Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson

An old time favorite, the Heirloom Black-Seeded Simpson is considered by many to be the #1 leaf lettuce variety. This variety is among the easiest of the leaf lettuce cultivars to grow, and it produces strong yields from seed. In addition to its delicious and complex taste, it is also a steady grower even in warmer climates.

black-seeded-simpson-lettuce_200x200 Plant Info:

  • Botanical Name: Lactuca sativa “Black Seeded Simpson”
  • Other Common Name(s): “Black Simpson”, “Simpson”
  • Color: Green
  • Type: Leaf
  • Days to Maturity / Harvest: 40 – 50 Days
  • Sun / Shade: Sun
  • Hardiness Zones: All

These lettuce seeds are very fine. You can plant these seeds in a row, or broadcast them over an area. When planting in rows, thin to 6″ apart, in rows 12-18″ apart. Cover the seeds with a very fine layer of loose soil or starting mixture. Water lightly after planting.

Tip: Some people sprinkle the seeds on top of a fine soil, and just water them in.

Black Seeded Simpson is not a candidate for transplanting. Sow seeds directly in your garden. They also grow well in an outdoor container on your patio or deck. When it comes time to harvest, just step outside your door and snip as many leaves as you need.

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce likes cool weather and lots of moisture. Grow lettuce plants in full sun, in rich, well drained soil. Liquid fertilizer works well. Weed once or twice early n their growth cycle. Without competing with weeds, the the plants will grow better, and it makes harvesting easier.  Plant successive crops for a constant supply Black Seeded Simpson lettuce. Plant small sections in your garden every couple of weeks.


Pick Black Seeded Simpson lettuce as soon as it is big enough to use. We recommend harvesting with a clean, sharp scissors. The plant will re-grow. But, after a while, it’s good to have a vigorous new patch to harvest from.


Bunnies like all kinds of lettuce. Got bunnies!? Then, a rabbit fence is in your future.

Despite a short, fast growth cycle, a variety of insects like Black Seeded Simpson lettuce. We recommend you avoid any insecticides on leaf lettuces.

Slugs are a real problem for all types of lettuces. There are a variety of control methods. More on Slugs and snails.


Black Seeded Simpson lettuce grows quickly, and has a short life span. Disease problems are few, except in wet weather. In hot weather, they can get bitter, and they can rot.


Like other lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce thrives in cooler weather, with moderate moisture. It is not fond of mid-summer heat, or dry conditions. Many gardeners will plant a crop for spring and early summer harvest, leaving the mid summer months to the tomatoes and the corn. Then, as the late summer heat begins to wane, they plant a new lettuce crop for a fall harvest.

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