Crisphead Lettuce Varieties
The name “crust” refers to the leaves which are very thin and flat. They have no sharp points or edges. The leaves are green with white margins and grow up to 1 foot tall. There are many varieties of crisphead lettuce, but there is only one variety called “Crabtree”. Crabtree is a large plant with thick stems that grows from 6 feet high to 10 feet high.
It produces hundreds of leaves each measuring 3 inches long. Some varieties produce fewer than 100 leaves while others may reach over 500. The plants are usually found in full sun to partial shade.
There are several other varieties called “Redleaf”, “Blueleaf”, and “Whiteleaf”. These are all different types of crisphead lettuce, but they all look similar because they’re all grown from the same seedling. Whiteleaf is a smaller plant that grows to less than 4 feet tall. Redleaf is a larger plant that grows to 5 feet tall. Blueleaf is a small plant that grows to under 2 feet tall.
All these varieties have the same basic characteristics: they’re all plants with short, slender leaves and they grow well in full sun or part shade.
Lettuce plants are very easy to grow but they do have a few requirements:
They prefer a soil that is sandy and well-drained but will still grow in less ideal conditions. If your soil is heavy and doesn’t drain well, create raised beds 4-6 inches high.
Lettuce can’t survive if their roots sit in water for too long. They also don’t like “wet feet” for extended periods of time. If you get more rain than usual, make sure to check your soil for moisture every few hours.
Lettuce prefers temperatures between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. With the right amount of sunlight, they’ll grow well in hotter temperatures, but too much heat can cause them to wilt. If the temperature gets below 60 degrees at night, you should bring the plants inside until it warms up again.
Lettuce grows best when planted in the early spring or late fall. In the spring, they should be planted as soon as the ground can be worked. In the fall, they should be planted in September or October. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you can plant your seeds in small pots inside in April and transplant them outside once it’s warm enough. Most Lettuce plants grow to be 12-20 inches tall.
Most seeds should be planted 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and space 6-12 inches apart, depending on the type of lettuce you’re growing. If you’re planting more than one type of lettuce, stagger their seeding times by two week intervals to ensure a continuous harvest. Lettuce can also be started from tissue culture plants or purchased as seedling in the spring.
The wraparound leaves grow upright off the stem, some reaching 6-8 inches long. One row can produce a harvest of lettuce for 20 people. It’s sweet and nutty with a refreshing bite. The best variety for home gardens, it’s well worth the small amount of space it takes up.
The leaves are long and oak-leaf shaped and have a smooth, wavy texture. The outside edges have a slightly darker green coloring with a broad light green in the center. One row can produce enough lettuce for 20 people. The flavor is sweet and creamy, excellent for salads or sandwiches.
The leaves are blue-green and fairly narrow, sometimes with a red tinge to them. One row of lettuce can produce enough for a family of four. Add some carrots, tomatoes and mayonnaise and you’ve got yourself a delicious homemade burger.
The leaves of this variety are light green with a tinge of pink and red. It has a mild flavor with a bit of a spicy aftertaste. Excellent for salads or sandwiches, it’s also good in coleslaw or served with a dipping sauce.
Colonial: This type of lettuce grows well even in poor soil. It is slower to mature than other varieties so you can harvest leaves over a longer period of time.
Sources & references used in this article:
Growth and yield of crisphead lettuce under various shade conditions by CA Sanchez, RJ Allen, B Schaffer – Journal of the American …, 1989 – researchgate.net
Production of crisphead lettuce in a soilless production system by MM Maboko, CP Du Plooy – El-Minia Egypt Afri Crop Sci Proc8, 2007 – academia.edu
Evaluation of crisphead lettuce cultivars (Lactuca sativa L.) for winter production in a soilless production system by MM Maboko, CP Du Plooy – African Journal of Plant Science, 2008 – academicjournals.org
Influence of growth conditions on the value of crisphead lettuce by JN Sørensen, AS Johansen, N Poulsen – Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 1994 – Springer
Field resistance of crisphead lettuce to Bremia lactucae. by JE Yuen, JW Lorbeer – Phytopathology, 1984 – apsnet.org
Rib discoloration: A physiological disorder induced by heat stress in crisphead lettuce by S Jenni – HortScience, 2005 – journals.ashs.org