How you can Plant and Develop Parris Island Cos Lettuce

Lactuca sativa ‘Parris Island Cos’

In the event you may mix all the nice options of recent lettuce cultivars and all of the superior traits of heirloom cultivars, you’d get one thing like ‘Parris Island Cos.’

This cultivar has the tight heads, disease- and bolt-resistance of recent vegetation, coupled with crisp, candy leaves, and delicate white hearts of some heirlooms.

The heads develop massive, as much as a foot tall, however don’t turn out to be powerful or bitter regardless of their dimension.

A close up horizontal image of a head of 'Parris Island Cos' lettuce growing in the garden ready to harvest.

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This cultivar is proof against bolting and might tolerate some drought and loads of warmth, all whereas forming flavorful heads made up of completely cupped leaves.

In search of top-of-the-line romaine choices on the market? You discovered it. This information will clarify the whole lot it is best to learn about rising this stellar cultivar.

Right here’s what’s on the menu:

Earlier than we get our palms soiled, it helps to know a bit about the place this plant comes from, and that’s what we’ll focus on first.

Cultivation and Historical past

‘Parris Island Cos’ is the kid of ‘PI 120965’ and ‘Darkish Inexperienced Cos,’ the latter of which is understood for its darkish inexperienced, candy, gentle leaves which might be excellent in Caesar salads.

A close up top down image of a romaine lettuce head.

It was bred by Clemson School’s Agricultural Experiment Station in 1951 in Charleston, South Carolina, to thrive within the warmth and humidity of the southern local weather; and was launched by Ferry Morse in the identical yr.

It’s a romaine-type that was named for Parris Island in South Carolina, and “cos” is one other identify for romaine.

Typically, this cultivar is simply listed as ‘Parris Island.’ Don’t fear if the “cos” is missing, it’s nonetheless the identical superb plant.

Propagation ‘Parris Island Cos’

If you wish to begin numerous vegetation, seeds are the best way to go. In the event you simply want one, search for a seedling at your native nursery.

However, since they’re really easy to start out from seed, may as properly go that route. Let’s speak about seed beginning.

From Seed

About 4 weeks earlier than the final predicted frost date, begin your seeds indoors. It’s also possible to begin them indoors within the late summer season for rising within the fall.

Fill seed trays or particular person four-inch pots with seed beginning combine and sow the seeds three inches aside. Or, you possibly can scatter them over the tray with the thought of thinning the seedlings in a while. The seeds ought to be about an eighth of an inch deep.

A close up vertical image of a small seedling ready for transplanting into the garden, unpotted and set on a wooden surface.

Place the containers or seed-starting trays in an space that receives a number of hours of direct gentle or shiny, oblique gentle. Hold the soil moist however not moist till they germinate, which ought to solely take every week or so.

When the seedlings are about two inches tall, skinny them to about three inches aside.

As soon as the seedlings are about three or 4 inches tall and the final predicted frost date has handed, you possibly can transplant them out into the backyard. Earlier than you do this, harden the seedlings off. This course of is simple however it takes a couple of week, so it’s essential plan forward.

To harden them off, take the seedlings outdoors for an hour through the morning or early afternoon and set them within the space the place you propose to plant. Then, take them again inside.

The subsequent day, add one other hour. Hold including an hour every day over the course of every week. Now the vegetation are able to go to their everlasting house.

It’s also possible to direct sow seeds after the final predicted frost date.

Both broadcast the seeds and keep in mind to skinny them after germination, or house your seeds six to 12 inches aside. Hold the soil evenly moist and free from weeds till the vegetation are established.

From Seedlings

In the event you begin your personal seedlings indoors or buy nursery begins, you’re going to wish to get them within the floor or a bigger rising container in some unspecified time in the future.

Once I say a bigger container, don’t panic. This cultivar solely wants a container that’s about six inches in diameter for every plant. An important factor is that it has drainage holes.

A horizontal image of 'Parris Island Cos' seedlings growing in a planter.

One of many wonderful traits of ‘Parris Island Cos’ is that the heads develop extraordinarily compact and upright.

You’ll be able to actually pack them into the backyard and develop a whole lot of vegetation in a small spot.

