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8 Most Common Types of Grass in Hawaii (With Pictures)

golf course near seaside

If you are looking to grow a lush lawn in Hawaii, it’s important to select the best grass for the area. Some varieties grow much better on the mainland than in Hawaii. As you might figure, many grasses are unsuitable for the hot, tropical climate that Hawaii is loved for. Luckily, there are quite a few types you can select. Below, you’ll learn about eight types of grass that are best for lawns in Hawaii:

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The 8 Top Choices for Your Lawn in Hawaii

1. Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass
Image Credit: BLUEwalkerXV, Shutterstock
Sun Requirements Full to shady, depending on the species
Season Warm to cool
Difficulty Level Beginner

Bermuda Grass has long been one of Hawaii’s most popular grass types. Up until the late 1960s, Common Bermuda was the grass of choice. Since then, Bermuda hybrids have become more popular because they can adapt to harsh conditions.

Because so many hybrid Bermuda Grass species are available, you can select a Bermuda Grass designed explicitly for your yard. Some Bermuda Grass does best in full sun and hot weather, whereas others grow in shady, cool weather.

Nearly all Bermuda Grass species are easy to care for and maintain. So, select a species based on the environment and the growth rate you prefer. You truly cannot go wrong with Bermuda Grass in Hawaii.

2. Zoysia

Zoysia grass
Image Credit: Fermuz, Shutterstock
Sun Requirements Full to shady
Season Warm
Difficulty Level Beginner

Zoysia is the only grass that gives Bermuda grass a run for its money in Hawaii. Just like Bermuda, Zoysia has been popular throughout the state for years and comes in many species. The three most common species include El Toro, Z3, and Emerald.

Many homeowners choose Zoysia because it can tolerate the shade. As a result, Zoysia is often the best for lawns that will see a lot of wear and tear. El Toro is an excellent choice for this purpose.

As of late, new Zoysia species have come around. The hybrids require less maintenance, fertilizer, and overall care. Be sure to research all the species before selecting a Zoysia breed.

3. Centipede Grass

Centipede grass
Image Credit: MarkS26, Shutterstock
Sun Requirements Shady
Season Warm
Difficulty Level Moderate

Centipede grass is a good choice for Hawaii lawns, where it can get a lot of water, especially in the summer. This grass is usually planted from the seed. Within 2–3 months, it will take root.

Many select Centipede because it is one of the few Hawaii grass types that grow lusciously in the shade. If you know that your yard has a lot of shade and cool weather, Centipede may be for you.

The downside of Centipede is that it is not drought tolerant. It will require a lot more water than the other warm-season grasses, but at least it is simple to maintain and can tolerate the shade well.

4. Captiva St. Augustine

St. Augustine's grass
Image Credit: wasanajai, Shutterstock
Sun Requirements Full to shady
Season Warm
Difficulty Level Moderate

Captiva St. Augustine is incredibly coarse and often requires sod for planting. There are some dwarf species available that are a bit finer and shorter, making them easier to care for.

Because of the thick blades, Captiva St. Augustine usually is the choice of grass for people who want beautifully lush grass. However, you will need to mow the grass above 2½ inches for best results.

5. Seashore Paspalum

Sun Requirements Full
Season Warm
Difficulty Level Beginner

Seashore Paspalum is a favorite grass type in Hawaii because it can withstand salt much better than other species. Whenever you flush out the salt with fresh water, the grass can tolerate the salts in the soil columns.

In general, Seashore Paspalum is mainly only used close to the seashore. In most other locations, Zoysia works just as well, if not better, for salt tolerance. Plus, Zoysia has other benefits that Seashore Paspalum does not have.

6. Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky Bluegrass
Image Credit: Joshua Boman, Shutterstock
Sun Requirements Shady
Season Cool
Difficulty Level Beginner

If you are looking for grass to withstand Hawaii’s cool season, consider Kentucky Bluegrass. It is a perennial and grows best whenever it is cooler outside. It can tolerate shade reasonably well.

Kentucky Bluegrass is much easier to care for than most other cool grasses. It is self-spreading and sod-forming. Once it is established, you don’t have to do as much to maintain the grass. Plus, it is incredibly beautiful.

7. Fescue

fescue Grass
Image Credit: Lovelygarden, Pixabay
Sun Requirements Full to shady
Season Cool
Difficulty Level Beginner

Fescue is another excellent cool-season species. Even though it is a cool-season grass, it can tolerate heat and cold. It also has excellent drought tolerance. It is most popular in the northwestern continental US, but it is also a fair choice in Hawaii.

Fescue is a low-maintenance grass. It grows in bunches and does not require dethatching frequently. Because Fescue has such deep roots, you can expect the grass to draw nutrients out on its own, requiring less fertilizer than other cool-season species.

8. Rye

Image Credit: Sheryl Watson, Shutterstock
Sun Requirements Full sun
Season Cool
Difficulty Level Moderate

Finally, the last grass type on our list is Rye. Rye is known to germinate much faster than any other species. Thus, Ryegrass is often used for temporary lawns.

Even though it is a cool grass species, it does not tolerate winter as well as the others. Something else you must remember is that a dull mower easily shreds these grass blades, resulting in an unattractive lawn.

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Tips for Growing Grass in Hawaii

Once you select the best grass type for your Hawaii lawn, you will need to grow the grass and keep your lawn maintained for the best results. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Bermuda Grass
Image Credit: getjr, Pixabay

Know Your Soil Type

When deciding on the best grass for your lawn, test your soil to determine which nutrients are prevalent. Knowing your soil type can help you pick the ideal grass and plants.

Prepare Your Soil

After you select a grass, make sure to prepare the soil before you lay any seeds. For example, aerating your soil is a great way to promote growth when planting your grass seeds.

Maintain the Grass

Grass, even the most low-maintenance species, needs maintenance. You must control weeds, add fertilizer, mow the lawn, and water the grass. Read up on your lawn’s extensive maintenance needs so that you care for it properly.

grass clippings in wheelbarrow
Image Credit: Mikhail Olykainen, Shutterstock

Get Professional Help

It can sometimes be tough to grow grass in Hawaii’s environment. If you have trouble keeping grass alive, don’t hesitate to get professional help. Lawn specialists in the area can help you maintain and perfect your lawn.

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If you select grass for your lawn in Hawaii, any of the eight species above will grow beautifully. However, we recommend either Bermuda Grass or Zoysia. Both grasses are prevalent in Hawaii and tolerant of cool and warm temperatures. No matter what kind of grass you select, maintain the grass after planting. Only through proper maintenance will the grass grow luscious and beautiful.

See Also: 22 Wildflowers That Grow in Hawaii (Identification Guide With Pictures)

Featured Image Credit: Cocos.Bounty, Shutterstock


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