best summer lettuce varieties

anniew(4-5/PA)February 15, 2006

I asked in market gardening several days ago and no one has answered.

If you've had good luck with varieties in summer, please share what they are.

Thanks in advance.


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harryvetch(Cent.VA/ Zone 7)

I'm in a slightly warmer climate than you, so I've never had great luck once the summer heat hits. I used both Burpees Mesclun mixes last year, and enjoyed their taste very much.
I wonder if some type shade screen would help yours grow further into the summer before bolting.
You might do a google search or check your state's co-op extension website.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 6:09AM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

I grew Black Seeded Simpson and Burpee's Mesclun last year into April, which for my neck of the woods means 80+ degree days. I had them in partial shade, though.

This year I'm growing Craquerelle du Midi from Park Seeds. The website mentioned growing it in Florida in June so I thought I'd give it a try.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 8:03AM
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Hi Ann, I adore lettuce and some of the ones I really liked alot are;
Buttercrunch, they from a nice head with plenty of crunch and buttery flavor
Red & Green Salad Bowl, nice sweet flavor, pretty too.
Envy, grand rapids sweet and crunchy.
New Red Fire, nice red leaf, good flavor.
Paris White cos, Romaine crunchy & juicy.

I am going to trial many new ones this year because I think lettuce is an endless experiment of yummy varieties, always try something new.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 9:57AM
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john90808(z10 So Cal)

I saw this variety on the Pinetree Garden Seeds site ( described as follows:

"W650. JERICHO LETTUCE (60 days)
This lettuce is already quite popular in the hot, dry areas of the US. It was bred to be grown in the deserts of Israel. Jericho is very bolt resistant and remains crisp and sweet in the hottest of weather. This cos type provides a large, dense head."

I have not tried this variety yet but it piqued my curiosity and I would be interested to find out if anyone else has grown it.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 10:22AM
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I have had good results with anuenue from Johnny's seeds. I have grown it the last two years and harvested good lettuce through July and part of August.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 11:00AM
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thanks for all the replies. I have had Jericho and Anuenue on my list, and it is good to get those ideas verified. If anyone else has others that they have had personal experience getting through 80 degree days without bolting prematurely, please share.
I am doing a CSA this summer, and salad greens seem to be the one thing most members really want. If anyone has good heat tolerant spinach varieties, that would be helpful also.
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 10:00PM
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I've been planting Black Seeded Simpson as my last lettuce of the spring for about 20 years. On average it lasts until the end of June. Then about 5 years ago I added Sierra a loose/crisp head variety (now called something else by Johnny Seeds, but they call it the improvemnt of the same) and it works even better. Sometimes into July. I'm 15 miles from the coast so we get a marine layer most every day thru June that helps extend the season.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 7:35PM
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Hi Ann,
I grew Jehrico, New Red Fire, and Radichetta last year. Last year it got very hot quickly here. All were very slow to bolt. I'm not sure how long they lasted, but when my father came to help with some remodeling at the end of June, it was in the 90s, and I was making salad from the lettuce. I grow my lettuce in planters on my porch so they only get morning sun. New Red Fire wasn't a real strong red, but maybe because of growing in part sun? My favorite was Radichetta. It was a quick grower, had more leaf substance and good flavor. But if you like milder lettuce I would recomend the other two.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 9:55AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)


There was a thread on the market gardening forum that ran for 4 years from 2000-2004 called "hot weather greens" and it's still there. There were some great suggestions on that thread. Maybe it'll be useful to you as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hot weather greens

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 10:38AM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

I'm reading the Lettuce Bolting Resistance Project's findings. Some very useful info, I think! I'm going to look into some Batavian varieties.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bolting Resistance

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 1:32PM
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sunnymorninggardens(z4-5 CO)

Thanks for the Hot weather greens link. I read through it and am enthused about getting some customers for summer greens.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 1:43PM
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I am in Mass also. the best lettuce I ever grew was a variety called Victoria. it was too bold resistant for me as I was not able to get it to bolt and give me some seeds.

but it grew into a big romaine type lettuce with the best taste and eating from any lettuce I have ever had. that was some years ago. I did look recently and found a couple of sources for the seeds.

I think I got the seeds from Cooks Garden at the time. they do not carry it anymore.

you can do a google search for the seeds. here is one fast hit on google.$BA$C2$9

they call it a butterhead with crisp leaves. It definitely had great crisp leaves. so I call it a romaine. but whatever you want to call it this one was good.

