An Extra-Easy Zoysia

Selected cultivars, including 'Zorro', are superior to the species.
Contemporary Home With Multiple Textures

Contemporary Home With Multiple Textures

A dramatic stone patio adds character and ample outdoor space to this contemporary home.


Zoysia is a warm-season perennial grass that spreads by rhizomes to form a dense, low mat. Typically slow-growing, it does best in full sun or partial shade. Various cultivars are also traffic tolerant and so are often recommended for golf courses and public grounds. Usually zoysia is established via plugs or sprigs. As a warm-season grass, it turns brown after the first fall frost and stays brown until spring green-up. Selected cultivars are superior to the species.

In national testing, 'Zorro'--a fine-textured cultivar that's relatively heat- and drought-tolerant--ranked tops among other zoysia cultivars for quality. It became the turf of choice for Alan King, landscape architect of the HGTV Dream Home 2005. "I was looking for a grass that would take both sun and shade, has a low to moderate water requirement, slow growth rate, fine texture, is deep emerald green, has a high tolerance to traffic and is cold hardy. In other words I wanted the perfect grass and I was not optimistic."

But when King learned about the high performance of 'Zorro', he had his answer. "'Zorro' is distinguished from other Zoysia grasses [because of] its good tolerance to low light conditions, high turf quality, rapid recovery from damage and resistance to several insect, mite and disease pests. Like other Zoysia cultivars, 'Zorro' is more expensive than either St. Augustine or Bermuda grass. This additional cost, however, is quickly overcome in low maintenance cost as well as its superior livability."

Other superior zoysias include 'El Toro', 'Emerald', 'JaMar', 'HT-210' and 'Miyako'.

Because zoysias tend to become very dense, thatch buildup can be quite significant. Depending on how often they've been watered and fertilized, dethatching every two to three years is usually a necessity. Keep them closely mowed (about two inches) to further reduce thatch accumulation. Zoysias do best where the growing season is long and hot.

--M.H., gardening editor, HGTV.com

Keep Reading

Next Up

Four Grassy Options for the Shade

Four grasslike plants that thrive in shady gardens.

Blue Fescue

This small-scale ornamental grass produces big-time results in the garden.

Hakone Grass

Tips on this ornamental grass, also known as variegated Japanese reed grass.

Types of Ornamental Grasses

Ten great grasses that will bring your garden to cheers.

Maiden Grass, Eulalia

Learn more about maiden grass and its environment.

Planting Pampas Grass

This ornamental grass is perfect for low-maintenance landscaping but is hard to get rid of once established.

Carex Flagellifera: Favorite Plants

This ginger-brown perennial grass is a winner.

Ornamental Grasses for Every Situation

Choose the ornamental grass based on the season, the height and the type of soil.

Feather Reed Grass

Tips on growing one of the best ornamental grasses.

North-Facing Garden

Master gardener Paul James dresses up his mother's north-facing garden beds with hydrangeas, heucheras, ferns and other shade tolerant plants.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Desert Flippers

7:30am | 6:30c

Desert Flippers

8:30am | 7:30c

Desert Flippers

9:30am | 8:30c

Flip or Flop

10am | 9c

Flip or Flop

10:30am | 9:30c

Flip or Flop

11am | 10c

Flip or Flop

11:30am | 10:30c

Flip or Flop

12pm | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30pm | 11:30c

Flip or Flop

1pm | 12c

Flip or Flop

1:30pm | 12:30c
2pm | 1c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Love It or List It

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.