Who would not want to wake up to a healthy, vibrant, fresh green lawn every morning? However, maintaining such a lush and healthy lawn is challenging in Florida’s hot and humid weather. Floridians are searching for ‘What is the best grass seed for Florida to grow in the state?’ That’s where selecting the best grass seed for Florida is required for a thriving garden or lawn in this climate.
Bahia, Seashore Paspalum, Centipede, Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine are all best grass options for Florida. However, the real challenge lies in choosing the best one to have a flourishing garden or lawn. This is precisely why we have created this guide—to provide users with the most valuable and up-to-date insights.
In order to provide our users with the most up-to-date information about the best grass seed for Florida, we personally tested various types of grass seed by considering the factors of particular location, moisture, shade, and soil pH levels. Now, we are here to share information about the best grass seed for Florida that will thrive and flourish in the state’s climate.
Best Grass Seed for Florida
We have separated grasses into two groups, cool-season grasses, and warm-season grasses, to offer users the simplest way to select the best grass seed based on their area’s climate conditions and the type of lawn they desire.
No wonder it is that Florida has diversity in climate and geography. The grasses that flourish in the southern part of the state are not best for the colder winters in mountainous areas. Similarly, the grasses perfect for cool seasons are not best in the hot summers of the coastal plain region.
Areas with temperatures consistently ranging between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit are conducive for cool-season grasses that do not go dormant. These grasses include bluegrasses, fescues, and ryegrasses, and they thrive in the cold weather conditions found in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and northeastern regions of the United States.
Hot and humid regions with temperatures between 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit are standards for grass types such as Bahia, Centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia. These grasses thrive and flourish in such conditions.
Bermuda grass, on the other hand, is best suited for arid and warm climates found in the Gulf and Southeastern areas.
In the temperature below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, warm-season grasses go dormant. To avoid the situation, many Floridians prefer the yard to be overseed with cool-season grasses to maintain a lush garden year-round.
The transition zone is the middle of the United States, where the weather is deceptive. Choosing the best grass seed is puzzling because the temperature swings throughout the year.
The only solution in this area is to have warm-season grass in the summer and then plant cool-season grass in the fall and winter outset.
Find the map below showing the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones to figure out which zone you are in. It will help you determine whether to go for a cool-season or warm-season type of grass.
Besides knowing whether the area is hot or cold season, consider how humid or dry it is when choosing the grass for your lawn.
Four types of zones in the United States: warm/humid, warm/dry, cool/humid, and cool/dry. Each zone has grass types that work best.
No matter whether you go for warm or cool season grass, the type of grass you choose will have different qualities, like how well it bears the weather, what the texture, how resistant it is to diseases, how much care it requires, and how much need to fertilize it.
Best Grass Seed For Florida Sandy Soil
St. Augustine (Stenotaphrum Secundatum), the most common type of grass for Florida lawns, thrives well in humid and subtropical climates.
Types of St. Augustine Grass to consider include:
- Floratam St. Augustine Grass – Affordable, blue-green, and looks like a carpet.
- Seville St. Augustine Grass – Fine leaves, dark green, and good in sun or shade.
- Palmetto St. Augustine Grass – Tough, emerald green, and very attractive.
- Bitter Blue St. Augustine Grass – Resistant to bugs, blue-green, and can handle the cold.
The University of Florida had worked to cultivate a better type of St. Augustine, and they developed the CitraBlue St. Augustine.
CitraBlue is special to Florida’s tropical climate, as Citra specifies the part of the name, and Blue comes from the plant’s blue-green color, which is also part of the name.
CitraBlue has outstanding qualities that the University of Florida backs, as it needs less nitrogen fertilizer. Also, it does not grow upward as much, so you don’t have to mow it as frequently. Because it grows less vertically, it reduces the need for mowing and has exceptional drought tolerance and disease resistance.
Disease resistance and drought tolerance are in hand, making it exceptionally best for low-light and shady landscapes without severe risks. Studies have shown that CitraBlue resists gray leaf spots, like Floratam St. Augustine, and root rot. Since 2020, CitraBlue has been commercially available for purchase in the market.
Related: Best Mulch For Florida
One big problem for Florida homeowners is chinch bugs; chinch bugs love Florida. But the good news is Zoysia grass resists chinch bugs!
Zoysia grass has medium-sized blades, a dark green color, and it’s tough. That means it has wear tolerance without needing lots of mowing or chemicals.
Zoysia is more durable and stiff than other grass types, but it’s also softer, greener, and denser, making it great for playing on—Plant Zoysia grass in the spring in soil with a pH between 5.8 and 7.0. Irrigate it regularly to help the roots grow deep and withstand drought.
Just remember to keep it a bit shorter than St. Augustine grass, around one to two inches tall, for the best results.
