Summer Bibb Lettuce Care – How To Grow A Summer Bibb Lettuce Plant

Summer Bibb Lettuce Care – How To Grow A Summer Bibb Lettuce Plant

By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Lettuceis a vegetable garden staple, but it’s also a cool weather plant. What if youlive in a hot climate and want to grow lettuce? You need a variety that won’tbolt as soon as the temperatures rise. You need to grow Summer Bibb lettuceplants.

What is Summer Bibb Lettuce?

Summer Bibb is a butterhead lettuce variety, one of manytypes of lettuce known for loose heads of leaves, pretty, bright green colors,and a delicate texture and sweet, mild flavor. Butterhead leaves can be used insalads, but they’ll also stand up to light sautéing. Use the large, sturdyleaves to make wraps, or even through a wedge of a head on the grill.

With Summer Bibb you can enjoy lettuce in all these ways,even if you live in a warmer climate where lettuce is typically more difficultto grow. Lettucebolts in the heat, becoming unusable, but Summer Bibb will resist boltingand hold out over other butterhead varieties by about two or three weeks.

Because of this greater tolerance of heat, Summer Bibb isalso a good choice for growing in a greenhouse.

Growing Summer Bibb Lettuce in the Garden

As a cool weather vegetable, lettuce is a great crop to growin spring and fall. You can start seeds indoors and transplant seedlings tobeds outside, or if there is no risk of frost you can sow Bibb lettuce seedsright in the soil outside. The time to maturity for Summer Bibb is about 60days.

Sow your seeds or plant your transplants in soil that willdrain well and in a site that gets full sun. Keep individual plants about 12inches (30 cm.) apart so they have room to grow. Summer Bibb lettuce care iseasy from this point on.

Water regularly without letting the soil get soggy. You canharvest individual leaves or the entire heads as they mature.

For warmer climate lettuce, SummerBibb is hard to beat. You get a tasty, crisp, and attractive lettuce that won’tbold as easily as other varieties with similar properties. Plan around theweather and enjoy a long, continuous harvest of this delicious Bibb lettuce inyour garden.

This article was last updated on

How to Harvest Boston or Bibb Lettuce

Related Articles

Butterhead lettuce (Latuca sativa var. capitata), which includes Boston and Bibb lettuce, produces tender, sweet leaves on loosely formed heads. Boston lettuce features wide, light-green leaves suitable for salads and wraps. Bibb lettuce produces rose-tinged leaves that are smaller and more tender than Boston lettuce leaves. Both varieties take about 50 to 60 days after they are planted from seed to produce a mature head. Proper harvesting allows you to begin eating the lettuce earlier, and the plants may even produce a second head.

All lettuces belong to the daisy family Asteracea and grow best in the cool temperatures of early spring or fall. According to North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox, leaf and butterhead types of lettuce are more heat tolerant than head lettuce varieties, like romaine. All types of lettuce will withstand a light frost.

Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center recommends picking Bibb lettuce when the innermost leaves start to form a loose head. Picking Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves from the outside will allow the center of the plant to continue to grow, notes UC Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County, CA. Be sure to harvest butterhead lettuce before the plants begin to bolt and produce a seed stalk, as bolting will cause lettuce leaves to taste bitter.

Bibb Forcing Heirloom (Plant)

Butterhead / Boston / Bibb varieties have soft, loosely packed heads, very good flavor and buttery texture. They are fairly easy to grow and tolerate some heat. These varieties are quite popular in Europe, but have been increasing in popularity in the United States.


Lettuce will thrive in mild weather with consistent moisture. To extend the sowing season into hot weather, sow in light shade or erect a canopy of loosely woven shade cloth over the bed. The dark color develops best in cool weather.

Lettuce needs to grow quickly for best quality. This can only be done by giving the plants everything they need. Does best when planted in early spring or late summer. The young plants are vulnerable to weeds, so keep well weeded. Their roots are shallow so be careful with the hoe. Does best when planted in early spring or late summer. Lettuce likes full sun except in hot summer climates where it prefers some shade, especially in the afternoon. Add plenty of compost to the soil to encourage rapid growth. Water evenly and moderately to prevent bitterness.

When: Lettuce germinates quite well in cool (40˚ F) soil and will continue to do so until it gets up to 75˚ F (after this it gets erratic).

In hotter climates it doesn’t mind part shade (and may even benefit from it).

In cool climates Lettuce needs full sun.

Lettuce is largely composed of water and it responds to irrigation by giving a larger and better tasting harvest. If you think the plants might need water they probably do.

Lettuce has a weak root system and isn't a very efficient feeder, so the soil needs to be quite fertile. Its main requirement is for nitrogen, but it also needs moderate amounts of potassium and phosphorus.

Lettuce is fairly easy to grow in containers, either individually or as a cut-and-come-again crop.

Head lettuce does well when grown singly in individual containers, or in groups (space Bibb lettuce plants about 6 to 8" apart) in larger containers. Put plants in a cool place and keep them well watered.

Delicate juicy, buttery flavor.

Learn how to grow one of the easiest garden vegetables organically. Lettuce is a cool season crop that even the novice gardener can successfully grow. Tricia takes you from planting to harvesting fresh lettuce. Grow greens this way as well!

Copyright © 2019 Green Living Solution, Inc. Smart Gardener ® is a registered trademark of Green Living Solution, Inc. All rights reserved.


"Bibb" lettuce and other lettuce varieties are cool-season crops, grown and harvested in late winter and early spring before the weather warms or in fall for a late fall harvest. You can sow seeds in the ground as much as six weeks before the last frost date, if applicable in your area, or sow seeds indoors up to 10 weeks before the last expected frost. Plant a few seeds 1/4 inch deep, with each planting spaced 12 inches apart. Space each planting row at least 18 inches apart. After seedlings emerge, thin the plants to leave only one healthy plant for every 12 inches of growing space.

Downy Mildew

This fast growing fungus affects Brassicas, cucumbers, melons, peas and more. It may appear at any time of the season, but is most often a problem in humid areas, especially in cool (below 75 degrees F) wet weather (the spores need water to germinate and grow). It enters the plant through wounds and natural openings and first appears on older leaves, as white, yellow or brownish spots on the upper surfaces and downy grayish mold on the corresponding undersides (this eventually releases more spores). These spots eventually turn darker in color and the leaf dies. Because of the whitish patches of mildew it is sometimes confused with powdery mildew or gray mold. Remember that Downy Mildew appears down on the underside of the leaf, while powdery mildew is on top of the leaf too.

Control Downy Mildew by improving air circulation and keeping the leaves dry (if you must use overhead sprinklers then water early in the morning or evening, so plants don’t stay wet all night). Spores overwinter on crop debris, so clean up the beds in fall. Also rotate plants and remove any infected plants promptly. The spores can travel long distances on the wind, especially in moist air. Some varieties are resistant to downy mildew.

Image: Virginia Tech Learning Resources Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,

Learn how to grow one of the easiest garden vegetables organically. Lettuce is a cool season crop that even the novice gardener can successfully grow. Tricia takes you from planting to harvesting fresh lettuce. Grow greens this way as well!

Watch the video: How to Grow Lettuce