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Green Ice Lettuce: How to Plant, Grow, and Eat These Delicious Greens

Developed in the 1960s by W. Atlee Burpee & Co., Green Ice lettuce is a versatile variety that combines the satisfying crunch of a crisphead lettuce with the attractive appearance of a looseleaf lettuce.

Green Ice Lettuce

Green Ice lettuce is a top performer in the home garden, ready for harvest just six weeks after planting, and continuing to produce through most of the summer. Read on for more about Green Ice lettuce, from growing it in your backyard to integrating it into your diet.

Characteristics of Green Ice Lettuce

With its curled, deep green leaves, Green Ice lettuce is among the earliest lettuces to mature in the home garden. As an added bonus, it tolerates heat very well, meaning that with plantings spaced out early in the season, you’ll have fresh lettuce available well into the summer.

You can expect the heads of this lettuce to reach as far as nine inches across, and the tightly packed leaves ensure an abundant harvest.

How to Use Green Ice Lettuce

If you want to make your salads and sandwiches something special, Green Ice lettuce is the way to do it. Its sweet crispness adds a flavorful and pleasing crunch to anything in which it is used, and also provides some visual appeal on the lunch or dinner plate.

Health Benefits of Green Ice Lettuce

Lettuce, including the Green Ice variety, is rich in health benefits. It is, of course, an excellent source of dietary fiber, but it also provides an array of vitamins — A, C, K and B6, in particular — and nutrients including iron and potassium.

Green Ice Lettuce

Another important nutritional benefit of lettuce, including Green Ice, is that because it is consumed in its raw state, micronutrients that are difficult to find in cooked items are available to your body.

Growing Your Own Green Ice Lettuce

The good news about growing your own Green Ice lettuce is that it reaches maturity in just 45 days, meaning you won’t have to wait too long to harvest it and start using it to jazz up your meals.

For gardening success with Green Ice lettuce, wait until the soil temperature reaches at least 50 degrees.

Your lettuce will need really fertile soil for best results, so before planting, work some compost or some older manure into the soil.

Keep Watch on Planting Depth and Moisture

Be particularly careful about the depth at which you place your Green Ice lettuce seeds. Lettuce seeds need some light for germination, and should be planted from 1/8-inch deep to no deeper than 1/4-inch.

Keep the soil moist during germination, and continue to provide water to your lettuce as the growing season progresses. Mulching your lettuce plot can help retain moisture.

Growing Green Ice Lettuce

Starting Green Ice Lettuce Indoors

If you like, you can start your Green Ice lettuce growing indoors. Plan to get your seeds into pots or planting cells about a month before transferring them outdoors, and keep the soil temperature in your indoor growing area between 60 and 70 degrees.

When you place your plants outdoors, space them eight to 12 inches apart. If you have more than one row, place the rows a foot apart.

Pests and Diseases

Aphids and caterpillars and thrips, oh my! And those aren’t the only pests that lettuce, including Green Ice, might face in your garden. You’ll also need to be on the lookout for leaf miners, beetles, slugs and snails.

In general, mulching around your lettuce plants can help in controlling many pests, as can ensuring that your lettuce plot is free of vegetative debris and weeds.

If you do need to employ other means of controlling pests in your Green Ice lettuce, a natural compound called Azadirachtin, available from, can help control aphids and caterpillars.

Another line of defense against caterpillars is the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, also available at The insecticide Spinosad, which you can find at Hoss Tools, can be effective against leaf miners.

In addition to pests, Green Ice lettuce is subject to a number of diseases, including bacterial leaf spot, bottom rot, downy mildew, lettuce mosaic virus and “damping off.”

Bacterial Leaf Spot

Bacterial leaf spot shows up on mature lettuce, and is marked by black discoloration on outer leaves. One way to prevent bacterial leaf spot is to apply a copper fungicide early in the growing season. Otherwise, remove any affected leaves and dispose of them far away from your garden plot.

Lettuce with Leaf Spot

Bottom Rot

Bottom rot occurs when outer lettuce leaves come into contact with the fungus that causes the disease. Removing affected leaves may help stop bottom rot, but isn’t a guarantee. As a preventive measure, mounding the soil around individual plants may prevent bottom rot.

Downy Mildew

Downy mildew shows up as yellow or brown spots on the tops of lettuce leaves, with a fluffy-appearing mold on the underside. As with other lettuce disease, removing and destroying infected leaves can help control downy mildew, but the best strategy is to space your plants far enough apart that it can’t spread.

Lettuce Mosaic Virus

Appearing as bleach-like spots and causing ragged leaves, lettuce mosaic virus is a common disease. There is no cure for lettuce mosaic virus, but it can be prevented by diligent weeding of the lettuce patch and controlling aphids, which spread the disease.

Damping Off

Caused by fungi that thrive in a cool and wet environment, damping off most frequently affects young lettuce seedlings. Interestingly, one way to prevent damping off is to sprinkle ground cinnamon, a natural fungicide, on your lettuce plot.

Where to Buy Green Ice Lettuce Seeds

Green Ice lettuce seeds are widely available, and can be ordered online from True Leaf Market and Amazon. And, as always, you can check your local nursery, garden supply or home supply stores to track down seeds.

Wrapping Up Everything You Need to Know About Green Ice Lettuce

We hope this post has provided you with the information you’ll need to grow your own Green Ice lettuce, and with some idea of its nutritional benefits. Check our my lettuce page to learn more about all kinds of lettuce!