24 Best Plants for Around the Pool – Top Picks for 2024

Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Ever wondered why some pools look like they’ve jumped out of a magazine? The secret’s in the greenery. Yup, picking the best plants around the pool ain’t just for looks; it’s about making your pool area work better for you. We’re talking less glare from the sun, more cool, shady spots, and yeah, that hidden-away feeling because hey, privacy matters.

So, what plants should you park near your pool? Hold on, it’s not just any plant that will do. You need tough cookies that can handle the splash and the heat, all while keeping your pool pad looking sharp.

Let’s get this straight—adding the right plants can transform your pool area into the hangout spot of your dreams. You’re not just making things prettier; you’re upping your home’s chill vibes and even its value. Who wouldn’t want that?

Considerations for Choosing Poolside Plants

When decking out your pool area, not just any shrub or flower will do. You gotta think about a few things to make sure your green buddies thrive and don’t turn into a backyard hassle. Here’s what’s up:

Climate and Hardiness

Hey, you need plants that can handle your local weather. If you’re living where the sun scorches, you’ll want plants that won’t keel over when it gets hot. And for those of you in cooler spots, pick plants that won’t bail when the frost hits.

Basically, choose plants that are tough enough for your climate and won’t need you to baby them all year round.

Pool Chemical Tolerance

Pools and plants both like water, but your pool’s got chlorine or salt, which not all plants are cool with. Some plants can take it, and others just can’t handle the splash. So, pick ones that won’t go all yellow and sad on you.

This means looking for plants known to be resistant to chlorine or saltwater, so they keep looking fresh even when they get a bit of pool water on them.

Root Structure

Nobody wants to fix a cracked pool. So, think about the roots of the plants you’re putting around your pool. You need plants that play nice and don’t spread their roots out like they own the place.

Go for ones with compact root systems that are less likely to push up against your pool and cause damage. This will save you a headache and some serious cash down the road.

Debris and Maintenance

If you’re all about that low-maintenance life, choose plants that aren’t messy. Some plants drop leaves, petals, or seeds more than others, turning your pool into a leaf soup after a breeze.

Opt for those that keep their bits to themselves, meaning less cleaning for you. Low-maintenance plants make your life easier and keep your pool area neat.

The 24 Best Plants Around the Pool

Creating a tropical oasis around your pool not only adds to the beauty but also enhances your outdoor living space. Here’s a look at some of the best plants that can transform your pool area into a lush paradise.

1. Banana Plant ‘Basjoo’

Banana Plant Basjoo

The Banana Plant ‘Basjoo’ is a hardy tropical plant that brings a lush, exotic vibe to any poolside. Known for its rapid growth and large, dramatic leaves, it serves as a perfect natural screen, providing privacy and a dense green backdrop.

Unlike fruiting banana plants, ‘Basjoo’ is primarily ornamental and extremely cold-hardy, making it suitable for a variety of climates.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 11
  • Flower Color: Creamy yellow
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Mature Size: Up to 18 ft. tall, 10 ft. wide

Regular watering and protection from high winds will keep it looking its best. Despite its tropical appearance, ‘Basjoo’ can survive temperatures down to -10°F when properly mulched, making it an excellent choice for a wide range of geographic locations.

2. Banana Tree (Musa)

banana tree

The Banana Tree (Musa) is a classic choice for those seeking a tropical theme. Its large, broad leaves provide excellent shade and visual interest.

This fast-growing tree can add significant height and greenery to your pool area in a short period.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Flower Color: Yellow to orange
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Mature Size: 10–20 ft. tall, 6–10 ft. wide

Banana trees need protection from strong winds and regular fertilization to thrive. They’re best suited for warmer climates but can be grown in pots in cooler regions and moved indoors during winter.

3. Bird Of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

Bird Of Paradise
Instagram: @livin_the_tropical_life

The Bird Of Paradise is renowned for its striking flowers that resemble birds in flight, making it a focal point in any garden setting.

Ideal for adding a touch of the exotic, this plant thrives in sun-drenched, tropical conditions and is often used to enhance the aesthetic of luxury pool areas.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 to 12
  • Flower Color: Orange and blue
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Mature Size: 4–6 ft. tall, 2–3 ft. wide

With adequate moisture and occasional feeding, Bird of Paradise can bloom several times a year, each bloom adding spectacular color and drama to your poolside landscape.

