Pools make an excellent addition to backyards just like plants, so why not use the opportunity to combine them for great results?
You have many options to choose from; you can go with plants with colorful foliage or uncommon blossom shapes, or add trees and shrubs.
Surrounding pools with plants may have other benefits such as making privacy screens or getting some well-needed shade during hot summer days.
Here are my top picks of plants for around a pool!
1. Bird Of Paradise
If you want to add a colorful plant around your pool, nothing will do a better job than a Bird of Paradise.
This South African native will transform your backyard into a captivating display of uncommon bird-like blossoms. It can reach up to 30 feet tall and may spread up to 4 feet.
Bird of Paradise is most commonly grown indoors but if you live in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 12, you can keep it outdoors.
If you want this plant to thrive, there are a few things you must do. First, you need to plant your Bird of Paradise in free-draining soil to prevent water accumulation.
You should never allow the soil to dry out completely because this exotic plant isn’t drought-tolerant. Check on the soil regularly and add water whenever it’s dry on the surface. Additionally, feed your Bird of Paradise a few times during the growing season.
By following these growing tips, you’ll have an abundance of stunning bird-like blooms.
2. Fox Tail Agave
Beginner gardeners find it challenging to maintain so-called needy plants. That’s completely normal and the reason why you should avoid growing high-maintenance plants and go with easy-to-maintain ones instead.
If you are a beginner and need a plant around your pool, Fox tail agave is the perfect choice. All agave species are succulent plants, meaning they can survive long periods of drought.
Another benefit of this plant is that it’s not sensitive to chlorine and salts, which is a common issue and one of the reasons why every plant can’t grow near a pool.
The spot where you plant your Fox tail agave must receive a lot of full sun. The conditions in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11 are perfect for the growth of this magnificent plant.
This plant won’t exceed 5 feet tall, which isn’t enough for a privacy screen but it may spread up to 8 feet, which means it can assist taller plants.
3. Canna Lily
If your backyard lacks color, a canna lily will take care of it. Its splendid blossoms and paddle-shaped foliage will add a touch of elegance to the space around your pool.
This perennial may reach up to 8 feet tall and will spread up to 6 feet under optimal conditions. Canna lily is a heat-tolerant perennial and will thrive in USDA zones 7 through 10.
One of the special features of this plant is that it’s a true magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies.
Free-draining growing medium and a lot of full sun will encourage your canna lilies to generate an abundance of colorful blossoms. If you live in colder climates, you can lift the rhizomes and store them accordingly during winter.
4. Star Jasmine
The name says it all, star jasmine is the true star of every garden! This gorgeous perennial is a perfect plant for a privacy screen since it can reach up to 20 feet and spread up to 8 feet.
You can train it to climb along fences or pergolas and decorate the area around your pool in the best possible way. The scent, glossy green foliage, and white blooms of star jasmine will give a unique touch to your outdoor space.
As an added bonus, this is a super easy plant to maintain and if you plant it in free-draining and slightly acidic soil, there isn’t much to do as the plant develops further.
Prune and feed it once a year and you’ll have a thriving plant!
5. Fountain Grass
Ornamental grasses are always a great choice for outdoor spaces and one of the prettiest ones is fountain grass.
This type of grass typically reaches 4 feet tall and spreads up to 3 feet. You can choose from a wide range of varieties; from pinkish-purple Fireworks to compact Hameln species.
Fountain grass thrives best in USDA zones 3 through 10. It makes an excellent addition to pool areas and is frequently used in modern garden designs.
If you’re a beginner, fountain grass is the perfect option because it doesn’t need much to thrive; full sun and free-draining soil will keep it happy and healthy for many years to come.
6. Hens And Chicks
Adding succulents to gardens makes life so much easier since their care requirements are low to zero. One of the best examples is the hens and chicks plant, which doesn’t need much to thrive and is a perfect mat-forming plant.
This plant won’t exceed 6 inches and can spread up to 4 feet. Hens and chicks is a pretty hardy plant and will grow well in USDA zones 3 through 8.
It develops into rosettes and the color mainly depends on the cultivar. This succulent is frequently used in rocky gardens; the essential thing is to plant it in well-draining soil because overwatering is the most frequent cause of a dying hens and chicks plant.
7. Banana Plant
If you want to give your pool a more tropical vibe, the banana plant will do the job. The Basjoo variety generates massive leaves and can reach up to 15 feet tall, making it perfect for privacy screens.
The only drawback of this variety is that it doesn’t produce edible fruits but it definitely deserves a spot in your backyard because of its fantastic appearance.
Another reason to grow this banana species is its cold hardiness. It can survive temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit and will flourish in USDA zones 5 through 11.
If you live in colder climates, you’ll need to add a layer of mulch over the Basjoo soil for winter protection. It thrives in both direct sunlight and partial shade and requires moist but free-draining soil.
Scented gardens are definitely the most special garden types out there. Just imagine smelling the blossoms after a good swim!
Frangipani plants can reach 10 feet, won’t spread more than 5 feet, and they perform best in USDA zones 10 and 11.
This Hawaiian native isn’t cold-tolerant, so you can’t plant it outdoors if you live in colder climates; containers are your friend in this case.
Drought and salt tolerance are the best features of this plant species and, as an added bonus, the leaves are massive and you can easily remove them from your pool if they fall down.
9. Indian Hawthorn
When spring arrives, the Indian hawthorn will show its glorious blossoms and announce the warm season.
It reaches 6 feet in height and width and is suitable for cultivation in zones 8 through 10. Full sun will encourage your Indian hawthorn to produce an abundance of fragrant flowers.
This isn’t a native plant but it’s not considered invasive, so feel free to add this beauty around your pool
10. Queen Palm
Backyard + pool + palm = perfection! If you want some shade in your backyard, a Queen palm is an excellent choice because it can reach 25 feet!
It has a fast growth rate and is perfect for zones 9 through 11. You can encourage the production of creamy flowers and orange fruits by planting your Queen palm in full sun and sandy and slightly acidic soil.
Water it regularly and make sure to prune damaged fronds, if any. This plant is considered invasive in some parts of the country (1), so make sure to check before planting it.
Choosing the perfect plants for pool areas may be pretty tricky because you need to pay attention to sun, heat, and salt tolerance. Simply select a plant (or more) from this list and follow our guidelines for maintenance. Your pool area will leave your neighbors green with envy!
1. queen palm, Syagrus romanzoffiana Arecales: Arecaceae. (n.d.). https://www.invasive.org/browse/subinfo.cfm?sub=17569