Every Floridian homeowner or landscaper understands how challenging it can be to maintain lush green lawns. The state doesn’t have the best environment for growing grass. Sometimes you’re dealing with scorching heat, constant rain, intolerable humidity, and, worst of all, hurricanes.
Besides weather challenges, Florida’s sandy soil is saline due to the state’s proximity to the coast. All these environmental challenges can frustrate you from growing healthy, vibrant grass.
Luckily, various grass types flourish in Florida. If you choose suitable grass for your lawn, you won’t have to worry about the state’s environmental challenges. Keep reading as we explore eight types of grass in Florida and why you should grow them on your lawn.
The Best Grass Types in Florida
The grass you choose for your Florida lawn is a personal decision. You can opt for St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bermuda, Bahia, Buffalo, Centipede, Carpet, or Seashore Paspalum grass.
Let’s discuss these grass types for Florida lawns to help you find your favorite option.
St. Augustine Grass
St. Augustine is the grass that most Florida homeowners choose for their lawns. It’s a warm-season grass native to North and Central America. The grass thrives in tropical and subtropical environments, making it a good choice for Florida lawns.
You can distinguish St. Augustine grass due to its broad blades. When grown on lawns, the grass forms a thick turf (carpet-like sod) with blades that appear green to blue-green. It’s a fast-growing grass that will crowd out most weeds and grasses in your yard.
This Florida favorite is drought-tolerant and thrives in soil with a high salt concentration. It’ll also tolerate partial shade, allowing you to grow it near trees and structures.
Unfortunately, this grass has some downsides. Since it’s a fast-growing grass, you’ll need to mow it more often. It also requires regular watering to keep it green and luscious. St. Augustine grass struggles in cold weather, so winter in Florida can affect its growth.
Moreover, it doesn’t do well in areas receiving high traffic and can succumb to the SAD virus and pests like nematodes and southern clinch bugs.
Zoysia grass can be a safe bet if you prefer grass with impressive high-traffic tolerance. This grass thrives in grasslands or coastal areas, making it suitable for Florida lawns.
Zoysia grass is popular for its medium to dark green hue and ability to tolerate drought and diseases. The grass forms a dense mat that prevents most weeds from populating your lawn. It’s common in golf courses, home lawns, and sports fields.
You’ll love this grass due to its high tolerance to partial shade. You can grow it on a lawn with trees without worrying about blades turning yellow or struggling to grow. Moreover, Zoysia is a low-maintenance grass, making it a perfect choice for homeowners with a busy schedule.
It also requires less watering and fertilizing. Zoysia is a good choice for Florida lawns prone to pest invasion.
However, this grass establishes and grows slowly. So it can take longer before you have a dense cover around your lawn. Another downside of this grass is that it goes dormant during frost. It will grow after frost when the soil temperature reaches around 70 degrees.
When looking for drought-resistant types of grass in Florida, Bermuda grass can be your best choice. This grass is native to Africa and thrives in North American regions. It’s also known as couch grass, devil’s grass, dog’s teeth, or Bahama grass.
Bermuda grass tolerates heat and drought and can grow in different soil types, including the Florida sand soil. The grass has a deep green-grey hue and forms a dense sod that prevents soil erosion. It grows fast with a deep root system to survive Florida’s environmental challenges.
If your lawn receives high traffic, you can grow Bermuda grass to keep the lawn green and healthy. The grass recovers quickly and can make a good choice for sports fields and golf courses.
This grass type spreads rapidly and can be invasive if you fail to maintain it. You’ll need to mow and trim this grass regularly to keep your lawn neat. Unlike many warm-season grass types, Bermuda grass will struggle under shade. So, ensure your lawn receives full sun before planting Bermuda grass.
Buffalo grass is a prairie grass with a long history as food for bison and deer. The grass is common in North America, particularly on the high plains. It’s a short grass with curling leaf blades that features a blue-green color.
This perennial, warm-season grass performs well in heat, drought, and cold. It will, therefore, survive the challenging Florida’s climate. Buffalo grass grows with numerous stolons, rhizomes, and root stalks. When well-established, the numerous, branched stolons will create a dense sod in your lawn.
Buffalo grass is ideal for Florida’s low-maintenance lawns because it requires less watering, fertilizing, and mowing. Keep in mind that its “open growth” habit can encourage weed invasion. So, always deal with weeds to keep the grass vibrant.