4. Canna Lily (Canna indica)

Canna Lily

Canna Lilies are another splendid choice for poolside areas, known for their large, tropical leaves and bright flowers that bloom throughout the summer.

Available in a variety of colors, they can provide a continuous pop of color alongside green foliage.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 11
  • Flower Color: Red, orange, yellow, pink
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Mature Size: 3–5 ft. tall, 1.5–2 ft. wide

Canna Lilies are adaptable and relatively easy to maintain. They require regular watering, especially in hot weather, and benefit from a monthly dose of fertilizer during the growing season.

After the first frost, the rhizomes can be dug up and stored indoors in colder climates, then replanted the following spring.

5. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

Creeping Jenny
Instagram: @small_magical_gardens

Creeping Jenny is a vibrant ground cover known for its vigorous growth and bright, lime-green leaves. This plant thrives in moist conditions, making it an excellent choice for areas near pools where splashes are common.

It can spread quickly, covering large areas with a soft, mat-like carpet that adds a splash of color even when not in flower.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
  • Flower Color: Bright yellow
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
  • Mature Size: Up to 2 inches tall and spreads indefinitely

Creeping Jenny is perfect for softening the edges of hardscapes or cascading over the sides of pots and planters. Its ability to adapt to both sun and shade makes it versatile, but ensure it has enough moisture to prevent drying out.

6. Echeveria (Crassulaceae)

Echeveria Crassulaceae
Instagram: @succycrazy

Echeveria, a popular succulent, boasts rosettes of waxy leaves in a variety of hues such as greens, blues, and purples, often with beautiful accent colors on the leaf tips.

Echeverias are drought-tolerant once established, requiring minimal care, which makes them ideal for sunny and dry poolside spots.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Flower Color: Pink, red, or yellow
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, sandy
  • Mature Size: 6 inches to 12 inches tall

Their water-storing leaves mean they can thrive even in hot, sunny locations around the pool. These plants add a modern touch to poolside plantings and work well in rock gardens or as part of a mixed succulent container.

7. Egyptian Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus)

Egyptian Papyrus plant

Egyptian Papyrus is known for its tall, grass-like appearance with graceful, umbrella-like tufts on the ends of the stalks.

It is naturally a water plant, so it thrives in wet areas and can even be planted directly in a shallow pool or water garden.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 8 to 11
  • Flower Color: Greenish-brown (insignificant)
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Wet, boggy
  • Mature Size: 5 to 8 feet tall

For pool areas, Egyptian Papyrus can create a lush, tropical feel, adding height and drama. It’s particularly effective when planted in groups and can also serve as a privacy screen around the pool.

8. Fountain Grass (Pennisetum)

fountain grass 1

Fountain Grass is a versatile, clump-forming ornamental grass that offers feathery plumes and is prized for its rapid growth and hardiness.

Its arching stems and flowing seed heads sway beautifully in the breeze, providing movement and a soft texture to the garden scape.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
  • Flower Color: Pink, purple, or white
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: 2 to 3 feet tall

Fountain Grass works well in a poolside setting where its reflective qualities can be admired up close. It is excellent for borders or as an accent plant, adding both color and elegance to the pool surroundings.

Regular trimming in the late winter will keep it looking tidy and encourage new growth in the spring.

9. Fox Tail Agave (Agave attenuate)

Fox Tail Agave

Fox Tail Agave is a striking plant known for its rosette of smooth, blue-green leaves, which bring a sculptural elegance to any poolside setting.

This agave is named for its dramatic curved stem, which resembles a fox’s tail. It’s a fantastic choice if you’re looking for minimal maintenance and maximum impact.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Flower Color: Yellow
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: Up to 5 ft. tall and wide

Fox Tail Agave thrives in hot, dry conditions, making it ideal for sunny pool areas. It’s also remarkably drought-tolerant once established, requiring very little watering. Just give it space to showcase its full glory and watch it transform your pool area into a modern desert landscape.

10. Frangipani (Plumeria)


Frangipani, also known as Plumeria, is famed for its intoxicating fragrance and stunning flowers, which appear in a variety of colors from white and yellow to pink and red.

This tropical tree adds a lush, exotic feel to pool environments and is often associated with luxury and relaxation.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 to 12
  • Flower Color: White, pink, yellow, red
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: 8 to 20 ft. tall and wide

Frangipani is perfect for creating a tropical paradise right in your backyard. It requires some care to thrive, especially in terms of watering and feeding during the growing season, but the sensory rewards of its blooms make every bit of effort worthwhile.

