How to Grow Batavian Lettuce (Everything You Need to Know)

Ever wonder if there’s a lettuce out there that does well in warmer zones (like 10 or higher)?

Well, Batavian lettuce doesn’t mind the heat. It also doesn’t mind the cold either!

This robust lettuce can be grown in zones 2-11, so it’s pretty much a winter and a summer salad.

It has crisp, fresh, and crunchy greens that perfectly complement with Iceberg lettuce or even as a substitute for it in your favorite soups and salads.

Wraps are also usually made with a thick lettuce like Romaine or Batavian because it holds the fillings from spilling out.

Put one layer of this crunchy lettuce and you’re good to go for your favorite chicken or vegan wraps.


Let’s dive in and learn how to grow and care for Batavian lettuce. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to do it.

Quick care guide: Batavia lettuce

Plant typeAnnual vegetable
OriginFrance, Netherlands
Scientific nameLactuca sativa var. longifolia.
Other namesSummer crisp
French Crisp
Oak Leaf Lettuce
Red lettuce
Soil typeOrganic, rich, loose, loamy, nutrient rich, well draining
Soil pH6.0-6.8 (acidic)
Sunlight requirementFull sun, 6-8 hours daily
Partial sun if warmer zone
Bloom seasonNon-blooming
ColorsGreen, white, red, brown, yellow
Max height12 inches
Max width18 inches
Low temperature tolerance20F
High temperature tolerance80F
Ideal temperature range60-70F
HumidityHigh (50% or higher)
Watering requirementsWater when the top layer is near dry, never overwater
Fertilizer requirementsNone, but supplement if needed
Plant food NPK5-5-5 or 3-3-4
Days until germination5-14 days
Days until harvest60-70 days
Bloom timeNon blooming
Speed of growthModerate
Hardiness zonesUSDA hardiness zones 2-11
Plant depthFrom seeds: 0.25 inches
From transplants: Same depth as original plant
Plant spacing8 inch apart for baby greens, 12 inches for heads
Plant withCilantro
Don't plant withBrassicas
Propagation methodTransplants, from seed
Common pestsSnails, caterpillars, beetles, spiders, fungus gnats, spider mites, crickets, aphids, deer, rabbits, voles
Common diseasesRoot rot, fungus, leaf spot, damping off, downy mildew, lettuce mosaic virus, bottom rot, fungal issues
Indoor plantYes, but not recommended
Outdoor plantYes
Grown in containerYes
Flowering plantNo
Beginner friendlyYes
Care levelMinimal to none (easy)
Best usesSalads, soups, wraps

Why grow it?

If you’re in a warmer zone, it’s the perfect choice for summer greens because it can tolerate heat much better than other lettuce types.

But at the same time, it can also handle some cold too. You can harvest it as a whole head, microgreen, baby green, or use it indefinitely as a cut and come again lettuce.

Basically, it’s like lettuce, but more hardy with all the same versatility.

It’s a precursor to iceberg lettuce and brings a lot to the table, especially if you’re in a warmer zone.

The reddish color gives it a unique appearance and compliments the greens of Iceberg well in the salad bowl.

It’s easy to grow and perfect for beginners. You also don’t have to wait forever to harvest it. Most species will be ready to eat within 50-70 days.

What does it taste like?

It tastes a bit sweet compared to traditional Iceberg lettuce. This makes it easy to pair or replace other lettuces like Ice Queen if you want to try something new.

The taste is mainly neutral with hints of sweet aftertaste. It’s crisp and crunchy with wavy margins and a crinkled texture.

What is another name for Batavia lettuce?

It’s also known by a small handful of nicknames:

  • Summer crisp
  • French Crisp
  • Oak Leaf Lettuce
  • Red lettuce

Types of Batavia lettuce

There are some dozen cultivars you can choose from. Some have higher temperature tolerance, so if you’re in a warmer zone, it’s perfect for that weather.

They also vary in harvest time, color, taste, and texture. I suggest finding something that grows in your hardiness zone first. Then go from there.

  • Burgundy Delight (red crinkled leaves)
  • Great Lakes (resists tip burn, doesn’t bolt in heat, reliable production)
  • Ice Queen (cold tolerant, heat tolerant, bolt resistant, cut and come again, 80 days to harvest)
  • Muir (heat tolerant, 50 day harvest time, resists mildew, resist lettuce mosaic virus)
  • Nevada (40 day harvest, stores well, open pollinated, tastiest choice)
  • Concept (green, compact, easy to grow)
  • Mottistone (spotted lettuce)
  • Sierra (resistance to tip burn, glossy green, red veins, compact, crisp, tasty, juicy, open pollinator)
  • Anuenue (germinates at higher temperatures)
  • Cherokee Red (thick leaves, juicy, crunchy, heavy head, dark red)
  • Pablo (green tinged with red)
  • Carioca (red on green)
  • Blonde de Paris (sweet leaves, easy to grow, beginner friendly, popular)
  • Loma (endive, curled)
  • Cardinale (more red than Pablo)

How to propagate

Batavia lettuce vs. Iceberg leaves.
Can you tell which lettuce this is?

