Can Lettuce grow in Cold Weather? (If Yes! How Cold can it Tolerate?)

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Can Lettuce grow in Cold Weather? Lettuce plants are leafy vegetables and are known as cold-weather plants. Lettuce plants that undergo bolting in the summer heat long to grow in cool calm conditions. But what cold is too old for lettuce plants? If you are a gardener you know that plants have a particular tolerance limit after that they cannot grow well.

Can the lettuce plant tolerate frost? The answers to lettuce tolerance will be given below in this article. The lettuce is best grown in the spring and fall seasons. Low temperatures in the range of 40 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit are the perfect temperature for lettuce plants to grow after germination. 

What temperature is too hot or too cold for lettuce plants?

The lettuce plant needs sunlight that is filtered for the entire day but if the sunlight is direct then the lettuce plants will like 5-6 hours of sunlight. The lettuce is like the partial shade and cool conditions. But the direct morning sun is always beneficial to the lettuce plants. The temperatures of 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit keep the plant thriving. The very low temperatures for the lettuce plants are below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Though many lettuce varieties can withstand lower temperatures than this, called cold-adapted lettuce varieties.

The high temperatures lead to bolting of lettuce plants so once the temperature reaches above 80 degrees Fahrenheit the lettuce loses the leafy growth and starts to bolt forming flower stalks, plus the leaves become bitter after bottling.

Can Lettuce grow in Cold Weather? – Can I grow lettuce in winter?

The lettuce plants, as I mentioned above undergo bolting, so you must consider the weather before growing lettuce plants. The high temperatures won’t kill the lettuce plants but make them under stress which will lead to forming seeds. The plants under stress will try to save themselves so they undergo flowering.

The cold weather slows down or delays the process of lettuce planting ‘bolting phase’. So you get enough time for getting multiple harvests of leaves of lettuce. Keep the lettuce plants in a sun-facing window if indoor growing them or to the spot where they will get a good amount of sunlight in such cold weather.

For more such plant related-articles, you may also read, Can Lettuce grow in Partial Shade? (Everything you need to know!)

In case of frosting, try to keep the plant warm by covering the plant with two covers or sheets. In the case of containers, move the plant indoors to warm temperatures.

In case you are moving the plant near the heater make sure you don’t keep them too close to the heating appliance.

Can lettuce tolerate frost?

Are your leaves looking damaged on the edges that can be due to frost? Though if there is light frosting then you can cover the lettuce plants and even your lettuce plants can fight little frost. The heavy frost can damage this leafy vegetable on a large scale.

What are the symptoms that indicate frost damage in lettuce?

If the length of frosting conditions is long then the damage will be high as well. So the symptoms depend on your lettuce plant on how long they are exposed to frost. The frost highly affects the ant’s outer layer just like our skin which gets extremely damaged and cracky in too low temperatures. The outer cuticle starts to fall out and separates. The color of leaves turns bronze, with the spotting on the leaves and the lesions on the leaf veins starting to appear due to abnormal supply in these veins.

How to protect the lettuce plants 

Though there are the varieties like romaine lettuce and butterhead lettuce that can naturally tolerate frost even in the ice prone areas

The best temporary way to protect the lettuce plants in the frost weather is to cover the lettuce plants. But if the cold weather prolongs and the frost is continuous, the lettuce plant is likely to get unhealthy. Here are the ways to grow lettuce plants inside the house or outside the house in cold conditions or winter.

Lettuce plant in winter (outdoors)

If the lettuce plants are outdoors then you might need to give extra protection to the lettuce plants. If there is frost month then covering the lettuce plants with two or more sheets will help keep the harsh frost from the tender leaves of lettuce plants. Make sure the sheets are not that heavy and not pressing the lettuce plants. 

The other ways of covering the lettuce pants are covering the plants with fleece, moving the plants to the greenhouse, using the tunnel covers, and finally placing the plants near the warm spot. 

The lettuce plants that are growing in winter-issue houses are more prone to getting damaged and the first danger is doubled for these plants. The frost can hit the lettuce plants anytime which means the lettuce plants need to be covered almost most of the hours. It’s better to keep them protected than to cover them when frost suddenly hit. 

Lettuce plants indoors

If you do hydroponics, then you are completely aware that lettuce plants are one of the successful and easy-growing lettuce plants indoors. The indoor conditions suit the lettuce plants so much as they need moderate light and indirect sunlight. Also, lettuce plants can easily grow in the grow light or fluorescent lights. 

It is an obvious case that the lettuce plant indoors is in the pot, so the pot needs to be moved to a warmer spot. It is also important that you use the right size of pot for the lettuce plants. The one-gallon pot is more than good to grow lettuce plants. The pot should be 5-6 inches deep as well. The grow light, is on for 24 hours then the plant should be at a distance to avoid bolting. 

Lettuce varieties that won’t disappoint you in cold 

If you want to worry less about the lettuce plants ‘damage from frost then the gardener can simply plant the varieties that are cold tolerant. The lettuce plants that can withstand cold temperatures are the hardy varieties that will tolerate low temperatures. A little gem, corn salad, loose leaf varieties, winter density, tom thumb, north pole, and winter marvel, are the varieties that are hardy enough to face the cold snaps. 

Footnote of the context

We hope you like this article and find it helpful to understand all the vital things that you should know to grow lettuce plants in cold weather. The lettuce plants love cool conditions but that doesn’t mean the lettuce plants don’t need the sunlight. The sunlight that is filtered can still go to the lettuce plants. The lettuce plants need to be looked upon during the frost weather. We have indicated every information above related to this. Do let us know if you find any help. Happy planting! 

Angie Scott