Plant them about 12 inches aside, however you may get away with half that should you promise you’ll be watering on the soil degree and never on the leaves. Anticipate barely smaller heads should you pack them in.

While you’re able to transplant, amend the soil with some well-rotted compost to enhance drainage and water retention, and so as to add vitamins.

Dig a gap the dimensions of the rising container and gently take away the seedling from its rising pot.

Decrease the plant into the opening you made and agency the soil or potting combine across the roots. Water properly so the soil is moist however not moist.

In the event you’re desiring to develop your lettuce in containers, use a potting combine formulated for greens.

How you can Develop ‘Parris Island Cos’

As I discussed, this cultivar was bred to thrive within the scorching, humid local weather of coastal South Carolina. That’s not the type of local weather that almost all lettuces usually thrive in – they usually like cool climate finest.

‘Parris Island Cos’ can tolerate drought and warmth with out bolting. It could even tolerate poor soil, to a point. Considerably sandy or clay soil gained’t section it a lot.

A close up top down image of lettuce leaves with droplets of water on the foliage.

Nonetheless, if you’d like the biggest, sweetest, healthiest heads, present free, organically-rich soil. I don’t have excellent soil in my backyard, and I’m betting you don’t both.

However since lettuce doesn’t have a big root system, you possibly can amend your current soil fairly simply to make it excellent in your ‘Parris Island Cos.’

Dig down six inches deep and a foot extensive per plant, take away any rocks and work within the compost. Fill the world again in with the combined soil.

It’s additionally straightforward to develop in a window field, container, or raised mattress stuffed with potting or raised mattress soil.

Study extra about how one can develop lettuce in containers in our information.

The vegetation want at the least 4 hours of direct gentle per day, although as much as eight is healthier. In the event you reside in an space that will get tremendous scorching from time to time, even within the spring or fall, you may wish to give the vegetation some afternoon shade.

No matter the place you develop them, if the temperatures climb above 80°F for any size of time, put an umbrella or shade fabric over the vegetation and provides them an additional dose of water.

A close up horizontal image of the stems of 'Parris Island Cos' seedlings growing in a garden bed.

Talking of water, ‘Parris Island Cos’ will develop and style finest if supplied with constant moisture, by no means letting the soil utterly dry out or turn out to be too moist.

The soil ought to all the time really feel like a well-wrung-out sponge. That mentioned, this cultivar will tolerate some drought with out compromising taste or texture an excessive amount of.

Because you used recent potting soil or labored in compost to the soil at planting time there isn’t any want for fertilizer.

Rising Ideas

  • Present 4 to eight hours of solar per day.
  • Hold the soil constantly moist.
  • Shade vegetation when temperatures climb over 80°F.


From time to time, the outer leaves may develop spots, brown or yellow areas, or turn out to be broken.

Pluck these off earlier than they turn out to be a drag on the remainder of the plant.

In any other case, you don’t must do something however water and maintain an eye fixed out for pests and ailments when rising ‘Parris Island Cos.’

The place to Purchase ‘Parris Island Cos’

‘Parris Island Cos’ has lengthy been a favourite of economic growers due to its uniform heads and fast progress, however this cultivar has additionally turn out to be standard with house growers.

Which means you’ll find it in numerous locations the place lettuce seeds are bought.

A close up of a 'Parris Island' romaine lettuce growing in the garden ready to harvest.

‘Parris Island Cos’

Burpee, for instance, sells packs of 1,000 seeds.

Or, should you’re on the lookout for a wider vary of amount choices, from small packets to bulk, go to True Leaf Market.

Managing Pests and Illness

‘Parris Island Cos’ is extra proof against ailments than many different cultivars on the market.

However rabbits and deer like it simply as a lot as another lettuce they will get their enamel on. You probably have common bunny or deer guests, take into account rising your vegetation in containers on a patio or porch.

Or you may cowl them utterly in a wire cage. That gained’t defend them from slugs, although.

Slugs and snails are the opposite main risk to your lettuce harvest. If they arrive to go to, use your favourite pellet or different slug management technique.

