Grass Seed Blends vs. Mixes vs. Single Varieties – What’s the best?
October 07, 2022

Grass Seed Blends vs. Mixes vs. Single Varieties – What’s the best?

By James Weiss

What kind of grass seed do I need???

Many homeowners find this to be a very confusing topic when staring at bags of grass seed on the shelf at a box store or their local hardware store. In this post we will help de-mystify the difference between these different seed options to help you better select the product that fits your needs.

Let's start with some grass seed lingo...

In the grass world you will hear a lot about species & varieties. This is where people tend to get confused.  With species and varieties, we think of them as a hierarchy. You start with a plant species and within that species there are different varieties.

A simple analogy might be in the world of desserts, let’s say you have cake and ice cream. Those would be two different species and within those species you could have a number of different varieties. For example, under the species of cake you might have chocolate cake, cheesecake, red velvet cake, etc. Under the species of Ice cream, you could find a bunch of different varieties as well, chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, bubblegum, etc. While they are all desserts, they are all different, in some cases they can be very different. The same can be said for grass seed.

In the lawn grass seed world some examples of species and varieties could be as follows:

  • Kentucky Bluegrass (KBG) – Specie
    • Midnight – Variety
    • Bluebank – Variety
    • Shamrock – Variety
  • Turf Type Tall Fescue (TTF) – Specie
    • Regenerate – Variety
    • Cheyenne – Variety
    • K-31 – Variety

  • Perennial Ryegrass (PRG) - Specie
    • New Sealand – Variety
    • Electra 37 – Variety
    • Tier Four – Variety

  • Fine Fesuces – Specie
    • Meander Creeping Red Fescue – Variety
    • Sockeye Slender Creeping Fescue – Variety
    • Whisper Sheep Fescue – Variety

This is just a small example of the different species and varieties that exist in the turf grass seed world. The combination of different grass species and varieties is vast, but that is where Swell Seed comes into help narrow down appropriate turf grasses for various homeowner applications.

Single Variety vs. Blend vs. Mix ????

That brings us to the next topic. What is the difference between a blend, mix and single variety.

  • Single variety - It’s just as the name states, it is just one specific variety of grass seed. It will sometimes be referred to as straight seed. Typically, someone that is looking for single variety seed is a lawn enthusiast who has very thoroughly researched the specific variety and wants to have a very uniform one-grass look to their lawn. This can produce a very beautiful lawn. However, single variety lawns are more susceptible to disease and typically require more attention and maintenance. An example of this would be a homeowner planting Midnight Kentucky Bluegrass. If using the dessert analogy this might be a whole chocolate cake.
  • Blend – A grass seed blend is the combination of two or more varieties of the same species. In other words, a blend might consist of two or more different varieties of Kentucky Bluegrass (KBG). An example of a Kentucky Bluegrass Blend might be 33% Midnight, 33% Bluebank and 33% Shamrock. A blend will give you a consistent looking lawn and help reduce potential disease. Blends are more forgiving for the homeowner than single variety lawns and less forgiving than a mix. In the dessert analogy world this might three kinds of cake, chocolate, coconut cake and cheesecake. Ultimately your lawn will have a bit more variation.
  • Mix – A grass mix is a combination of different species of grass seed and may contain more than one variety of a species. An example of a mix might be a 25% Midnight KBG, 25% Shamrock KBG 25% New Sealand PRG and 25% Meander Creeping Red Fescue. A mix like this will give a homeowner a lawn that is more disease resistant than a single variety lawn or a lawn blend. It will also green up a bit faster in the spring as the PRG will green up quicker than the KBG. Additionally, if the lawn has shaded areas the fescue will fair better than the KBG varieties. In terms of dessert analogies, this would be like having cake, (2) kinds of ice cream and a cookie! A mix can give you the best of a few different varieties and species, making for a versatile, healthy and beautiful lawn area.

At the end of the day the choice is yours and it comes down to preference

  • Single Variety Lawns – They can look absolutely beautiful, but are more susceptible to disease and can require more tinkering and maintenance from the homeowner.
  • Lawn Blend – A very uniform look and feel, better disease tolerance than a single variety lawn. Requires less tinkering and maintenance than a single variety lawn.
  • Lawn Mix – Will give your lawn more genetic diversity, elevating the disease tolerance of your lawn, which will in turn reduce the tinkering and maintenance compared to single variety and blend lawns while still providing a beautiful lawn area.

Swell Seed Co. sells high quality grass seed in all of these forms (Single Variety, Blends & Mixes). Our goal is to help provide you with guidance and supply you with the highest quality seed to make your lawn area the envy of the neighborhood.  

Best grass Bluebank Elite variety Grass blend Grass mix Grass seed Grass variety KBG Midnight PRG Regenerate Shamrock Single variety