Types of Lettuce and Leafy Greens

Bring beautiful color to the garden and unmatchable flavor to the table with a host of fresh lettuces and greens.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2010, Dorling Kindersley

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2013, Photo by Ben Rollins

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2010, Dorling Kindersley

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2010, Dorling Kindersley

Head Lettuces

Head lettuces form a central rosette of leaves that grows in on itself. Harvest head lettuces by either cutting off the entire head, or by taking the outer leaves as needed.


'Freckles' lettuce is a semi-cos variety that forms an open head with green leaves splattered with red. 'Freckles' is a good choice for flower borders, where it matures quickly. Plants are slow to bolt, even in warm weather.

Butter Lettuce

Butter lettuce has a slightly sweet, buttery flavor. Good quality butter lettuce will have fairly large, loose heads with thick leaves and even green coloring. Scratch the stalk and smell: a sweet or bitter smell means sweet or bitter flavor.

'Black-Seeded Simpson' Lettuce

'Black-Seeded Simpson' lettuce quickly produces a large head of juicy, crinkled leaves that are sweet and tender. Maturing in just 28 days, the variety has been popular in gardens for over 100 years.

Romaine Lettuce

Romaine, or cos lettuce, has long, broad, upright oval leaves that bunch as they mature. Romaine is crisp and juicy, with a sweetness unmatched by other lettuce types. Space about 10 inches apart when growing.

'Lollo Rossa' Lettuce

'Lollo Rossa' has crisp, frilly leaves that add color and texture to salads. It looks great in containers.

'Pandero' Mini Red Romaine Lettuce

'Pandero' is a delicious, miniature, red Romaine lettuce with crisp leaves that develop a good color and are mildew-resistant.

Lamb's Lettuce

Corn salad, also known as lamb's lettuce, is a great salad green. It grows best during cool weather and is also great for fall and winter crops. It has a nutty flavor and mixes well with spinach, lettuce and other greens in salads.

Land Cress

Land cress is a peppery tasting watercress substitute, ready to eat in seven to eight weeks after sowing. It is rich in vitamins, iron and calcium and provides a continuous supply over a long period. It is easy to grow.

Loose Leaf Lettuce

Loose leaf lettuce not form a compact head; the leaves arrange themselves around a central stalk and tend to be curly.There are different types of loose leaf lettuce, with basic red and green being the most common.

'Green Frills' Lettuce

'Green Frills' lettuce forms a frilly, green lettuce head. It is a softer, loose leaf lettuce with a mild and sweet flavor. It is one of the most popular fancy leaf lettuces available.

Oakleaf Lettuce

Oakleaf lettuce has crunchy stems and tender leaves. There are red and green varieties. It is moderately slow to bolt,and is a cut-and-come-again variety. The sweet, crisp, compact heads have a distinctive, almond-like flavor.

Red Oakleaf Lettuce

Red oakleaf lettuce has glossy, burgundy leaves that are attractive in the garden. Try growing it as a cut-and-come-again lettuce or harvest younger heads to savor this oakleaf's mild flavor.

'Salad Bowl' Cut-and-Come-Again Lettuce

Grow a never-ending summer salad with 'Salad Bowl' variety lettuce. It has wavy-edged leaves that can be left to produce a loose head, or just cut and wait for it to keep growing.

White Mustard

White mustard has its leaves covered with small, rough puff. The flowers are arranged in clusters, and the fruits have elongated, podded shapes with a mild mustard flavor.

Collard Greens

A Southern staple, collards are one of the most hardy greens on the market, able to withstand temperatures below 20 degrees F. They are fast-growing, producing loose bunches of dark green, veined leaves. Their flavor is best when grown as a fall or winter crop.

Mibuna Lettuce

Mibuna lettuce is an early open pollinated variety and vigorous grower that produces a dense cluster of long, narrow, rounded, dark green leaves. The delicious leaves have a mild mustard flavor. Cut for baby leaves as early as 21 days.

Mizuna Lettuce

Mizuna lettuce has elegant, deep green and saw toothed leaves that have a mild yet tangy flavor. This tender green leaf lettuce makes an excellent mix for salads and soups. It is generally mixed with other lettuces to enhance salad.

Bok Choy

Bok choy is commonly grown for its mature crop, but the seedlings can be picked and used for tasty leaves added to a salad.


Arugula is a leafy green herb of the mustard family. It has elongated, dark green leaves that are lobed like the leaves of an oak. In the ground, the plant resembles a loose lettuce with long, slender leaves. It's flavor is hot and peppery.


Like lettuce, endive is a cool season crop, although it is more tolerant of heat than lettuce. Grow it from seed planted in the garden 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date. Long, hot summers will force the plant to bolt.

Endive 'Pancalieri'

'Pancalieri' is a bright frisee that produces dense heads of frilly, green leaves and a white center. The Italian heirloom takes 90 - 100 days to harvest after sowing. 

Colorful Radicchio Adds Interest to Salads

Colorful radicchio has a strong and delicious taste, a must for salads. Harvest radicchio heads after a light frost by cutting them just below the soil surface. Radicchio makes a great lettuce substitute in salads, and leaves can be sauteed or steamed.

'Red Rib' Chicory

'Red Rib' has attractive, red ribs and deep green leaves, making this chicory an attractive and tasty garden specimen. Chicory is a must for any mesclun mix due to its slightly bitter flavor. The red rib also adds contrasting color.

Red-Veined Sorrel

You'll want to grow two patches of red-veined sorrel (Rumex sanguineus): one for looks and one to eat! The striking perennial, also referred to as red-veined dock or bloody dock, features narrow, bright green leaves with signature maroon veins running throughout the entire leaf. Their flavor is similar to spinach. You can also try growing red-veined sorrel's cousins: Rumex scutatus and Rumex acetosa

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