How To Revive Wilted Lettuce | Identify Symptoms And Treatment Guide

revive wilted lettuce

Lettuce is a healthy leafy vegetable that proliferates, produces for a long time, and needs little maintenance as long as the plant is well watered. Lettuce is a good source of dietary fibers. It also contains high minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Plus, Lettuce is packed with Vit-A, Vit-C, and Vit-K. Furthermore, No less than 95% of lettuce consists of water.

While growing lettuce in the yard, we usually expect a fresh, firm head of lettuce with vibrant green leaves. But, in reality, sometimes we may get limped or wilted lettuce plants. So why does lettuce wilt, and how to revive wilted lettuce?

To help you with answers, we will describe the reasons behind wilting lettuce and how to revive wilted lettuce plants.

What is Wilted Lettuce?

Water pressure keeps plants standing upright. When roots don’t get enough water, the plant’s water pressure drops, and the leaves begin to wilt. Wilted Lettuce plants are mainly dehydrated, and they try to conserve water. Otherwise, leaves would evaporate that water off through their stomata. Moreover, wilted lettuce loses moisture from its leaves. Consequently, the plant tissue gets weak, and the leaves lose their crispness. This condition is also known as limped lettuce.

Like many other plants, Wilting is a survival strategy for lettuce. Wilted lettuce leaves can reduce the amount of surface area that is exposed to air. As a result, the amount of water that would have evaporated if the lettuce hadn’t limped or wilted is decreased.

Why Are My Lettuce Plants Wilting?

In order to, grow a healthy Lettuce plant, you better know the plant’s characteristics.

Lettuce Characteristics:

Botanical name Lactuca sativa
Plant Type leafy herbaceous annual or biennial plant
Height 30–100 cm (12–40 in)
Originate from Asia Minor and the Middle East
Soil pH Alkaline soil (pH greater than 7.0)
Optimal temperatures 59–68°F (15–20°C)


You can grow Lettuce in a wide range of soils. But the soil must be fertile and moisture confining, as the plant has a small root system. Due to the small root system, your lettuce plant may not get sufficient water from the soil. For this reason, you get a limped or wilted lettuce plant.

Inadequate watering is one of the most common culprits for lettuce wilting. Lettuce can survive without water for a few days, but after a week or two of little or no water, lettuce may wilt and develop symptoms of drought stress.

Wilting lettuce is the most usual sign of drought stress. The leaves lose their firmness due to the lack of water and get wilted as a result.

 7 Reasons For Lettuce Wilting 

  1. Excessive Watering: While a shortage of water might cause your lettuce to wilt, too much water can also do so. Because of overwatering, the roots cannot breathe properly, which leads to dead and rotten roots. Damp roots attract microbes like Rhizoctonia solani, Thielaviopsis basicola, etc. These soil-borne pathogens cause fungal diseases and rotten roots.
  2. Excessive Heat: As stated above in the table of Lettuce Characteristics, the optimal temperatures for growing lettuce is 59–68°F (15–20°C). But when the temperature exceeds 80°F (26.6°C), The lettuce will start to wilt. Because high heat dries up the soil considerably more quickly. In turn, there is inadequate water in the soil for your lettuce plant to absorb. Thus excessive heat causes more harm to your lettuce. In addition, with the temperature rising, your lettuce will most likely bolt. Bolting means when a plant is stressed, it blooms too early and goes to seed.
  1. Lettuce Drop: Lettuce Drop is one of the most common lettuce plant diseases. Sclerotinia minor and Sclerotinia sclerotioru are two fungal pathogens that are responsible for Lettuce Drop. Both species of pathogens can survive in the soil for 2 to 3 years without receptive hosts. Wet soil conditions help them to develop Lettuce drop disease.

