The Q&A Archives: Too Tall Romaine

Question: Last year I grew your "baby ceasar" romaine lettuce, however, the plants got to be approx. 3 feet tall. They had very small heads, however, leaves all the way up the stalk. They tasted great, but I thought the stalk would be shorter and the heads larger.

Do these plants need some type of pruning to get larger heads and shorter stalks?

Answer: It sounds to me as though your lettuce was planted too late in the season and started to bolt before you could harvest it. Lettuce prefers growing during cooler spring and fall weather. Planted in summer when weather is very warm will produce the kind of growth you describe. Romaine lettuce can be harvested a few leaves at a time rather than the whole head at once, so plan your plantings so you can take advantage of the weather and of the growth habit of your lettuce. Sow seeds at 2-week intervals now in early spring, then wait until late summer to sow more seeds. You'll be pleased with the resulting compact heads of your romaine and will be able to harvest over a longer period of time.

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