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Our Top Picks for Plants for Around Pools (Australian Guide)

When selecting the right plants for around your pool, you first have to consider what type of pool you have as this will determine what sorts of plants will do well.

Having plants around your pool is not only aesthetically pleasing but they can also provide a degree of shade and privacy.

However, you need to select hardy plants that can live happily around your pool. 

What type of pool do you have? 

Pool and plants | Plant varieties

When selecting the right plants for around your pool, you first have to consider what type of pool you have as this will determine what sorts of plants will do well.

Plants for chlorinated pools

If you have a chlorinated pool, you’re going to have to select plants that can withstand the occasional splash of chlorinated water.

Ideally, you want to look for plants that have leathery, tough leaves. 

Mondo Grass

Ophiopogon japonicus | Plant varieties
Ophiopogon japonicus / Photo by David J. Stang / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

Mondo grass is a tough plant that will grow in most situations. It’s ideal for planting en masse to create a lush, green display.

It doesn’t grow very tall so is best suited as a hardy border plant for the garden beds around your pool area. You can even get a variegated variety.

Golden Cane Palms (Dypsis lutescens)

Golden Cane Palms Dypsis lutescens | Plant varieties

Apart from adding a tropical feel to your pool area, golden cane palms don’t shed their fronds as often as other types of palms.

They also have a thin, fibrous root system that won’t damage your pool. 

Cordyline

Cordyline | Plant varieties

Cordylines will help to add some bright colour to your pool area with their many different varieties.

These come in a range of different leaf colours and will grow in either full sun or part shade. You can even limit their height by cutting off the tops.

Plant these tops in another spot and they should produce roots and a new plant.

Star Jasmine

Star Jasmine 6 | Plant varieties

If you want to create a screen around your pool, consider putting up a trellis and growing star jasmine over it.

This hardy plant is both chlorine and salt-tolerant and will delight you with its beautiful white flowers that are heavily scented.

Evergreen Giant (Liriope)

Liriope muscari | Plant varieties
Liriope muscari / Photo by David J. Stang / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

This is another grass-type species with lovely dark green foliage and purple flowers in spring and summer. Liriope muscari can form large clumps and is ideal for mass planting as a border plant.

Make sure that you cut off the flower stalks once they’ve finished blooming so that the seeds don’t end up in the pool.

Mexican Snowball (Echeveria elegans)

Echeveria elegans | Plant varieties
Echeveria elegans / Photo by Syrio / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

This lovely succulent has gorgeous velvety leaves and is excellent as a low-growing plant around your pool area.

The leaves have a pinkish tint and the plant also produces small pink flowers.

You do want to ensure that you grow this plant in well-drained soil as it doesn’t like wet roots.

Viburnum ‘Suspense’

If you want to create a hedge-type screen around your pool for privacy and to protect from strong winds, consider growing this species of viburnum.

It will create a nice dense hedge and is relatively low-maintenance except for regular pruning.

Geraldton Wax (Chamelaucium uncinatum)

Geraldton | Plant varieties

Geraldton wax is a popular Australian native plant that can be grown around your pool. It forms a dense shrub with fine needle-like leaves and stunning pink waxy flowers.

This plant thrives in full sun and prefers a temperate climate as it hails from Western Australia. Make sure that the soil doesn’t get waterlogged though.

Native Fuchsia (Correa reflexa)

Correa reflexa Native Fuchsia | Plant varieties
Correa reflexa / Photo by peganum / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

This Correa is a hardy shrub that can flower for many months throughout the year. It has pretty pink and yellow fuchsia-like flowers. 

You can plant Correa reflexa in full sun or part shade and it will thrive. It can even handle moderately moist soils. It would look extremely good when mass-planted to create a low border.

Canna Lily

canna lilies | Plant varieties

Canna lilies are striking plants with large, deep green leaves and flowers in a variety of different colours. These tuberous plants can reach a height of 3 metres and are perfect for use a backdrop around your pool behind more low-growing plants.

The flowers are produced on tall spikes and some varieties even have blooms that are spotted, speckled or mottled. These plants are perfectly adapted to damp environments and won’t mind consistently wet soil.

Tropical Frangipani

frangipani 2 | Plant varieties

I remember from my many trips to Bali over the years, that there would always be large Frangipani trees around the pool in the various places I stayed. These tropical wonders seem to be synonymous with warm weather, sunshine and cooling off in the pool.

The leaves of the frangipani are quite leathery so they handle the odd splash of chlorinated water. The flowers are also a little waxy and don’t seem to mind growing around a pool.

