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Best Plants for Around Pools

What are the Best Plants for Around Pools?

Plants add attraction and color to any place and occasion including your poolside. Compared to typical garden beds, paved areas, and other residential or commercial gardens, swimming pool landscaping needs more careful and thoughtful considerations in choosing what plants to use.

How to Choose the Best Poolside Plants

Consider the purpose of your poolside plants. Remember to plant with a purpose when planning the landscaping of your swimming pools whether for ground cover, hedging, privacy screen, attraction, or sunshade. Also, consider the following when choosing your swimming pool plants:

Plants that are resistant to chlorine

Most plants can resist chlorine and salt pool treatments. However, plant them at least a meter away from the pool to protect them from accidental splashes of chlorinated water or saltwater. You can also install drainage systems on the garden beds so that the water will not accumulate in the soil.

Some particularly chlorine-resistant plants include umbrella shades such as Golden Cane Palms or plants such as Rose Laurel, Ivy, and Chinese hibiscus.

Evergreen leaves and grass

Choose planting evergreens such as mondo grass and hardy perennial flowers to eliminate the low mess from cleaning dead leaves and flowers. This way, you wouldn’t clog up the pool filter with organic waste throughout the year.

Plants with small root systems

Shrubs and plants with small roots are best to plant around pools. Trees and plants with extensive root systems may grow roots that are big enough to crack pool walls or flooring later on.

Plants for privacy screening

Include shrubs, vines, and hedges in pool landscaping to cover and give privacy to the pool area. Choose a groundcover and small shrubs for a clear area around the pool near your house or terrace for monitoring. However, avoid planting too many trees and shrubs that may cover up the shade or block the view from your own house.

Low-maintenance plants

The plants around your pools should withstand being under the sun all day and the accidental water splashes from the pool. Choose tough plants that need lesser pruning for the year to save time on maintaining pools and gardens. Succulents like Mexican Snowballs and hardy plants like Liriope require low maintenance throughout the year.

Best Plants Around Swimming Pools

Best Plants Around Swimming Pools

Considering those tips earlier, we gathered some of the best plants to put up in your pool garden. Aside from palm trees, succulents, and perennial flowering shrubs, we recommend these plants and shrubs for your groundcovers, hedging, and screening—always plant with a purpose.

1) Star Jasmine

The Flat Mat™ Trachelospermum variety of Star Jasmine is an excellent groundcover and borders around the swimming pool. It’s also great for covering fences, and it creates a flatter climb when grown on trellises and arches compared to other vines. Its dark green leaves and white flowers are an attraction to any pool area.

Flat Mat™ Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘FT01’ PBR

The Flat Mat™ can tolerate full sun to part shade, and it is good in drought and cold. It suits most soil types and grows best in a well-mulched garden. Water it for 8-13 weeks until it grows well and prune after flowering.

Flat Mat™ Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘FT01’ PBR

2) New Zealand Flax

Phormium tenax, also known as New Zealand flax, brings color and variety to any garden bed. It has long, broad strappy leaves and striking colors, ranging from the bronze Sweet Mist® Phormium to the minty green foliage mixed with chocolate brown stripes of Chocomint Mist™ Phormium.

This compact, strappy plant is low-maintenance and drought-tolerant and can grow in containers. It can withstand full sun to part shade in fertile, well-mulched soil. Water it for 8-13 weeks until it grows well. Prune it every 2-5 years and remove older leaves if needed. 

Sweet Mist® Phormium tenax ‘PH0S2’ PBR
Chocomint Mist™ Phormium tenax ‘PHOS4’ PBR

3) Viburnum 

Viburnum is perfect for growing on hedges to create your pool wall or border. This plant is highly suited for a privacy screen around the garden or swimming pool.

Quick Fence™ Viburnum is quicker to grow and grows upright, with large, glossy green leaves with white flowers during spring. Another variety, Dense Fence™ Viburnum, grows denser screening hedges with finer leaves and reddish new-growth foliage.

Viburnum is resistant to drought, high heat levels, and even moderate to heavy cold during winter. It requires little maintenance and does not require much pruning, especially Dense Fence™ Viburnum. It grows well in well-draining soil and prefers sunny to partly-shaded positions in the garden.

Quick Fence™ Viburnum odoratissimum ‘VOQ1’ PBR Intended
Dense Fence™ Viburnum odoratissimum ‘VOC1’ PBR

4) Liriope

Liriope or Lily Turf is another slim, strappy evergreen that is great for green walls and pool garden borders. Isabella® Liriope, a groundcover plant with small pink flowers, is a perfect alternative for mondo grass in full sun and requires only one lawn mow per year.

Just Right® Liriope is a greener alternative and among the lowest maintenance for poolside landscaping. Liriope can survive full sun or heavy shade and tolerate frost, drought, and wet feet. Prune it every 2 years around August to 5-10 cm above the base of the plant.

Isabella® Liriope muscari ‘LIRF’ PBR
Just Right® Liriope muscari ‘LIRJ’ PBR

5) Westringia

Westringia shrubs are another option for evergreen poolside groundcovers and hedging. They are low-maintenance and tolerate frost, rainfall, and drought well.

For example, Mundi™ Westringia is a low-growing variety with good groundcover and produces white flowers for your garden. They can be placed in full sun to partial shade, requiring less pruning and minimal care.

Naringa™ Westringia has dense, green foliage with delicate mauve flowers that are perfect for hedging and privacy screening for pools. It grows to more than 2 meters and requires less pruning than other Westringia varieties. It grows in the full sun to partial shade and tolerates cold and drought.

Mundi™ Westringia fruticosa ‘WES05’ PBR
Naringa™ Westringia hybrid ‘WES01’ PBR

6) Lomandras

This native Australian strappy plant is another hardy evergreen that can tolerate most growing conditions. They can survive under full sun or shade and cope with a wide range of soil types.

The normal variety, such as Tanika® Lomandra, is perfect for pool borders and mass planting in garden beds. It is among the toughest and most reliable plants that can survive frost and drought.

It grows in full sun and moderate shade. Evergreen Baby™ Lomandra is half the size and is more compact with finer leaves if you are looking for a smaller variety for borders or pots.

Tanika® Lomandra longifolia ‘LM300’ PBR
Evergreen Baby™ Lomandra labill ‘LM600’ PBR

Plants to Avoid Using Around the Pool

High-maintenance plants

Plants around the pool area are exposed to the sun all day and get accidental pool splashes or wet feet. Avoid plants that won’t withstand these conditions and plants that would need intensive maintenance or regular pruning to save on work in keeping your pool clean.

Plants with extensive or robust root systems

Big roots or extensive root systems may break the pool walls or floor if they reach deep into the ground. Avoid big trees or plants around the pool area with this kind of root, and learn about the root systems of the plants that you want to put in your poolside.

Plants with leaves or small flowers falling into the pool

Stay away from plants that drop leaves, flowers, or seed heads that can clog pool filters. These plants will only cause extra work for you to maintain your poolside, no matter how attractive they can be for your garden.

Final Words

The list above is not exhaustive—carefully plan your swimming pool landscape according to its purpose and maintenance. Consider the suitability, aesthetics, and cost of selecting plants that suit your landscape style.

Todd Layt is a renowned plant and turf breeder, researcher, and marketer with a passion for developing high-quality landscape plants and turf that are tough, resilient, and sustainable.

Over the years, Todd has established himself as an industry leader and has built an impressive portfolio of over 60 different plant varieties, many of which are now selling in large numbers across the globe.

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