Lettuce ‘Little Leprechaun’ – Caring For Little Leprechaun Lettuce Plants

By: Amy Grant

Tired of the rather lackluster, monochrome green Romaine lettuce? Try growing Little Leprechaun lettuce plants. Read on to learn about Little Leprechaun care in the garden.

About Lettuce ‘Little Leprechaun’

Little Leprechaun lettuce plants sport gorgeous variegated leaves of forest green tipped with burgundy. This type of lettuce is a Romaine, or cos lettuce, that is similar to Winter Density with a sweet core and crispy leaves.

Little Leprechaun lettuce grows to between 6-12 inches (15-30 cm.) in height with Romaine’s stereotypical upright, slightly ruffled leaves.

How to Grow Little Leprechaun Lettuce Plants

Little Leprechaun is ready to harvest about 75 days from sowing. Seeds can be started from March to August. Sow seeds 4-6 weeks prior to the last frost date for your area. Plant the seeds ¼ inch (6 mm.) deep in moist medium in an area with temperatures at least 65 F. (18 C.).

When the seeds get their first set of leaves, thin them to 8-12 inches (20-30 cm.) apart. When thinning, cut the seedlings with scissors so you don’t disturb the roots of adjacent seedlings. Keep the seedlings moist.

Transplant the seedlings to a sunny locale in a raised bed or container with fertile, moist soil after all danger of frost has passed.

Little Leprechaun Plant Care

The soil should be kept moist, not sodden. Protect the lettuce from slugs, snails and rabbits.

To extend the harvest season, plant successive plantings. As with all lettuce, Little Leprechaun will bolt as summer temperatures rise.

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Butterhead (Buttercrunch) Lettuce Plant Profile

The Spruce / Randi Rhoades

Although the names "butterhead" and "buttercrunch" are sometimes used interchangeably, 'buttercrunch' is actually one variety that fits in the larger category known as butterhead lettuces. These lettuces feature small, loosely formed leaf heads and a notably smooth flavor. In most ways, butterhead and buttercrunch are identical plants, though the buttercrunch variety is known to be somewhat more tolerant of heat.

As far as leaf lettuce varieties go, these lettuces set the standard for melt-in-your-mouth flavor and texture. Seeds are quick to germinate, plants are slow to bolt, and the taste is sweet, mild, and complex. Gardeners looking to get into vegetable gardening for the first time couldn't choose an easier or more productive plant to get into the hobby, as butterhead lettuce tolerates a wide variety of growing conditions, and continue to grow new leaves as you harvest.

Butterhead lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. capitata), including the buttercrunch variety, form loose but distinct heads. Both Boston lettuce and Bibb lettuce are also considered forms of butterhead. Boston lettuce has a small, round, looser head, while Bibb lettuce has as a tighter, smaller, fist-sized head.

Butterhead lettuce takes about 45 days to mature from seed. It is normally planted in the spring, and sometimes again in the early fall for harvest in late fall or early winter.

Botanical Name Lactuca sativa var. capitata
Common Name Butterhead lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce
Plant Type Annual vegetable
Mature Size 9–15 in. tall
Sun Exposure Full sun to part shade
Soil Type Average to rich
Soil pH Slightly acidic to neutral ( 6.0–7.0)
Hardiness Zones 2–11 (USDA) grown as annual in all zones
Native Area Mediterranean basin
Toxicity Non-toxic

Little Leprechaun Lettuce Care: Learn About Growing Little Leprechaun Lettuce - garden

Botanical name

Lactuca sativa 'Little Leprechaun'

Other names

Lettuce 'Little Leprechaun', Semi-cos lettuce 'Little Leprechaun', Romaine lettuce 'Little Leprechaun', Red-leaved romaine lettuce 'Little Leprechaun'


Variety or Cultivar

'Little Leprechaun' _ 'Little Leprechaun' is a hardy annual widely cultivated as a cool-season, salad leaf crop forming a compact, upright, dense rosette of edible, maroon- to bronze-flushed, dark green leaves ready for harvest ten to fourteen weeks after sowing.

Lactuca sativa 'Little Leprechaun' is: Deciduous



RHS AGM (Award of Garden Merit)


Flushed bronze, Dark-green, Flushed purple in Spring Flushed purple, Dark-green, Flushed bronze in Summer Flushed purple, Dark-green, Flushed bronze in Autumn

Watch out for

Specific pests

Birds , Cutworms , Lettuce root maggot , Root aphid , Root knot eelworm , Slugs , Snails Birds , Cutworms , Lettuce root maggot , Root aphid , Root knot eelworm , Slugs , Snails

Grey mould , Lettuce downy mildew , Mosaic virus , Ring spot Grey mould , Lettuce downy mildew , Mosaic virus , Ring spot

General care


Harvest outer leaves, the inner leaves will continue to grow.


Sow in spring for a summer harvest and in late summer for a spring harvest. Can be started under glass. Sow thinly in drills 13mm deep, 30cm apart. Thin plants to 10cm apart.

Propagation methods

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How to Harvest Lettuce

You don’t have to worry about how to pick lettuce – it’s one of the simplest vegetables to harvest. Most lettuce can be harvested between 30 to 70 days after planting. When to harvest lettuce depends on the variety and what it will be used for. Really, timing is based on individual preference. Once your lettuce reaches the size you want, it’s ready! Harvesting lettuce in the morning gives you the best flavor.

Knowing how to harvest leaf lettuce is easy. You can either cut the entire bundle off at ground level, or you can remove just a few leaves at a time. Romaine, butterhead and head lettuce are easily cut off near ground level. If you harvest every other lettuce plant, you give the remaining plants room to continue growing.

Want To Learn More About Growing Romaine Lettuce?

Check out this page to learn more about other leafy greens. Or use our search bar to navigate the website for more valuable information on gardening.

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Check out these helpful resources:

Romaine Lettuce, a PDF from University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
Home Garden Lettuce, from NC Cooperative Extension

Watch the video: Now Sowing: Peas, Potatoes + Greens Galore!

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