How To Plant And Grow Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia)?

Are you contemplating growing miner’s lettuce in your home and don’t know where to begin? If so, this article is specially crafted for you.

Miner’s lettuce, sometimes known as Claytonia perfoliata or winter purslane, is one of the wild vegetables to have made the cut into our dinner tables, thanks to its high vitamin content.

In fact, due to the increasing kitchen demand for this vegetable, more than a few garden enthusiasts have embraced the idea of growing it in their homes.

But then, like with any other greenery, you must know the proper way of growing this vegetable to achieve the best results.

In this article, we’ll be providing everything you need to get started with this vegetable. We’ll begin with the basics before diving deep into tips for successful miner’s lettuce growing, propagation methods, common diseases, and so much more.

Let’s dive in.

What is Miner’s Lettuce?

When I first heard the name “Miners lettuce,” I wondered, “Why Miner’s?” Is it any different from the common lettuce we buy at the stores?

Well, if you’re much like me in that regard, I’m about to answer all these questions!

Firstly, the word “Miner’s” came from miners being the first to discover this vegetable. It happened during the California gold rush in the mid-19th century.

Thanks to its enormous vitamin C content, miners used this vegetable to help them prevent scurvy.

Miner’s lettuce is mild in flavor, which means it can be used as the main green in a salad, but it can also perfectly go in sandwiches or even cooked like spinach.

The vegetable is a green flowering plant in the Montiaceae family. It’s currently grown as an annual in most parts, but it can also be grown as a perennial, especially in USDA Zones 6 to 9.

The plant usually grows to 12 inches tall but can also be much smaller, especially if planted in places with heavy soils or shade.

Now, one feature that makes miner’s lettuce stand out from most plants is its leaves.

Unlike in most plants, where the leaves grow on stems or attached to the stalk, in miner’s lettuce, the leaves grow around the stem that goes through them. The stem often winds up as a small white flower at the top.

This unique formation is known as perfoliate, giving rise to the species name, “perfoliata”. It’s also the reason why it’s sometimes called “Indian lettuce” or “spring beauty”.

The leaves can be orbicular or rhombic and grow at the end of a long petiole. However, for young plants, the leaves start as ovate, become heart-shaped (cordate) as they grow, and finally assume their final form.

You will also notice that the leaves have a smooth texture and glossy appearance. All the parts of this plant; the leaves, stems, and flowers, are edible and rich in nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron and calcium.

Miner’s Lettuce Propagation

Now that we have the basics, let’s learn how to grow it.

Do you need to buy seeds, or can you just grab a handful of leaves from your neighbor’s garden and start growing?

Well, fortunately, miner’s lettuce is incredibly easy to propagate.

In fact, you’ve got three options; sowing the seeds, transplanting already established plants, and by division.

1. Sowing Seeds

First and foremost, when getting seeds, only work with reputable sellers. Otherwise, you may end up with dud seeds that won’t germinate no matter what you do.

Miner’s lettuce is a robust plant, meaning it can thrive in various soil types, but it prefers slightly acidic to neutral to mildly alkaline soils with a pH range of 6.5-7.5.

The seeds can be directly sown outdoors or started indoors, depending on the period of the year.

If going for outdoor seeding, wait until 4 weeks before the last spring frost. These seeds need temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate.

And before you sow the seeds, prepare the soil by loosening it to a depth of about 6 inches and adding some compost for nutrients.

Then, scatter the seeds on the surface, an inch apart, and cover them with a thin layer of soil — preferably 1/2 an inch. Water gently, but don’t soak, as the germination rate is poor in excessively soggy soil.

Usually, the seeds will take a maximum of a week to germinate if the temperatures are favorable.

Once they have germinated, thin them to 4-5 inches apart, depending on your preference and the size of your garden. And remember, these baby seedlings are edible, so you need not dispose of them.

The remaining seedlings will need about 6 hours of sunlight per day and regular watering to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged.

Now, if beginning indoors, wait until the plants have grown a leaf or two before transplanting them to your garden.

And remember, before you take them outdoors, gradually expose them to sunlight and outdoor temperatures to accustom them to the conditions.

You can do that by taking them out for an hour on the first day, 2 hours on the second, and continue increasing the duration for a week. They’ll then be hardened enough to face the full outdoor conditions.

2. Transplanting

The second way to propagate miner’s lettuce is by transplanting already established plants. Finding nursery starts for this vegetable may not be the easiest thing, but if you’re lucky to get them, then the rest is simple.

Just like with seeding, ensure that the soil in the new location is loosened and amended before planting.

For the best results, use compost. It will provide the plants with enough nutrients, keep the soil moist, and help it retain moisture in hot weather.

Once you have that set, dig a hole as large as the container holding the seedlings.

Then, gently remove them from the pot, taking care not to damage their roots. Place them in the hole and fill it with soil, ensuring the root ball is fully covered.

Water gently, and if need be, support your plants with stakes.

3. Division

The third option is to divide already established plants. Here, you just need to identify a clump of plants with separate root systems and divide them into two or more plants.

You can then dig them out and transfer them to different locations in your garden.

Of course, that means you need to dig a hole just as deep as is enough to accommodate the new plant’s root ball, place it in there, fill it with the soil you dug out, and water gently.

It’s that simple!

How To Grow Miner’s Lettuce?

Whether you’ve sown seeds, transplanted from a nursery, or used division to propagate your plant, growing miner’s lettuce is pretty much the same.

The key to success here is ensuring that your plants are well taken care of in terms of moisture and sunlight.


As earlier mentioned, miner’s lettuce can grow in different soil types, but it prefers loose, well-drained, and humus-rich soils.

Ensure that the soil you use is free of weed seeds, as this plant can be easily choked by weeds. Weeds will also compete with your plants for nutrients and water, which may lead to stunted growth or a poor harvest.

To avoid such issues, test the soil before planting and amend it accordingly.

If it’s too acidic, add lime, and if it’s too alkaline, you can use sulfur. Alternatively, compost is a fantastic all-around soil amendment.


Miner’s lettuce is fairly drought-tolerant. However, for the best yield, they need a perfect balance between hydration and drainage.

Ideally, miner’s lettuce needs watering once every week. But of course, the sure way to know when watering is necessary is to use the finger test.

Just plunge your finger about an inch deep into the soil. If the soil is still wet, watering is not necessary. But if it’s dry, then you should water your plants.

You can always know whether you’re overdoing the watering by looking at the plant. Yellowing leaves are a sign that you’re overwatering the plant, while dull green leaves signal that the plant isn’t getting enough supply of water.

Use these visual cues to know when to water more or cut back on the watering.


In general, miner’s lettuce can thrive in full shade to full sunlight. However, it isn’t a sun worshipper by nature and will, in fact, do best in shady spots.

If you’re growing it in a hot climate, ensure the plants get enough shade to protect them from scorching sun rays.

Direct sunlight will not kill the plant if the soil is well-drained and moist, but your plants will produce fewer leaves.

Plus, too much sun may make the leaves become a bit bitter, reducing their culinary value. It’s best to grow miner’s lettuce in partial shade, receiving about 3-4 hours of sunlight per day.

Common Diseases that Affect Miner’s Lettuce

Miner’s lettuce is quite a hardy plant, and there are not many diseases that affect it. However, like any other plant, miner’s lettuce can fall victim to some common diseases.

Powdery mildew, gray mold, and rust are some of the common diseases that affect miner’s lettuce.

Most of these diseases are caused by fungal infections, and the best way to prevent them is by watering from below rather than from above. Also, avoid crowding your plants to ensure proper air circulation.

Harvesting Miner’s Lettuce

Miner’s lettuce is ready for harvesting any time you feel the leaves taste good. Mature leaves will reach about 2 inches in diameter, although in some cases, like in Siberian miner’s lettuce, the leaves may reach about 3 inches in diameter.

When harvesting, cut the petiole off near the soil surface, say about an inch or smaller from the base.  The petiole doesn’t taste any different from the leaf, so it’s one of those “no waste” vegetables.

Remember to leave a few plants for seed production if you plan on growing them in the following season.

Tips for Healthy Growth and Care of Miner’s Lettuce

Some of the best tips to keep your miner’s lettuce plants healthy include:

  • Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to yellowing leaves and stunt growth.
  • Ensure adequate drainage by using well-drained soil or adding organic matter to improve soil structure.
  • Watch for pests such as aphids, slugs, and snails. Hand-picking these pests off the plant is the most effective and eco-friendly method to get rid of them.
  • Mulch around the plants to retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and protect roots from extreme temperatures.
  • Rotate your crops every season to prevent nutrient depletion in the soil and reduce pest infestation.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing as it may lead to leafy plants instead of the desired edible leaves.
  • Harvest regularly to encourage new growth but always leave enough for the plant to re-establish itself.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.