There are two main ways to propagate it, similar to most other lettuces like Romaine or Buttercruch lettuce.

You can start from seed or just buy it from the nursery pre grown. While starting from seed is more rewarding, getting a seedling saves you time.

So it’s really your choice- time or enjoyment? If you want a head start or it’s late in the season, then buying it from the garden center is the obvious choice.

But if you want to grow it from scratch or grow organic lettuce, then you have full control if you start from seed.

Let’s go into both methods.

Starting from seed

Get a packet of seeds online or in your local garden center. Make sure that they’re the right type. The scientific name is Lactuca sativa var. longifolia.

Start seeds outside, directly into the soil right after the last first date. The weather should be in the 60s with about a 70 day span.

If you anticipate that you won’t have at least 60 days of weather under 70F in the spring, then you can start them earlier to maximize your yield.

If you must start sowing before the predicted last frost date, it’s OK. These guys are pretty cold hardy so no need to worry.

You can also start indoors if you must. Use a seed starter or sow in 3” pots individually. Sow each seed 0.25” spaced 8” apart.

The seeds will germinate quickly when the ambient temperatures are around 40F. This veggie prefers cooler rather than warmer temperatures, which is why you should sow outside in the soil, unless you plan to do it in your garage or something.

This is for winter sowing. You can even sow in the fall 50 days before the first predicted frost date.

The soil should be well draining with nutrient dense substrate. It should be loosened up before you sow with some organic compost mixed in. This helps improve the drainage and prevents compacting.

Scatter sowing also works if you want to keep it simple. Just give each seed a small push into the soil if you want to do it.

As you can see, you have lots of options. There’s no wrong way to do it.

Keep seeds moist, but never wet. They don’t like wet feet. You should see seedlings come out and germinate within 2 weeks at most.

When you water, sprinkle it softly so it doesn’t disturb the seeds. At 65C, the lettuce will germinate within 3 days or so. But temperatures that peak over 77F will stop the germination process.

Therefore, it’s ideal to direct sow in July or August. If you’re growing lettuce in hot weather, this is where it shines.

Starting from transplants

If you don’t have the time or patience for starting seeds, you can always just grab a seedling from the nursery. It’s a popular cultivar and you can likely find it at any nursery during the springtime.

Buy a few (or a dozen) and bring them home. Inspect for pests or quarantine if you have other veggies in your garden. Loosen the soil in your plot and work in some compost.

Uproot each lettuce gently by tilting the pot and then digging it out. Use your eyes and measure the depth of lettuce and dig the same depth in your soil.

So you basically want to replicate the same depth as the original container when you move it into your yard. Transplant each plant. Firm it up with soil so it stays in place. If you have multiple Batavian lettuces, space each one 8 inches apart.

Then give you soil a good watering to establish water pathways. Be careful not to disturb the soil around the plant when you water.

Keep the soil moist, but never wet. If it’s wet, it can lead to rot or fungus. You’ll have to dispose of your lettuce because it’s rotten, so avoid at all costs.

How to grow Batavia lettuce

Batavia lettuce growing in the garden.
Batavia lettuce has those signature, crinkled greens for sweet, tender taste.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your lettuce. Depending on your local climate, care needs will vary slightly.

But it should be suitable for most Batavia lettuce cultivars. If you have questions, you can post them at the end of this care sheet.

Since these veggies don’t care about the cold, it makes it easier to grow them in cooler zones. That’s the main benefit- if you’re in a lower zone, you may be able to grow this lettuce without worrying about the cold.

Hardiness zone

Batavia can be planted in USDA hardiness zones 2-11. It can tolerate cooler temps more so than warmer temps.

If you’re in a cooler zone and you want salad in the winter, this is for you. Warmer zones can do fine too, but watch out for bolting.

Get a different strain if you’re in zone 10 or higher so you can minimize it. There are some cultivars that are resistant to bolting.

Overall, this is one of the ideal salad greens to grow in warmer zones because of its warm temperature tolerance. Other greens will bolt much quicker compared to it.


Batavian lettuce loves loose, well draining, nutrient dense soils. Mix in 1⁄3 organic compost to help improve drainage.

The soil should have water retaining features, which you can find in most standard soils. Mix it well so it’s nicely tilled and then loosen it up by using a tiller or by hand. Use organic soils if possible. Nutrient dense soils will help you reduce the need for fertilizer later on.


This lettuce prefers an acidic soil, with a pH range between 6.0-6.8.

If your soil is neutral or alkaline, you can buy soil amendments to help bring the pH down and make it more acidic.

The soil acidity will affect the flavor and texture of your heads.


When starting from seed, you can plant each seed ¼ inch deep with a light layer of soil on top. Or you can scatter sow if you want that random, fuller looking plot.

Gently push each seed to firmly hold it in place.

If growing from a pre grown seedling, plant at the same depth as the original pot.


Space each plant 8” from one another to minimize competition for nutrients. This also gives the plants plenty of room to grow their leaves and heads.

Don’t place them too close together or else they may choke on the humidity if the water doesn’t evaporate quickly enough.


The temperature is the most important factor in determining the quality of your lettuce leaves.

You’ll need at least 2 months of time for it to grow, which gives you around 60 days for it to develop those tasty, crisp leaves.

The temp during this time must be right under 70F. If it’s too hot, you’ll get smaller yield, yellow or browning foliage, or poor quality taste/texture.

There are some strains that are heart tolerant and won’t bolt up to the 80s, so look for those if you’re in a higher hardiness zone.

While they do prefer the cold, the lowest they can tolerate is 20F. Once temps dip below the 20s, it won’t be able to handle it.

For most parts of the US, that’s not a problem. They can handle a brief dip in temp too. You can even put a layer of mulch around the soil to help insulate the roots, or move them indoors or into a greenhouse if you have them potted.

This is why they’re commonly grown as a winter crop in temperate areas of the US. Warmer zones will have no issues if it doesn’t get too hot because it’s somewhat bolt-resistant.

For warmer regions, they’re the perfect choice because of their wide temperature range tolerance. Ideally, 60-70F is preferred.


Similar to Ice Queen or Iceberg lettuces, Batavia likes moderate to high humidity. You can up the humidity by watering it regularly or spritzing it when it’s dry outside.

If you keep the soil moist between watering sessions, the humidity should be nothing to worry about. Aim for levels of at least 50% or higher if you’re using a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels.


Plant the lettuce head in full sun. If the sun is too strong in your zone, you can get away with partial sun. In temperate zones, full sun in the morning is ideal.

Too much sunlight will scorch the leaves and dry them out, which will make them too crispy or turn brown. If you notice this, set up some artificial shade or plant with taller veggies.


Keep the soil moist at all times. Do not let it dry out between watering sessions. Their roots are very shallow, so you should water whenever the surface feels near dry.

That’s a good indicator of how their roots are feeling. Use a soil moisture prong to see the exact soil saturation if you’re not sure. Drip irrigation also works perfectly for slow drip watering.

Plant food

Batavian lettuce needs no additional plant food or fertilizer if the soil is well fed.

This is why you need to use high quality soil with plenty of nutrients and 30% compost when you start.

If your soil is lacking nutrients, your lettuce will be small or have poor quality leaves. If this is the case, you can supplement with some 5-5-5 or 3-3-4 NPK general fertilizer. Use as directed.


Be sure to regularly pull weeds that are within 1 foot of your lettuce.

These weeds will compete for nutrients against your lettuce. Weeds will win every time, so don’t let them.

Pull them as soon as you see them. They’ll sap the nutrients out of the soil which can lead to smaller yields or poor quality heads. They can also bring pests or pathogens into the plot.


If it’s especially cold outside, you can add a 3” layer of mulch around the base of the soil. This can help insulate it from cold storms.

But for most people, even as low as zone 2, you should be fine without mulch. That’s why people like this lettuce. It’s one of the few that can be grown as a winter harvest green.


Pruning is not necessary for this plant.

Just cut the foliage and use it as you need. Unless the leaves are yellow or browning, leave them on. The leaves should be harvested regularly to prevent crowding.


This lettuce needs no maintenance other than regular watering. Harvest on time and feed if your soil is poor quality and has no nutrients. Remove yellowing or browning leaves.


Batavia lettuce head.
Look at those crispy greens ready to eat!

You’ll need to repot if you’re growing in a tiny container.

For starters, growing it in 3” potters is OK.

But when the roots start climbing out or hitting the edges of the pot, you’ll need to transplant it to a larger pot in order to maximize your yield. It’s easy though- just get a pot that’s at least 5” in width.