There are downsides to this grass. It performs poorly in shaded yards, so it might not be your favorite choice if you have trees in your yard.
Buffalo grass can easily succumb to foot traffic. Overwatering can also create issues such as root rot. Irrigate the grass when needed and maintain a 1.5-3” mowing height.
Bahia is the go-to grass type for Floridians looking for drought-resistant and low-maintenance grass. It’s a perennial grass that does well in tropical and subtropical regions. You can identify Bahiagrass by its distinctive “V” shape and coarse light-green blades.
This low-growing grass forms a dense sod in your lawn. It’s a good choice for homeowners who want to control soil erosion. Moreover, this grass requires less fertilizing and watering.
Despite tolerating dry climates, this grass can survive in cool temperatures. The grass usually goes through a dormancy period during long drought seasons. It continues growing when conditions are favorable. You’ll also love this grass due to its tolerance to salt and shade.
Like other types of grass in Florida, Bahia has some downsides. It’s prone to weeds and highly sensitive to overwatering. You’ll also need to mow this grass weekly.
Centipede grass is a good choice for Florida homeowners interested in low-maintenance lawns. It’s a warm-season grass native to Southern China and popular in the Southeastern US. Besides overcoming the challenging climate in Florida, Centipede grass can thrive in cooler temperatures.
The grass might turn brown when the weather gets cold but recovers when temperatures rise. Provide a little fertilizer to allow your grass to survive freezes in Florida.
Centipede grass does well in acidic soils, making it an ideal option for Florida’s sandy soil.
This grass spreads by stolons, forming a thick sod with light green leaves. Centipede grass is a low-growing grass and won’t invade other plants in your yard. You’ll only need to mow and trim when necessary. Once established, Centipede grass will require less watering and fertilizing.
Unfortunately, Centipede grass is not an excellent choice for lawns receiving heavy foot traffic. It will also struggle to grow and remain vibrant in full or partial shade.
Carpet grass, or flat grass, is a warm-season grass growing in America’s tropical and subtropical regions. The grass thrives where most types of grass in Florida won’t grow. It’s native to southeastern North America, where sandy soil is common.
Carpet grass will grow in wet, infertile, acidic, sandy soils. This grass withstands high foot traffic, making it a perfect choice for parks, roadsides, and airports. It’s a dense grass and will spread rapidly in your lawn to fill gaps. As a result, you can grow Carpet grass to control weeds and soil erosion.
This grass tolerates partial shade, making it a popular option for homeowners with trees around their yards. It’s also a low-maintenance grass that will thrive with little to no fertilizer. However, you’ll need to mow the grass more often to keep it in its top condition.
Saline soil can threaten your lawn grass if you live near the coast. In that case, you need grass with good tolerance to salt.
Seashore Paspalum is the best grass for Florida lawns, where salt is a concern. It will do well where saltwater intrusion is usually an issue. You can grow this grass in Naples, Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, and Everglades City.
This grass can also thrive in low nitrogen, low light levels, and wet soils. If you have a highly saturated yard, Seashore Paspalum will survive being submerged, though for a few days. The grass will also overcome heavy foot traffic, recovering fast during the growing season.
Seashore Paspalum has bright green leaves with a uniform appearance. Its aggressive growth habit makes it more demanding when it comes to maintenance. You’ll need to mow this grass more often and dethatch periodically.
This grass is susceptible to diseases like Dollar Spot and Large Patch. Insects that might invade Seashore Paspalum include mole crickets, armyworms, and sod webworms.
Your Florida lawn can be healthy, luscious, and green depending on the grass type you grow. Thankfully, we’ve explored the best types of grass in Florida that you can grow on your lawn. Consider the weather, soil condition, watering needs, pests and diseases, and salt levels before planting your favorite grass.
Remember to care for and maintain your grass to help it grow healthy and beautiful. Water, fertilize, dethatch, and mow when necessary to ensure you have a golf course-worthy lawn.
Hello! My name is Chris, and I am the founder of Yard Floor. When I was a toddler, my family had a lush green lawn. I was at the center of caring for and maintaining this lawn and even proceeded to take an associate’s Degree in landscaping. I am here to share my years of experience with you – be it repairing your mower/tractor or caring for your lawn.