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LACTUCA sativa 'Red Sails'

Image of Lactuca sativa 'Red Sails'

Carol Cloud Bailey

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

LACTUCA sativa 'Red Sails'

Plant Common Name

Looseleaf Lettuce

General Description

An All-American Selection winner in 1985, 'Red Sails' is flavorful, high-performing looseleaf lettuce that produces rosettes of broad, puckered leaves of green edged in red. This early producing lettuce has a mild flavor and pleasing, buttery texture. It is heat tolerant and slow to bolt, so it is a good variety for continual harvest, if planted in succession. The leaves are ready for harvest in 45 days after planting. This is also a favorite for edible landscaping because it’s as ornamental as it is delicious.

Loosehead 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 they are no longer good eating. When fully elongated they become topped with 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 and in frost-free, southern zones it is grown as a winter crop. Full sun and light, fertile, nutrient-rich soil and regular water are needed for good production and performance. Plant lettuce seeds in succession for a longer harvest period. Once lettuce is subjected to hot weather and begins to bolt its flavor usually becomes bitter. At this stage, pull them or let them set seed for collection.

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

    6"-8" / 15.2cm - 20.3cm

  • Width

    8"-10" / 20.3cm - 25.4cm

  • 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

    Clump-Forming

  • 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

  • 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

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes