Collecting and Saving Lettuce Seeds
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Collecting and Saving Lettuce Seeds

Collecting and saving lettuce seeds from plants in your garden is easy and a great way to save money.  Saving seeds completes the growing cycle and improves your crop from year to year.

Most varieties of lettuce are grown all year round however some varieties are easier to grow and collect seeds from than others.

Cos lettuce is one of the hardiest varieties which grows well in a wide variety of conditions. It has a high nutrient value and germinates easily from seed sown direct in the garden.

Saving Lettuce Seeds

To improve your crop from year to year always save seeds from a disease-free plant with a good growth rate, size and taste. Simply taste one of the leaves from each healthy plant before deciding on which plant to let flower.

When is the best time to save lettuce seeds?

The best time to save lettuce seeds is during the warmer months especially late summer as the plants will bolt in the heat and the flowers will dry quickly.

How do you store lettuce seeds?

Store lettuce seeds once completely dry in an airtight container labelled with the contents and date collected. Place in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

How long can you keep lettuce seeds?

Lettuce seeds will be viable for up to 2 years with their germination rate going down the older the seeds are.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Bag
  • Pruners or Knife
  • Plate
  • Airtight Container or Bag
  • Label – These top rated dissolvable food labels can also be used for labelling frozen and dried food. (Paid Link)


How to Save Lettuce Seeds from the Garden.

  1. Plant Care While Flowering

    Leave the chosen lettuce plant to flower. It will shoot up a central stem with the flowers forming at the top. Continue to water regularly and fertilize with liquid fertilizer every two weeks.

    Lettuce flower on top of a central stem.

  2. Cut the Flowerhead

    Wait until most of the flowers begin to dry then cut the stem below the flowers with pruners or a sharp knife.

    Lettuce flowers beginning to dry.

  3. Leave to Dry

    Place upside down in a bag with the flowers at the bottom. Leave in an area with good air circulation to completely dry leaving the top of the bag open.

  4. Discard the Stems

    Once dry shake the stem to release any remaining seeds then discard. Pour the contents of the bag onto a plate. There will be a mix of seeds and dried flowers.

    Lettuce seeds dried at the bottom of the bag.

  5. Separate the Lettuce Seed

    Shake the plate back and forth so the seeds settle to the bottom then gently blow the dried flowers off the top. Blow too hard and you will blow the seeds off the plate too.

    Separating the lettuce seeds from the dried flowers.

  6. Store the Lettuce Seeds

    Store the seeds in an airtight container or bag then label with the contents and the date collected. Place in a cool, dry place.

    Storing the lettuce seed in an airtight bag with a label.


Small condiment jars are perfect for storing seeds as long as they have tight fitting lids. Simply wash out with warm soapy water, rinse then let air dry before using for storing your lettuce seeds. If you don’t have any jars try these glass spice jars. They are the perfect size for storing seeds. (Paid link)

For more information on germinating lettuce seeds see this guide to Growing Lettuce from Seed.

You might also like this guide to Vegetable Gardening or this Homesteading guide to get more out of your home and garden.

Do you love saving seeds? Try these guides to saving seeds from Cucumbers, Radishes, Pumpkin or Tomatoes.

To Print or Save this guide to Collecting and Saving Lettuce Seeds, click the button below for the PDF file.

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