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Plant description:

Lettuce is one of the most important year-round salad vegetables. It is not difficult to grow lettuce successfully provided you keep in mind that all types need well-prepared soil that is rich in organic material, regular thorough watering and feeding every two weeks. There are four types of lettuce: iceberg or crisphead, butterhead, loose-leaf, and cos or romaine. The most commonly grown is the iceberg type. Loose-leaf types can remain in the garden for about three months before replanting. Planting the correct hybrid for the time of year is most important.

Family: Asteraceae

Synonym:  Lactuca sativa var. crispa

Botanical Pronunciation: lak-TOO-kuh suh-TYE-vuh

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Botanical name

Lactuca sativa

Plant Care


Common name(s)



Planting instructions

Plant seedlings out into rows and space them 200mm apart. Do not plant too deep as this will result in poor heads.


Regular thorough watering and feeding every two weeks is required for all types of lettuce. Keep the plants moist and feed them every 14 days.

Soil conditions

All lettuce types need well-prepared soil that is rich in organic material.


Medicinal – Lettuce has antispasmodic properties and the leaves contain silicon. Eating lettuce daily, strengthens joints, bones and connective tissue. Medical science has even found lettuce to have sedative qualities.

Interesting planting ideas

Plant near beetroot, cabbages, carrots, radishes and strawberries.

Interesting info

Loose-leaf types can remain in the garden for about three months before replanting.Planting the correct hybrid for the time of year is most important.
Lettuce is a great source of all the B vitamins, as well as vitamins A and C. It is rich in beta carotene, high in calcium, containing almost as much calcium as milk, it contains folic acid, magnesium and potassium.

Common pests and diseases

Cutworms, aphids, caterpillars, slugs and snails.Leaf spot, bottom rot.


Iceberg, butter head and cos types can be picked as soon as the heads are firm and well developed.Pick individual leaves from loose-leaf types as soon as the leaves are large enough.


Nine to ten iceberg plants planted every three weeks will satisfy a family of four.For loose leaf lettuces, plant 5–8 plants.

Seed sowing instructions

Sow seed thinly in trays or beds and cover with 50mm of fine soil. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle; keeping them moist at all times.

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