Urban Food Garden

LETTUCE – Exanimo

Excellent frill leaf type lettuce with a sweet flavour and a firm texture It is slow to bolt and stores well once harvested, cut leaves can be kept in cold store for over a week. While Exanimo can be grown throughout the year it handles summer conditions much better than most lettuces, making it an ideal lettuce to grow in summer.

The main disadvantage is that the seeds are expensive and not widely available as they are mainly sold to the commercial market garden sector.   Thus far I have only been able to source Exanimo seeds from Lambley Gardens (Jan. 2022).  


Shiny green, deeply incised leaves with an attractive frill at the edges. 


All lettuces are best grown in a seedling box before planting out as seedlings.  Though in Summer it also does well sown directly. Grow in nitrogen-rich, friable soil and avoid water shock (drying out) which will promote bolting.  To reduce the risk of fungal disease problems it is best to avoid watering the leaves.

If you have long hot summers, then summer plantings of lettuce do better in semi shaded areas or covered with 50% shade cloth.

Exanimo lettuces under 50% shade cloth in January.  While Exanimo handles summer conditions well I have found that all lettuces do better when grown in semi shade in summer.

Exanimo lettuce leaves.  The flavour is sweet and the stems have a slight crispness to them like that of an iceberg lettuce.  The cut leaves can be stored in the fridge for a week or more without significant loss of quality.  This is because the Exanimo includes the natural Knox trait, which delays browning of cut edges. 

Exanimo lettuce seedling grown in a Reko 10 cell seedling tray. Lettuce seedlings can be easily grown in a styrofoam seedling propagation box but as Exanimo lettuce seeds are so expensive I prefer to grow them in these single cell trays.  By growing them in single cells I have better control of the number of seedlings I want to grow.

Another advantage of Exanimo lettuces is that they resist going to seed.  The lettuces in this photo were all planted at the same time.  Exanimo (LEFT FOREGROUND) and Red Crisp (RIGHT FOREGROUND), a similar variety to Exanimo,  have yet to go to seed.  Whereas the Little Gem, Yellow Leaf and All Seasons lettuces (BACKGROUND) have already done so.  All these lettuces are being grown to save seed from them.


(flip me)


  • Excellent flavour and texture.
  • Slow to bolt.
  • Handles Summer conditions well.


(flip me)


  • Expensive seeds.
  • Seeds not widely available.