If you think lettuce is a boring vegetable, think again. While plain leafy greens might be the first thing that comes to mind, there’s a lettuce variety that might surprise you.
Four Seasons Lettuce is so beautiful and delicious you won’t have a hard time getting enough leafy greens in your diet.
Keep reading to learn all about this stunning variety of lettuce, how to grow it, where to find it, and what makes it so special.
Characteristics of Four Seasons Lettuce
Four Seasons Lettuce is a butterhead or bibb variety that forms a loose head.
The characteristic leaves start pale green at the base and cycle through gold and bronze before ending in a gorgeous purple-red.
What makes it really special is that it can survive in almost any climate, all year long, and the leaves will still be crisp and crunchy. This is where it gets the name “four seasons,” because it can grow in just about any season of the year. That makes this lettuce a very popular choice among home gardeners.
The leaf colors can change depending on current temperatures, so no two heads will look exactly the same.
Heads are 8 to 12 inches across and up to 20 inches tall at maturity.
The most common type of Four Seasons Lettuce is the Marvel of Four Seasons, or Merveille Des Quatre Saisons. This is a French heirloom variety from the 1800s that has the same color palette, but he leaves curl and crinkle into rosettes.
What Does it Taste Like?
Four Seasons Lettuce has a mild and sweet flavor. The leaves are both tender and crisp.
If it’s watered well, this lettuce won’t start to take on a bitter flavor as it matures the way other lettuces do, especially red varieties.
However, some people prefer a little bit of bitterness in their greens, making this lettuce perfect for everyone.
Delicious Ways to Use Four Seasons Lettuce
Because Four Seasons Lettuce is so pretty, it makes a stunning and colorful salad.
Once you add your favorite toppings you’ll have a full rainbow in one dish. The flavor of this lettuce pairs nicely with ingredients like bleu cheese, avocado, bacon, and the homemade dressing of your choice.
Because it holds up well itself, you can go with milder salad ingredients or stronger flavors. It doesn’t have to just be a backdrop for everything else.
Four Seasons Lettuce also adds color and crunch to sandwiches, wraps, and burgers.
Growing Four Seasons Lettuce
Growing this type of lettuce in your backyard garden is a lot of reward without a lot of work.
It’s a very forgiving variety that does well in many different climate zones and throughout the year. That means you don’t have to stress about timing it perfectly and you can plant at several different times to have a crop ready to harvest whenever you want.
Four Seasons Lettuce is an annual, so it will need to be replanted each year.
It matures in about 60 days and is very hardy with both head and cold tolerance.
Plant in an area that either receives full sun or has partial shade. You can even plant taller companion plants nearby to create shady spots if you don’t have any already.
It’s best to start around mid-February through late March and transplant at the end of March to early May, depending on your climate. Keep the soil cool until the seeds have germinated or they may go dormant.
This lettuce does well started inside so the soil temperature can be controlled and seedlings are strong when they go outside. Harden them off before you transplant them by gradually lowering the amount of water they get and the ambient temperature over a few days.
You can start the seeds outside, but wait until late March through late April. That way you hit the sweet spot of soil that isn’t frozen but hasn’t yet warmed up too much.
If your weather gets very hot, opt for a spot with partial shade rather than full sun.
Space each plant 8 to 10 inches apart with rows 12 to 18 inches apart.
Make sure you add a balanced fertilizer to your soil for extra nutrients and water your Four Seasons Lettuce moderately. Weed regularly so no other plants are taking nutrition away from your crop.
To help ward off pests, plant a trap crop like cilantro nearby.
This variety of lettuce also grows well indoors or in a greenhouse as it doesn’t need a huge amount of space.
Once your plants have reached maturity it’s time to harvest and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Harvesting every other head of Four Seasons Lettuce is a great way to leave extra space for the remaining heads and stagger your crop.
There are a few different harvesting options you can try:
- Pick off individual outer leaves as needed, leaving at least half so it can keep growing
- Cut an inch or so above the base of the lettuce with a sharp, clean knife to let it sprout new leaves
- Cut just above the roots with a sharp knife to harvest the entire plant
If you decide to pick the leaves from the outside, be sure to use them right away or they won’t stay fresh. Leaving the whole head intact will allow you to keep your lettuce in the refrigerator to use when you’re ready.
Where to Find Four Seasons Lettuce
Seeds and Seedlings
If you’re interested in growing your own Four Seasons Lettuce from seed, you can get seed packets from True Leaf Market that will give you beautiful lettuce.
The germination stage is often the most delicate. Head to your local nursery to look for started seedlings if you prefer to transplant them right away.
Fresh Four Seasons Lettuce
The next time you go grocery shopping, keep an eye out for the signature cranberry red color in the produce section.
If you can’t find Four Seasons Lettuce at the grocery store, stop by local farms and farmer’s markets. They may have it on their crop list or be interested in growing it next season.
You’ll Love Four Seasons Lettuce
You’re sure to be charmed by the rainbow of jewel tones and crisp flavor of Four Seasons Lettuce. It will make your garden and your table beautiful the way other varieties just can’t.
Check out our Lettuce page to learn about even more unique and delicious types of lettuce!