There is more to lettuce than iceberg! Get inspired to grow different types!
What different types of lettuce are there?
There are many different types of lettuce. The ones you are probably familiar with include crisphead, butterhead and cos or romaine lettuces.
Iceberg is crisphead lettuce, and one of the most well-known. Who hasn’t seen these in the shops? Crisphead lettuces are also known as head or heading lettuces because they form a tightly-packed ball or head of leaves. The different varieties of crisphead are usually all referred to as iceberg lettuces.
Butterhead lettuces have softer, looser leaves and are often known as Bibb or Boston lettuces. Sometimes they are called round lettuces. As the name suggests, they are buttery and not bitter. Buttercrunch is a popular variety.
Romaine lettuces or cos lettuces have straighter leaves – the popular choice for adding to caesar salads. Little Gem and Little Caesar are well-known types of lettuces in this group, but there are many others.
There are also loose-leaf lettuces and oak leaf lettuces. Lollo Rosso is loose-leaf lettuce; it doesn’t grow a tight head of leaves, and the leaves can be harvested as and when you need them. You may have seen oakleaf shaped lettuce in your salad mix too.
As you can see, there are loads of choices when it comes to lettuces! We’ve picked out some of the best and most reliable. If you want to grow different types of lettuces, we’ve got plenty for you below – read on…
23 Different Types of Lettuce With Pictures
Mostly grown in cooler northern climates, the crisphead types of lettuces are tightly packed heads of leaves, usually with a sweet flavor.
You may not think of iceberg as very interesting lettuce! Its crisp, long-lasting leaves and compact habit have made it incredibly successful. Perfect if you want some crunch in a salad, but perhaps not the one to pick if you are looking for flavor.
This iceberg lettuce variety produces tightly packed heads about 5 inches across, with sweet, crisp leaves. Ithaca is suited to colder climates but will also tolerate heat better than some other lettuces.
This is red and green lettuce which will add some color to your vegetable garden. It’s also known as Red Iceberg.
Large, round lettuces up to 12 inches across are produced with the Great Lakes variety. The bright green tightly-packed heads of leaves are ready in 90 days.
A fast grower, Igloo can also handle high temperatures. The crisp green leaves are slightly serrated at the edges. Start harvesting after about 70 days.
This is another iceberg-type lettuce with crisp green leaves and a white heart. It will tolerate tough conditions and produces medium-sized light green heads.
Packed with nutrients and flavor, butterhead types of lettuces produce loose heads of leaves which are tender and sweet. Butterheads and crispheads are sometimes grouped together as ‘cabbage’ lettuces because they both form rounded heads.
Reliable butterhead lettuce that’s been grown since the mid-19th century. The fleshy leaves have a sweet flavor.
The loosely-formed leaves in a bright red hue will make this lettuce stand out in your vegetable patch. Yugoslavian red is a butterhead variety that prefers cooler temperatures. It has a mild flavor.
Reliable and popular, the Buttercrunch lettuce variety has lovely crisp, sweet leaves. The heads can grow to about 12 inches across.
This lettuce is a wise choice if you live in a warm climate. The plants will not go to seed in the heat as quickly as some other lettuces. The bright green leaves fade to bronze as they mature.
One of the oldest lettuce varieties available, Tom Thumb is a mini butterhead that is excellent in containers or small spaces. Grow this heirloom variety for tiny lettuces with a nice flavour.
Romaine or Cos Lettuces
Romaine lettuces, also known as Cos lettuces, have long leaves that are crispy and crunchy, tending towards being slightly bitter. They are often excellent choices for growing in hot climates.
Small, sweet leaves that are perfect for a caesar salad. One full-grown plant makes a substantial salad for two people.
You don’t often see romaine lettuces that aren’t green. Cimarron is a striking red color and will add some variety to your salad patch. Also known as Red Romaine.
Known officially as a semi-cos variety (it’s like a cross between a butterhead and a cos/romaine lettuce), Little Gem is reliable, easy to grow and great for small spaces. Small leaves up to 6 inches tall with a good crunch. You can harvest the baby leaves after just 30 days.
You can get both green and red varieties of this lettuce. It’s one of the best types of lettuce in the romaine group. The leaves are crisp, sweet and juicy. You can keep picking them well into the heat of summer.
Parris White Cos
Crisp, tender leaves grow to about 10 inches on this popular romaine lettuce. Parris White Cos grows well in northern areas.
Lettuces that grow in bunches of loose leaves are often better-suited to hot climates. They will grow well into summer, the time of year when head lettuces tend to go to seed. You can cut leaves when you need them; the plants will continue to grow.
This is the classic, frilly lettuce with burgundy edges. An Italian variety, it’s also known as Lollo Rossa or Lolla Rosso. The leaves can be mildly bitter. As with all loose-leaf lettuces, you can harvest outer leaves as the plants continue growing.
If you like your lettuces with a frill, this one’s for you. Bright green leaves make this variety an attractive addition to the backyard, and the leaves have a good flavor.
Attractive, tongue-shaped leaves are the signature of this sweet, mild lettuce. The leaves grow loosely in a rosette. This is another plant that prefers cooler temperatures.
Black Seeded Simpson
This is an old heirloom variety that grows fast, perfect if you want to produce greens early in the season. The leaves are abundant, sweet and mild.
Not a crisphead or butterhead lettuce as the name might suggest, but a loose-leaf variety with a refreshing taste. Crunchy and sweet, the leaves are edged with red.
Some of the oldest types of lettuces are oakleaf varieties. As the name suggests, the longish leaves look remarkably similar to those of an oak tree.
The distinctive shape of the Green Oakleaf lettuce has been a feature of gardens since the 17th century. The leaves are not bitter — instead, you get a mellow nutty taste with them. Like its red cousin below, the plants will last well in the summer months.
An old variety of lettuce, Red Oakleaf was introduced to the US in the 1800s. It has a good flavor without bitterness and will grow well in the heat.