Everyone loves diving into a pool in the middle of summer, but having plants around your poolside seating and entertaining areas makes it that much more enjoyable, shadier, and private!
Whether you choose to put these poolside plants in pots and planters for sun-loving décor or plant them directly into the landscape, you need to know which plants are up for the challenge!
The chemicals in your pool are less of an issue for plants than you would expect - the occasional splashing of chlorinated water won't affect most plants. The larger concern is the high level of light. Because the surface of the pool and the decking reflect lots of light, you need plants that are ready to take on that challenge.
You need full sun plants that are xeric, drought tolerant, and can handle the Rock Garden conditions of tile, cement, stone, and pavement, without being messy!
Whether your pool is an indoor natatorium or outside, these tropical plants handle full sun locations. Great outside year-round in mild winter growing zones in planters, or as potted plants that can be brought indoors (or into greenhouses) so Northern climates can enjoy them too!
Citrus trees are perfect for small-space gardening and container gardening in the sun! Plus glossy evergreen leaves, fragrant white blossoms, and fruit!
The big vivacious blossoms of the Hawaiian or Tropical Hibiscus add reblooming color and broad-leaved evergreen leaves to poolside pottery!
Bay Laurel trees (Laurus nobilis) are another double-duty container tree that can thrive throughout USDA growing zones 8-11, or as indoor trees for the winter throughout zones 4-11.
Grow a conversation piece with the unique fruit of the Buddha Hand tree. Can be brought indoors for the winter, or outside year-round in USDA growing zones 10-11!
Screen off your sunbathing area or add a touch of privacy around the hot tub with these plants that hide you from prying eyes!
Cold-tolerant, perennial cousins of Tropical Hibiscus, Hardy Hibiscus has the same satellite blooms and brilliant perennial color.
Radiant white blossoms that perfume the air, the glossy evergreen leaves of the Gardenia are adaptable as in-ground plantings, as hedges, or in containers for scented poolside décor!
Warm and cool climates both agree that coniferous evergreens like False Cypress trees and bushes add an elegant form and steady color to backyard splash zones! Try a slender Pinpoint Blue and Gold, Compact Hinoki, or the unique wavy leaves of Tempelhof Hinoki.
Not related to the fast-spreading Bamboo, Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina) are fine-textured broad-leaved evergreens with incredibly fragrant blossoms! Try Firepower or Compact Heavenly Bamboo for added red fall color.
Pools are irresistible to kids and those looking to steal a quick dip when they aren’t invited. While fencing does the trick and adds privacy, there’s nothing quite like a living fence with some thorny deterrents for the added message of “Stay Out!”.
Shrub Roses, Wild Roses, and Rugosa Roses handle a broad range of conditions and climates, won’t mind all-day sun, and have the added benefit of impenetrable thorns. Even Climbing Roses works! Or try a Tropical Lightning™ or an In Your Eyes™ Rose, but for a native and cold hardy option, look into the Redleaf Shrub Rose!
While not what you think of around a pool, Hollies are fantastic hedges and barrier shrubs. From the spiny Blue Princess, and China Girl®/China Boy®, to the large and in charge Nellie Stevens, Oakland®, American, and Acadiana™ that are year-round privacy too!
Also not the most exotic shrubs, incorporating a few Barberry bushes into your privacy border will have trespassers thinking twice. The dense branching and sharp thorns work like magic.
These brilliant ornamentals have fiery red fruit and fine-textured foliage, but the Firethorn shrub (Pyracantha), like the evergreen Kasan Scarlet, handles heat, cold, sun, and trespassers with ease.
Shade your lanai with exotic trees! Feel like you are miles away from home and on a sandy beach. The best kind of poolside trees don’t lose their leaves in the fall, or drop fruit and flowers for messy clean-up.
The tropical vacation feel is instant with the addition of a Palm tree around your pool! Potted or in-ground, the Palm adds swaying fronds to your aesthetic! Try a Mediterranean Fan, a Windmill, or Jelly Palm for in-ground, or a Majesty or Areca Palm for container gardening that can be brought in for the winter!
Banana plants (Musa) add an exotic feel with privacy and shade with huge leaves! Try the Northern Wonder, Dwarf Cavendish, or a Dwarf Nam Wah Banana Tree.
Captivating Crape Myrtle has long-lasting flowers and sizable forms for screening. The deciduous leaves drop in the winter, but the dense branching can offer seclusion when pruned correctly! These are available in tree forms too!
From evergreen Southern Magnolia, to heat and sun-tolerant deciduous Magnolia, the larger leaves are a cinch to clean up while providing deep shade. Grow as shade trees or privacy shrubs. The only downside is the petals do need to drop somewhere but - Oh! The butterflies!
If you’re gardening in the sun, you need Xeric perennials to accent or plant en masse that won’t be shrinking Violets!
Blooming from June through August, Daylilies thrive in just about any situation. Blooming in defiance of the sun and heat, the Daylily is a perfect addition to poolside planting and planters! Try the Entrapment, a Rainbow Rhythm® Primal Scream Daylily, or Little Grapette.
For groundcover or mass plantings, container fillers, spillers, and star-shaped fall blooms, you can rely on the sun and drought-tolerant Sedum plants to add vibrant color to deck areas!
Yucca plants are hardy Xeric plants that add architectural foliage and stately beauty to your swimming pool plantings. Plus tall spires of blossoms for pollinators and hummingbirds to join your summer parties!
Elephant Ears, Canna Lily Bulbs, and Gloriosa Lilies, plus other summer flowering bulb plants are gorgeous seasonal accents that handle heat and sun - and container conditions - with ease! Mix in Gladiolus, Dahlia, Crocosmia, and Caladiums for dreamy, colorful, and exotically-hued planter combos!
Thriving in full sun, growing tall enough for seasonal privacy and screening, plus white noise from the blades rustling, Ornamental Grasses are perfect for private seating and play areas! Easy to grow and resilient, Tall Grasses envelops you in calm. Try a fine-textured Miscanthus, an airy Maiden Grass, or the decorative plumes of Pampas or Muhly Grasses.
Plants in the sun need some extra help to keep growing their best. First and foremost, ensuring your plants are right for your Hardiness Zone and for full sun is important. Also, ensuring your seasonal Patio Plants will have a place to go before the winter sets in is vital before choosing your poolside plants!
Ensuring in-ground plants have a well-drained, enriched site with a 3-4 inch thick layer of arborist mulch helps keep their roots cool and moist. Adding in-ground watering, drip irrigation, or sprinkler systems that water at the root zone is helpful too!
Container plants need adequate drainage, but also insulation from constant heat and sun, plus plenty of organic matter to keep them from overheating or drying out too quickly. Avoid dribble trays since water can collect and lead to root rot, but do add mulch to the soil surface for that extra layer of protection.
Even though swimming pools and poolside seating can be a harsh environment with all of the sunlight reflecting onto your plants, try one of these great options (or any combination of) to make a splash next to your pool!
Choose relatively low-maintenance and mess-free plants that cast shade, provide privacy, or keep unwanted party crashers out! Head over to Nature Hills and pick up your new poolside sunbathers today!