Poolside Plant Info: Tips For Planting Around Pools

Poolside Plant Info: Tips For Planting Around Pools

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

If you are lucky enough to live where an outdoor pool is a way of life, you are aware of the messes some adjacent plants can make. Poolside gardens create clogged filters that become part of your way of life and straining out plant material becomes a chore. There are plenty of plants that are low on the mess scale and suitable for planting poolside. What are some poolside plants? Read on for a few no-fuss suggestions.

Planting Around Pools

Planting around pools raises some concerns and challenges.

  • The first is concern about chlorinated water splashing on the plants. This, however, is actually not a problem for plants. In fact, you could even water them with the pool water if you wish with no health problems for the plant.
  • The second concern is debris. Plant at least 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 m.) away from the edge of the pool if specimens are low growing. Avoid deciduous trees and those with spines or cones.
  • Finally, consider the plant’s needs. The pool is likely situated in full sun where there is quite a bit of exposure, and since they will get splashed a lot, avoid plants that prefer dry conditions.

Poolside Plant Info

Whether planting them in the ground around your pool or growing them in containers, there are a number of poolside plants that you can add.

Good Plants for Poolside Gardens

Leaf litter from large leaved plants is actually easier to deal with than those pesky little leaves. Either way, it will pose a problem if you aren’t vigilant on cleaning your filters. If you have a pool service, you probably won’t care, but if you do your own pool service, the leaves may become a nuisance over time. That being said, succulent plants afford a nice way to dress up the area with little debris.

  • Agave, aloe, and yucca need little maintenance and are heat lovers that are easy to grow in full sun.
  • Small palms and cycads, like sago palm, bring a tropical look to poolside gardens.
  • Planting around pools with hardy cactus species, such as Echinocactus and Opuntia, really adds a unique look to the area too, but keep them far enough away that their spines do not pose a threat to anyone.

What are some poolside plants with low leaf litter? Good examples of trees are:

  • Mediterranean Fan Palm
  • Cascalote
  • Ironwood
  • Mastic Tree
  • Fruitless Olive
  • Red Gum Tree

Lower profile bushes might include:

  • Arizona Rosewood
  • Mountain Laurel
  • Dalea
  • Turpentine Bush
  • Calliandra
  • Buddleia
  • Indian Mallow

Plants for Poolside Pots

One of the best ways to manage plant care is by using large containers or pots. This allows you to bring in several interesting colors and textures all in one container. The mixes create brilliant shows with plenty of variety. Plants for poolside pots will require additional watering, as containers tend to dry out more quickly than garden beds.

Trailing plants like creeping jenny or desert broom can cascade over the edges of the planter. Then fill in with other flowering or uniquely foliaged species such as:

  • Lantana
  • Blue Euphorbia
  • Tufted Evening Primrose
  • Germander
  • Penstemon
  • Salvia
  • Verbena

Plants around the pool must be able to withstand the high light reflection off the water. The area around the pool may be tiled or concrete, but either way it gets super hot. Plants will need more frequent irrigation and should be heat loving and drought tolerant. Raise container plants off the hot surface with rollers or saucers. When you do plant, leave plenty of room in the pot for air circulation.

Poolside gardens enhance the area and create an inviting ambiance that your friends and family won’t be able to wait to share with you.

This article was last updated on

Read more about Garden Spaces

Pool-friendly plants

Summer's just around the corner, and with warm weather ahead, we're all thinking "poolside". If you're looking to add a new pool to your home, or spruce up the one you've already got, we've got one word for you - greenery! But there are a few tricks to picking the perfect poolside plants - read on to learn more.

Why pool-friendly plants are important

Pool owners all over Australia know that proper landscaping puts the finishing touch on a successful poolscape. Plants provide both shade and privacy while also enhancing the style you've chosen for your outdoor space, whether it be formal, tropical or native.

The plants you choose not only influence the aesthetic of your outdoor space but also impact on the swimming pool itself and its surrounds. For example, rotting leaves from overhead trees can stain paving and coping, not to mention clog up expensive filtration and cleaning equipment. Leaf litter left on the pool floor may also stain the internal lining, resulting in costly repairs that could easily have been avoided. Disaster!

According to the Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA) Queensland, plants with invasive root systems must be avoided at all costs as they may be prohibited under the pool builder’s warranty due to the damaging effects they have on the pool shell. Some plants to steer well clear of around pools are umbrella trees and rubber trees, both of which are notorious for causing problems to pools, paving and underground plumbing.

Choosing pool-friendly plants

In order to be classified as both pool-friendly and hardy, a plant must fit a few criteria. Assuming you're working with the typical pool location and environment – a sun-drenched spot, with wind and salt exposure expected - your plants should be versatile and capable of thriving in semi-shade to full sun. They should also be tolerant of wind due to the normally exposed nature of pool terraces, while being able to withstand intermittent salt or chlorine exposure from pool splashes.

Despite this list of necessities looking a little daunting at first, there is actually an enormous variety of plants that are suitable to plant around pools. Here are some of my favourites.

Dragon trees and frangipanis are popular poolside trees.

15 Gorgeous Ways to Landscape Around a Pool

Is there anything more idyllic than a day at the pool? Turn your basic swimming hole into a relaxing oasis with these creative landscaping ideas.

Related To:

Lovely + Low-Maintenance

For a low-water landscaping solution, opt for a variety of plants that can handle being planted in rocky, potentially dry, settings, like those in this rustic, Mediterranean-style courtyard.

Lush Oasis

Creeping plants are the perfect accessory to pool areas where you want to soften the building materials and add a romantic touch to the surroundings. Echo the natural look of this stunning poolscape by installing a mix of tropical plants and flowering, creeping ground covers such as phlox to fill in the crevices and corners of a natural boulder border.

Contain Yourself

A pretty container adds a splash of color to this modern pool area and complements the lush lawn and contemporary design of the patio. Like the arrangement shown here, make sure to include a thriller (a high-impact plant with the most height), a filler (a medium level plant that will fill in space), and a spiller (a creeping plant that will grow down the side of the container). Want to recreate this pretty planter? Surround tall rosemary with deep red coleus and lime green sweet potato vine.


The mix of containers, low-lying rectangular planters, earthen hardscape and unique lawn pavers in this pool landscape combine to create a cool, relaxing scene. If the climate you’re in will permit it, copy this tropical look with plants such as banana trees and palms.

Bed Head

Try out the "bed head"-style gardening trend in your pool landscape by pairing lush hydrangeas with scattered plantings of daylilies, ornamental grasses and more. This purposefully-overgrown look is a perfect complement to the sylvan backdrop and curved edges of this cottage pool.

Clean + Green

This pool landscape is all about clean lines and a flawless lawn. Spend time on the quality of your lawn and the simplicity of your hardscape (like this simple layout of bluestone pavers), and you won’t need an elaborate landscape design to make your pool area feel luxurious.

Follow Your Nose

Herbs are a beautiful option for pool landscaping — not only are they pleasing to the eye, but their robust fragrances can transform your pool day into a relaxing trip to the spa. In this photo, bountiful swaths of low-maintenance lavender surround the pool area, with ornamental grasses as a backdrop.

Bug Repellants

Pools are a natural magnet for mosquitoes. You can counteract these little pests by planting mosquito repelling varieties. Basil, citronella, and geraniums are great to use as potted plants around a pool area in order to make your time outdoors more enjoyable. Since you’re using potted plants, you can easily move them around the pool as needed.

Choosing the right plants for the landscape design in your pool area is key to creating a pleasant atmosphere. Keep in mind, some of the prettiest foliage loses its luster when planted near the pool. A rose by any other name still has thorns and attracts bees.

Meredith Hale is a gardening and landscape writer, and design addict. She has coordinated the design on many house-flipping projects, admitting that her favorite part is creating inspired outdoor spaces.

Poolside Gardens for Small Spaces

Swimming pools require a significant portion of our increasingly space-limited backyards, however this does not mean the pool area has to be void of plant life, you can still have a splash and enjoy the colour too! Climbers. Consider making the most of vertical walls and fence lines with densely foliaged, evergreen climbing plants such as Chinese star jasmine (Trachelospurmum jasminoides) or …

Watch the video: Around pool potted plants