Unfortunately my old seed did not germinte this spring so I have to get some for next year.

for a quick google search go here

But my overall favoite "Lettuce" is Mizuna. that baby can be planted as early as possible. does not have to be thinned. keep cutting it all summer. and she will be there during hard freezes. an amazing plant. I love this in my salads. I like a salad of lettuce with a good amount of Mizuna added. I ordered my mizuna seed today. my old ones failed. I just can not live without my mizuna.

I purchased my mizuna here

because they offer so many seeds for the price. I also purchased some other things like some great japanese cucs.

this one sounded too good to pass up.

Peace and Great Gardening in Mass this year

Organic Nut

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 8:46PM
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today I ordered the Victoria lettuce and the Nevada Lettuce from Territorial seed. I want to put some in and see how they go through the heat. I also want to try some for the fall season.

Actually I think lettuce in the fall is better than lettuce in the spring. I can grow many heads and they will just sit there through the cold times for a long season of picking until it gets really cold and kills them.

I think next year I want to try some of the others. maybe someone wants to exchange seeds. I love to make my own seeds. lettuce is easy if it bolts.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 11:24AM
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I think it is GREAT to bring this issue back up in this fast-moving forum. And, I hope it shows up again in about a month when we are making those late-season plantings of lettuce. Fliptx, your Bolting Resistance study is spot on - should be very useful for all of us.

Our favorite lettuce is a butterhead  "Nancy." It holds fairly well as does another butterhead, Buttercrunch, which we grow every year and the study notes holds over 90 days.

We'll try a Batavian Nevada for the first time this season.

The Romaine varieties work best for us thru the Summer. They are the only varieties which we can (but don't always) treat as cut-and-come-again.

And, AnnieW, IÂm sorry I missed your posting in the Market Gardener forum. I used to spend a lot of time over there. Should make it back more often.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 12:30PM
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Like the rest of you, I've been searching for lettuce that can be grown in hot weather. I'm a recent resident of southern California (the desert of 29 Palms) where temps have been above 98 (100 & above for 8 days straight). So far I haven't seen any postings with temps that high. I'll try the Jericho and others, but is there really any hope for me?!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 7:45PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

I wonder whether an overhead misting system would help? They're not difficult to set up and it seems to me could keep the plants 10 to 15 degrees cooler.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 10:03PM
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john90808(z10 So Cal)

I am sowing Jericho and New Red Fire for the first time this weekend. I will follow up with the results after I see how they perform during our hottest part of the year....

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 11:51PM
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As the original poster here, I have feedback. I've grown Jericho and Anuenue, plus Tango and New Red Fire in the greenhouse (which gets a lot hotter than outside, and have just finished harvesting it for my CSA and farmers market. I am assuming that if it didn't bolt in the greenhouse, it will act similarly in the field as long as it has sufficient water to keep it un-stressed. Romaine varieties seem to be doing outside as well, although we have not had that many hot days. I think repeated sowings and cutting while in a young state help to offset it bolting.
Thanks for all your replies.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 7:31AM
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john90808(z10 So Cal)

Ann, what did you think of the taste of the Jericho & New Red Fire varieties? Would you grow them again?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 12:19PM
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I do not individually taste each variety, but harvest several and mix them together for a lettuce mix...full size, not baby lettuce. The combination of textures, shapes and colors as well as flavors is delightful...Ann

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 1:22PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)


I'm presently growing jericho and so far I like it. There's not enough for a salad yet but I just ate a leaf just for you:) It's a nice crunchy romaine type but not as sweet as I'd expected. It's hot and humid out right now so maybe that affected the taste. I've also eaten redina and it was OK. I'm growing a merlot batavian type with deep maroon leaves along with jericho. I grew this merlot in the spring and while other lettuces bolted, this one didn't so I thought I'd see how it does in heat.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 2:03PM
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john90808(z10 So Cal)

Thanks Peggy! I appreciate you "sacrificing" a lettuce leaf to answer my question =:^D

What spacing do you recommend for the Jericho and New Red Fire varieties? My seed pack says to "thin as it grows" but doesn't elaborate on specific spacing requirements.

I have had Merlot (Territorial Seeds) growing for the last couple of months and have been very pleased with the taste & texture and so far, no bolting! Wish I could say the same of my spinach! :"

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 2:19PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Hi John,
No problemo. I generally sow my lettuce in pots and then I transfer it to the garden. I try to eat most as baby lettuce and this spring I spaced it around 4-5" which worked well. Toward the end it started to get a little crowded so I harvested entire heads. By that time most had started bolting anyway.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 5:01PM
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feldon30(N Houston (8))

You're never going to get lettuce to grow in 90 degrees. I never say never, but seriously.

