The Best Grass Seed for Florida of 2022

Choose the best type of grass seed to keep your lawn looking lush all year round.

By Savannah Sher | Published Dec 28, 2021 11:09 AM

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Best Grass Seed for Florida Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

While grass dies out over the winter in most parts of the country, in Florida’s tropical and subtropical climate, home lawns can have beautiful green grass all year. Laying sod is an option, but growing a lawn from seed is a much more economical choice.

With so many types of grass seed available, it can be difficult for shoppers to narrow down their options. These recommendations for the best grass seed for Florida lawns were selected for their quality formulas, versatility, and value. Keep reading to learn about the key features to consider when shopping, and then explore the top picks for the best grass seed products on today’s market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Bermudagrass
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Grass Mix
  3. BEST WARM-SEASON: TifBlair Centipede Grass Seed
  4. BEST COOL-SEASON: Scotts Turf Builder Kentucky Bluegrass Mix Seed
  5. BEST FOR MIXED LIGHT: GreenView Fairway Formula Grass Seed Turf
  6. BEST DROUGHT-TOLERANT: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Heat-Tolerant Blue
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Pensacola Bahiagrass
Best Grass Seed for Florida Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

Types of Grass Seed for Florida

There are many types of grass seed that thrive in Florida, each of which has both advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the different types of grass in Florida.

Bahia

Bahia grass is one of the most popular choices because it’s resilient enough to handle Florida’s high temperatures. It’s also a drought-resistant turfgrass, so it can withstand longer periods with no rainfall. The major downside of Bahia grass is that it’s tricky to germinate and grow. Once it has reached maturity, however, it becomes incredibly easy to maintain.

Some homeowners may be put off by the fact that Bahia grass turns brown in winter as a survival mechanism to conserve energy. While the change in color isn’t an indication that the grass is unhealthy, it might not be aesthetically pleasing.

Bermuda

Like Bahia grass, Bermuda grass is an excellent choice for Florida lawns because it can thrive in high heat environments and is tolerant of drought-like conditions. Florida contains a multitude of microclimates, and Bermuda grass isn’t ideal for cooler parts of the state because it tends to go dormant in cold weather.

Bermuda grass grows very quickly, which could be seen as an advantage, but it also means it requires more frequent mowing. Since Bermuda grass requires full sun, it’s not the best choice for lawns that are shaded by large trees.

Centipede

Centipede grass is a heat-tolerant and low-maintenance choice, but it has some particular requirements when it comes to watering and soil quality. It’s popular in the Florida Panhandle and the central part of the state but needs quite a bit of water to survive, so centipede grass may not be ideal in southern Florida.

In terms of soil, centipede grass prefers sandy soil that’s low in nutrients and has a high pH level. If the soil is too nutrient-rich, the grass actually becomes more susceptible to illness and is less tolerant of cold temperatures.

Tall Fescue

Those looking for a cool-season grass for Florida will appreciate the hardiness of tall fescue, which does well in shady areas and cooler parts of the state. Despite its ability to thrive in cool weather, it can also tolerate high heat and is an excellent choice in areas that experience dramatic temperature swings throughout the year.

The downside of tall fescue is that if it experiences issues, it can be slow to recover and may not look its best for months.

Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass is considered one of the most visually appealing grasses that can survive in Florida. It’s a low-maintenance turf choice that thrives in winter, but it does require full sun. It’s not drought tolerant, so Kentucky bluegrass may need more frequent watering than other types of grass.

Kentucky bluegrass does not do well in environments that experience extremely high heat and may go dormant during the summer months in many parts of the state. For this reason, it’s best for areas with slightly more temperate climates. There are, however, some seed blends that include Kentucky bluegrass and are specifically formulated for heat tolerance.

Seashore Paspalum

Those living in coastal parts of the state should consider Seashore paspalum, which grows naturally near the ocean. It can handle the high salinity of the seaside air and can even survive flooding and heavy rainfall. Those with this type of grass can use saline solutions as natural weed killers due to Seashore paspalum’s tolerance to salt.

Seashore paspalum is perfect for warm weather, and the seeds produce a dense, dark green grass that’s popular on sports fields and golf courses. While it’s low maintenance in many ways, it requires plenty of sun, so it’s not the ideal pick for shady lawns.

Zoysia 

Zoysia grass is praised for its lush aesthetic and is a top choice for those who want their lawns to look the absolute best. While it’s known for its good looks, zoysia grass also has a reputation for requiring quite high maintenance. It needs to be fertilized and irrigated regularly and can take as long as three seasons to become established.

In fact, this grass has such particular needs that it’s generally recommended to hire a lawn care professional to maintain it. One major benefit, however, is that zoysia grass grows slowly, so the lawn will need less frequent mowing.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Grass Seed for Florida 

Though it’s easy to assume that all grass seed mixtures offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Keep reading to learn about several of the most important features to consider when choosing the best grass seed for Florida lawns.

Climate

Florida features two primary climates: tropical (in the southernmost part of the state) and subtropical. It’s also home to four USDA hardiness zones. Before choosing a grass type to plant, verify the hardiness zone in your area.

