Lettuce is an annual plant that belongs to the daisy family. This plant comes in many varieties, sizes, shapes, textures and colours. All lettuce varieties offer a unique taste and texture however each comes with its own specific nutrients. Lettuce is an easy plant to grow, takes very little space and can easily be planted among flowers.
There are basically different types of lettuce to plant in your garden but for clarification sake, each type of lettuce plant are classified into five varieties of lettuce which include; looseleaf lettuce, summer crisp, romaine, crisphead and butterhead. No matter the type of lettuce you choose to plant in your garden, each is an excellent source of antioxidants, fibre and other essential nutrients.
All types of lettuce are easy to grow but understanding each type of lettuce and their growing requirement help choose the right one for your garden. Below is a breakdown of the varieties and types of lettuce for your garden.
Lettuce Varieties: Types Of Lettuce For Your Garden
Lettuce is not just one of the easiest vegetables to plant but it’s also loaded with nutrients. It is not just meant for salads but can also be used in soups, sandwiches and wraps depending on the varieties.
Varieties of lettuce can be placed in one of the four types of lettuce, many of these greens are considered easy to grow but with different growing requirements. To ensure you never have a boring salad anymore, we have listed 5 types of lettuce and the varieties that are best for your garden under each.
1. Butterhead Lettuce
Butterhead lettuce is also known as Cabbage Lettuce, Bibb or Boston Lettuce and it gets its name from its buttery taste and velvety texture. This type of lettuce is sometimes called round lettuce as well and it’s a popular variety. This is also one of the most delicate types of lettuce, it can be harvested by removing the entire head or the outside leaves. However, it is easier to grow compared to crisphead lettuce and it is also more expensive.
This variety of lettuce is easy to grow but keep note that it does not do well in summer and is likely to dry up if they don’t get enough water. It is a type of head lettuce as the name implies and any type of butterhead lettuce is best grown in spring or late summer. The best varieties of butterhead lettuce are listed below.
- Tom Thumb
- Mignontte Bronze
- Yugoslavian Red
Butterhead types of lettuce are ready to be harvested in 55 to 75 days.
2. Leaf Lettuce
The simplest and common variety of lettuce to grow in your garden is leaf lettuce which is also called loose-leaf lettuce. This type of lettuce do not form a heart or a compact head, their leaves rather lay loose and open over the soil. It has a mildly sweet flavour that makes it a great choice for those who are picky with their vegetables.
Lettuce leaf comes in different shapes, colours and types. With leaf lettuce, you just need to plant it, water it, harvest and eat it. The colours of leaf lettuce can be red, green or speckled. This is the best choice of vegetable for the hot summer month since they are resistant to heat and slow to bolt compared to other varieties. Here are types of leaf lettuce for your garden.
- Rossa or Lollo Rosso
- Black Seeded Simpson
- Green Ice
- Green Oakleaf
- Red Oakleaf
- Deer Tongue
All varieties of lettuce plants mature within 40 to 45 days.
3. Crisphead Lettuce
Crisphead lettuce which is popularly known as iceberg lettuce is another very common type of lettuce. It is a round compact type of lettuce and it is often shredded and added as toppings to subs or burgers. It is known to also have a tight head or crisp leaves but it’s actually considered to be the most difficult type of lettuce to grow. It should not be planted in summer or water-stressed to prevent it from rotting inside.
Some varieties of leaf lettuce develop into a rosette. Below are the best varieties to try.
- Red Grenoble
- Great Lakes
Crisphead varieties mature in 70 to 80 days.
4. Romaine Or Cos Lettuce
Romaine lettuce is a variety of lettuce that comes in many shapes and colours unlike other types of vegetables that come in green colours. It is found to grow in a tall head of sturdy dark green leaves and they grow with firm ribs down their centre. This variety of lettuce is another popular lettuce that produces upright leafed varieties and they perform well in summer too.
This is a common type of lettuce for making Ceasar salad. Some different types of this lettuce that can be planted in your garden are listed below.
- Winter Density
- Little Ceasar
- Hyper Red Rumple
- Little Gem
- Paris White Cos
- Dark Green Romaine
- Brown Golding
Romain or cos types of lettuce listed above mature within 70 days.
5. Summer Crisp, French Crisp Or Batavia
Another variety of lettuce worth growing in your garden is the summer crisp. This lettuce variety lies somewhat between leaf lettuce and crisphead. It happens to be a large-sized lettuce variety and it is resistant to heat. Most types of summer crisp lettuce place have crisp outer leaves and once mature, the head develops into a compact form and it can be harvested conveniently.
This variety of lettuce is easy to grow and it’s the perfect type of lettuce to go for when the high temperature makes it impossible to grow other types of lettuce. Below are some types of summer crisp lettuce to grow in your garden. The different varieties of lettuce under this are:
- Jack ice
This type of lettuce matures within 55 to 66 days.
What lettuce grows well in summer?
There are types of lettuce that can be grown in summer without bolting however it is still important to have it covered when the heat become too harsh. To get freshly harvested lettuce all through summer, choose heat resistant lettuce varieties.
The types of lettuce to consider growing in summer belong to the butterhead lettuce family. Although they are varieties within each family that are resistant to heat, however, butterhead types are considered more tolerant.
Types of lettuce that grow well in summer include Captain Bibb, Buttercrunch Bibb, Green Star, Adriana, Bronze Arrow Loose Leaf, Nevada, Anuenue Batavian, Cherokee, Green Ice, Darwin and Black Seeded Simpson.
Choosing the variety of lettuce to grow in your garden can be really tricky hence it’s best to choose according to the type of lettuce you want. Before you choose any type of lettuce to plant especially in the summer month, it is important to think about your garden plan.
All varieties of lettuce germinate better in cool moist soil so it’s best to choose a garden location that receives morning sun but afternoon shade. If you are planting your lettuce in the summer months, go for a heat-tolerant lettuce and container gardening offers the best summer lettuce solution.