I will be planting my lettuce in Houston around October 30th.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 8:41PM
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john90808(z10 So Cal)

feldon! I love a challenge ;) Besides, seeds are cheap! :)

(My goal is year-round lettuce and in a coastal So. Cal. climate, may just be achievable) We Shall see.... :P

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 11:05PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

I thought I'd bring this old topic up again to see if anyone had follow up reports from this summer. I'm going to give Anuenue a try this spring.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 10:32PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

The Nevada batavians are pretty good.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 11:15AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Here's another vote for Nevada, although I can't vouch for it being a great mid-summer variety. In somewhat cooler weather it produces really attractive loose heads and its leaves have heavier substance than other loose heads, giving you more to munch on. It made a big hit with me and my friends when we discovered it.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 5:35PM
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I tested about eight "bolt resistant" varieties last year, including several mentioned here. Capistano won, lasting about a week longer than any of the others.

Here is a link that might be useful: Capistrano

    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 6:04PM
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Since everything has a trade-off, we may lose some production in favor of bolt resistance. I like the Batavian Nevada a lot, but I think some of the mesclun, romaine and even Black-seeded Simpson soundly out-produce it. Planting bolt resistant varieties in late spring makes the most sense -- when it comes down to having some lettuce or none at all for summer. When lettuce growing conditions are optimal, there most likely are better choices overall.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 10:48AM
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I would, once again, like to make note of that comparison study posted by Fliptx above  very useful.

My garden is in a tough-to-grow-tender-greens area of the country because of its arid climate and Summer heat. We grew Batavian Nevada in 2006. Its performance, appearance, and taste are delightful. Nevada will gain space in our garden again along with our other favorites, Nancy and Buttercrunch.

The Romaines continue to work well for us and we'll likely grow Rouge d'Hiver and Little Gem again but it is really hard to beat the quality of the butterheads and, now, this new-for-us Batavian. Romaines are not especially tender varieties.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 11:16AM
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corapegia(z5 NY)

I've found Salad Bowl to be relatively slow bolting but also discovered that SHADING the bed (I grew up in Conn. when they grew shade tobacco under gauze tents) used fiberglass window screen material available from the lumber store (probably not Home Depot or such) attached to uprite 2ft stakes with clothes pins... This, along with succession planting extended lettuce thru the summer

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 11:32AM
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npthaskell(coastal oregon)

In my hands, "Nevada" always had a yellowish tint to its green color, sort of looking like tipburn, sometimes with brownish spots (an infection?). "Jack Ice" Batavian (Wild Garden Seed) looks healthier. Jack Ice is even hanging on this winter when I had to bring several others indoors, so I guess a "summer crisp" doesn't have to be grown during summer.

I second the vote for Merlot.

This coming summer, I'm going to try Tropicanna from Johnny's.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 3:23AM
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Let us know how you like the Tropicanna...

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 10:45PM
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npthaskell(coastal oregon)


I haven't sown it yet! I see the new thread with Tropicanna pics.


The territorial catalog picture seems to imply that Capistrano is relatively "open" compared to most romaines. Is that true?

New Butterheads from Johnny's

Ermosa, Adriana, Red Cross and Fireball are listed as heat tolerant. I haven't tried any of them. I think that I bought some seed of Adriana for trial this year (I hope).

New Red Fire

Available from many resellers, but bred by Takii. I link Takii's leaflet below. Takii claims "High tolerance to heat", "High bolting tolerance", "Holds well in field" and "Good Flavor", among other attributes. I've never tried New Red Fire, perhaps next year.

Here is a link that might be useful: PDF Download, New Red Fire Leaflet

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 4:00AM
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I'm growing Sierra and Nevada for the first time, right now, along with my own summer favorite, Simpson's Elite.

Really, if I was stuck on a desert island (with a climate like my home town) and had to pick just one lettuce, it would be Simpson's Elite. It's boringly easy to grow, tastes great, and is as bolt resistant as a green leaf lettuce can be. If I could change one thing about it, I wish it had a darker green or red cousin that was as perfect, but I haven't found such a beast.

I also just ordered some seeds from Jonny's, earlier tonight. I ordered some Anenue and Red Fire (along with more Vulcan and Magenta (an "improved Sierra") -- I wasted a whole packet of Vesey's Sierra trying to get it to germinate). What a harmonic convergence here, huh? I spent the evening poring through catalogs and the NCSU list to find bolt-resistant varieties that sounded interesting enough to try out.