Depending on when it begins, there are two phases of damage caused by these fungi:

  1. Septoria Leaf Spot: Septoria leaf spot is another disease that causes lettuce wilting. Like lettuce drop, a soil-living fungus named ‘Septoria lactucae’ causes the disease of Septoria Leaf under ideal conditions. Septoria leaf spot happens worldwide and becomes most problematic when there is a lot of humidity and rain.
  1. Root Nematode: Soil-living microscopic nematodes can dig into the roots of the lettuce plant. When nematodes attack lettuce seedlings, the seedlings will grow slowly. According to, University of California IPM Online, The nematodes mainly damage the roots, causing them to swell and form galls.
  1. Lettuce Pests: A variety of pests attack lettuce plants. Caterpillars that damage the fall harvest are the most problematic lettuce pests. Infestations of aphids and beetles are also common. Aphids generate extra issues by spreading various viral infections, including lettuce mosaic. Cutworms, whiteflies, leafminers, and slugs can also attack lettuce plants. Due to their tiny size and ease of hiding, these pests may cause a big issue while remaining mostly unnoticed.
  1. Soil Nutritional Deficiencies: Soil nutrition deficiency causes stunted growth and death of plant tissue. Due to nutrition deficiency, roots become stunted and thickened near the tips. Potassium and molybdenum deficiency shows as wilted lettuce plants. Moreover, the tissue dies afterward and turns brown/yellow. Copper deficiency also causes limp and wilted lettuce plants.

How To Identify Symptoms Of Wilted Lettuce

To fix wilted lettuce, at first, you’ve to identify the symptoms. Above, we have mentioned why lettuce limps. Now we are going to describe the symptoms of lettuce wilting. Checking these symptoms, you can quickly identify whether your lettuce plant is wilting or not.

1. Drought Stress:

When your lettuce plant gets wilted because of drought stress, you can identify that with these signs:

2. Excessive Watering:

Lettuce wilted by Excessive watering may show these signs:

3. Excessive Heat:

You can identify lettuce wilted by Excessive heat, following these signs:

4. Lettuce Drop Disease:

Lettuce Drop disease has the following symptoms:

5. Septoria Leaf Spot Disease:

You can identify septoria leaf spots on lettuce by checking these symptoms:

6. Root Nematode:

You can identify Root Nematode on lettuce by checking these symptoms:

7. Lettuce Pests

To identify Lettuce pests check the undersides of leaves regularly Because the folding weave of lettuce leaves provides plenty of hiding spots.

8. Soil Nutrition Deficiency:

You can identify nutrition deficiency in the lettuce plant by checking these symptoms:

Following these signs, you can identify for which reason your lettuce plants became wilted.

What To Do With Wilted Lettuce?

As we know, lettuce becomes wilted because of water loss, so restoring water is the key to reviving.

Follow these steps to revive your wilted lettuce:

  1. At first, cutaway too wilted parts of the leaves
  2. Put the lettuce in a large bowl of ice water.
  3. Then put the bowl in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to keep the water cold
  4. At last, dry the lettuce leaves with an absorbent cloth.
  5. After drying, eat the leaves as You Normally Would

To save the leaves for later, you have to dry them completely after the cold water bath.         Because water is the breeding place for bacteria, and your revived lettuce will rot away         before you can eat it again. Moreover, to avoid rotting, use the revived lettuce within             two  days.

Lettuce wilting After Transplant

Your lettuce can start wilting after a transplant. In this case, follow this guide to know the reasons and treatment according to them:

  1. Transplant Damage: Wilting leaves following a transplant might be caused by a water shortage. Even if you give the same quantity of water as the plant normally requires, wilting can happen. While transplanting, the fine roots that absorb the majority of the water can be damaged or killed. And your lettuce plants can’t absorb water properly without these roots. To avoid this problem, carefully retain as much of the root system as possible while transplanting. You can relieve the wilting lettuce by adequately watering the plant’s base, which contains the surviving roots.
  1. Adapting Your plant: Plants get physically suited to their surroundings as they mature. When you transfer your plants to a new location where the lighting and temperature are different, your lettuce may begin to wilt as it adjusts to new surroundings. You can relieve the stress of your potted lettuce plant by moving it to the new surrounding for a few hours each day.

How To Revive Wilted Lettuce Plants | 8 Treatment Guide

After identifying the reason, you can take specific measurements according to the reason. With proper treatment, you can revive wilted lettuce plant quickly.

1. Treatment for Drought Stress:

Drought stress happens because of inadequate watering. So watering your plant is the best treatment for a drought-stressed plant.

2.  Treatment for wilted lettuce (by excessive watering):

Excessive watering causes root rot. However, you can treat root rot lettuce plants. For this,

3.  Treatment for wilted lettuce (by excessive heat):

To protect your lettuce plant from overheat and wilting, try to keep them under shade covers.