The depth doesn’t matter because Batavia has shallow roots.

Gently uproot it then replant it in the larger pot. Use a terra cotta or porous materials so it can insulate the plant more efficiently than plastic.


Picking Batavian lettuce is easy. Use a pair of sterilized clippers and cut the base of the plant- a few inches above the soil line.

It should be ready to harvest right around the 60 day mark if conditions are ideal. You can use it as a whole head or just pick the greens.

Baby greens or microgreens are also possible. Or you can just cut it as needed for salads or wraps. Cut from the outside in.


Batavian lettuce can be stored in a cotton cloth into the crisper drawer. It’ll stay fresh for up to 5 days. Otherwise, use immediately for best taste. Don’t pick unless you have to to keep them fresh.


This veggie needs no special care in the winter. It can tolerate temperatures down to the 30F range with no issue.

If you’re expecting a cold front, then bring it inside if potted or mulch it with 3” of organic mulch around the base. You can also use plant covers or wraps to keep it warm.

Companion plants

Batavian lettuce can be planted with other vegetables in harmony.

Some popular companion plants that go well with this lettuce include:

  • Cilantro
  • Parsnips
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Calendula
  • Carrots
  • Nasturtiums
  • Alliums
  • Garlic
  • Onion

Don’t plant with

Whatever you do, avoid planting lettuce with brassicas.

These include cauliflower, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, fennel, etc. They don’t play well together.

Container growing

Batavia can be grown in pots if you want the portability of moving it around. It’s extra handy when you can bring it indoors during cold snaps or heat waves- the convenience is worth it.

To container plant, choose something that’s stone, terra cotta, or ceramic. Don’t use plastics because they don’t retain heat well.

Use a pot that’s at least 5” wide and 3” depth. It should have drainage holes (at least 2) in case one gets clogged. Upgrade when it becomes root bound to the edges of the pot.

Growing indoors

Batavian lettuce can be grown indoors, but it should be relatively cool for it to do well. If it’s too warm, it’ll bolt.

So think of places like your garage where the temperatures match the outside in the wintertime. It also needs sunlight, so it’ll be hard to get it cold at night while supplying enough light in the day.

But if you have a garage with a big window, you can do it.


Batavian lettuce is pretty hardy to most pests, so that’s nice. But there are a handful of bugs that can make their way into the lettuce and do some damage. Namely bugs like snails, caterpillars, beetles, spiders, fungus gnats, spider mites, etc.

You’ll also deal with the common aphid.

Crickets will also eat or nest in it, especially if it’s rotting.

There are some wildlife that you need to watch out for. Deer, rabbits, voles and other invertebrates will munch on those precious leaves.

If you see torn leaves, holes in the foliage, or damaged heads, it can be due to these buggers.

Get rid of them by manually removing them, setting up repellents, or using an insecticide that’s safe for use on vegetables. Don’t use any random insecticide. It must be approved for edibles only.


You’ll need to be careful if you spot downy mildew, root rot, leaf spot, damping off, lettuce mosaic virus, bottom rot, or fungal issues. This usually happens when it’s overwatered or has poor drainage.

You can improve the situation by using a well draining soil, harvesting on time, and using organic fungicides. Keep it dry. Never overwater. Let it evaporate so it doesn’t pool.

This is why using a well draining substrate is critical. If you put them too close together, it also affects how quickly the water evaporates.

Some cultivars are resistant to these pathogens, so if it’s a problem for you, consider looking into them.


Because it’s lettuce, it’s versatile!

Everything from your usual salads, soups, or side dishes. They’re all fair game!

You can use it in all the regular dishes where you use any other lettuce as a substitute. Some awesome recipes include

Batavia lettuce with radish salad or with hazelnut. You can use it as a salad ingredient or soup complement.

Batavia lettuce is commonly used in sandwiches, wraps, and soups. Chicken wraps are a good idea because the lettuce is thick.

Because of its resilience to falling apart, it’s a favorite lettuce wrap and hold your fillings firmly. It has crinkled, wavy leaves with a crisp texture and a sweet flavor.

Salads are the most popular choice by far- use the baby greens, or use the head in soups.

Further reading/references

Enjoy your Batavia grown at home!

Batavia lettuce wraps.
Use lettuce to create the ultimate wraps!

These broad-leaf beauties are exception for zones with stubbornly hot temperatures.

With its versatility, hardy nature, easy substation, and ease of care, Batavia is a good choice to add to your garden.

How do you plan to use it? Leave a comment and let me know! Please let me know your feedback on my care sheet too!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *