7 Best Grass Types for Tampa, FL

Lawn of hillsborough school in tamap

What’s the best grass for your Tampa, FL lawn? St. Augustine, Zoysiagrass, Bermuda, bahiagrass, centipede, buffalograss, and seashore paspalum are excellent options. They have different maintenance needs, colors, textures, and resilience levels. Some tolerate partial shade, heavy traffic, and salt sprays. Others, not so much. 

We cover all the details you need to choose the best turfgrass for your Tampa Bay lawn and lifestyle. 

1. St. Augustinegrass: The Best Grass for Shaded Lawns 

St Augustine Grass
St. Augustine grass
Photo Credit: Stickpen / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

This beautiful, dense turfgrass is widespread in Tampa Bay. Well adapted to the subtropical climate and coastal regions, it thrives in warm and moist local weather. 

St. Augustine has a good tolerance to salt sprays and can endure weeks of drought without significant damage. It also adds an elegant blue-green color to your garden and is the best warm-season grass to consider if trees are shading your Tampa yard

Learn more about St. Augustine and where it can thrive in our guide about the best types of grasses for Florida.

  • Spreads by: Stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate to High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance: High fertilizer needs. Requires mowing often and promotes thatch.
  • Mowing height: Keep standard St. Augustinegrass cultivars (BitterBlue, Floratam, etc.) 3.5 to 4 inches tall. Cut dwarf varieties 2 to 2.5 inches tall.
  • Potential for disease and pests: Moderate to high
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Soil type: Thrives in moderately fertile, moist, well-drained soil.  
  • St. Augustine cultivars to consider: BitterBlue, Floratam, Palmetto, Seville, Citra Blue

Grass Plug Options:

Seed Ranch St Augustine Seville Grass Plugs (2 Trays)
Seed Ranch St Augustine Floratam Grass Plugs (2 Trays)

close-up of zoysiagrass
Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0 US

Think of Zoysia as a high-quality home lawn bringing the pristine look of a golf course into your yard. It forms a unique emerald green mat with excellent wear resistance and a good tolerance for salt sprays and partial shade. 

Zoysia is not perfect, though. It is a slow grower, expensive to establish as a new lawn, and prone to weeds in its first year. But once it’s established, weeds are no match for Zoysia’s dense, thick, neat cover. 

Irrigate Zoysiagrass regularly during Tampa’s dry spells to keep it green. It has the best cold weather tolerance among warm-season grasses, so you’ll enjoy the fresh color until late in the season.

  • Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate to High 
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High, but recovers slowly from damage 
  • Maintenance: Low to moderate
  • Mowing height: Mow Zoysiagrass weekly and keep it 1 to 2 inches tall. 
  • Potential for disease: Good disease tolerance overall
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5
  • Soil type: Zoysia cultivars love well-drained, slightly acidic soil.
  • Zoysiagrass cultivars to consider for Tampa Bay: Empire, El Toro, Icon

Grass Plug and Seed Options:

Zoysia Plugs (50 Large Grass Plugs)
Zoysia Plugs (50 Full & Lush Grass Plugs)
Zoysia Plugs (100 Plugs)
Zenith Zoysia Grass Seeds (1/8 lb. of seeds)

3. Bermudagrass: Excellent for Drought Conditions

Bermuda close-up
Photo Credit: Scot Nelson / Flickr / CC0 1.0

This medium to dark green grass grows densely and vigorously in most Florida soils. Bermuda offers excellent traffic, salt, and drought tolerance. Its deep roots make it a fabulous water-saving option for Tampa’s dry spells. 

You’re also dealing with a fast grower that establishes quickly in your yard. Its aggressive stolons make it a thatch-prone grass that needs frequent mowing and can turn summer lawn maintenance into a time-consuming task.

  • Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Low
  • Drought tolerance: High 
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance: Needs frequent mowing due to fast growth rate; develops thatch quickly; needs regular fertilization
  • Mowing height: Set the mowing height between 0.5 and 1.5 inches for hybrid Bermudagrass cultivars. Mow common Bermudagrass down to 1.5 to 2.5 inches.
  • Potential for disease and pests: Good disease resistance. Low resistance to insects (i.e. mole crickets, sod webworms, armyworms).
  • Soil: Bermuda grows well in most soil types, with pH levels between 6.0 and 6.5.
  • Bermudagrass cultivars to consider for the Tampa Bay area: Celebration, Latitude 36, NorthBridge, Bimini, Tifway 419

Grass Seed Options:

Scotts Turf Builder Bermudagrass (10-lb. bag)
Hancock Seed Co. Bermudagrass (50-lb. bag)

4. Bahiagrass: The Best Low-Maintenance Grass for Sandy Soils

Light green colored bahiagrass in a lawn
Photo Credit: John Robert McPherson / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Bahia is a low-maintenance grass that can thrive with little water and nutrients. You’ll still need to fertilize your Florida lawn, but not so often.

This type of grass covers Tampa yards in a vibrant dark green color from early spring to late fall. The leaves also have a finer, more pleasant texture to the touch. Despite its beauty, Bahiagrass is one of the most inexpensive grasses to install on your lawn. 

On the other hand, it doesn’t grow a dense, uniform carpet like other grasses.  It comes with a more natural look and can become invasive.

  • Spreads by: Stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Low, but more shade-tolerant than Bermudagrass
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance: Low fertility requirements. Expect frequent mowing (every one to two weeks) to remove seed heads.
  • Mowing height: Mow bahiagrass 3 to 4 inches tall every 7–14 days during active growth. 
  • Potential for disease and pests: Good resistance to disease and insect infestations. Keep an eye out for dollar spot symptoms, mole crickets, and nematodes. 
  • Soil: Thrives in acidic soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 and is susceptible to iron deficiency in alkaline soils.
  • Bahiagrass cultivars to consider for Tampa Bay: Pensacola, Argentine

Grass Seed Options 

Pensacola Bahiagrass:
SeedRanch Pensacola Bahiagrass Seed (10 lb. bag)
Hancock Seed Co. Pensacola Bahiagrass Seed (5 lb. bag)
Argentine Bahiagrass:
Scotts Turf Builder Argentine Bahiagrass (10 lb. bag)
Hancock Seed Co. Argentine Bahiagrass Seed Mix (25 lb. bag)

5. Centipedegrass: The Best Warm-Season Grass for Infertile Soils

centipede grass
Photo Credit: James Becwar / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0

Centipedegrass is another slow-grower and low-maintenance option for Tampa. It grows close to the soil, forming light green mats, and can tolerate some shade from shrubs and trees. Centipede handles Tampa dry spells well and thrives in infertile and acidic soils.

Because of their low salt tolerance, Centipede cultivars are better suited for inland properties.

  • Spreads by: Stolons 
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Mowing height: Mow every 7 to 14 days and maintain a mowing height of 1 to 2 inches to encourage root growth and healthy grass.
  • Potential for disease and pests: Good resistance to diseases and insects. 
  • Soil: Centipede enjoys sandy, infertile, acidic soils (pH levels of 4.5 to 6.5) with good drainage. 
  • Centipede cultivars to consider for Tampa Bay: Covington, Centennial, Hammock, Oaklawn

Grass Seed Options:

Gulf Kist Coated Centipedegrass Seeds (1 lb.)
Scotts EZ Seed Patch and Repair Centipedegrass (3.75 lbs.)
TifBlair Centipedegrass (5-lb. bag)

6. Seashore Paspalum – The Best Salt Tolerance

A close up of a beautiful seashore paspalum
Seashore paspalum
Photo Credit:Forest & Kim Starr / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Native to tropical and subtropical regions, seashore paspalum grows naturally in coastal environments and has excellent tolerance to salt. Considered equally for athletic fields, golf courses, and home lawns, it covers the soil in a dense, dark-green turf layer that easily discourages weeds. 

Under the soil, seashore paspalum has a dense root system that allows it to thrive with low water and fertilizer input. It has few insect and disease problems but doesn’t tolerate shade. To enjoy its beauty and resilience, plant it on a sunny lawn.

