Parris Island Cos lettuce variety guide

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I love a good Romaine lettuce!

Parris Island Cos Lettuce is a variety of Romaine named after Parris Island in South Carolina. It is extremely flavorful with a pale-creamy heart center surrounded by thick green leaves. These large plants can grow as tall as 12″ and give you tender lettuce to add to your salad, wrap, or burger in just 65 days.

Read on to learn all about Parris Island Cos Lettuce!

Parris island romaine lettuce

Parris Island Cos lettuce: The basics

Parris Island Cos Lettuce is an American heirloom variety of romaine lettuce. Dating back to 1952, this variety is known for its tall height and tender leaves.

Parris Island Cos Lettuce enjoys the full or partial sun. Keep them in sunlight for somewhere between 4 and 8 hours each day. The typical size of this lettuce variety is 6 to 8 inches but as tall as 12 inches. Seedlings begin to emerge after about 7 to 10 days. This is a great early spring crop that also does well in late summer for a fall crop. It’s a wonderful year-round crop to have to grow in your garden.

This lettuce variety is open-pollinated head-forming lettuce (not loose-leaf lettuce). It is a variety of Romaine and extremely popular in summer salads.

Buying seeds for Parris Island Cos lettuce

Choose from a wide variety of seeds, including these recommended sites.

Parris island romaine lettuce plant

Planting Parris Island Cos lettuce

This open-pollinated heirloom lettuce does well when planted directly in the soil or transplanted as a seedling. You can’t go wrong with either technique, but it is recommended for head lettuce to be translated whenever possible (as the spacing is easier to control) while baby greens do better planted directly into garden soil.

Planting lettuce seeds indoors for later transplanting

If you choose to plant your Parris Island Cos Lettuce seeds in indoor planters, you can observe their growth from a well-maintained environment. Plant them indoors a few weeks before your transplant date to give the outdoor soil time to warm up.

Planting parris island cos lettuce in the garden

Transplanting lettuce seedlings outdoors

When you go to transplant your Parris Island Cos seedlings, harden them off by reducing their water intake for 2 to 3 days. It also helps to set them outside during this transition. This helps prevent transplant shock and premature bolting in your lettuce plants.

Planting lettuce seeds outdoors

If you choose, you can plant your Parris Island Cos Lettuce seeds directly in your garden. This technique requires more care with placement to ensure the plants have adequate room to grow. Plant your seeds about 12 inches apart and in rows 36 inches apart. These guys need plenty of space to grow. Take care to read the package instructions for any mild variations about spacing though.

Planting your seeds outdoors means you need to maintain the space to get rid of weeds. Your lettuce plants will not thrive if they are fighting for space, soil, and sunlight with weeds around.

Parris island romaine cos lettuce leaves

Growing Parris Island Cos lettuce

Sow your Parris Island Cos seeds in full sun and average soil for the first crop. Many gardeners sow the lettuce every 2 weeks to maintain a consistent crop. This lettuce grows best when spaced out about 12 inches and covered in 1/8 to 1/4 inch of soil. For more specific spacing guides, be sure to read the seed package instructions.

Keep the soil around your crops moist using consistent watering or drip irrigation. It is important to maintain a regular watering schedule to prevent the leaves from developing a bitter taste after harvest. The soil should be maintained at around 75 degrees F for the best flavor, although this is difficult to control outdoors. Fertilize regularly to encourage strong growth and to resist weeds.

How to harvest Parris Island Cos lettuce?

Harvest your Parris Island Cos Lettuce much like any other head lettuce. Pick individual leaves to use on salads or sandwiches. Use these leaves immediately so they don’t wilt. Harvest full heads for entire salads and wraps. Harvesting in alternating rows or alternating heads will allow the plants left to continue to grow.

Use a sharp harvesting tool or knife like this California Harvesting Knife to get a clean cut on your plants. I love this knife because its curve of it makes it easy to cut any lettuce plant, as well as broccoli and cauliflower.

The crops are ready to grow when the outer leaves are dark green and full. Measure them based on package specifications if you aren’t sure if they are ready for harvest.

Parris island cos lettuce seedlings
Parris island cos lettuce

Recipes for Parris Island Cos lettuce

Parris Island Cos Lettuce is the perfect lettuce to use for a burger, as a wrap, or as a chopped Ceasar salad. The crunchy center adds texture to any dish and is extremely refreshing in the hot summer months.

I recently came across this Grilled Romaine Lettuce Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese. Since Parris Island Cos is a Romaine variety, it sounds like a wonderful dish to try when my harvest comes in.

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a gardening expert and founder of Home for the Harvest. She's also a professional engineer, certified permaculture garden designer, and master gardener in training. Mary Jane has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, Heirloom Gardener, and Family Handyman.