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Cut or pick lettuce cannot be assigned to a specific type of lettuce, but many green lettuce can be cultivated as cut or pick lettuce. The advantage here is that not all of the lettuce is removed from the bed, but only a certain number of individual leaves that are needed in the kitchen at the time. The cut lettuce is cut all over directly above the ground and grows back. In this way, a single lettuce plant can be harvested again and again for weeks.

Lettuce Varieties

Different sorts

Pick or cut lettuce is not a separate variety. Many so-called lettuce can be cultivated and harvested in this way. This group includes all lettuce that does not have a head, as is the case with lettuce or iceberg lettuce, for example. The main advantage of leaf salads that can be picked is that there is always a large variety of varieties on the plate. Because if different, different flavors are cultivated, for example on the balcony or in the garden bed, then they can all be mixed together at the same time to create a tasty salad dish. The advantage here is that they can all be grown together in one bed. Varieties that can be cultivated for pick and cut lettuce include the following.

  • oak leaf
  • deer tongue
  • Lollo Bionda
  • Lollo rosso
  • Australian Yellow
  • American brown
Lollo rossa, lollo rosso, cut lettuce

pick lettuce

Harvesting of lettuce

The special feature of harvesting lettuce is, above all, that the lettuce plant is not removed from the ground in its entirety. Only individual, well-developed leaves are removed here and only in the required quantity. This allows the rest of the lettuce plant to continue growing and forms new leaves again. However, care must be taken not to damage the tender center, otherwise the lettuce plant may stop growing new leaves. When picking, you should therefore proceed as follows.


  • Remove outer, strong leaves
  • these can be cut off
  • you can also cancel here
  • the lettuce plants are tender, no force is needed
  • only pick as much as is needed
  • leave so-called rushes in the middle
Lactuca sativa var. crispa, white lettuce, cut lettuce, pick lettuce

The advantage of picking lettuce is that only as much of the plant is taken as is needed. There are no leftovers that may have to be disposed of in the garbage afterwards. Ideally, hobby gardeners harvest the tender leaves of the lettuce by hand. Because you should proceed with great caution here so that the plants are not injured and then, in the worst case, no longer form new leaves.

Lactuca sativa var. crispa, Lollo rossa, Lollo Rosso, cut lettuce, pick lettuce

harvest time

Harvest time of pick-lettuces

A specific point in time for harvesting the cut and picked lettuce cannot be given, as this depends on the sowing. The early varieties, which can be placed in the bed from mid-May, are ready to harvest from June. Since not all of the lettuce is removed from the bed during the harvest season, it can be used for around six weeks. But at the latest before the lettuce plant shoots or shoots, i.e. forms flowers, it should be harvested in its entirety. After that, the leaves become bitter and are no longer edible. Of course, hobby gardeners can also harvest the lettuce whole right from the start, but this makes little sense because the leaves keep growing back for several weeks. Later varieties, on the other hand, are not sown directly into the bed until June and July and can then be harvested between August and October. So the following times are right to harvest the lettuce.

Valerianella locusta, lamb's lettuce
  • when the first outer leaves are large enough
  • on request every day
  • right before consumption
  • just before the lettuce threatens to shoot
  • then cut off the whole plant

cut lettuce

The special feature of cut lettuce is that the lettuce is harvested with one cut directly above the ground. However, the root remains in the ground, because after the first harvest a second plant forms from it, which can also be harvested in this way again. If you are very lucky, a third salad will form from the root remaining in the ground. As a rule, however, two lettuce can be harvested about four to six weeks apart from the cut lettuce. The lettuce is harvested in this way, especially for sale in markets or supermarkets, because it stays fresh longer and can therefore be harvested in advance.

Valerianella locusta, lamb's lettuce


Harvesting cut lettuce

There is no need to proceed with caution when harvesting cut lettuce as is the case with lettuce for picking. The lettuce is ready to harvest when the leaves are ten to twelve centimeters long, around six to seven weeks after sowing. The harvest is then proceeded as follows.

  • cut with a cut about two to three centimeters above the ground
  • the heart leaves must remain
  • this guarantees a second harvest
Lactuca sativa var. crispa, Lollo rossa, Lollo Rosso, cut lettuce, pick lettuce

If it is very hot or if the lettuce is in a very sunny place, bolting may occur prematurely. You should definitely pay attention to this, because otherwise the salad will be inedible because it will be bitter. However, consumption does not harm health.


If the lettuce is cut, a tool is required for this. This can be a small kitchen knife for the rather tender lettuce plants, but it should be sharp. The knife must also be clean to prevent bacteria from getting into the remaining stalk, which could prevent new leaves from forming. Therefore, disinfecting with pure alcohol from the pharmacy is recommended. If this dries completely after disinfection, then the alcohol will not be transferred to the lettuce plant.

Lactuca sativa var. crispa, white lettuce, cut lettuce, pick lettuce


Harvest as a cut lettuce or as a pick lettuce?

Cut and pick lettuce are the same types of leaf lettuce. But how these are harvested is crucial. The lettuce that is picked should not be harvested in advance. Because the tender leaves, such as those from Lollo Rosso or oak leaf lettuce, do not tolerate being left lying around for longer. Therefore, only as much of the leaves should be picked as are to be eaten. It is also important that the right time is chosen here, these should only be picked from the salads shortly before serving. The situation is different if the lettuce is cut directly above the root. In such a case, they have a longer shelf life and can also be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. Therefore, it should always be considered in advance whether the lettuce should be cut or picked.


  • if eating directly, only pick individual leaves
  • the lettuce lies longer after harvesting than harvesting cut lettuce
  • if the lettuce threatens to shoot, cut above the root
  • only a few quantities are needed, harvest as a pick lettuce
Lactuca sativa, lettuce

If the lettuce threatens to shoot, they should generally be harvested beforehand. If the lettuce is cut off directly above the root, as is usual with cut lettuce, new leaves may sprout, which can then be used again as lettuce in the kitchen until they threaten to ripen again. In this way, all lettuce cultivated in the garden can be harvested as it makes sense. A long harvest of always fresh salads throughout the summer can thus be guaranteed.

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