10 Best Grass for Florida Lawn

Best Grass for Florida Lawn

You’ve just bought a new home in your favorite Florida neighborhood and are excited to grow a beautiful lawn. Or, perhaps, your current Florida lawn has lost its aura. So, you plan to grow a new one.

Choosing the right grass is important as not all grass types do well in this region. This guide explores the best grass for Florida lawn with pros and cons.

What is the Best Grass for Florida Lawn

  1. St. Augustine Grass
  2. Zoysia grass
  3. Bermuda Grass
  4. Bahia Grass
  5. Seashore Grass

Top Considerations When Choosing Lawn Grasses

The best type of grass for your Florida lawn depends on the exact location, climate factors, soil conditions, and several other factors as follows;

Local climate conditions

First, you must consider the local climate. Specifically, consider the temperatures and rainfall.

If your local area gets plenty of sunshine with little rain, choose warm-weather grasses with high heat and drought tolerance.

The opposite is true for regions with long winters or plenty of rain. In this case, you want cool-weather grasses that thrive in humid or wet conditions.

Type of soil/soil conditions

Different grasses prefer different soil types. For instance, some grasses do well in sandy soil, while others prefer loam soils.

Similarly, while some grasses flourish in acidic soils with a low ph, others prefer a high soil ph. Soil fertility and drainage are other critical factors.

For instance, are the soils in your local area naturally nutrient-rich? Are they well-drained? Both factors significantly affect plant life and health.

Traffic tolerance

Not all grass types can take high traffic without succumbing to stress. For instance, many varieties easily lose their blades to traffic, resulting in thinning and bare patches.

Similarly, high traffic compacts the soil, strangling the roots and the plant’s water and nutrient uptake mechanism. Again, this can kill your lawn.

So, find a grassy type that can withstand the traffic in your home. Typically, a larger family that enjoys outdoor activities needs a highly traffic-tolerant grass type.

Maintenance requirements

If you think starting a lawn is hard, wait for the maintenance. It’s hectic. For instance, every lawn requires regular watering, mowing, weed control, pest control, and edging.

Moreover, you must plan for reseeding and lawn grass fertilizers. Unfortunately, lawn maintenance activities are time-consuming and expensive.

So, it helps to choose a grass type that you can comfortably maintain. For instance, only grow fast-growing grass if you’re prepared for frequent mowing.

Can you readily find the best grass seed?

Finally, accessibility to seeds is important. Can you readily find the grass seed mixtures? If not, then reseeding becomes challenging, which can leave your lawn in poor shape.

Also, consider the seed quality. You want the best grass seeds for the best lawn.

10 Best Types of Grass for Florida Lawns

Given the above considerations, the following are the best Florida grasses to consider for your lawn.

1. St. Augustine Grass

Also known as Florida grass, St. Augustine grass is the most popular grass in the state of Florida. You will rarely go past three homes without coming across St. Augustine grass.

The deep-green, fast-growing warm-season grass, identifiable by its broad, coarse blades,  thrives in all parts of Florida except the northernmost regions with long winters.

This is because prolonged cold weather causes St. Augustine grass to yellow. Also, note that St. Augustine grass doesn’t blossom in high-traffic areas.

Consider an alternative grass type if your kids regularly play football on the lawn. So, is St. Augustine grass good for Florida lawns?

Yes. St. Augustine grass is highly adapted to the soils and climatic conditions of Florida, making it one of the best grass types for Florida homeowners.

Pros

  • Blooms in high-temperature regions.
  • Does excellently in sunny and shady locations.
  • Thrives in coastal soils with high salt content.
  • Its dense growth naturally suffocates weeds.

Cons

  • Easily succumbs to high foot traffic.
  • Performs poorly in prolonged cold weather.

2. Zoysia Grass

Zoysia is a hardy, non-vegetative grass characterized by lush dark green leaves that form a thick, dense mat that feels soft underfoot.

Moreover, it’s a high-tolerance grass that withstands long periods of heavy traffic and extreme weather. As a result, it’s one of the most common grasses on golf courses.

Zoysia forms rhizomes and stolons for propagation and performs best in loamy sounds, though it readily adapts to clay and sandy soils.