  • Zone 11 extends from Key West to Marathon and includes the rest of the Florida Keys and some parts of Miami. It features temperatures only as low as 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Zone 10 encompasses the remainder of South Florida including the Everglades. Temperatures can go as low as 30 or 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Zone 9 is mostly made up of interior, central Florida, north of Orlando, where temperatures can drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Zone 8 is the coldest Florida hardiness zone and encompasses Gainesville, Pensacola, and Tallahassee. There, temperatures can dip to 15 degrees Fahrenheit on some winter nights.

Soil Type 

Along with the climate, the type of soil on the intended site affects which type of grass seed will be most suitable. The most common types of soil in Florida are sandy, clay, and loamy, while rocky and silt soils are less common. Establish which seed type is best for the type of soil on your property, because there’s not one best grass seed that grows anywhere in Florida.

Before choosing grass seed, test the soil by having it professionally evaluated or by using a home test kit to establish its pH level. This will be a determining factor in which type of seed will perform best.

Shade Tolerance

Grasses are generally categorized as either warm-season or cool-season varieties, but on top of that, it’s essential to consider shade tolerance. Some cool-season grasses, for example, still need full sun to thrive.

Survey your property to determine how much sunlight it receives at various points throughout the day. Then, decide whether a sun-loving or shade-loving grass would work best for your lawn. Varieties that do well in shady conditions include tall fescue and centipede grass, which can handle partial shade. Bermuda grass and Kentucky bluegrass, on the other hand, do best for lawns that get full sun.

Site Size

When choosing a bag of grass seed, it’s important to establish the size of the site to determine the quantity needed. Most bags of seed will list a recommended area size that the seed will cover (in square feet). The quantity of seed in a bag doesn’t necessarily translate directly to coverage area, since certain types of seed spread more than others.

Bag sizes vary widely, so be sure to compare price per ounce while taking coverage area into consideration.

Texture and Aesthetic

When choosing a type of grass seed, shoppers must consider both texture and aesthetics, along with weighing the practical considerations of which type of seed to plant.

Certain grasses have a rougher texture that is suitable in areas that don’t get a lot of direct use, but they can feel unpleasant to walk on with bare feet. While they may be appropriate for ornamental lawns, they’re not the best choice for backyards where children play. Generally speaking, most warm-season grasses have a coarser texture.

Also consider the grass’s aesthetic. Grass varies in color and blade shape, resulting in varying appearances. Some types of grass remain the same color year round, while others will fade to beige or brown, depending on the climate.

Our Top Picks

Knowing more about Florida lawn care and the turf’s soil requirements can help narrow the vast soil choices available. To make the search even easier, the following are some of the best grass seed options for Florida.

Best Overall

Best Grass Seed for Florida Options: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Pensacola Bahiagrass
Photo: amazon.com

Bermuda grass is tolerant of high heat and drought-like conditions and is ideal for warmer parts of Florida. This grass has a fine texture suitable for high-traffic areas. The seeds are coated with WaterSmart PLUS, which helps them absorb more water while simultaneously protecting against disease. This type of grass thrives in a full-sun environment, however, so it’s not the best pick for shady properties.

This bag includes 10 pounds of seed—which is enough to cover up to 10,000 square feet—but smaller quantities are also available. Users should see growth after 5 to 12 days and they can mow the grass once it reaches 2 inches high.

Product Specs 

  • Seed type: Bermuda
  • Quantity: 10 pounds
  • Shade tolerant: No

Pros

  • Tolerates high heat and drought-like conditions
  • Coated for optimal water absorption
  • Grows quickly

Cons

  • Not shade tolerant

Best Bang For the Buck

Best Grass Seed for Florida Options: Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Grass Mix 7 lb
Photo: amazon.com

This grass seed blend from Pennington features a mix of tall fescue and fine fescue and comes in an affordable 7-pound bag that covers up to 1,750 square feet of terrain. Due to its seed makeup, it’s an ideal choice for colder parts of the state. The seeds are coated with a calcium nitrate solution to help them grow more quickly and help the grass retain its green color.

This Pennington mix works great in shady areas and only needs 2 to 6 hours of sunlight each day. One downside is that tall fescue is known for being slow to recover if it encounters any issues.

Product Specs 

  • Seed type: Tall and fine fescue
  • Quantity: 7 pounds
  • Shade tolerant: Yes

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Great for high-traffic areas
  • Coated for enhanced performance

Cons

  • Slow to recover

Best Warm-Season

Best Grass Seed for Florida Options: TifBlair Centipede Grass Seed (1 Lb.)
Photo: amazon.com

This bag of centipede grass seed from TifBlair is an excellent choice for planting in southern Florida. While this warm-weather grass can handle extremely high temperatures, it can also tolerate colder weather. It does, however, need to be watered frequently and is not drought tolerant. If there’s no rain, the centipede grass needs watering twice a week. Though this bag is small, at just 1 pound, it can cover a large area of up to 4,000 square feet.

Centipede grass is a great choice for those who like to keep their grass longer because its ideal length is around 4 inches.

