Saturday Spotlight: Red Sails Lettuce

This is the latest in a series of posts that I’ve done about my favorite varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs we grow at Happy Acres. To see my other Spotlights, and those from other garden bloggers, visit the Variety Spotlights page.

Lettuce is an easy, quick growing vegetable that is popular with many home gardeners, including me. I almost always have a few lettuce plants growing, sometimes more than a few. Though lettuce thrives in the cooler growing conditions of spring and fall, there are types and varieties to grow for any season. Red Sails is one leaf lettuce variety that is truly good for all seasons.

Red Sails lettuce

Red Sails lettuce

Red Sails was an All America Selections winner in 1985. AAS winners are grown in trial gardens all over the U.S. and therefore must be able to perform well under a wide variety of growing conditions. I’ve been growing Red Sails for many years now, and it always does well for me. It’s one of a number of other AAS winners that I grow every year, including Juliet tomato, Fairy Tale eggplant, Gold Nugget winter squash and Holy Mole pepper. The seed for Red Sails is widely available from a number of sources.

head of Red Sails lettuce

head of Red Sails lettuce

I mentioned that Red Sails is a lettuce for all seasons, and last year proved that to me once again. Our November weather was much colder than normal, with temperatures dropping below freezing for 14 days that month. One night it got down to 9°F for a low, and the Red Sails plants protected by a cold frame survived all that and resumed growing in December when temperatures returned to normal. Red Sails also can take the heat, staying crisp and sweet without becoming bitter or bolting to seed.

mature leaf of Red Sails lettuce

mature leaf of Red Sails lettuce

The color of Red Sails varies with the amount of sunlight it receives, with more sun making for redder leaves. Individual leaves are reddish bronze near the edges, and more green near the center of the plant. The ruffled leaves can be harvested at any stage from baby leaves on up to full-sized.

Red Sails lettuce planted next to basil

Red Sails lettuce planted next to basil

If you are looking for a tasty and easy to grow leaf lettuce, you might consider trying Red Sails in your garden this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed this Saturday Spotlight, and I’ll be back soon with another variety. Until then, Happy Growing from Happy Acres!


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4 Responses to Saturday Spotlight: Red Sails Lettuce

  1. Michelle says:

    That is an impressive lettuce, bouncing back from 9°! And it’s pretty too. I would give it a try but for the fact that my Dave turns his nose up at leaf lettuce. But I guess I could grow it for myself…

  2. Daphne says:

    Red Sails has always been in my garden. I don’t remember a time when it wasn’t. Once they came out with an improved version and I tried it and went back to the old reliable one.

  3. Margaret says:

    Great spotlight! I definitely want to try more varieties of lettuce and you have convinced me to give this one a go….I’ve added it to my list for this summer.

  4. Dave's SFG says:

    Red Sails is a favorite of mine. I tried New Red Fire but will be going back to Red Sails this year.

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