The warm-season grass is tolerant to wet and dry conditions and doesn’t show signs of distress in high humidity. Unfortunately, Zoysia grass grows slowly.

While this may be a good thing maintenance-wise, it makes growing Zoysia from seeds very difficult. Additionally, slow-growth rates mean increased maintenance needs for young Zoysia lawns.

So, is Zoysia grass good for Florida? Yes. Zoysia is a good grass for all areas of Florida. Its high weather resistance is invaluable, and the hardiness is a good quality for large homes.

Pros

  • Excellent for high-traffic areas.
  • You can mow the grass very short.
  • Feels soft on the underfoot.
  • Doesn’t need frequent watering.

Cons 

  • It’s difficult to grow from seeds.
  • Slow recovery after damage.

3. Bermuda Grass

Bermuda is a lush, heavy-duty turfgrass popular throughout Florida for its high-temperature tolerance. The warm-season grass remains in excellent condition throughout the hottest of summers.

The grass is mainly identifiable by its gray-green color and short, thin blades. It forms a soft lawn and grows quickly, making it ideal for athletic tracks and commercial landscapes, and gold courses.

You can mow Bermuda grass very short or leave it to grow longer – the choice is yours. However, its fast growth means you must more frequently.

In addition, Bermuda grass performs poorly in cold weather, quickly developing unsightly brown patches.

So, is Bermuda grass good for Florida? Yes, Bermuda grass is a great choice for Florida, especially south and central Florida. Its hardiness and heat-resistance qualities are invaluable in these regions.

Pros

  • Highly tolerant to hot conditions.
  • Readily withstands high foot traffic.
  • Drought tolerant thanks to a robust root network.
  • It forms a soft, lush green carpet.

Cons 

  • Requires high maintenance (thus unsuitable for residential lawns).
  • It’s unsuitable for northern Florida.

4. Bahia grass

Bahia grass is a low-maintenance warm-season grass easily identifiable by its flat, coarse-textured blades.

The pointed blades can reach 75 cm tall, making Bahia grasses some of the tallest varieties on this list.

Its popularity mainly emanates from the grass’ high tolerance for unfavorable growing conditions.

Bahia thrives in both sunny weather and partial shades. It’s also among the best grasses for Florida’s sandy soil regions.

Unfortunately, Bahia grasses are susceptible to pests and diseases. Additionally, frequent mowing is necessary to prevent extra-tall growth.

So, is Bahia grass good for Florida? Yes, Bahia is among the best grasses for Florida, especially for families that love soaking up the sunshine on the lawn. It’s also the go-to grass type for poor soils.

Pros

  • Tolerates high heat and drought conditions.
  • It’s the perfect choice for poor soils.
  • Grows fast, forming a dense mat.
  • Lo maintenance requirements.

Cons 

  • Low aesthetic appeal.
  • It’s susceptible to pests and diseases.

5. Seashore Grass

Seashore grass, also known as Seashore paspalum, is a perennial grass native to Florida. The warm season grass features hairy blue-green blades that can grow to 7.5cm long and 20mm broad.

So, you can already tell that it’s low-maintenance grass. However, its advantages don’t end there.

Seashore grass also boasts a deep root system that allows it to go long periods without water and fertilizers.

We also love that it naturally suffocates weeds, further reducing maintenance requirements.

Above all, seashore grass is the most salt-tolerant species on this list, thus ideal for coastal regions.

Is Seashore grass good for Florida? Yes. seashore grass is a good choice for Florida lawns, especially coastal homes.

Pros

  • Highly adapted to high-salt soils.
  • Only require fertilization twice a year.
  • High temperature and drought resistance.

Cons 

  • It’s not ideal for cold weather.
  • Susceptible to pest attacks.

6. Buffalo Grass

Buffalo grass is the only grass species on this list that grows everywhere in Florida, from the hot south to the cold north.

Indeed, some people consider it the best grass for Northwest Florida. Its spindly grey-green or bluish blades withstand nearly every type of climate.

New rolled shoots mainly emerge from branching stolons and quickly grow into pointy blades. Better still, the Buffalo grasses don’t require much water.

