Does Hydroponic Lettuce Regrow? (Guide)

Does Hydroponic Lettuce Regrow?

Hydroponic lettuce can be regrown and harvested several times by using the “cut and come again” method to maximize your yield. Using this method, the leaves of one hydroponic lettuce plant can be trimmed every few days over a course of a few months before it needs to be replaced.

Hydroponic lettuce grows at a faster rate than traditional lettuce and is already a more effective and efficient method overall of getting your greens.

Not only can hydroponic lettuce grow from seed to head in just over a month, but you can also harvest the leaves that are ready to be consumed every couple of weeks as it is regrowing.

This is referred to as the “cut and come again method”. Using this method you are able to harvest one lettuce about 3 to 5 times, or even longer before it begins to flower, which makes the leaves tough and bitter.

Not only can you regrow lettuce in your hydroponic system but you can also regrow store-bought hydroponic “living” lettuce.

Often times when you buy hydroponic lettuce at the grocery store, the roots are still intact and you can harvest the outer leaves as you need and regrow the stump or stem of the lettuce in soil or water.

How do you regrow lettuce in hydroponic?

The most efficient way for regrowing lettuce in hydroponics is to use the “cut and come again” method. When applying this method you would only harvest the larger leaves leaving the core and roots intact giving the lettuce the opportunity to regrow its leaves.

Hydroponic lettuce should get around 10 to 14 hours of light per day and be exposed to moderate temperatures. It’s best to use natural sunlight if possible, but artificial light is just as effective.

If you are opting for natural light, the hydroponic lettuce should not have direct sunlight. Instead, it should be placed near a window or on a shady balcony.

To grow lettuce in a hydroponic system, you’ll need:

As hydroponic lettuce often gets most of its nutrients from the soil, which is not needed in hydroponic systems, it is recommended to add a nutrient and mineral solution to consume more nutritious lettuce.

It is also recommended to use filtered water. As the lettuce grows, you harvest what you need and leave the stem intact to continue growing and producing more leaves.

Here are the steps to follow if the hydroponic lettuce has roots:

First, you cut off the larger outer leaves leaving some small leaves in the center to grow.

Then transfer the core lettuce into a net pot and place it in filtered water. Position your hydroponic system near natural sunlight if possible, it should not be placed in direct sunlight.

Store-bought lettuce can also be regrown hydroponically. Place the stem or stump in a shallow dish in about 1.5 inches of water.

Change the water every few days and you should have new leaves in about 2 weeks, and roots in about 3 to 4 weeks at which point you can transfer it into a hydroponic system.

How do you harvest lettuce so it keeps growing?

When you harvest the lettuce from hydroponics it is best not to remove the lettuce head, rather just trim the leaves that you need. This is referred to as the “cut and come again” method and is the most effective method for harvesting and regrowing hydroponic lettuce.

Harvest the leaves without removing the lettuce plant from the pot. Cut the the larger leaves that are around 3 to 6 inches in length around the outside of the crown using sharp scissors.

Cut approximately one inch above the crown. Leave some of the smaller leaves in the center so that they can continue to grow.

The key to regrowing hydroponic lettuce is to harvest the leaves carefully and patiently. Only the outer, larger leaves should be trimmed which are ready to be used in a salad and the core leaves should be kept intact.

With this method, you should have large leaves ready to be consumed every few days or week, until it “bolts” and should be replaced.

How long can you regrow lettuce?

The length of time that the same lettuce plant can be regrown and harvested is dependent on environmental conditions as well as the type of lettuce being grown.

There are no health concerns with regrowing lettuce. Hydroponic lettuce can be harvested many times until the process, known as “bolting”, commences.

Bolting is the natural flowering process of the plant, the plant can still technically be eaten once it has bolted but the leaves have a more bitter taste to them.

When you begin to notice a flower stalk and see that the leaves have become tougher and have a bitter taste to them, this means it has bolted.

Because hydroponic lettuce does not require soil to grow there is much less microbial activity, which is why there is no need for many of the harsh chemicals required in more traditional methods. You can harvest lettuce for as long as it is tasty.

Check Do Hydroponic Tomatoes Taste Good.

What are the benefits of growing lettuce in hydroponic?

Growing lettuce in hydroponics seems to have an endless list of benefits. Research has shown that plants grown in hydroponic systems have a higher growth rate than plants grown in soil.

Lettuce can grow from a seed to a head in just over a month. In addition to that, by trimming the desired leaves and leaving the core and roots intact one lettuce can provide leaves for several harvests before it needs to be replanted.

The lettuce that you are able to harvest from your own hydroponics is going to be fresher, organic and more nutritious (provided you follow recommended nutrition guidelines when growing).

Hydroponic lettuce is healthier because not only does it not require any pesticides but also the lettuce you will be consuming would be much fresher.

Typically, in the amount of time it takes for your traditional store-bought lettuce to get to your table from the time it was harvested and transported, a lot of the nutrients have died off.

Growing lettuce in hydroponics is beneficial because:

  • It grows quicker
  • It doesn’t require a lot of space
  • It is eco-friendly
  • It is organic
  • It is fresher
  • It is healthier
  • It reduces the use of fossil fuels
  • It conserves water

Hydroponic lettuce is more eco-friendly because it does not require the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals that would otherwise be used on a farm. This results in less chemical runoff that can pollute bodies of water as well as less soil erosion.

Since hydroponics are grown in more controlled (indoor) environments, they are not as susceptible to pests, insects, and diseases as traditionally grown lettuce.

Hydroponically-grown lettuce also conserves water by using water more efficiently in recycling systems.

How to trim butter lettuce?

Butter lettuce can be trimmed using the “cut and come again” method as with other types of lettuce. Starting from the outside, trim the leaves preferable using sharp scissors about one inch from the stalk, although they can be plucked by hand too.

Butter lettuce is the most common hydroponic lettuce to grow. There are two varieties of butter lettuce: Boston and Bibb.

Butter lettuce plants tend to be more compact however, they can still be harvested one leaf at a time or as a whole head.

Final Thoughts

Hydroponic farming is the way of the future. Not only is it becoming a necessity as our populations are growing and we are running out of space, but the benefits of hydroponics are innumerable.

It is easier to start than you think, and you can start eating home-grown lettuce in just a couple of weeks with the regrowth method discussed.

Hydroponic farming does not require a lot of space nor much of an investment. You can start growing on a window sill, a balcony or even a closet.

Why not have a seemingly endless supply of fresh, organic lettuce that requires minimal maintenance available at your fingertips?