Make a Splash with Poolside Plants (Z: 8 – 11)

Life’s no vacation for plants installed around a pool. Between splashes of chlorinated water, reflected heat, foot traffic, and often winter neglect, they take plenty of abuse. But, if you choose carefully and select plants that can stand up to these conditions, you can have a lovely and colorful garden all season. Since the poolscape doesn’t exist in isolation, the design should be consistent with the rest of the garden or the style of the nearby house. So, we’ve divided this into three categories. All of these can go into containers or directly into the ground (see tips below for more info).

Check out these solutions for zones 3 -7 as plants can overlap!

If you have a particular situation and would like other options, just drop us a note in the comments section.



Tropicanna® Canna
Zone: 7 – 11

Exotic foliage and large bright orange flower heads bring the drama when massed.


Blood Banana
Zone: 10 – 11

So named for the spectacular blue-green leaves mottled with a deep blood-red.


Heat Flash Cajun Hibiscus
Zone: 9 – 11

Vigorous glossy green foliage and tropical blooms, even through the heat of summer.



Princess Flower
Zone: 10 – 11

Evergreen shrub with huge, exotic, deep-purple all-summer blooms.

'Snow Storm' Lily of the Nile, Agapanthus africanus, at Monrovia Nursery Co.

Snow Storm™ Lily Of The Nile
Zone: 8 – 11

White variety is especially valuable where pool is enjoyed during the evening hours.


Purple Heart
Zone: 7 – 11

Trailing, tender perennial with purple stems, violet-purple leaves and pink flowers.



Festival™ Burgundy Cordyline
Zone: 8 – 11

Bright burgundy-red foliage creates a dramatic and eye-catching grass-like effect.


Scabrida Bamboo
Zone: 6 – 9

Plant this graceful bamboo for privacy, but also ideal for pots. Non-invasive.


Danadu Cut-Leaf Philodendron
Zone: 9 – 11

Mass for a super-chic, year-round display of deeply cut, glossy green leaves.



Limelight Hardy Hydrangea
Zone: 3 – 9

Makes a striking large hedge with lime-hued summer blooms changing to pink in fall.


African Iris
Zone: 8 – 11

Near constant exotic white flowers with yellow and purple-blue markings.


Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper
Zone: 4 – 9

Dense mound of ground-hugging branches that radiate from the center. Fuss-free.


  • Avoid plants that litter by dropping lots of leaves, needles, flowers, fruits, sap, or debris. This includes many trees but also some shrubs and vines such as bougainvillea.
  • If planting very close to the pool or pool surround, avoid plants with sharp blades, thorns, spines that can cause injury. This includes cactus and some succulents.
  • Beware of plants with invasive roots that can tear up paving and impact stability of in-ground or above ground pools.
  • We love bees but swarms of them near the pool is no-go. Avoid magnets such as honeysuckle, bottlebrush, wisteria and some perennials.
  • Factor in the upkeep of poolside plantings and if you would rather swim than tend, consider lots of containers with a drip system set on a timer.

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