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The Ultimate guide to Bitter Blue Vs Zoysia grass in Florida

Installing a new lawn in south west Florida involves first deciding on which grass variety you want to use. While there are many sod varieties to use, at Smart Sod we grow five proven types that are known to be able to handle the Florida weather. Two popular varieties are Bitter Blue St. Augustine and Zoysia. We have outlined the positives and negatives of both varieties so you can pick the right sod for your work site or home project.

Bitter blue grass

Bitter Blue is a variation of St. Augustine Floratam and is a great choice of a sod for home landscapes and work sites. It does well in the warm, humid areas of Florida. It has a beautiful dark green color and can handle the heat and shade, making it versatile for any situation.


  • Tolerates shady areas well
  • Dark green color
  • Capable of surviving through drought conditions
  • Has an excellent wear and injury recovery rating


  • Slow growing
  • Not a coarse grass, which could bring in weeds
  • Susceptible to fungal disease if planted in the humid months

Zoysia grass


  • High drought resistance
  • Forms a dense turf
  • Tolerates traffic well
  • Low watering variety


  • Does not have the dark green color many like
  • Doesn’t handle heavy traffic during dormant times
  • Doesn’t perform as well as bitter blue under shade

Which to choose bitter blue or zoysia


One of of the big differences between Bitter blue and Zoysia is their color. While bitter Blue has a dark blue green color, Zoysia has a light to medium green color. Which color you prefer is up to you.

Best Uses

Bitter blue St. Augustine is well loved for its ability to handle shade, making it an excellent choice for those with shady areas. Zoysia is used often for higher traffic areas, making it a great choice for those who put more wear and tear on their yard or work site.


If mowing frequency is important to you, bitter blue may be your sod of choice. Bitter blue has a slower growth rate, meaning less mowing for you. Zoysia on the other hand, grows at an average rate. While bitter blue needs to be mowed to a height of 3-4 inches, Zoysia does well at a height of 1 1/2-3 inches.


A huge bonus of zoysia is its ability to handle droughts. While bitter blue can certainly handle droughts, zoysia is sought after by those who want a no fuss watering schedule. Zoysia needs to be watered about an inch a week, more or less depending on the rainfall and the temperatures you’re currently getting. In the summers, we recommend watering zoysia a bit more often depending on the rainfall that week. Bitter blue on the other hand, does well being watered 1/4 an inch of water daily for the initial establishment period.

Foot traffic

Bitter blue and zoysia are both known for being able to handle wear and tear of foot traffic and recover fast. Since bitter blue grows back slower, it may take a bit longer for your grass to recover from a more intense lawn injury. Zoysia grows faster so bare spots after injury can grow in quicker, however in the colder dormant months may have a harder time recovering. Luckily for us in southwest Florida, there is very little if any dormant months.


Bitter blue and Zoysia are both great heat tolerant grasses that do well in Florida. While bitter blue thrives in shady areas, zoysia’s ability to grow quickly is desired for high foot traffic areas.

We hope this article helps you understand the differences between these grass varieties and can help you choose between bitter blue and zoysia.

Contact our sod experts to help you select the right variety for you or check any of our retail locations like Vision Ace Odessa or our Sod Wizard to begin ordering.