The Romaine lettuce It is one of the most cultivated herbaceous plants in orchards and flowerpots. Its maintenance is very simple, since it does not need much to grow well and produce healthy leaves… and delicious .
So if you want to know everything about her and her needs, don’t stop reading.
Origin and characteristics
Romaine lettuce, also known as romaine, cos, Italian, orejona or endive lettuce, is a variety of lettuce whose scientific name is Lettuce sativa var. longifolia. It is believed to be native to the Greek island of Cos, hence one of its common names, and was introduced to the rest of Europe by the Roman Empire during its conquests.
It is an annual herb with leaves that are elongated, broad and robust, greenish in color.. It grows to an approximate height of about 30 centimeters, and a diameter of 30-35cm. Due to this, as well as its rapid growth, it is very interesting to grow during a good part of the year, since in just three months it is ready to be harvested.
What are their cares?
If you want to learn how to grow this variety of lettuce, we recommend you follow our advice :
It is very important that you are in a sunny area. In the case that it is in the orchard, it is necessary to leave a separation of about 40cm between specimens.
- Orchard: the land must be fertile, with good drainage (you will find information on this subject in this article). If the one you have is not, add before planting a thick layer – about 10cm – of organic compost such as guano or chicken manure, and mix it with it with the help of a rototiller, or hoe if it is rather small.
- Flower pot: mix 60% of mulch with 30% of perlite or similar (clay, volcanic clay, akadama, or etc.) and 10% of earthworm humus. You can get the first here!, the second by here! and the third in this link.
Romaine lettuce is a plant that needs a lot of water; not to the point of wanting to have the roots permanently flooded, but you do have to water very often. But to avoid problems, you should check the humidity of the soil before doing anything, especially if you have doubts about it.
For this you can help yourself with a digital humidity meter, which will tell you instantly if it is still wet or not; or a thin wooden stick (if it comes out with a lot of soil attached, do not water).
If you grow it in the garden, or even in a pot, schedule your drip irrigation system to start every 2-3 days in spring and every 1-2 days in summer.
Throughout the season it is advisable to pay it with Organic fertilizers, using liquids if it is potted so that the drainage is good.
It multiplies by seeds in spring. You can also sow again in summer if there are no frosts in your area or if they begin to register in winter.
- The first thing you have to do is fill a seedling tray (like this) with substrate for seedlings (for sale here!).
- Then, water conscientiously, soaking the whole earth well.
- Then place a maximum of two seeds in each socket.
- Then cover them with a thin layer of substrate, thick enough so that they cannot be dispersed by the wind.
- Finally, spray / mist the surface with water, and place the seedling tray outside, in full sun if it is spring or in semi-shade if it is summer.
They will germinate in about two weeks at the most. As soon as you see that roots grow out of the drainage holes, you should plant them in pots or in the garden.
It can be attacked by the following:
All of them can be fought with diatomaceous earth (you have it here!), potassium soap (if you can’t find it in nurseries, click), or even soap and water if there is still no major damage.
It is vulnerable to:
They are fought with fungicides such as copper or sulfur (do not use in summer, as the plant would burn), except for the virus that the only possible treatment is to cut the affected parts and wait. In any case, they can be prevented by controlling the risks.
Do you like white or off-white lettuces? In that case, tie the leaves of your romaine lettuce 4-5 days before pulling them. But beware: you have to know that although they will taste better, their vitamin D content will be lower.
Generally usually ready in a couple of monthsbut when growing conditions are good (warm temperatures, regular supply of water and compost) within 20 days it can be harvested.
Does not resist frost. What can be done to take better advantage of the season, or if you want to have romaine lettuce available for a longer time, is to sow the seeds in winter in a germinator (get it here!). Thus, when the weather begins to improve, you will have grown specimens, ready for transplantation.
What uses does it have?
It has been used as a horticultural plant for two millennia. Today it is one of the favorite ingredients to make salads. Its nutritional value is as follows:
- Water: 95%
- Carbohydrates: 1,5%
- Proteins: 1,5%
- Lipids: 0,3%
- Potassium: 180 mg / 100 g
- Sodium: 10 mg / 100 g
- Phosphorus: 25 mg / 100 g
- Calcium: 40 mg / 100 g
- Iron: 1 mg / 100 g
- Vitamin C: 12 mg / 100 g
- Vitamin A: 0,2 mg / 100 g
It has very interesting medicinal properties: it reduces blood sugar and falls asleep, stimulates the digestive glands, is purifying and refreshing, and is also anticancer.
And so far the romaine lettuce. I hope it has been useful to you .