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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Asparagus Lettuce, Celery Lettuce and Stem Lettuce

Latin Name: Lactuca sativa asparagina and L. sativa angustana

Plant Family: Asteraceae

Close Relatives: Lettuce

Uses and Markets: Culinary: The stem is peeled and used raw, cooked, or stewed and has a similar flavour to celery, lettuce, asparagus or chard.  Leaves are less palatable than other greens and therefore are typically not used. Celtuce is used in Asian cuisine, specifically in China.

Celtuce in the fieldCeltuce is grown for its enlarged stem.Some varieties of celtuce are prone to bolting in mid-summer heat.
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Celtuce is a cool season vegetable.

Propagation method

Seeds, transplants.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:

April onwards.

Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

20-30 cm

Between row spacing

30-40 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions.  Ontario fertility recommendations for lettuce, a close relative, can be found in the OMAFRA vegetable production recommendations publications, and would be a good starting point.  Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Prefers light, sandy loam, well-drained soil or muck soils.

Soil pH

6.1-6.5 on mineral soils, 5.5 on muck soils.

Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Frost tolerant

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation required under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

70-90 days

Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Harvest during cooler parts of the day to reduce moisture loss and cooling costs. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Vacuum cooling or hydrocooling can help maintain a fresh appearance.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 95-100%

Temperature: 0°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 10-14 days

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates:

Diseases: Downy Mildew


Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Aphids, Cutworms, Tarnished Plant Bug, Aster Leafhopper, Pea Leafminer, Cabbage Looper

Diseases: Damping off, Botrytis Grey Mould, Sclerotinia White Mould, Septoria Leaf Spot, Rhizoctonia Bottom Rot, Corky Root Rot, Bacterial Wilt, Dry Leaf Spot, Lettuce Mosaic Virus and Aster Yellows, Nematodes


*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: downy mildew. This crop is in Crop Group 4: Leafy Vegetables (Except Brassica Vegetables) Group and subgroup 4A: Leafy Greens Subgroup. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

The initial signs of lettuce downy mildew on celtuceSpores of downy mildew on the underside of infected leaves.Downy mildew leads to canopy destruction and unmarketable celtuce.
Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Meyers, C. 1998.  Celtuce, Asparagus Lettuce.  In Specialty and Minor Crops Handbook, 2nd ed., University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Publication 3346.
  2. Munro, D.B and E. Small, 1997.  Vegetables of Canada. NRC Research Press, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  3. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. 2010. Vegetable Production Recommendations. Publication 363, Queen’s Printer for Ontario, Toronto.