Growing Butterhead lettuce

Of all the varieties of lettuce available, this cabbage lettuce is the most popular. The name butterhead refers to the ‘buttery’ texture of the smooth, flattened leaves in named varieties such as Suzan and Fortune.

How to grow butterhead lettuce

Butterhead lettuces can be raised in the open in the same way as crisphead types. The difficulty of watering lettuces under cloches makes the moisture-retentive quality of the soil even more important for over-wintering crops that can be picked in late spring. Sow seed of hardy varieties out in early autumn; alternatively, raise seedlings in trays and plant out in late autumn (in sheltered areas) or early spring (in more exposed areas). Apply fertilizer in the form of a top dressing just as growth recommences in the spring. Crops protected by unheated greenhouses, frames or cloches should be raised from transplanted seedlings. Sow in late summer and transplant a month later for mature plants in early winter; autumn plantings will he ready in early spring, while seeds sown in mid-winter and transplanted in late winter will he ready for cutting in mid to late spring.

Harvesting butterhead lettuce

Since lettuces contain a high percentage of water they wilt rapidly after cutting. Freshness will be improved by immersing the lettuce in ice-cold water for 15 minutes. Shake off the water and place the lettuce in the refrigerator until needed.

Pest and Diseases

Aphids are the worst pest.

Tips for growing butterhead lettuce

Slugs are often a major problem when lettuces are small. One of the most effective method of reducing numbers is to go out in the late evening with a plastic bag and pick up any that are feeding. Dip them in paraffin to kill them quickly. You can also use a mulch of pine hark or surround plants with snot or lime. On young lettuces use plastic bottles with, the base removed and slip one, right way up, over each plant to protect it.


– suiatble for small plot

– Preferes sunny location

– sow seeds 2cm/.75 inch deep and 30 cm/12 inch apart in rows

– thin them to 30cm/12 inch apart

– crop maturing time is 2-3 months