Lettuce Seedlings - Knowledgebase Question

Peabody, MA
Question by genny827
March 31, 2001
I am having difficulty raising lettuce from seeds indoors. Even though I use fluorescent grow lights the plants get tall, straggly and droop over. This happens even when there is only one plant in each plastic cell. The plants are in the basement and I have started to use a fan to circulate the air but that does not seem to help. I do not have this problem with other plants such as tomatoes and peppers. The seedlings are about 3 to 4 inches from the light bulbs. What am I doing wrong?

Answer from NGA
March 31, 2001


In my experience, it works best if the light bulbs are closer to the plants, say only an inch. (This is usually better for all seedlings.) Lettuce prefers cool temperatures, so you might try moving them to a cooler location. Also, the indoor lettuce is usually a cut and cut again type of procedure where leaf lettuce is planted rather thickly in a mat and cut back short (almost mowed off) when it reaches a few inches tall and then allowed to regrow. It may only be able to withstand this treatment a few times. Last, make sure you are not overfertilizing as this can cause weak growth too. I hope this helps you trouble shoot.

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