Perennial Lettuce?

April 8th, 2008

Perennial LettuceIt has been so nice getting out and gardening this past week now that weather has finally warmed up. You do not realize how much joy, or the sense of peace, it gives you until you get to flip that switch from being stuck inside to being able to go out.

Anyways, in inspecting my raised veggie bed I noticed two of these little plants growing where I had planted a mesclun lettuce mix last year. Obviously this is some type of edible leafy green, though I do not know which. What I find really, really, really, odd though is that the raised bed was entirely barren of living plants (as it should be after a hard winter) except two of this type, both looking pretty good. Obviously it had gotten frost bit at one point, but all told, I’m impressed.

I always thought all leafy greens were annuals, or otherwise would not survive a cold Michigan winter. And yet… there is the picture. I transplanted it as well as I was adding a whole new layer of compost to the bed, and so I can attest it has a fairly well developed root ball, ie it isn’t a recent sprout. It has to have been living atleast 3 or 4 months.

So, what do I have? And why is it doing so well? Does anyone know? It was a seed mix and I don’t recall seeing many/any of these plants back last fall and summer when I was harvesting, but it may have been hidden down below. Also, it could be that a few seeds of something got tossed in with the rest of the mix. I’m really quite curious. If indeed there is a type of lettuce that can handle extreme temperatures and still look this good I might just plant more of it.

12 Responses to “Perennial Lettuce?”

  1. Kristal L. Rosebrook  Says:

    They really have a vibrant color to them as well. Pretty in any garden.

    Kristal L. Rosebrook

  2. Ottawa Gardener  Says:

    Lettuce can self sow and as it is inbreeding, it will come back true. My theory is chicory though as that is a perennial.

  3. maggie  Says:

    What part of Michigan are you from? Michigan is known to have 4 to 5 different zones….very unique state for agriculture. My guess is it is a red chicory…maybe pollo rosa– which does over winter in parts of MI.

  4. Sue  Says:

    I have the same thing growing in my garden this spring—but it’s so bitter.

  5. leah  Says:

    in eastern Nebraska: my leaf lettuce is crazy this year, and even better than last year. It’s big and delicious. When it’s small it’s bitter, but let it grow for the best taste. It didn’t grow like this last year. I didn’t plant lettuce this year, the year before the previous owner of the house (and garden) must have planted it. I was surprised to see it again this year just like you. Perhaps all the snow we got insulated it much better and kept the ground warmer. I too have a raised bed.

  6. Susanna  Says:

    I found your blog while googling “perennial mesclun.” I had the same thing happen, and as Sue said above, mine were quite bitter. I went out of town for 2 weeks in late May/early June, and when I returned they had sent up spikes and were 4 ft. high! They have lots of “brances,” each with many flower buds, so I left them to see what would become of them. There were at least 8. I tried pulling one up, and it wouldn’t budge! This thing is practically a small tree!! Anyway, I saw today that one of them bloomed finally– one of the hundreds of buds I now have. And it’s a lavender flower… This is my garden mystery for the year. 🙂

  7. Susanna  Says:

    Also, I live in Lansing, MI. Maybe it’s a Michigan thing. 😉

  8. Katherine  Says:

    It’s Radicchio, it is a perennial. If you cut off the head leaving the root it grows back. It belongs to the chicory family, so if you like chicory in your coffee you can always dig it up dry the root and add it to your coffee.

  9. Ana  Says:

    You know, I noticed little red guys that looked like mini versions where my lettuce was SUPPOSED to grow last year but didn’t. I’m also in Michigan (Livingston County.)

  10. Rachael  Says:

    I have a raised bed in which I planted green leaf lettuce last summer and it has returned this year. I this typical?

  11. Jan  Says:

    I have 3 that have come back for 3 years!
    I live outside SEATTLE, WASHINGTON.
    They are big and beautiful!
    I will let 1 go to seed this yr and see what happens…

  12. Rosemarie Carroll  Says:

    I just went out into the garden and letticevZi planted last year is 4″ out of the soil….

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