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LACTUCA sativa 'Little Gem'

Image of Lactuca sativa 'Little Gem'

Jessie Keith

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

LACTUCA sativa 'Little Gem'

Plant Common Name

Cos Lettuice, Dwarf Romaine Lettuce

General Description

Compact and delicious, 'Little Gem' bears tight upright heads of curled emerald-green leaves that are crisp like romaine but heavy-textured like a butterhead. The central "head" is surrounded by a ruff of larger, flatter outer leaves. The average head fits easily on a salad plate. This variety takes a mere 50 days from sowing to harvest. Successive plantings every 10 to 14 days will yield a season-long harvest, except for during the hottest days of summer.

Lettuce is an annual garden green grown for its smooth, thin, buttery leaves and looser heads. When temperatures warm up, the whole leafy clump elongates and grows upwards. At this stage it is no longer good eating. When fully elongated it "bolts," producing tall branched stems covered with pale yellow flowers, followed by fluffy white seedheads. Seed savers should collect the mature seeds for another planting.

In temperate zones lettuce is favored as a spring and fall crop; in frost-free winter zones it is grown as a winter crop. Full sun, rich well-drained soil, and regular water are needed for good production and performance. ‘Little Gem’ is a great choice for edible landscaping if you are short on space or prefer to grow crops in containers or window boxes.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    5"-7" / 12.7cm - 17.8cm

  • Width

    4"-6" / 10.2cm - 15.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Northern Europe, Northern Africa, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes