St. Augustine lawn grass is a warm season turfgrass grown in the southern United States. Preferring coastal environments with moderate seasonal temperature fluctuations, St. Augustine grass is generally drought-, shade- and wear-resistant. St. Augustine turfgrasses come in four varieties, each with subtle variations adapted to regional conditions.
Bitter Blue St. Augustine grass has a dark blue-green foliage and a denser, finer texture than common St. Augustine grass. With improved shade and saline tolerance, Bitter Blue is also better adapted to wide temperature fluctuations. Bitter Blue grass should be maintained at a 3-4 inch height and is usually grown from seed because few Bitter Blue sod farms exist.
Floratam St. Augustine grass is the best variety for shady, trafficked lawn areas. With less cold tolerance than common St. Augustine grass, Floratam has longer, wider blades that can grow up to 3/4 inch per day during the summer months. Floratam grass requires large amounts of direct sunlight and becomes dormant for a longer period during the winter months, when compared to other varieties.
Palmetto St. Augustine grass has better color and is able to withstand cooler temperatures than common St. Augustine grass. Additionally, Palmetto has the best shade, heat and drought tolerance of all varieties. With a similar texture to Bitter Blue, Palmetto has fine, thin leaf blades that form a dense turfgrass.
Raleigh St. Augustine grass is the least studied variety that is thought to be cold, drought and shade resistant. During peak summer temperatures Raleigh grass turns yellowish and growth diminishes. Raleigh prefers lower-pH, clay-based soils in northern Florida.