Floratam grass is a type of St. Augustine grass that was introduced in 1972 by the Florida and Texas Agricultural Experiment Stations as a cultivar resistant to chinch bugs and Saint Augustine Decline Virus. While Floratam grass has unfortunately since become much more sensitive to cinch bugs, Floratam is still a type of St. Augustine grass preferred over other St. Augustine grasses thanks to its drought tolerance, thick blades, and vigrous growth.
Floratam Grass Characteristics
Floratam grass can actually grow up to 3/4″ across the ground per day! That means that, under the right conditions, a bare yard plugged with Floratam grass plugs can be lightly covered with Floratam grass within only a few weeks. Of course, sodding the yard with Floratam grass means getting a virtually instant yard, but that can often cost more than buying Floratam grass plugs.
Floratam grass has purple-hued stolons (the creeping parts of the grass from which the grass blades grow). Floratam grass blades are generally wider and longer than typical St. Augustine grass.
Floratam grass is not well-suited for yards which receive less than 6 hours of sunlight. Therefore, this cultivar of St. Augustine grass may not do well under a tall tree with a broad and thick canopy, on the north side of your house, or in any other areas of your yard that might be blocked of sunlight — such as areas near where a full-size van, RV, or boat is parked. These types of situations can all create major patches of yard that are devoid of sunlight and make growing Floratam grass very difficult.
Floratam Grass Maintenance and Care
Floratam, at least among St. Augustine grass, is a very drought-tolerant cultivar. In fact, Floratam is known as the most drought-tolerant St. Augustine grass. Generally, you should water Floratam whenever wilting is first seen in the blades.
A good mowing height for Floratam grass is between 1-1/2 to 2 inches in most cases. However, Floratam has survived cuttings as low as 1″ and is better if grown taller (above 2″) when aiming for a better degree of drought tolerance.
The best fertilizer ratios for Floratam include 19-5-9 during March to April and 15-5-10 or 20-5-10 to winterize in October.
Floratam grass grows well in the climates of Southern Texas and Florida; St. Augustine grass as a whole is indeed well-suited to the Southeastern United States thanks to hot weather, adequate to plentiful rainfall, and a general lack of hard freezes. However, keep in mind that there have been many periods of cold weather in the Southeast when various types of St. Augustine grass had a difficult time getting through and recovering from severe cold spells.
Personal and first-hand knowledge and experience
Plant Answers: Floratam Grass
American Lawns Floratam St. Augustine Grass