Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: St. Augustine Grass, St. Augustinegrass
Stenotaphrum secundatum 'Floratam'

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Stenotaphrum (sten-oh-TAF-rum) (Info)
Species: secundatum (see-kun-DAY-tum) (Info)
Cultivar: Floratam

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


No positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral norfolkgarden On May 4, 2008, norfolkgarden from Norfolk, VA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Negatives - one of the more lame excuses for a 'southern' lawn grass, St Augustine grass blades are nearly identicle to crabgrass. Crabgrass blades have a fine tapered point while St Augustine has a more blunt tip, but the blade width and length are similar. The blade width is the most annoying part if you're used to a fescue, blue grass, or even, bermuda lawn.
This grass spreads by 'ropey' 1/4 inch wide stolons on the ground surface. This grass is not a soft green carpet to wiggle your toes in. wearing sneakers or sandals on this grass is a lot more comfortable.

We live in Norfolk, Virginia. It's in the 'transition zone' between northern and southern grasses.
- translation - "NOTHING looks good here 12 months a year. pick your poison and tolerate the drawbacks of whichever you choose. :-)"

Blue grass can't stand the extended heat and humidity, can't even find it for sale here.

Tall fescue lawns are common in the more expensive neighborhoods, but require nearly as much care and attention as a pet dog or indoor cat.

Bermuda is a beautiful summer grass with a nice fine texture, but is brown for 6 months a year. It also spreads as deep as 6 inches underground and is miserable to keep out of flowerbeds.
Perennial (not) and Annual Rye grass are sometimes used to overseed Bermuda grass, but it needs mowing several times a winter and is a very light green. It also does nothing to improve the health of the underlying Bermuda grass.

Zoysia is similar to Bermuda, wonderful to walk on, but dead brown for 5 to 6 months.

Positives - which brings us back to the positive aspects of St Augustine grass.

it is evergreen here 12 months a year.

it tolerates SHADE! We rounduped the bermuda grass and weeds, then plugged the St Augustine lawn in the late summer of 2007. The best looking plug that winter grew in the shade of our evergreen live oak tree.

it spreads on the surface. you wont ever need to rip up your border edging and dig down 8 inches to make sure you got all of the stealth Bermuda grass stolons creeping back into the shrub beds.

My better half grew up with it in northern Florida and loves it.

Neutral TREEHUGR On Feb 3, 2005, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is the #2 most common turfgrass in Florida. Second only to Bahiagrass, which is a terrible turfgrass. This is a broadbladed turf. It has to be sodded. Grows well but requires a fair amount of maintenance to control weeds and dry spots and some other problems. It's known to have some pests. It does fine in sun or shade. It doesn't make a good athlethic grass because it's hard to walk on. It does a satisfactory job of preventing erosion at homesites and roadsides. I've noticed it handles traffic and wear extremely well. It's also tolerant of homeowners who don't take very good care of it. It is supposed to be mowed at a height of about 3 inches. 3" turf grass would get you evicted from some subdivisions up north so as you can tell it's an acquired taste. Many people including myself haven't acquired that taste. It's also commonly used in Texas, and coastal areas of South Carolina.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Saraland, Alabama
Maitland, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Austin, Texas
Blanket, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Norfolk, Virginia
Portsmouth, Virginia

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