I typically develop my lettuce in wall-mounted containers as a result of the slugs in my space are relentless.

However they don’t appear to search out the vegetation hanging 5 ft up on the aspect of my storage. The lengths we’ll go to with a view to keep away from pests, proper?

In the event you’d wish to strive some wall-hanging planters, these from the Summer time Flower retailer at Amazon are wonderful as a result of they’re the precise dimension, have good drainage, and are available in a wide range of colours.

Summer time Flower Wall Hanging Planters

Wouldn’t it’s superior if there was lettuce that was resistant to insect pests like aphids, beetles, caterpillars, and fungus gnats? Sorry, that hasn’t been bred (but).

’Parris Island Cos’ is a tasty meal for every kind of pests, leading to holey leaves, yellowing, and spreading ailments. Learn our information to lettuce pests to be taught extra concerning the widespread bugs that feed on lettuce and how one can cope with them.

This cultivar is proof against mosaic virus. It’s considerably prone to widespread lettuce ailments like leaf spot, comfortable rot, damping off, and downy mildew.

If one thing doesn’t look proper along with your vegetation, learn our information to lettuce ailments to establish the issue and learn to tackle it.


The entire, mature heads are prepared in 70 days, however the younger leaves are good to go every time they attain a dimension that you just like.

The younger leaves are scrumptious, and this cultivar is extraordinarily standard as a child leaf kind. In the event you permit the heads to mature, they’ve a gentle taste and completely cupped form that makes them a go-to for stuffing.

Use a pair of fresh scissors to clip off leaves as you want them, or use a clear knife to slice off the whole head as near the soil as you possibly can.

Study extra about how one can harvest lettuce in our information.


In 2020, researchers on the USDA’s Agricultural Analysis Service led by geneticist Ivan Simko discovered that this cultivar retains higher than most different romaine sorts after harvesting.

I’ve been in a position to retailer the heads and leaves for a number of weeks within the crisper drawer with a desiccant.

I wrap them in a paper towel and put them inside a plastic bag, they usually keep recent for an absurdly very long time, in comparison with different lettuces.

Recipes and Cooking Concepts

Two phrases: Caesar salad. I’ve by no means discovered one other cultivar that works as properly in a Caesar salad as ‘Parris Island Cos.’

A close up horizontal image of a white bowl with a freshly made Caesar salad with croutons and shaved cheese.
Photograph by Meghan Yager.

It doesn’t matter should you like your salad anchovy-heavy (raises hand) just like the one from our sister website, Foodal, or favor a vegetarian choice, this lettuce ought to be the bottom.

Actually, any salad tastes superior with ‘Parris Island Cos.’ In the event you like lettuce wraps, it’s additionally the right alternative.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Kind: Annual vegetable Water Wants: Average
Origins: Mediterranean area Tolerance: Frost, cool temperatures
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 2-11 Upkeep: Low
Season: Spring, fall Soil Kind: Loamy, free
Publicity: Full solar to partial shade Soil pH: 5.8-6.5
Time to Maturity: 70 days Soil Drainage: Nicely-draining
Spacing: 6-12 inches Companion Planting: Beets, carrots, dill, kale, onions, Swiss chard
Planting Depth: 1/8 inch (seeds), similar depth as nursery container (transplants) Keep away from Planting With: Brassicas, melons, squash
Top: 12 inches Household: Asteraceae
Unfold: 6 inches Genus: Lactuca
Progress Charge: Quick Species: Sativa
Frequent Pests and Ailments: Deer, rabbits; Aphids, beetles, caterpillars, fungus gnats; backside rot, damping off, downy mildew, and leaf spot Cultivar: Parris Island Cos

Get pleasure from a Journey to the Islands

In the event you’ve struggled to develop lettuce as a result of the temperatures get too scorching in your space, little question you’ll be rejoicing now that you just’ve discovered this selection.

A close up horizontal image of small 'Parris Island Cos' seedlings growing in planter with water droplets on the leaves.

How do you intend to make use of the leaves? What’s your favourite recipe? Share with us within the feedback part under.

And for extra details about rising lettuce in your backyard, take a look at these guides subsequent:

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