Home » Landscapes » Best Plants for Swimming Pool Landscaping

Best Plants for Swimming Pool Landscaping

If you’re stumped on what to do with your pool landscape, perhaps freshening up the surrounding landscape with some new plantings will be the answer. Any time that plants are considered for around the pool, we must not only consider the beauty of the plant and how it fits with the surrounding landscape, we also need to consider the debris that it will drop considering its proximity to the pool.

Swimming pools have a very delicate water balance, and any debris that falls into the pool will result in the balance being thrown off and tend to clog filters and soil the pool bottom.

Learn about the best plants for swimming pool landscaping so you can make your pool area look more enticing and attractive without giving you a hard time with upkeep.

Table of Contents

Plants for Swimming Pool Landscaping

Plants for swimming pool landscapes

There are a wide variety of poolside plants to choose from. You can grow many varieties of plants around a pool; you just need to consider the poolside environment.

While sitting poolside is always enjoyable, gazing at a well-planned pool landscape will make it even better.

Characteristics of plants well suited to live poolside:

Plants that do not make a mess. Dropping debris, leaves, nuts, or berries is not desirable.

Plants that are fairly hardy and resistant to chemical burns make good choices. Poolside plants will undoubtedly be exposed to some chlorinated water from time to time; whether it be from a brisk wind or a soaked pair of swim trunks, it is sure to happen.

Plants that can tolerate extreme sunlight and heat. Pools are often surrounded by hardscapes and in full sun, so the plants living there need to be a bit drought-tolerant and sun-loving.

Plants Near the Poolside: What You Need to Know

Plants near the poolside

Here are some of the most common questions asked when considering planting around the pool.

QUESTION #1: Is chlorinated pool water bad for poolside plants?

The fact is that chlorinated water getting in contact with the plants is a cause for worry, but the good news is that all but the most sensitive plants will do just fine with a bit of chlorinated water overspray. However, keep in mind that any chemical spills near even the hardiest plants can result in death, so use caution when handling chemicals near your plants.

Many plants are not very picky about the kind of water you provide them and will actually be fine with being exposed to very low levels of chlorine in your pool water.

QUESTION #2: What about plant matter from poolside plants getting into the pool? 

Debris is the second issue to consider. You would like the plants you chose to provide aesthetic appeal to the setting, not to clutter the pool with undesirable foliage and debris.

Plant them six to eight feet from the pool’s border if the plants grow close to the ground. 

You should avoid placing deciduous trees, spiny plants, or cone-bearing plants near the pool if you don’t want to frequently clean up your pool area.

QUESTION #3: What type of plants would be best to put near the swimming pool?

Lastly, think about the plant’s requirements. The area surrounding a pool creates a microclimate, and indeed, the plants you choose must survive in it. If you want to ensure that they’ll be healthy and look as nice as possible, pick the xeric sun lovers.

QUESTION #4: What should I keep in mind when planting around pools?

The area surrounding your pool will likely be covered in concrete, stones, or tiles, but either way, these surfaces will get quite hot. This hot surface will make it harder on your surrounding plants and will cause the plants to require more watering.

If planting in containers, use rolling plant stands, plates, or saucers to lift container plants off the heated surface and keep them from getting too hot. When planting, make sure there’s sufficient space in the container for airflow.

Keep the plants back a few inches to keep the foliage off of the pool deck when planting in bordering beds.

Plants that Grow Well in Poolside Landscaping 

Plants that grow well in the poolside

Surrounding your pool with plants is a creative way to frame the area. But it’s not as easy as picking a random plant and putting it on the poolside. 

Consider that larger leaved plants or evergreen plants that hold their needles might be better suited for the poolside than plants with small light leaves that will blow into the pool in the fall. Succulents, little palm trees, holly, juniper, and dwarf spruce make for good choices to minimize the amount of leaf litter in the area. 

Here are several plants that we recommend for pool landscaping.

Pool plants
  • Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis) and Banana Tree (Musa) will undoubtedly contribute to the “tropical paradise” vibe you want for your pool.
  • Fern (Tracheophyta) is a classic swimming pool plant. It thrives in the pool’s microclimate and will foster a serene, calming environment that reminds you of camping in the woods.
  • Agave is a low-maintenance succulent that adds to the attractiveness of the pool without causing any mess. 
  • Echeveria (Crassulaceae) is native to the desert, so you don’t need to water it frequently. Its symmetrical rosettes will always be lovely to see.
  • Red Gum Tree’s (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) lovely, white/cream-colored bark provides much-needed color contrast with the rest of the plants near the pool. 
  • Ironwood is an extremely hardy, picturesque tree that would look amazing close to the pool. What makes it desirable is its drought tolerance and infrequent leaf drop.
  • Zebra grass (Miscanthus Sinensis ‘Zebrinus’) and Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis) are ornamental grasses that add interesting texture to the poolside landscape.
  • Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum Jasminoides), Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia), Martha Washington Geranium (Regal pelargonium), and Dalea are stunning flowering plants that will add color to the pool’s vicinity.
  • Turpentine Bush (Ericameria laricifolia) looks and smells fantastic. You’d be excited to get a whiff of it every time you dip into the water.
  • Evergreen Viburnum (Viburnum obovatum) produces gorgeous white blooms and is a classy addition to the pool space. It can act as an excellent hedge or a decorative accent plant.
  • Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia) is a pretty groundcover that forms a thick mat, filling up the boring, unoccupied spaces in the poolside. It can also work as a trailing plant, proving its versatility in the landscape.

Potted Plants for the Poolside

Potted plants for the poolside

The poolside is a great place to decorate with plants in big containers or plant pots. Doing that is an excellent way to add intriguing elements that go well with the swimming pool area. You can experiment with different colors, shapes, sizes, and textures that will add to the poolside landscape’s variation.

The soil in smaller containers dries out quicker than soil in larger ones due to how much potting soil there is. And because containers lose water faster than surface planting beds, plants for poolside pots demand more hydration.

Good potted plants for the poolside include:

  • Beardtongues (Penstemon) will exhibit vigorous flowering that looks spectacular in containers. Penstemon can survive even with a limited water supply. The blooms come in plenty of colors so that you can plant multiple varieties of the same Penstemon plant.
  • Blue Euphorbia is a plant that does well in pots. Euphorbia’s pale color will be an interesting quality if you currently have vibrant plants.
  • Lantana (Lantana Camara) is a brightly colored flowering shrub that will always dress up the poolside. Even just one pot of this would already dazzle anyone who’d look at the pool.
  • Violets (Viola) always look great in containers. You could get creative by laying a terracotta pot to its side and making it look like the violets are pouring out.
  • Hibiscus (Hibiscus) is a nice flowering plant close to the pool. You can pick one of its big, showy flowers and put it on your ear to serve as a fun accessory.
  • Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is one way to make your pool look as beautiful as this plant’s name. Its uniquely shaped orange blooms will amplify the already sunny, welcoming, and warm feel of the place.
  • Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) is a small palm that looks cute in a plant pot beside the pool. You will like the feathery texture of its palm leaves and its slow growth.