Kentucky Bluegrass is a poor choice for Florida lawns because Florida summers are too long and hot for this type of grass. At temperatures above 80℉, Kentucky Bluegrass stops growing and begins to enter dormancy. This means that for several months during a Florida summer, your Bluegrass lawn will be brown and dormant.
Rather than attempt to cultivate Bluegrass in Florida, you will get a much greener, lower-maintenance lawn by growing Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia, or Seashore Paspalum. These grasses are perfectly suited for the Florida environment.
Why Won’t Kentucky Bluegrass Grow Well in Florida?
Kentucky Bluegrass belongs to a family known as cool-season grasses. These grasses grow best in temperatures between 60 and 70℉. This makes Bluegrass very well suited to the northeast and midwest, where cool spring and fall temperatures provide a big growth boost that helps the Bluegrass power through summer. With only a few cool months in Florida, Bluegrass will experience very little growth and may weaken and die.
- Kentucky Bluegrass grows best in temperatures 60–70℉.
- Bluegrass goes dormant (turns brown) in temperatures above 80℉.
- Because Bluegrass needs direct sun to grow, you can’t grow it in a cool, shady Florida lawn.
- In Florida, Bluegrass will only be green during winter and early spring.
What makes Bluegrass even harder to grow in Florida is the fact that it requires direct sunlight for growth. Your yard may have shady areas that keep out the heat, but Kentucky Bluegrass won’t take root in shady lawns.
Beware of Miracle Bluegrass Solutions
There are some Kentucky Bluegrass varieties (also known as cultivars) that blend Kentucky Bluegrass with Texas Bluegrass. Although these hybrids can grow as far south as the Carolinas, they still cannot handle the Florida heat.
- Kentucky Bluegrass hybrids, such as SPF-30 and Thermal Blue are more drought- and heat-tolerant than other varieties, but still do not perform well in Florida.
- Avoid seed mixes that contain Kentucky Bluegrass when seeding Florida lawns.
Some sellers advertise Bluegrass seed blends for Florida lawns, but these typically perform poorly in every region of Florida. The Bluegrass might be green for a few months but will be brown most of the year regardless of how much you water it, giving your yard a sickly appearance.
What is the Easiest Grass to Grow in Florida?
St. Augustine and Bermuda grass are two of the most common grasses found in Florida for good reason—they grow well in the climate. Thanks to the high precipitation in most parts of Florida, most warm-season grasses grow well with a standard fertilizer schedule and little watering.
- Bermuda grass and St. Augustine thrive in Florida.
- St. Augustine performs better in shade, while Bermuda grass is more drought-tolerant.
- Zoysia and Centipede Grass also perform well in Florida.
- Seashore Paspalum has a thick turfgrass appearance and grows well in coastal regions.
Seashore Paspalum is another popular choice throughout Florida. It is adapted to coastal environments but grows well in almost every region of the state. Due to its thick texture and soft blades, it’s the best Kentucky Bluegrass substitute among warm-season grasses.
What’s the Best Grass Seed to Use in Florida?
When growing grass from seed in Florida, your best bet is Bermuda grass. It sprouts at high volume and spreads quickly via both aboveground stolons (runners) and underground rhizomes (roots). A lawn seeded with Bermuda can become lush and full quickly in a sunny Florida yard.
- Bermuda grass is the best choice for growing a Florida lawn from seed.
- Zoysia, Centipede grass, and Seashore Paspalum can also be grown from seed.
- St. Augustine does not grow from seed. It has to be established with sod or soil plugs.
It’s important to note that although St. Augustine grows well in Florida, it cannot be seeded. If you want a St. Augustine yard, you’ll have to buy and install sod or soil plugs, which is often more work and more expensive than seeding with warm-season grasses.
Can You Grow Kentucky Bluegrass in Florida?
Florida is not the ideal habitat for Kentucky Bluegrass. Bluegrass is a cool-season grass that experiences growth at temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Kentucky Bluegrass growth stops once temperatures rise above 80℉. This means that for most of the year in Florida, Kentucky Bluegrass will turn brown and dormant, even if there is no drought. Due to the short growing season, it will also struggle to develop roots and gather enough nutrients to thrive. Avoid planting Kentucky Bluegrass in Florida.