How to Grow Lettuce: Types of Lettuce

How to Grow a Caesar Salad

Caesar salads are made with romaine lettuce. To choose a cultivar, consider how long your spring and fall typically stays cool without freezes. Some varieties will stand up to heat and/or cold better than others. Romaine lettuce is slightly more bitter than some types of lettuce, which makes it a good accompaniment to flavorful dishes and salad dressings.

Romaine Lettuce

Cosmo lettuce matures in 55 days and does not get bitter as quickly as some varieties. It gets 12 inches tall and produces heads of crisp, sweet, green savoyed leaves. (1)

Forellenschluss lettuce is an Austrian lettuce whose name translates to “speckled trout.” It green leaves have maroon markings throughout and are crispy, holding its flavor after it starts to bolt. It is best for cold weather and matures and 58 days. (1,2)

Jericho lettuce was bred in Israel for desert heat and hot summers. Its light green heads grow to 24 inches high and retain their sweetness while others have gotten bitter and gone to seed. It has tipburn resistance and matures in 60 days. (1)

Larissa lettuce is a heat tolerant variety from Germany. This medium green variety matures in 75 days. (2)

Little Gem lettuce is a trouble-free variety ideal for Hearts of Romaine. It forms small green heads just right for individual salads. This tasty cultivar matures in 75 days. (2)1

Parris Island Cos lettuce is named after the South Carolina island and was developed in 1952 at Clemson. It is 10 to 12 inch heads has slightly savoyed leaves and a white heart. Is resistant to tip burn and tolerant to mosaic. It is somewhat bolt resistant and matures in 68 days. (1)

Rouge d’Hiver lettuce is a French heirloom variety from the 1840s. It has green leaves with red tips and forms semi-open heads. The name in French means Red Winter lettuce and it does best in cooler weather, maturing in 62 days. (1)

Silvia lettuce is a truly red romaine lettuce with entirely wine-red leaves. This crisp and hardy variety is a couple baby green salad addition, or makes a stunning Caesar salad. It matures in 75 days. (2)

Sweet Valentine lettuce has very sweet leaves holds well without bolting. It has deep red tipped leaves and matures in 55 days. (1)

Buttercos Lettuce

Winter Density lettuce is a variety from England. It has both excellent heat and cold tolerances. The dense, compact heads make a high-quality salad. It matures in 58 days and endures summer heat. (1)

Looseleaf Lettuce Cultivars

Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce is an old favorite that was introduced in the mid-1850s. It is one of the
earliest loose leaf lettuces to start producing, in about 49 days. It is good to plant in early spring. (1)

Bronze Arrow letttuce matures in 60 days and is a California heirloom. The tips of its oak leaf shaped leaves are and attractive reddish brown. It is a cut and come again variety that produces high yields, and is bolt resistant. (1)

Cracoviensis lettuce matures in 65 days and is an Eastern European heirloom. It has buttery, maroon-tipped leaves. It is fast-growing and best planted in spring or fall. (1)

Deer Tongue lettuce or Matchless lettuce has crisp-textured, sweet flavored, slightly savoyed leaves and a succulent mid-rib head. It is somewhat bolt resistant and matures in 54 days. Red Deer Tongue lettuce has red tips and matures in 58 days. (1)

Devil’s Tongue lettuce has loose heads and thick, buttery tapering leaves. In the cold weather of spring and fall, it develops intense dark red coloring. (1)

Drunken Woman lettuce has bright green leaves with bronze ruffled edges, and a crisp, sweet taste. It matures in 55 days and is slow to bolt. (1)

Oakleaf lettuce was introduced in the 1770s when it was known as American Oak-Leaved lettuce. Its oak-shaped leaves grow in a tight cluster and remain bitter free longer than most varieties. It matures in 45 days and makes a good summer lettuce. (1)

Pablo Batavian lettuce has deep green, wavy leaves with red tips. Its flavor is sweet and mild and matures in 60 days. (1)

Red Sails lettuce is an AAS winner introduced in 1985. It is an early producer which is slow to develop bitterness compared to other red varieties, but comparable to green ones.  (1)

Red Salad Bowl lettuce grows into the wine-red plants which are frilly like Salad Bowl lettuce. It is an excellent fall variety which matures in 55 days. (1)

Salad Bowl lettuce was introduced in 1952 and is an AAS winner. It has frilly green leaves arranged in a rosette. It is tolerant to heat and tip-burn and and mature in 40 days. (1)

Slo-Bolt lettuce was introduced in the 1940s and is a “Grand Rapids” lettuce type. It is heat tolerant and is a good choice for Southern gardens. Its bright green ruffled leaves mature in 48 days. (1)

Bibb Lettuce / Butterhead Lettuce

Bronze Arrow letttuce matures in 60 days and is a California heirloom. The tips of its oak leaf shaped leaves are and attractive reddish brown. It is a cut and come again variety that produces high yields, and is bolt resistant. (1)

Buttercrunch lettuce has been proving itself since 1963 and matures in 55 days. It has compact heads and dark green leaves. It is bolt resistant and reliable. (1)

Capitan lettuce is a Boston-type butterhead lettuce originating from Dutch greenhouses, but can be grown in the garden. It has earned praise from customers and awards at Rodale variety trials for its buttery flavor. It is both heat and cold tolerant and resistant, and yields well. It has light green, loose heads and matures in 62 days. (1)

Edox lettuce is a European variety with crispy red and green heads and a mild, succulent flavor. It matures in the 60 days. (2)

Santoro lettuce has a mild, rich flavor, and resists bolting. One of its large, lightgreen heads will make several salads, maturing in 60 days. (2)

Speckled Bibb lettuce is a good lettuce for any season that that holds longer without bolting than Slobolt or Buttercrunch. It has light green leaves with red dots. It grows quickly and cool weather, maturing in 43 days. (1)

Susan’s Red Bibb is an attractive heirloom variety with ruffled leaves and rosy-red margins. It does not get bitter and matures in 60 days. (1)

Tom Thumb lettuce is an heirloom from before the 1850s. It is a miniature butterhead with tender medium-green, crumpled leaves and small heads. One head will make a salad, maturing in 48 days. (1)

Winter Marvel lettuce is an old European variety with large, pale green heads. Maturing in 65 days, it can overwinter outside in mild winter areas, and is a good variety for fall and winter. (2)

Yugoslavian Red Butterhead lettuce is an heirloom from peasants in Yugoslavia. Its unusual leaves are yellow-green and red with a juicy, buttery flavor. Both decorative and tasty, it matures in 58 days. (1)

Crisphead Lettuce

Crystal lettuce has beautiful, shiny, bright green leaves with burgundy accents. It shiny, crisp heads are formed quickly, maturing in 60 days. (2)

Green Ice lettuce has a crisp texture and savoyed leaves. It can be used as a looseleaf or allowed to head up, maturing in 45 days. (2)

Reine des Glaces lettuce, a.k.a. Ice Queen lettuce, is a beautiful, deeply notched leafed iceberg lettuce from Europe. This unique variety has a crunchy heart and matures in 60 days. (2)

Red Grenoble lettuce is a French heirloom which grows vigorously and resists adverse conditions. Its shiny red leaves can either be cut and come again, or left to head up in 60 days. (2)

Santa Fe lettuce has texture like a crisphead, but forms a very loose head. The edges of the crisp leaves are bronze red on the tips, and the center forms small heads. Starting in early spring, this can be succession planted every two weeks until fall and protected with a shade cloth. This heat tolerant variety matures in 55 days. (2)

Sierra lettuce is a Batavian crisphead lettuce with glossy green leaves and reddish veins. This crisp and juicy lettuce holds up well to heat and is bolt resistant. At maturity in 54 days, if forms a compact head. (1)

Summertime lettuce is an iceberg type that resists heat and drought. It is crunchy heads are best grown in the spring, but it withstands summer heat better than most, maturing in 70 days. (2)

Tennis Ball lettuce was grown by Thomas Jefferson before 1804 at Monticello. Its light green leaves with yellow bases mature into Boston-type heads. It is best grown in spring, maturing in 55 days. (1)

Sources for information and seeds:

  1. southernexposure.com
  2. cooksgarden.com

About Olympia


My name is Olympia Paz, and I am a graduate of Kansas State University.with extensive studies in soil science (agronomy), horticultural science, and biology. I have continued my own studies in these areas, especially soil science, and applied my knowledge to growing nutritious organic food in my home gardens, containers, and inside.

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