn into lettuce sprouts, reduce to regular watering sessions twice per week.


Make Sure Your Using Enough Water

Lettuce plants have short roots that don’t grow very deeply into the soil. That means they need a bit more water than other plants without such shallow roots. Each season, lettuce plants require around nine inches of water. 

When you water your lettuce, make sure that you watch the water being absorbed into the soil. Make sure that you soak the top of the soil and their shallow roots thoroughly each time.


Take the Sun into Consideration

Depending where you plant your lettuce, it may have more or less exposure to the sun. Take into consideration how much sunlight your lettuce is receiving each day, and how much it contributes to the rate at which the soil dries up.

Lettuce needs at least 6 to 8 hours of light, but does well with much more sunlight as well. The more light your lettuce gets though, the more frequently you may need to water it.

If you have lettuce growing in two areas that receive different amounts of sunlight, make sure that you water each one accordingly. Stick your finger in the soil every two or three days and make sure it isn’t completely dry yet. If it is, go ahead and water immediately.


Avoid Overwatering or Underwatering

Lettuce isn’t a very complicated plant, that’s why it’s so easy to grow. That said, the most common way to mess up with growing lettuce is overwatering or underwatering it.

Both underwater and overwatering lead to disaster with lettuce due to its high water content. Overwatering leads to rotting leaves, bacteria, and fungus. Underwatering leads to crispy and shriveled-up lettuce plants.


Water Extra When Necessary

If the weather is extra hot or dry for long periods of time, you may increase your lettuce watering sessions to every other day rather than twice per week. 

Likewise, in extreme conditions, you may need to water your lettuce every morning to ensure it survives the heatwave.

The morning is the best time to water lettuce as it will absorb more and uptake more nutrients, as well as have all day to dry off.


Protect Your Lettuce From Rain or Snow

When the weather forecast is predicting a storm, long periods of rain, or snow, or frost, protecting your lettuce with covers helps avoid overwatering, rotting leaves, and root rot. 

If you plant lettuce in september, this tip may come in extra-helpful when the first frosts show up.

Mini-greenhouses, plastic bags, umbrellas, and buckets are popular choices for protecting lettuce from rain or snow. Basically anything that keeps the moisture from covering the plants or saturating the soil around their rootzones works.

Just remember to remove the cover from your lettuce as soon as the rain stops, especially if the temperature increases. Otherwise, you may end up with wilted or rotting lettuce.


Use Proper Lettuce Watering Technique

Watering lettuce is simple but needs to be carried out properly. All you need is a garden hose or a watering can and a clean freshwater source, and a steady hand (or irrigation system).

Direct the flow of water to the base and rootzone of lettuce plants, allowing the ground to absorb plenty of water before moving on. Avoid watering the tops of lettuce plants as it may cause them to rot and attract pests.


Frequently asked questions about Watering Lettuce


How Much Should I Water My Lettuce?

There is no one-size-fits-all to how much water lettuce needs. From the species you grow, to where you grow it, and the weather, there are numerous factors to consider. That said, most lettuce needs watering at least twice per week. Many species thrive when watered daily.


What is the Best Way to Water Lettuce?

The best way to water lettuce is by providing water to the base of the plant. Using a water can or garden hose, direct the water to the soil below the plant. Avoid watering from overhead. Overhead watering lettuce may lead to wilted and rotting lettuce.


What Does Overwatered Lettuce Look Like?

Lettuce is not one of the hardest vegetables to grow, overwatered lettuce is pretty easy to spot; it looks slimy and yucky and yellow, brown, and even black. The lettuce may look like it’s rotting or melting, because more or less it is doing just that. Remove the mushy parts of overwatered lettuce quickly to prevent root decay.