11. Hawaiian Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Hawaiian Hibiscus

Hawaiian Hibiscus is practically synonymous with tropical beauty, famous for its large, colorful blooms that can make any space feel like an island getaway. Its flowers come in a dazzling array of colors, making it a versatile choice for any poolside color scheme.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Flower Color: Red, orange, yellow, white, pink, multicolor
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile
  • Mature Size: 4 to 8 ft. tall and wide

While Hibiscus will need protection from the coldest temperatures, it’s otherwise easy to care for. Regular watering and fertilization will keep it blooming profusely throughout the warmer months.

14. Hebe (Hebe)

Hebe is a superb choice for adding texture and color to your poolside. These shrubs are admired for their evergreen foliage and spiky flowers that attract butterflies and bees. They come in various sizes and can be used for everything from ground cover to border highlights.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10
  • Flower Color: White, purple, pink
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: 1 to 5 ft. tall and wide

Hebe is relatively low-maintenance but will benefit from occasional pruning to keep it shapely and to encourage flowering. It’s especially effective in coastal and windy areas, thanks to its tolerance of salt and wind.

15. Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum)

Hens and Chicks are delightful succulents that grow in dense mats of rosettes. The parent rosettes are the ‘hens,’ and the smaller rosettes that spring from them are the ‘chicks.’ This plant is ideal for rock gardens or dry, sunny spots around the pool.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
  • Flower Color: Pink, red, or green
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: Up to 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Extremely easy to care for, Hens and Chicks require little more than occasional watering and thrive in poor soil where other plants might struggle. This makes them perfect for a low-maintenance, water-wise poolside garden.

16. Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica)

Indian Hawthorn is a robust evergreen shrub that flourishes in poolside settings due to its salt tolerance and ability to withstand full sun. Its dense, mounded growth habit makes it excellent for creating low borders or mass plantings.

During spring, the plant is adorned with clusters of pink or white flowers, which add a delicate contrast to its glossy, dark green leaves.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 11
  • Flower Color: White, pink
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: 2 to 4 ft. tall, 2 to 4 ft. wide

Indian Hawthorn is valued for its drought tolerance once established and its resistance to most pests and diseases, making it an ideal choice for gardeners seeking low-maintenance landscaping options around pools.

17. Jade (Crassula ovata)

Jade is a popular succulent that brings a touch of minimalistic elegance to poolside spots with its thick, woody stems and oval-shaped, glossy leaves.

The leaves have a rich jade-green color that may develop red tips in bright sunlight. As a bonus, mature plants can produce small white or pink star-shaped flowers in the winter, adding to their appeal.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 to 12
  • Flower Color: White or pink
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: 2 to 5 ft. tall, 2 to 3 ft. wide

Jade plants are highly adaptable and require minimal watering, thriving in the warm, dry conditions often found near pools. They are perfect for container planting, which can be strategically placed around pool decks to enhance the aesthetic.

18. Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos flavida)

Kangaroo Paw stands out with its unique, fuzzy flowers that resemble the paws of a kangaroo, making it an eye-catching addition to any garden.

Its tubular flowers attract nectar-loving birds and come in shades ranging from red and orange to green and yellow.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Flower Color: Red, orange, yellow, green
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: 2 to 4 ft. tall, 1 to 2 ft. wide

This plant is particularly suited to hot, dry climates and sandy soils, making it an excellent choice for pool areas where it can enjoy the full sun. Regular deadheading of spent flowers can encourage more blooms and maintain its vibrant appearance.

19. Martha Washington Geranium (Regal pelargonium)

Martha Washington Geranium, also known as Regal Geranium, brings seasonal color with its large, vibrantly hued blooms. The flowers vary widely in color, from whites and pinks to deep reds and purples, often with intricate veining or patterns.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 to 12 (commonly grown as an annual in cooler climates)
  • Flower Color: White, pink, red, purple
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: 1 to 2 ft. tall, 1 to 2 ft. wide

These geraniums prefer cooler spring temperatures and may need some afternoon shade in hotter climates to protect their blooms. They’re perfect for pots and hanging baskets, which can be strategically placed around the pool for seasonal color.

20. Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas)

Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine is known for its rapid growth and vibrant foliage, available in shades of lime green, bronze, or purple. This vine is ideal for creating a lush, tropical feel, as it can quickly cover ground or spill beautifully over containers.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Flower Color: Lavender (though flowers are rare in ornamental varieties)
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: 6 inches tall (ground cover), trailing up to 10 ft.

21. Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Star Jasmine is a versatile evergreen vine known for its sweetly fragrant flowers and glossy green foliage.

This plant is a fantastic choice for creating a natural privacy screen or green wall around pools. It can be trained to climb trellises, grow along fence lines, or even spread as ground cover.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 8 to 11
  • Flower Color: White
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile
  • Mature Size: Up to 20 ft. long if trained on a trellis

The intoxicating fragrance of its small, star-shaped flowers can enhance the poolside experience during the blooming season, typically in late spring and early summer.

Star Jasmine is particularly valued for its robust nature, being drought-resistant once established and requiring minimal care beyond occasional pruning to maintain its shape and promote denser growth.

22. Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’)

Zebra Grass, with its striking horizontal gold bands on green blades, adds a unique visual contrast and movement to any garden space.

This ornamental grass is appreciated for its tall, arching foliage and feathery plumes that emerge in late summer and persist into the winter, providing extended visual interest.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
  • Flower Color: Copper, turning to silver as it ages
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
  • Mature Size: 4 to 7 ft. tall, 3 to 5 ft. wide

Zebra Grass is an excellent choice for adding texture and a dynamic visual element to poolside landscapes. It sways gracefully in the breeze and can serve as a striking backdrop for lower-growing plants or as part of mixed borders.

This grass is also known for its hardiness, requiring little care once established, and it does not spread aggressively, making it easy to manage in a garden setting.

23. Aeonium (Aeonium)

Aeoniums are striking succulents known for their rosette-shaped leaves and sculptural beauty, making them an artistic addition to any poolside setting.

These plants prefer mild climates and thrive in well-drained soil, making them suitable for rock gardens or as container plants near your pool. They’re particularly effective in creating modern, low-maintenance landscapes that require minimal watering.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Flower Color: Typically yellow or white
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: Varies by species, generally 2–3 ft in height and width

Aeoniums can provide a striking contrast when planted among softer-textured plants, offering a year-round focal point with their unique form.

24. Agave Attenuata (Agave attenuata)

Agave Attenuata, also known as the ‘Foxtail Agave,’ is a popular choice for poolside gardens due to its dramatic, architectural form and the soft appearance of its large, smooth leaves. This agave is ideal for those looking for low-maintenance plants that can handle full sun.

It’s perfect for adding structure and interest to the poolside, with its rosette pattern and a stunning flower spike that emerges once the plant matures.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Flower Color: Greenish-yellow
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • Mature Size: Up to 5 ft. tall and wide

Agave Attenuata is particularly useful in regions with warm climates and can be used to create a focal point due to its distinctive, spiky appearance.

25. Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia)

Angel’s Trumpet is known for its large, pendulous flowers that exude a pleasant fragrance, especially in the evenings. This plant is a stunning addition to any pool area, where its dramatic blooms can be fully appreciated.

It requires a bit more care and attention, especially in terms of watering and feeding, to maintain its lush, tropical appearance.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 12
  • Flower Color: Varies from white to pink, yellow, or orange
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained
  • Mature Size: Up to 20 ft. tall, depending on the variety

While Angel’s Trumpet is a beautiful plant, it’s important to note that all parts of it are toxic if ingested, so care should be taken if pets or children are frequently around the pool area.

Design Tips for Poolside Plant Arrangement

Sprucing up the pool area is more than just plunking down a few plants; it’s about creating a vibe that makes every pool day feel like a vacation. Let’s break down how you can set up your space to be both gorgeous and practical.

Creating Zones

First things first, think about zones. Your pool’s got its own microclimate happening, with spots that get loads of sun and others that catch the breeze or stay shady.

You’ll want to put sun-loving plants where they’ll soak up those rays, while more delicate greens should chill in the shade.

This isn’t just about keeping the plants happy; it’s about making your pool area feel balanced and comfy, no matter the weather.

Height and Texture

Next up, let’s talk height and texture. This isn’t a flat painting—it’s your poolside, and it should have layers that make it pop.

Mix it up with tall plants, short shrubs, and everything in between. And texture? Oh, it matters. Think about the smooth leaves of a banana plant next to the fine fronds of a fern. These contrasts catch the eye and keep things interesting, turning your poolside into a showstopper.

Color Coordination

Lastly, we’ve got color coordination. This isn’t about matching your swimsuit to your flip-flops; it’s about choosing plant colors that complement your pool area and make it feel like a cohesive space.

