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Stem Lettuce

Stem Lettuce

An oriental lettuce variety, also known as celtuce or Chinese Lettuce. It's got a firm stem with a green center. Looks like a cucumber. The whole stem is edible and has a delicious nutty flavor. The young leaves are nice in salads, the older ones are best stir-fried.
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Sowing time: April - June Height: 60 cm Contents: 0.5 grams

More info

Stem Lettuce

Stem Lettuce is an amazing Oriental lettuce variety. You grow it for the juicy stem, but the leaves are good too. Unlike your usually bushy lettuces, this one grows straight up like a palm tree. 
  • Species name: Asparagus lettuce Celtuse 
  • Family: Leaf 
  • Plants per square patch:
  • Height: 40 to 60 cm 
  • Sowing time: April - June 
  • Sowing depth: 1 cm 
  • Germination: 6 - 18°C in 7-14 days. Won’t germinate above 20°C 
  • Time to harvest: Leaf after 5 weeks, Stem 8 - 10 weeks. 
  • Sunlight: Can grow in sun and semi-shade
Want to buy Stem Lettuce seeds? We sell seed bags separately, or, you can get them as part of a seed pack: 

What's so special about Stem Lettuce?

This fun lettuce variety looks like Cos Lettuce at first. But, once you harvest the lower leaves, the plant produces a sturdy stalk that keeps on growing. The more you pick the leaves, the more it looks like a palm tree. 
The leaves are tougher and more bitter than than head lettuce, but that makes them great in a stew or stir-fry. 

Sowing and growing

Growing Stem Lettuce is simple: sow, grow and harvest :-). Two plants fit in one square patch. 

Stem Lettuce grows best in cooler summers. So if it's hot, give them some shade - especially in the afternoon sun.
Pests and diseases pretty much won't be a problem for Stem Lettuce. But watch out for snails in those first weeks: they do like the young plants. 
You can start harvesting the leaves after 5 weeks or so. Harvest the stem when it's about 5 cm in diameter. Don’t leave it too long: it can get tough, dry, and sometimes even hollow. 
Sow Stem Lettuce several times a year to harvest continually. 
Extra info: You can grow Stem Lettuce in early March under glass or in a cold greenhouse. Not on the windowsill, that’s too hot. You can also grow them in August in a cold green house.
Step-by-step sowing and growing instructions are in the Planty Gardening app.  

How do you use it?

Young Stem Lettuce leaves are nice in salads. Slightly older leaves are best in soups, stews, or stir-fries. 
But: you grow this lettuce mainly for the stalks. Harvest them when they are 25 - 45 cm tall and 3 to 5 cm thick. Peel and eat them as raw vegetables for a nutty taste. 
Add the cooked stems to a stew or stir-fry: delicious! 

When cooked the stems look kind of like asparagus. (That's why it's sometimes called Asparagus Lettuce).