I have grown Jericho before. Since I harvest cut-and-come-again, it never got a decent chance to head up and show me it's best side. Big romaines aren't really my thing.

I'd rather have a fast grower than the most bolt-resistant variety in the world. Bolt-resistant-enough is good enough for me, because I would rather harvest early and plant more.

One like that that I was happy with last summer was Little Gem. It's a mini-cos, extremely rugged in the face of outdoor wind and rain, with extremely fast-growing and erect leaves. It makes a gorgeous but small head during cooler weather if you leave it alone, but I prefer to pick off leaves early until it bolts and during the summer that works out fine. So it's NOT bolt-resistant. It just grows quickly enough that it's not necessarily an issue. It's a different kind of lettuce that I think everybody should grow once, although it doesn't show its very best side during the summer.

I grew Vulcan last year and was happy with it, but I wouldn't call it bolt resistant. Last summer, I also grew Emerald Oak, which is DELICIOUS. It has a bolt-resistant reputation which it really doesn't deserve. I also grew Merlot a couple of summers back -- extremely bolt-resistant but it grows slowly and is kind of stunted. I didn't consider it a good use of precious space.

Going back to Little Gem for a moment... One other nice thing about it is that it's so erect that you can grow it shoulder to shoulder in really tight spaces. I just sow the seed directly and thin it when it gets difficult to work with. Maybe 2" by 2" per plant is enough. Crazy, but it works.

I'll see how New Red Fire, Anenue, and Magenta work out later this summer. I like to try to push these things, heh. Last year, I couldn't get a fall lettuce crop started until mid-October because of a heatwave that just wouldn't go away.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 6:58AM
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I transplanted Jericho in mid-March of this year and it had bolted by the end of May, in 80 degree temperatures. It was delicious and I plan to plant it again, but realistically it's not what you'd call a "summer lettuce." I don't know about those Israeli deserts...perhaps they're high enough to be a little cooler than East Tennessee.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 7:43AM
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I'm the original poster for this thread. There have been many suggestions, then others sometimes find the opposite to be true.
I just wanted to comment that I have New Red Fire, Red Sails and Salad Bowl growing in my greenhouse, in 12 inch raised beds. It gets really hot in there. But they look beautiful. I'm growing them inside to supply the first week or two of my CSA.
I've come to the conclusion that lettuce is sometimes pushed into bolting with poor soil, not enough water and age of plant. In the greenhouse I must water once or twice a day, since the outdoor temps have been in the 80s, with the water keeping the plants hydrated as well as acting to cool them off through evaporation.
If we could totally imitate those conditions outside, I'm wondering if we could have better outdoor crops.
This is just thinking out loud.
Actually my spinach looks better inside than any I've ever grown outside also. Hmmm. Wonder how long that will last!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 9:15AM
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npthaskell(coastal oregon)

On June 2, I wrote:

> I haven't sown it yet!

I have now transferred my pot of Tropicanna outdoors and harvested some thinnings (about 6" tall). Taste & texture are good. The color of healthy leaves is slightly more yellow ("blonde") than my pot of "Marin" (a subvariety of "Two Star") possibly indicating a lower ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoiods, or Tropicanna just has less total pigments.

Tropicanna had a few aphids, so I sprayed with a 100fold dilution of bubble bath; Tropicanna is loose enough so there was no place for the aphids to hide. I found one leaf hopper. Outer leaves were yellowing and dying too quickly; they may have suffered from "Aster Yellows" or some other infection transmitted by hopper or aphid. Many of my other lettuce cultivars also seem to be "infected", even those that are supposed to have intermediate resistance to Lettuce Mosaic Virus. I believe that I may have caught the aphids/hopper in time; it looks like the trimmed plants will recover from infection. We had rain & high winds last week which further stressed Tropicanna, but to the same degree as similar looseleaf cultivars such as "Marin"and "Baronet".

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 6:44PM
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ole_dawg(7 UpCountry SC)

I have Tropicana, Nevada, Anuenue, and Simpson Elite in containera now in the sun (greenhouse not yet completed) and they are doing fine. I should be able to cut in about a week or 10 days. I also have Jericho coming along and will try it soon.
1eyedJack and the Dawg

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 7:30PM
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i picked lettuces last year thru the month of june. some of the varieties blackjack (deep red) jericho, green towers ,simpson elite. i watered them every day that we didn't have rain. it worked well for me. !!!!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 6:07AM
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