Does Lettuce Need Lots of Water?

Does lettuce need lots of water?– Yes, lettuce needs lots of water. It is a popular green leafy vegetable. Lettuce is very easy to grow although you will need lots of water to keep it hydrated and fresh. The leaves require lots of water to maintain turgidity and tenderness. Check out my favorite lettuce seeds on amazon.

lettuce-vegetables to grow in may

Check out my previous post: Can You Grow Aloe Vera from a Cutting?

How many inches of water does lettuce need?

According to USDA, to cultivate lettuce you will need almost 27000 gallons of water per week per acre. This is equal to the volume of 1-inch water in 1 acre of irrigatable field.

Theoretically, a single lettuce plant can stay fit in just 1 cubic inch of water available per week. But this is not sufficient to deal with the frequent evaporation due to wind and hot summer days. Also, the soil and other companion plants will absorb some water. Apply water at least thrice as required by the lettuce plants especially on hot summer days.

Therefore make sure the soil is moist up to 5 inches deep from the surface. Practically 1-inch watering means pouring water enough to wet the soil at least 1 inch down to the surface. This water should spread down to 5 or 6 inches below the soil surface within minutes. Water twice per week or more if required.

Also read: How much sun do zucchini plants need?

How much water does lettuce need to grow?

Lettuce plants need plenty of water to grow. Being a green leafy vegetable it requires quite a bit of water every week. Water not only keeps the plant fresh but also determines the taste of the crunchy leaves.

Lettuce plants may or may not die in a couple of days of a dry spell but the leaf will become bitter and soft. It will lose its turgidity and sweet taste.

So to keep your lettuce fresh and sweet you must water the plants frequently. In fact, it is better to keep the soil moist always during the growth period of lettuce.

If you have lettuce grown in a 6,8 or 10-inch container then little water is sufficient for 4 days. It will be sufficient for 2 to 3 days in a bigger container like 10 gallons grow bag.

drought after over-irrigation

How much water does lettuce need in ml?

A lettuce plant needs 100 to 200 ml of water for 2 to 3 days. In simple words, your lettuce will need 500 ml of water per week.

Container gardeners should calculate the requirement as 100 ml water per plant each time you irrigate. In garden-raised beds, you will need 300 to 500 ml per plant per week according to temperature and sunlight.

Commercial lettuce farmers may require 27225 gallons of water (1-inch) per week per acre of irrigable land.

These requirements may differ with many natural factors. Always try to keep the water in balance. Overwatering can cause many problems. It can also kill the lettuce.

Factors that affect water requirements for lettuce

  1. Type of lettuce variety. Different lettuce varieties have different water requirements. Make sure you are aware of the need before actual farming.
  2. Timing of lettuce farming. Early summer lettuce crops will need more water than late cultivars. Hot summer days are the main factors in this case.
  3. Location of lettuce farming. These days indoor farming of vegetables especially lettuce is aging tremendous popularity. So if you are planning for indoor farming then you will definitely need less than half of the water as required in commercial fields.
  4. Temperature and air moisture. High temperature and low air moisture will lead to faster evaporation of water. This will quickly drain the plant as well as the soil around the root ball. The evaporation will be much lower on days when the temperature is low and air moisture is high. This condition is identical to the rainy or monsoon season.
  5. Sunlight and wind pressure. Long exposure to the sun on hot summer days can quickly drain the lettuce plants. Similarly, you have to water frequently during windy days. Strong winds can increase the rate of evaporation.

How to check if lettuce needs more water?

  • Make sure the leaves are green and firm. Soft, loose, yellow leaves are signs of water dificiency.
  • Check out the soil by putting your finger up to 1-inch depth. Your first knuckle must touch the soil surface. If you feel it dry and grainy then it’s time to water.
  • Make sure the soil around the lettuce stays moist for a couple of days after watering. If it drys in a day or even quickly then apply more water in the next spell. Also, increase the rate of watering per week.

Can I water lettuce every day?

Lettuce plants require lots of water. Yes, you can water lettuce every day but this is not economical. It can be a tedious task that may require hours every day. You can miss the daily schedule or the requirement may change with temperature.

Therefore, a more practical approach is to deeply water your lettuce twice or thrice every week as required. You should make a watering schedule of 1 spell every 3 or 4 days.

Apply enough water to soak the soil up to 10-inch depth. If your lettuce is grown in a container then make sure water comes out of the drainage hole after each spell.

Overall, watering lettuce every day is not harmful, it is only a little difficult to manage a daily watering schedule manually. If you are comfortable with this then go ahead, water your lettuce every day.

How often should lettuce be watered?

You should water lettuce at least once or twice every week. This frequency may change with climate and temperature. Increase watering especially on hot summer days.

Ideally, lettuce plants must be watered once every three days. This time is sufficient for the plant to absorb the moisture around its root ball. So you must water a lettuce plant in 3 to 4 days.

What are the symptoms of water scarcity with lettuce?

Scarcity or deficiency of water can have serious effects on lettuce plants. Common symptoms of water scarcity with lettuce are-

  • Bitter taste in leaves. The deficiency of water can lead to bitter-tasting lettuce leaves. It can destroy the entire crop.
  • Yellowing of leaves. Yellowing of young lettuce leaves can be a symptom of water scarcity.
  • Softening of tender leaves. If you found loose sloppy leaves in your lettuce plant then it is most like due to water scarcity.
  • Bolting or curling of lettuce leaves. Prolonged scarcity of water can cause curling or bolt formation in the tender lettuce leaves. It will deform the shape and size of the plant. The sweet taste of healthy lettuce will be lost forever. The leaf will become chewy instead of fresh green and crunchy.
  • Scatter leaf formation. Lettuce plant will lose their condense structure in the absence of sufficient water. It will produce scattered leaves with irregular shapes.

Final Words

1 cubic inch of water per week (17 ml approx) is sufficient for each lettuce plant. This is just the data, practically you have to apply 100ml or more water per week. This is essential to deal with evaporation and absorption by solar radiation and soil itself.

What’s your opinion about this topic? Write down your views and ideas. Next time I’ll be back with another interesting topic. Till then Keep reading keep gardening!


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

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