  • Spreads by: Rhizomes and stolons
  • Shade Tolerance: Low to Moderate
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate
  • Foot Traffic Tolerance: Moderate
  • Maintenance: Moderate fertilizer and frequent mowing. Overfertilization and overwatering promote thatch.
  • Mowing height: Maintain a height of 1 to 2 inches. 
  • Potential for disease and pests: Moderate. Watch for signs of large patch, dollar spot, and common Tampa pests like fall armyworms and sod webworms. 
  • Soil: Tolerates various types of soil, including wet and saline soil, and a wide pH range from 3.6 to 10.2.
  • Zoysiagrass cultivars to consider for Tampa Bay: Sea Isle 1

Grass Seed and Sod Options:
Seed Ranch SeaShore Paspalum Coated Grass Seed – 1 lb.
Seed World SeaShore Paspalum Grass Seeds (various amounts)
– Other places to purchase seashore paspalum sod

7. Buffalograss: Tolerant of High and Low Temperatures

Closeup view of green colored buffalograss
Photo Credit: Pixnio

Native to short-grass prairies of North America, Buffalograss loves full sun (don’t plant it on shaded patches) and has excellent tolerance to drought, cold, and high traffic. Homeowners love its beautiful green color with a blue or bluish-gray tint. 

They also appreciate its low needs when it comes to fertilizing and mowing. During drought, it goes dormant fast and comes back just as quickly when watered. 

On the other hand, it has moderate salinity tolerance (not the best choice for coastal properties), and keeping it weed-free can be a headache. Weeds grow fast due to buffalograss’s “open growth” habit and low competitivity in high rainfall areas. You’ll need a good weed control plan to keep them at bay. 

  • Spreads by: Stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Low
  • Drought tolerance: High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance: Low fertilizer and mowing needs. It requires weed control. 
  • Mowing height: Keep the grass 2 to 3 inches tall.
  • Potential for disease and pests: Good tolerance against diseases and insects. Monitor signs of brown patch, white grubs, and chinch bugs.
  • Soil: It thrives in rich and well-drained sandy loam soil. Tolerates clay with good drainage. 
  • Buffalograss cultivars to consider for Tampa Bay: Topgun, Plains, Cody, 118, and 609

Grass Seed Options:

Everwilde Farms Buffalograss Seeds (1 lb. of seeds)
Buffalograss seed (primed) (5-lb. bag)


What is the Most Durable Grass in Tampa, Florida?

Bermudagrass is considered the most durable grass for Tampa, Florida. It has excellent heat, humidity, and drought tolerance. Bermuda is also a “hungry” grass and needs frequent fertilization.

What is the Best Low Maintenance Grass for Tampa, Florida?

The top low-maintenance turfgrass for Tampa Bay is Bahiagrass. It can grow in sandy, infertile soil and doesn’t need much fertilization or watering in the Florida climate. Bahia is also low in thatching and a slow grower that can be mowed once a week or every two weeks.

What is the Best Sod for Tampa Bay?

St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia are the best sod options to install on your Tampa Bay lawn. What you choose depends on personal preferences and the conditions of your yard (soil, sun exposure, shade trees, etc.)

What Grass Stays Green Year-Round in Florida?

With proper irrigation during summer, buffalograss has the best traits to keep its green year-round in Florida. Another grass with a long green period in the Tampa Bay climate is Zoysia.

Find the Best  Grass for Your Tampa Lawn Today!

Keeping a thick and healthy green lawn in Tampa Bay is easier with suitable grass. Choose a shade-tolerant type if you have trees. Go for a low-maintenance variety if you lack the time to mow often. Install heavy-traffic grass for kids and pets to play on. 

Don’t worry if you’re stuck between two or three options. Get some professional advice! Call a lawn care company in the Tampa Bay area and find the perfect grass for your lawn today!

Main Image Credit: Hillsborough school, Tampa / Pxfuel

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Sinziana Spiridon

Sinziana Spiridon

Sinziana Spiridon is an outdoorsy blog writer with a green thumb and a passion for organic gardening. When not writing about weeds, pests, soil, and growing plants, she's tending to her veggie garden and the lovely turf strip in her front yard.