Crisphead Great Lakes 118, Sierra Batavian


Romanie ‘Paris Island’ Cos, Little Gem, ‘Rouge De’ Hiver’.
Butterhead Marvel of 4 season
Leaf Lettuce Black seeded simpson, New Red Fire, Red Sails, Salad Bowl Blend

These heat-tolerant breeds vary in texture, color, and taste. Planting these breeds may save your plant from bolting.

4.  Treatment for Lettuce drop:

To prevent the spread of lettuce drop, destroy diseased plants as soon as possible and keep lettuce leaf dry.


Using these fungicides, you can prevent Lettuce Drop from infecting your plants.

5.  Treatment for Septoria Leaf Spot:

The process of managing and treating septoria leaf spots is quite similar to that of lettuce leaf drop.

6. Treatment for Root Nematodes:

To manage and treat Root nematode, you can follow these steps:

7. Treatment for Lettuce Pests:

Pests attack the Lettuce plants in need of food and moisture. Weeds and debris around the plant also increase the risk of Lettuce Pests. So, it’s important to maintain a clean area surrounding the lettuce plants to prevent pests. But if removal of debris and vegetation, can’t stop the lettuce pest infestation, you may need to apply pesticide.

8. Treatment for Soil Nutrition Deficiency:

To manage and fix soil nutrition deficiency, you can follow these steps:

How often to water lettuce?

If rainfall is insufficient or the soil about an inch down seems dry, water the plant once or twice a week, or every four to five days. Each watering session should wet the top 6 inches of soil.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

Question 1: Why does wilted lettuce become crisp when it is soaked in water?

Answer: When you soak lettuce in water, osmosis happens. Here, the bowl’s water is highly concentrated, which moves to a lower concentrated area inside the lettuce. That is why Lettuce becomes crispy after getting soaked in water.

Question 2: How to clean and store romaine lettuce?

Answer: At first, rinse them with clean water to remove dirt and germs. Then drain them for 5 minutes using a colander or salad spinner. Dry off both sides using a paper towel. Refrigerate them in a container. You can store them for 6-7 days.

Question 3: How many carbs And calories are in romaine lettuce?

Answer: Per cup of Romaine lettuce contains 8 calories and 1-2 grams of carbohydrates.

Question 4: How to keep lettuce fresh for a month?

Answer: Take a ziplock bag, keep your lettuce in it. Then remove all air. Keep the bag in the coldest area of your refrigerator (usually lower drawer).

Keep lettuce away from ethylene-producing fruits (such as pears, avocados, apples, and tomatoes) since they emit gas as they develop, causing other produce to ripen prematurely.

Question 5: How many calories And Carbs are in iceberg lettuce?

Answer: Per cup of Iceberg lettuce contains 14 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates.

Question 6: Why brown spots on lettuce leaves?

Answer: A fungal disease, Septoria leaf spot disease causes brown spots on lettuce leaves.

Question 7: Can silkworms eat lettuce leaves?

Answer: Yes, Silkworms can eat Lettuce leaves. But they won’t eat wet, wilted lettuce.

Question 8: How to wash lettuce to kill bacteria?

Answer: Washing lettuce with vinegar (5% or 2.5% acetic acid) for 1 minute can kill Salmonella, E.coli bacteria.

Question 9: Can dogs eat romaine lettuce?

Answer: Romanie lettuce doesn’t contain any harmful elements for dogs. So dogs can eat Romanie lettuce.

Question 10: How to trim bolted lettuce?

Answer: Bolting means when a plant is stressed, it blooms too early and goes to seed. Bolted lettuce loses sweetness and tastes bitter, so it’s better to trim them out. Cut the bolted lettuce at the root level. After cutting use high nitrogen fertilizer, which will help the leaves to come back and grow quickly.

Final Thoughts

By now, you should have known why your lettuce is wilting or limping. While lettuce wilts most often because of lack of water, it can also wilt due to excessive moisture, heat, or any disease such as leaf drop, septoria leaf spot, root nematodes, lettuce pests, and soil nutrition deficiency. You can better handle the problem of wilting lettuce by identifying the reason early on. As a result, you can grow fresh, firm heads of lettuce with many green leaves instead of weak, soggy wilting lettuce leaves.

Just follow the treatment guide we have described. By following this easy guideline, anyone can revive wilted lettuce plants.

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