A popular warm-season grass in Florida is Buffalo Grass, a native grass in North America that’s rigorous against heat, drought, and cold. It’s great for low-maintenance lawns in Florida since it doesn’t demand much water, fertilizer, or mowing. Plant it between November and January, with February as the most delinquent time to plant.
Buffalo grass has curled leaves and brown seed heads that turn golden green in winter. By June, they dry up and look like hay.
Lawns of buffalo grass are soft but unsuitable for heavy gridlock areas like playgrounds and sports fields.
Paspalum, a warm-season grass, proliferates in coastal regions and is an excellent choice for Florida golf courses due to its high durability. Unlike Bermudagrass and Zoysia, Paspalum is very shade-tolerant and can thrive even in low sunlight conditions. It has the ability to recover rapidly, which helps maintain its green color without the need for overseeding.
While Centipede grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides) generally grows more slowly than other warm-season grasses, it boasts uniform, coarse, deep green blades that reach a height of 1.5 to 2 inches.
Its broad leaves make a dense and lush appearance. It’s an excellent choice for low-maintenance lawns requiring minimal care and soil nutrients to thrive.
Centipede grass flourishes, too, in acidic and sandy soil, requiring less frequent mowing. However, in high-pH soils, it turns yellow due to iron deficiency. You can lower the pH by using soil amendments.
Bermuda grass (Cynodon Dactylon) is highly resistant to drought and humidity, making it one of the best grass seeds for withstanding the high temperatures in Florida.
Bermuda grass is known for its rapid spread, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic lawns.
The best time to plant Bermuda grass seeds is in the spring when the soil pH is between 5.8 and 7.0. It requires weekly irrigation to keep the foliage and roots healthy.
It’s sensitive to cold weather and goes dormant in winter due to low drought tolerance, but it bounces back quickly when the weather warms up.
Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is a fast-spreading grass best for cool seasons. You should plant it in the fall for winter growth, but it’ll need plenty of fertilizer and water. To keep its color during the summer, you’ll need to water it more than usual. If it starts to lose its color, you can overseed it, and it will return to its dark green shade.
Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) is a cool-season grass that tolerates humidity and heat. It grows best when the temperature is between 50 to 65 degrees. It grows the most in spring, so you’ll need to mow it to keep it at 2-3 inches high. It’s resistant to drought and extreme temperatures compared to other cool-season grasses, but it takes longer to recover its green color if it gets damaged.
Carpetgrass (Axonopus affinis) is a coarse-leaved grass that sticks around year after year. It’s a crawling grass found mainly in central Florida and southern parts.
It does excellent in soggy, low-lying soil and can handle both sun and shade, although not as well as St. Augustine and centipedegrass, which look similar. You can plant carpetgrass using seeds or sprigs. Just remember, it can’t tolerate cold winters, so it’s unsuitable for northern Florida.
Carpetgrass is best for lawns in damp, not-so-rich, and acidic (pH 4.5-5.5) sandy soils when you want something easy to grow and maintain. But it has one drawback: it tends to make a lot of seedheads quickly.
Bahia grass can be found in pastures, along roadsides, and in industrial lawns, and it’s ideally best for Florida’s weather.
There are different types of Bahia grass, like Argentina Bahia, which has narrower leaves than the more common Pensacola Bahia. It’s resistant to drought and poor, sandy soil without much irrigation. It’s naturally resistant to cold, sun, drought, and stress, so it doesn’t need a lot of irrigation. However, it needs extra care for growth and germination before it matures. It turns brown to save energy in the winter, but that doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy.
Best grass seed for Central Florida
In Central Florida, St. Augustine grass is known for its stunning looks but requires a lot of maintenance, while Bahia grass is more resilient and thrives with less care, making it a top choice.
Zoysia grass is common in golf courses but not as well-known in Orlando and nearby areas compared to South Florida.
For Central Florida residents looking for a low-maintenance turfgrass, centipede are the best grass seed to choose from.
Best grass seed for South Florida
In sunny South Florida, including Tampa, Miami, and St. Petersburg, the top warm-season grasses are Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, and St. Augustine grass. These grasses are well-suited to the hot and humid climate and can tolerate infrequent flooding and salt spray. Bahia grass can also be an option, but it’s less tolerant of salt.
Best grass seed for North Florida
Zoysia, St. Augustine, and Bermuda are the most commonly used turfgrasses in North Florida.
In cities like Jacksonville, Pensacola, Tallahassee, and their surrounding areas, Bahia grass is widely used because it’s drought-tolerant and cost-effective.
Centipede grass is also a good choice as it’s well-suited to North Florida’s climate and soil, especially in the Panhandle region.
Florida’s weather can be tricky with rapid changes, making choosing the best grass seed for Florida that will thrive in lawn is challenging. However, one thing to recognize is to plant the grass in areas with tall trees. The trees provide shade, and the lawn will grow better in the shade, which can help it thrive despite the changing weather.