So, irrigation isn’t a must. The grass is also highly resistant to pests. The prairie grass is a great choice if you wish to cut down on lawn maintenance.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t perform well in high traffic. So, avoid Buffalo grasses if you love outdoor games. Nevertheless, it makes a great choice for parks and commercial lawns.

Is Buffalo grass good for Florida? Yes, Buffalo grass is among the best grasses for Florida.

Indeed, its resistance to high and low temperatures makes it the perfect choice for northern and northwest Florida.

Pros

  • Suited to all regions of Florida.
  • Hardy, requiring minimal maintenance.
  • It’s an all-season grass.

Cons 

  • Doesn’t tolerate high traffic.
  • The grass seeds are expensive.

7. Centipede grass

Centipede grass is a perennial turfgrass with a medium to coarse texture and thin, short blades measuring up to 30mm long.

It’s characterized by a medium green color and thrives in tropical regions with plenty of sunshine. One of the biggest advantages of centipede lawn grass is low maintenance.

Its slow growth rate means you don’t need to mow centipede grass as frequently as other lawn grasses. Additionally, centipede grass is resistant to pests and diseases and somewhat tolerates poor soils.

Unfortunately, the shallow roots make it ill-suited to hot and dry climates. Is centipede grass good for Florida? Yes, centipede grass is suited for Florida.

It performs particularly well in central and northern Florida soils and climate and is the most common lawn grass in the Florida Panhandle.

Pros

  • It’s a low-maintenance grass.
  • Low mowing requirements.
  • Highly resistant to pests and diseases.
  • Somewhat tolerates shade and poor soils.

Cons 

  • Not suited to high foot-traffic areas.
  • It tends to develop a heavy thatch.

8. Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is a popular grass throughout the US. Homeowners love it for its weather resistance, while commercial users adore it for its traffic resistance.

The hard-working, fine-bladed grass is a fast-germinating species that establishes quickly and keeps its shape even in high-traffic environments.

As its name suggests, perennial ryegrass is a long-lived grass type that survives through all seasons. It comes back year after year to establish a permanent lawn.

Is perennial ryegrass good for Florida lawns? Yes, perennial ryegrass is a great choice for overseeding lawns in the US south, including Florida.

The cold-season grass allows you to maintain a lush lawn during the cold months when warm-season grasses go dormant.

Pros

  • Performs equally well in the north and south.
  • It’s an all-season, year-round lawn grass.
  • It’s a beautiful, dark green grass.

Cons 

  • Shallow roots limit their drought resistance.

9. Tall Fescue

Tall Fescue is among the most highly valued cold-season lawn grasses. Originating from Europe, it’s a beautiful grass species that establish readily from seeds and is easy to maintain.

Homeowners also love tall fescue because it tolerates shading more than other grasses. The grass features long, extensive root systems that reach 2-3 feet deep, easily drawing deep-seated nutrients and water.

The long roots also allow tall fescue lawns to starve weeds and withstand heat.

Note that, unlike regular grasses that propagate via horizontal above and below-ground stems, tall fescue grows in clumps, propagating primarily via vertical tillers.

This mode of propagation enables more controlled growth and less creeping. Is tall fescue good for Florida? Yes, tall fescue grass makes a good choice for Florida lawns.

We’re particularly impressed by its cold resistance. So, it’s perfect for central and north Florida.

Pros

  • Excellent cold and warm season tolerance.
  • Ideal for beautiful all-year lawns.
  • Performs excellently in the north.
  • Highly disease-resistant.

Cons 

  • Requires substantial maintenance.

10. Carpet Grass

Finally, carpet grass, also known as Louisiana grass, flat grass, or petit grass, is a native Floridan grass identified by its glossy, flat leaves and light-green color.

The warm-season grass performs best in the south and spreads via above-ground stems or “runners.” There are two main types – narrow-leaf carpetgrass and broad-leaf carpetgrass.

However, narrow-leaf carpetgrass is the type most commonly used for lawns as it’s more beautiful and spreads less aggressively.

Meanwhile, most people confuse broad-leaved carpet grass to look like weeds. The main advantages of carpetgrass are hardiness and shade tolerance. It does exceptionally in low-fertility, acidic, and wet soils.

So, is carpet grass good for Florida? Yes, carpetgrass is highly suited for Florida weather and soils. It also crowds out weeds and requires little fertilizer.

