A newbie gardener often wonders – Why is my romaine lettuce growing tall?
It is indeed a question that beginner lettuce growers ask due to such a surprising phenomenon. But what causes it, anyway?
Why do some romaine lettuces tend to grow taller instead of lower?
Well, there is one straight answer to that – and I’ll share more about it in today’s post. Plus, I will let you in some tips and tricks that can prevent this from happening. So, stick around to learn how to start growing perfect romaine lettuce that absolutely tastes great!
Common Lettuce Issue – Why Is My Romaine Lettuce Growing Tall?
This is a question I encounter from beginner gardeners.
And there is one answer to it – Bolting.
You can blame this odd growth on this situation, which also impacts the quality of your lettuce.
Primarily, bolting occurs when you plant your lettuce in a warm climate. This bolting stage is that phase of growth when your crop forms its flowering stalks.
Unfortunately, lettuce prefers to grow in cooler weather. This is why such a phenomenon occurs; it means your crop is not suited to the growing conditions it is currently exposed to.
Thus, you may notice your lettuce to get taller and even produce flowers. These are indications that summer, specifically the warmer months of the season, is at bay.
To keep things in perspective, other plants undergo bolting.
This occurs to cilantro, basil, and broccoli. But when it happens to lettuce, it means that the environment where it is planted impacts this situation. As the plant matures and when exposed to harsh conditions, bolting occurs.
In fact, very hot days speed up the bolting of your plants. This is why you can consider trying certain steps that will prevent this scenario from happening.
How to Prevent Bolting in Romaine Lettuce
I have mentioned earlier that romaine lettuce just like more lettuce varieties prefer the cooler temperatures.
Thus, if you want to continue growing this crop, you need to give it the right conditions.
To start, you want to make sure that you keep the area cooler than most parts in your garden.
You need to keep your crops happy even if the heat in your area is something that is inevitable. This is why it makes sense to do some research and tests to determine what area in your yard is the best for growing romaine lettuce.
But it is also worth noting that the seeds impact the bolting process.
For instance, there are cultivars that bolt much faster than others. I suggest that you pay close attention to the seed package before you purchase it.
While the package may claim that the seed is slow bolting, there is no such guarantee to it. However, you can still give it a try and see for yourself if the claims are indeed true.
Consider buying seeds that bolt slowly, just as what is printed in the package. These names are often worded as Summer Bibb or Slobolt, and it may be worth trying them out.
But in addition to buying these seeds, there are some practices that can help prevent bolting in romaine lettuces such as the following:
1. Provide a shaded area for your lettuce.
Since we have already established the fact that lettuces love cooler temperatures, then you need to grow them in such areas. Plant your crops in a location that does not get very harsh direct sunlight.
If this is not possible, then you can tuck your lettuce behind a denser and taller plant. Growing your lettuce in a pot also helps as this allows you to move it in a more optimal spot. A fixed planting area prevents this mobility in moving your crop around.
2. Water your crops regularly.
If the planting condition is tougher, then watering regularly should help.
This is particularly true when you are planting romaine lettuce. You may want to water them as regularly as possible to prevent the soil from getting dry and hot.
Moreover, watering regularly also keeps the leaves succulent. Thus, they are unlikely to shrivel, which is a condition common during the hot weather.
3. Soak your soil a couple of days prior to sowing.
When planting in the summer months, you may need to soak the soil well before you sow the seeds.
This helps to keep the soil moist and cool.
You should also cover the soil with a board that should be wide enough to prevent it from drying up. This is a helpful technique that you may want to keep doing when it is very dry and hot.
After doing this for two or three days, the soil should be cooler and more optimal for growing your crops. Then, you can begin sowing your lettuce seeds, water them, and put the cover back on.
Once the seeds have sprouted, you can already keep the pot uncovered.
Here are more tips you can try to prevent your lettuce from growing taller. Check this video out to know more about how you can ensure the optimal growth of your crops.
Is It Safe to Eat Romaine Lettuce That Has Grown Taller?
Technically, there is nothing wrong with eating lettuce that has bolted.
However, it may not be very pleasant to the taste. In fact, bolting causes your lettuce to be bitter. This is why if bolting has occurred, you may want to harvest them sooner rather than later. Then, you can eat them before they start developing an unpleasant flavor.
I hope this answers your question “Why is my romaine lettuce growing taller.”
By simply applying these techniques on how to prevent this phenomenon from happening, you can grow lettuce the right way. Most importantly, you can be sure that your lettuce always tastes great and has the finest quality you want.