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Butterhead lettuce 'Tom Thumb'  

Lactuca sativa var. capitata

  • 62 plantings
  • 14 available for swap
  • 8 wanted
  • 77 stashed

Tom Thumb is a popular variety of Butterhead lettuce, which belongs to the Lettuce genus (Lactuca sativa var. capitata 'Tom Thumb'). Tom Thumb is a variety of heirloom OP Butterhead lettuce . Leaves appear approximately as a   Grade 1 Paint Green colour.

Heirloom (1860s) butterhead type.1 Small, compact heads have medium green, crumpled outer leaves and buttery yellow inner leaves. Perfect for smaller servings. About 65 days from seed to harvest.


Sow in average soil in a sunny to partially shady location in early to mid-spring or late summer. In the deep South, Gulf and Pacific Coast areas of the US, sow from fall to early spring. In rows 1.5 feet apart, sow seeds thinly and cover with /14-1/2 inch of fine soil. Firm lightly. Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days depending on soil and weather conditions.


Thin seedlings to stand 6 inches apart when they are 1-2 inches tall. Harvest fully at 3-4" across.1


Garden hints: In dry weather, keep soil moist.

It is an Vegetable and is treated mainly as a Annual, This means that it grows best over the course of a single year. Tom Thumb normally grows with a clump-forming habit with a max height of 7.8 inches (that's 20.0 cm metric).

This variety plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Tom Thumb have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Tom Thumb

  • Partial Sun

  • High

Position in a partial sun location and remember to water often. Keep in mind when planting that Tom Thumb is thought of as tender, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside. Use USDA Hardiness Zone 4 - 9 as your guideline for the appropriate climate for this plant. Ensure your soil has a ph of between 6.2 and 6.8 as Tom Thumb is a weakly acidic soil loving plant.

Growing Tom Thumb from seed

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 5.85 inches (15.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.49 inches (1.25 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 5°C / 41°F to ensure good germination.

By our calculations, you should look at sowing Tom Thumb about 60 days before your last frost date.

Transplanting Tom Thumb

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Tom Thumb is a tender plant.

By our calculations, you should look at planting out Tom Thumb about 45 days before your last frost date.

Harvesting Tom Thumb

Harvest early, right after heads form. Cut 2" above ground level. Individual leaves can also be harvested before head forms.

This variety tends to be ready for harvesting by early autumn.

Tom Thumb Patent Information

Non-patented (Baker Creek carries only non-patented seeds2)

Footnotes