You might go for cool blues and greens to keep things serene or punch it up with some bright blooms. Whatever your style, think about how the colors will look against the backdrop of your pool and decking.

Maintenance Tips for Poolside Plants

Keeping your poolside plants looking their best doesn’t have to be a chore. With a few simple strategies, you can ensure they thrive and continue to enhance your outdoor space.

Watering Needs

Watering your poolside plants right is crucial. These plants often face more sun and reflective heat, so they might need more water than the rest of your garden. But here’s the kicker—not too much! Overwatering can be just as bad as letting them dry out. Here’s a handy table to help you get it just right:

Plant TypeWater NeedsTips
SucculentsLowWater deeply but infrequently.
TropicalsHighKeep consistently moist.
Ornamental GrassesModerate to HighAllow topsoil to dry out between watering.

The key is to check the soil before watering. If it’s still damp, give it a day or two. Your plants will thank you by staying healthy and vibrant.

Pruning and Care

Regular pruning keeps your plants not just surviving, but thriving. Snip off dead or dying leaves and stems to help your plants focus their energy on the good stuff. It’s not just about looks; it’s about health. Removing old growth helps prevent disease and pests from taking hold. Here’s what you might focus on:

  • Deadheading Flowers: Keeps flowering plants looking tidy and encourages more blooms.
  • Trimming Back Overgrowth: Controls size and shape, keeping everything looking neat.

Make it a regular part of your garden routine, and you’ll see a big difference in how your plants perform.

Seasonal Adjustments

Plants around your pool need a little extra TLC as seasons change, especially if you live in an area with big temperature swings. Here are some tips to keep them in tip-top shape:

  • Spring Prep: Clean up any debris and dead material from winter. Start fertilizing as plants begin new growth.
  • Fall Care: Reduce watering as plants slow down for the winter. Consider covering sensitive plants if frost is a threat.
SpringPrune dead winter growth.Encourage new growth.
SummerMonitor water levels closely.Prevent heat stress.
FallBegin to reduce watering.Prepare plants for dormancy.
WinterProtect from frost if necessary.Prevent cold damage.

By adjusting your care seasonally, you ensure that your poolside garden remains a highlight of your home all year round.

Common Problems and Solutions for Poolside Plants

Maintaining a lush poolside garden comes with its set of challenges. From pesky pests to the harsh effects of pool chemicals, let’s dive into some practical solutions to keep your greenery thriving.

Pest Control

Dealing with pests in your pool area? You’re not alone. The good news is, you can keep these unwanted guests away without harsh chemicals that might mess with your pool’s vibe.

Opt for natural methods like introducing beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, which love to munch on common pests like aphids.

Planting aromatic herbs like lavender and rosemary can also help; these plants naturally repel many insects and add a nice touch to your poolside landscape. Here’s a simple guide to help you get started:

PestNatural RepellentPlant Examples
AphidsLadybugs, LacewingsLavender, Rosemary
MosquitoesCitronella, MarigoldsCitronella Plants
BeetlesNeem Oil, Garlic SprayGarlic Plants

These methods are not only effective but also safe for those poolside afternoons.

Disease Prevention

Next up, let’s tackle disease prevention. Poolside plants often face a humid environment, which can be a breeding ground for plant diseases like mildew or rot.

To combat this, ensure good air circulation by not overcrowding your plants and pruning regularly to remove any potentially diseased foliage. It’s also smart to choose disease-resistant plant varieties from the get-go. Here’s how to keep your plants healthy:

  • Air Circulation: Keep plants spaced out.
  • Clean Pruning: Regularly clean your pruning tools to avoid spreading disease.

With these practices, you can reduce the risk of diseases significantly, keeping your poolside paradise looking fresh and vibrant.

Repairing Plant Damage

Lastly, let’s talk about repairing plant damage from salt or chlorine. These chemicals can cause leaf burn and other stress symptoms in plants.

If you notice your plants are looking a bit sad after a pool party, give them a gentle rinse with fresh water to wash off any chemical residue.

For long-term health, consider using a barrier like decorative rocks or a raised planter to help shield your plants from splashback. Here are some quick tips:

  • Rinse Plants: Lightly spray plants with fresh water after heavy pool use.
  • Use Barriers: Protect plants with physical barriers to minimize contact with pool water.

Adopting these approaches will help your plants recover and thrive, despite the challenging poolside conditions.