Pros

  • Performs well in all soil types.
  • Naturally crowds out weeds.
  • Requires little to no fertilizer.
  • Highly shade-tolerant.

Cons 

  • Short green period.
  • Not drought-tolerant.

Cool Season Grass Vs Warm Season Grass

As you shop for lawn grasses for your Florida home, it also helps to remember that some grasses are seasonal.

Although most varieties stay around all year, some grass types wither and thin out in winter, while others are less tolerant of the sunny summer weather.

Warm-season grasses are varieties that are most lush in warm weather. Most warm-season grasses begin growing in mid-spring, bloom in the summer, and become dormant in early fall.

Celebration Bermuda grass and Tifway 419 Bermuda grass are the best examples, and Bahia grass is another option.

Meanwhile, cool-season grasses are more tolerant of cold weather. They “green up” in early spring and remain vibrant through late fall.

Unfortunately, some don’t take the high summer temperatures well, so they may need extra care during this period. The best cool-season grasses for Florida are Perennial Ryegrass, Bahia Grass, and Tall Fescue.

Best Grasses by Region: North Florida Vs South Florida Vs Central Florida

Although warm-season grasses are naturally more suited to the Florida weather, it’s often helpful to consider your zone for a more durable lawn.

The easiest way to determine the best grasses for your zone is using the USDA’s hardiness chart. The chart dives Florida into three main zones – North (including the Panhandle), Central, and South.

  • Best Grass for North Florida: According to the USDA chart, North Florida falls in the 8 and 9a growing zone. So, the best grasses for North Florida are Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, and Centipede grass. You’re advised to reseed the lawn with cold-season grasses in areas with prolonged winters to maintain a thick, green lawn year-round.
  • Best Grass for Central Florida: Central Florida, which lies north of Lake Okeechobee, is in the 9a and 10a growing zone. So, it’s ideal for warm-season turfgrasses. Excellent choices are Bahia grass, Zoysia grass, and Bermuda grass, though St. Augustine grass is not a bad option.
  • Best South Florida Grass Types: South Florida falls in zones 10 and 11 of the USDA chart, meaning it’s a hot and humid region with year-round sunshine. The best type of grass in South Florida are Bahia grass and St. Augustine grass. However, note that St. Augustine grass struggles slightly in extremely hot weather.

FAQs

What is the easiest grass to grow in Florida?

Zoysia grass is the easiest grass to grow in Florida. It’s a highly drought-resistant grass that thrives in sunny weather and does equally well in shady areas. In addition, Zoysia grass withstands high traffic and is highly resistant to pests and diseases.

What is the best grass seed for South Florida?

The most popular grass in South Florida is Zoysia. Zoysia’s main attraction is its weather tolerance. Although it thrives in sunny weather, the grass does just as well in shady weather. Additionally, Zoysia grass has a refreshing deep dark green color. St. Augustine grass and Bermuda grass are the next best options for South Florida lawns.

What is the best grass seed for Florida? 

The best grass seed to plant in Florida is St. Augustine. Indeed, St. Augustine grass is so popular in Florida that some people call it Florida grass. Its main advantages are fast growth and drought tolerance.  Moreover, St. Augustine grass readily withstands high soil salt levels. The only downside to St. Augustine grass is it requires more frequent mowing than other grass types.

What is the best grass for North Florida?

Bermuda grass is the best grass for north Florida lawns. Also known as Cynodon Dactylon, Bermuda grass is a gorgeous deep green-grey grass with deep roots and high drought resistance.

It also readily withstands traffic and naturally keeps weeds at bay. Bermuda grass grows fast and doesn’t require much maintenance.

Will Kentucky bluegrass grow in Florida?

Yes. The Kentucky bluegrass grows in Florida and is a great choice for homeowners seeking a more unique lawn. The visually appealing, low-maintenance grass thrives in the Florida warmth but remains thick and beautiful through winter. However, it’s not drought-tolerant. So, you must water it regularly.

Summary

St. Augustine grass is the best grass for Florida lawns. It’s a native grass that thrives in the local climate and soils.

Moreover, St. Augustine grass is beautiful and naturally suffocates weeds. Alternatively, consider Zoysia, Bermuda, Bahia, and Seashore grasses.