Loose Leaf


By David Marks
Loose leaf lettuce cover such a huge spectrum of colours, shapes, tastes and texture that it is almost impossible to recommend specific varieties.

You will have your favourites as we have ours, all we can do is point out the merits of particular varieties of butterhead lettuces and leave the choice up to you.

If you are not sure which to try then choose one of the many mixed bags of seeds which are frequently sold by the major seed merchants.


Bijou lettuce


– Purple-red leaves with a central white base make this a welcome addition to any salad bowl. The leaves are deeply frilled and easily picked from the plant. Re-grows leaves easily. Awarded an AGM by the RHS.

Available from
Mr Fothergills

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce

(Hendersons) Black Seeded Simpson

– if you like the idea of the older, more traditional varieties of vegetables but are concerned that they may not be up to it in the taste stakes then this variety is for you. With a parentage that can be traced back over 300 years the Daily Telegraph rated this as the best flavoured variety of UK lettuce.
We agree, it is and it’s the loose leaf variety of lettuce which we rate the highest. A lovely light green colour, firmish crinkly leaves and an intriguing, sweet and delicious flavour. One definitely for the connoisseur of lettuces.
Suitable for growing throughout 9 months of the year (protection required in frosty conditions) this is a real winner for reliability, taste and texture.

Catalogna loose leaf lettuce


– A leaf shape all to themselves this is an excellent variety for mixed salad. Pick a few leaves, good taste, and more will grow back. Awarded an RHS AGM.

Available from

Loose leaf lettuce Cocarde


– Leaves are roughly oak-shaped and very glossy. The edges of the leaves are tinged with reddy-bronze, very attractive in salads. Awarded an RHS AGM.

Available from Plant World Seeds.

Looseleaf lettuce variety Delicato


– a very popular loose-leaf lettuce because of it’s dark red leaves which grow in a variety of shapes. The plant itself is very neat and worthy of a place in the garden just for its decorative value.
Withstands sun well and can be sown from March to July, good taste and texture. Awarded an RHS AGM.

Available from Mr Fothergills.



– the name says it all! Green leaves with very frilly edges. Adds texture and form to any salad. Small and suitable for container growing.

Available from Midland Seed Company.

Lollo Rossa looseleaf lettuce

Lollo Rossa

– the definitive decorative loose-leaf lettuce for several reasons. Firstly the deep red tips of the leaves are very unusual, the tightly frilled edges not only look good but they add superb texture to a salad. Easy to grow they stand warm weather very well.

Available from Suttons.

Mazurosso looseleaf lettuce


– Not only does this variety look and taste good but at the same time it has good resistance to mildew.

Available from Tesco.

Red Salad Bowl looseleaf lettuce

Red Salad Bowl

– Not really red, more bronze-red tinged edges. Frilly leaves. Awarded an RHS AGM.

Available from Suttons.