Photo: Alface

General description

Lettuce is no longer just lettuce - there are a myriad of forms and flavours. Lettuce is a member of the milk thistle family producing a milky sap that can make the leaves bitter, especially when they are about to bolt to seed.

There are three broad catergories of lettuce - the heading or hearting variety, the upright cos or romaine, and the loose leaf or salad bowl varieties.

Plant requirements

The best tasting lettice are grown fast. As a leaf crop they enjoy alot of nitrogen, so following after beans and peas is a great idea. 

Loose soil with plenty of organic matter will retain mositre and added potasdh will see them grow well.


The hearting types are the most difficult to grow.

Premature bolting and bitterness is a sign of stress - lack of water, lack of fertiliser, heat or root damage.

Regular seaweed extract and good mulching will retain water and keep the plants well feed.

Practical use

A cool season crop, they are useful as a colurful border or edge in sunny areas during winter or shadier areas during summer.  Quick growing varieties are useful as accompniement for slow growing crops like brassicas t double your productivity.


10 - 40 cm
Soil type
Full sun, Partial shade
Moist but well-drained


See all varieties

8 varieties of this plant