When Can I Plant Lettuce Containers In My Midwest Garden?

“We live in Iowa in Zone 4-5. When can I plant lettuce in containers on my deck?” Question from Jacqueline of Brooklyn, Iowa

Answer: Every year, I grow a few pots of lettuce, too. It’s one of the easiest vegetables to grow, and it’s so nice to harvest your salad from the garden. Lettuce likes it cool and can even take a light frost but not hard freezes. Your last frost date in Brooklyn, Iowa is on average between May 21 – May 31. To be safe, I would plant lettuce in outdoor pots around mid-April.

I always start lettuce indoors and then plant it outdoors as healthy, robust seedlings. Lettuce grows beautifully in big pots filled with Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Mix, which is OMRI Listed for organic gardening. Our Black Gold® Natural & Organic Flower and Vegetable Soil would also be a good option. Just a few plants will fill a big pot. Feed them lightly with vegetable fertilizer, and water them as needed. Lettuce grows so quickly that you can have harvests just weeks after planting. I encourage you to watch the video below to learn about some great lettuce varieties that you may consider growing this year.

Happy gardening!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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