The only disadvantage of having these around the pool is that both the leaves and flowers will drop, so you’ll have to make sure to fish them out of the pool on a regular basis.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus | Plant varieties

There are so many different varieties of hibiscus that you’re sure to find a few that will look great around your pool. Try to select an evergreen variety so that you don’t have to deal with dropping leaves.

Planting some different-coloured flowering hibiscus around your pool will create a spectacular oasis with a truly tropical feel.

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

Pineapple Sage Salvia elegans | Plant varieties

Pineapple sage is another plant that will tolerate living around your pool. It has lime green leaves and stunning bright red tubular flowers. 

The plant will grow to a height of around 1.5 metres and makes a statement when mass-planted as a border. It grows well in both full sun and part shade.

Bull Banksia (Banksia grandis)

Bull Banksia Banksia grandis | Plant varieties

Pool owners in temperate areas can grow the bull banksia around their pool. This native plant from Western Australia has large-toothed leaves and stunning yellow flower heads. 

It’s particularly suited to coastal areas and is relatively maintenance-free once established. The bull banksia can grow to a height of up to 10 metres.

Blueberry Ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus)

Elaeocarpus reticulatus Blueberry Ash | Plant varieties
Elaeocarpus reticulatus / Photo by Tatiana Gerus / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

This stunning rainforest tree can be grown in a variety of climates and will even grow happily in a large pot. It produces masses of soft pink or white frilly flowers in spring and summer.

The flowers are followed by blue berries that will stay on the tree for a long time. The dark green leathery leaves start out as bronze. 

The tree can reach a height of 15 metres but is relatively slow-growing and has quite a narrow growth habit. This makes it useful as a hedging plant around your pool. 

Holly-leaf Grevillea (Grevillea ilicifolia)

Holly leaf Grevillea Grevillea ilicifolia | Plant varieties

This is a small spreading native shrub that would look great around your pool. It has short, one-sided red flowers and pale green holly-shaped leaves that are prickly. 

Plants for saltwater pools

For saltwater pools, you want to choose plants that are salt-tolerant. Most often, plants that are ideal for coastal areas will also handle growing around your pool.

Primarily, you want to look for plants that have furry, waxy, or silvery leaves.

Some good options include:

Agave attenuata

Agave attenuata leave | Plant varieties

Agaves are hardy landscape plants that are very tolerant of coastal areas and also require very little maintenance.

Agave attenuata provides an interesting dimension to your pool area with their symmetrical growth habit and looks great in almost any landscape.

Bromeliads (Alcantarea, Guzmania, Neoregalia)

Guzmania Lingulata | Plant varieties
Guzmania Lingulata / Photo by Mokkie / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Bromeliads are also low-maintenance plants that are both hardy and salt-tolerant. They will grow in most climates and are available in a variety of different leaf colours.

With these, you can create a colourful planting around your pool that will be easy to take care of.

Clumping Bamboo

Clumping bamboo can create an excellent screen around your pool and provide a tropical feel as well.

Make sure that you get the clumping variety as this is regarded as non-invasive and will not spread like regular bamboo.

Cycads (Cycas revoluta)

Cycas revoluta | Plant varieties
Cycas revoluta / Photo by David J. Stang / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

Cycads are the dinosaurs of plants. They are slow-growing, and hardy and make a great feature plant.

These plants will grow in all climates and are salt-tolerant.

Sacred Bamboo (Nadina domestica)

Sacred Bamboo Nadina domestica | Plant varieties

This popular landscaping plant will brighten up your pool area with its red and green foliage. It will grow happily in full sun or part shade and requires minimal maintenance.

The bright foliage will add colour to your pool landscape all year round.

Yucca elephantipes

Yucca elephantipes | Plant varieties

These hardy plants will grow almost anywhere and require little to no care.

Yucca also adds a slightly exotic, tropical feel to your pool area. You can even cut off the top to create a more interesting look.

Ornamental Ginger (Costus, Etlingera)

Ornamental Ginger Costus | Plant varieties

For gardeners in sub-tropical or tropical regions, the ornamental gingers make a great addition to your poolside landscaping.

They prefer to grow in a partly shaded spot and need a warm and humid climate. They will also reward you with stunning blooms.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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2 thoughts on “Our Top Picks for Plants for Around Pools (Australian Guide)”

  1. What is the name of the tree in the first picture? Is this tree suitable for an I ground outdoor mixed chlorine and salt water pool?

    Reply
    • Hi Catherine

      It looks like there are various palms and lilly pillies or ficus in the first image. I believe these are suitable for growing around a pool. However, why not go to your local nursery or garden centre and see what they suggest grows best in your area.

      Reply

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