Bitter lettuce

Asked October 2, 2020, 11:43 AM EDT

Hello, I have the most beautiful lettuce and many different varieties, but the lettuce is so bitter, it is inedible... The same thing happened in the spring. So, I tried many other varieties, but still, the same problem. I don’t think it is a water issue given there has been a lot rain. I googled it and I didn’t see many good answers honestly. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks! Kim

Prince George's County Maryland

1 Response

It is possible the plants may be overly mature. Bittering compounds increase in the plant tissue as the plant gets ready to bolt- produce a seedstalk. Plant stressors, such as high temperatures, drought, and crowding can also cause bitterness.
Slow-bolting or heat-resistant varieties (e.g., oak-leaf types) are available and are recommended for extending the lettuce-growing season.

Dates to harvest and length of harvest is very dependent on weather, plant care, spacing, etc. Here is our page on lettuce for more information. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lettuce

Marian