Cos Lettuce Won’t ‘Heart Up’

Question From: 
Eugene HYNDS in  GREYSTANES,  Sydney NSW


Nature of problem: 
COS lettuce do NOT `heart up`


Type of Plant (if known): 


Symptoms of Plant Illness (please try NOT to diagnose your problems yourself): 
long scrawny stems & lacking good leaves


Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type: 
rich loamy


How often do you water the plant:
3-4 times a week, depending on weather


How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:


What type of plant is it:
Various types of COS


How long since you planted it:
every time


Have you fertilised? If so, with what and when:
D/Lifter or cow or sheep or B&B. (NOT all at once, but alternate before plantings)


Is the plant indoors or outdoors: 


What other treatments have you given the plant: 
Liquid, ie Seasol orThrive/Aquasol during growing

Upload photo if available: 

Other Comments: 
I`ve been trying to grow various types of COS,both seed and plants for my aviary finches, for quite a while, but they all have long `scrawny` stems and not many leaves. I often buy COS from green grocers and they look great, many big leaves and solid (cut) `stem`. What are the BEST seeds OR plants to grow for my purpose.
I DON`T feed birds other types of lettuce as they contain too much water.


Answer: Hi Eugene,    To grow any lettuce well, you need to supply the growing plants with lots of nitrogen every week or two in the form of Chook poo, or Aquasol or Thrive. Cos lettuces don’t have a dense heart; they have a loose heart that is rather open. Also good for finches are: celery, silverbeet, Bok Choi, amaranth, endive, chickweed and seed heads of grasses such as guinea grass, summer grass, winter grass, panic veldt grass and barnyard grass. Despite your commemnts about the water in lettuce varieties, it is usually the watery sap from most greens that finches and budgies seek to extract from plant stems. That is, this sap is the major attraction of these plants.    Don