Product Specs

  • Seed type: Centipede
  • Quantity: 1 pound
  • Shade tolerant: Partially

Pros

  • Will tolerate high heat
  • Coated for improved germination
  • Large coverage area

Cons

  • High price point
  • Requires low-nutrient soil

Best Cool-Season

Best Grass Seed for Florida Options: Scotts 3 lb- Turf Builder Kentucky Bluegrass Mix
Photo: homedepot.com

Those living in USDA hardiness Zone 8 should consider a cool-season option like this seed blend from Scotts. It features Kentucky bluegrass seed, and the blend is flexible when it comes to sunlight needs, tolerating either full sun or dense shade. It has a fine texture that’s comfortable to walk on and even self-repairs, so it’s an excellent choice for high-traffic areas.

The seeds should be watered twice a day for 3 weeks after they’re planted. After the grass has been established, however, it is moderately drought tolerant. The 3-pound bag covers 665 square feet for new seeding and 2,000 square feet for overseeding.

Product Specs

  • Seed type: Kentucky bluegrass
  • Quantity: 3 pounds
  • Shade tolerant: Yes

Pros

  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Shade tolerant
  • Self-repairing

Cons

  • Not tolerant of high heat

Best For Mixed Light

Best Grass Seed for Florida Options: GreenView 20 lbs- Fairway Formula Grass Seed
Photo: homedepot.com

Many lawns feature a mix of sun and shade, which can make choosing a seed blend difficult. Luckily, GreenView’s Fairway Formula is the perfect choice for properties with mixed light because it contains primarily tall fescue seeds, which thrive in both sun and shade.

While this formula is tolerant to high heat and drought, it is hardy enough to handle low temperatures and is a smart choice for those living in the northern part of the state. The 7-pound bag can cover a maximum area of 875 square feet for initial seeding or 1,750 square feet for overseeding.

Product Specs

  • Seed type: Tall fescue
  • Quantity: 7 pounds
  • Shade tolerant: Yes

Pros

  • Cold tolerant
  • Shade tolerant
  • Heat and drought tolerant

Cons

  • Slow recovery
  • May require fertilization

Best Drought-Tolerant

Best Grass Seed for Florida Options: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Heat-Tolerant Blue Mix
Photo: amazon.com

This affordable seed blend from Scotts features a mixture of tall fescue and bluegrass seeds, which combine to create grass that will survive in both sunny or shady conditions. It is an excellent pick for most types of lawns in the northern parts of the state. It’s also resistant to drought, so it’s additionally suitable for drier climates. It has a medium blade texture that feels comfortable enough to walk on in bare feet.

The 7-pound bag covers 1,750 square feet of terrain, while the 20-pound bag covers 5,000 square feet. Expect seeds to grow in 6 to 14 days.

Product Specs

  • Seed type: Tall fescue and bluegrass
  • Quantity: 7 pounds
  • Shade tolerant: Yes

Pros

  • Ideal for colder areas
  • Shade tolerant
  • Coated for optimal water absorption

 

Cons

  • Long recovery period

Also Consider

Best Grass Seed for Florida Options: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Pensacola
Photo: amazon.com

Those living in hot, sunny areas should consider this bag of Pensacola Bahia grass seed from Scotts. While this type of grass requires full sun to grow, it has high drought resistance for growing in dry areas and saving on supplemental watering. It does require particular conditions to germinate, specifically needing consistent daily temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit in order to grow. Once it begins to grow, however, this Bahia grass is incredibly easy to maintain: The grass establishes deep roots and tolerates stress well.

The 5-pound bag seeds up to 1,000 square feet, offering a great value for the price.

Product Specs

  • Seed type: Bahia
  • Quantity: 5 pounds
  • Shade tolerant: No

Pros

  • Heat tolerant
  • Drought tolerant
  • Easy to maintain once germinated

Cons

  • Coarse blades
  • May brown in winter

Our Verdict

After reviewing many different types of grass seed for Florida lawns, we recommend Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Bermudagrass for its heat and drought tolerance as well as nutrient-boosting coating. Those on a budget may appreciate the Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Grass Mix, which is great for cooler shady areas and comes at a lower price point.

How We Chose the Best Grass Seed for Florida

Years of experience covering home and garden products as well as extensive product research went into creating this guide. We explored more than 30 grass seed options and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations.

  • Type: Since there is a wide variety of seed types that are suitable to different parts of Florida, we aimed to include a range of options to suit shoppers in various areas of the state.
  • Reviews: We only included products with excellent user reviews to ensure that the seeds performed well in real-world conditions.
  • Value: Since grass seed bags vary widely in quantity, we calculated the overall value for the cost for each of our recommendations.

FAQs

While you now know more about choosing the best grass seed, you might still want more information about how to use it. Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about using grass seed in Florida.

Q. When should I plant grass seed in Florida?

You can plant grass seed year-round in south Florida, but in the northern part of the state, it’s best to plant in spring or summer.

Q. When should I overseed my lawn in Florida?

Overseed your lawn when daily temperatures are consistently around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q. Does grass grow all year in Florida?

There are grasses that grow all year in Florida, depending on the microclimate and the seed variety chosen. Others might slow down growth noticeably as temperatures drop, but many will remain green.