If you're looking to add a new pool to your home, or spruce up the one you've already got, we've got one word for you - greenery! But there are a few tricks to picking the perfect poolside plants. Read on to learn more.


Why pool-friendly plants are important

Pool owners all over Australia know that proper landscaping puts the finishing touch on a successful pool area. Plants provide both shade and privacy, while also enhancing the style you've chosen for your outdoor space, be it formal, tropical or native.

The plants you choose not only influence the vibe of your outdoor space, but also impact on the swimming pool itself and its surrounds. For example, rotting leaves from overhead trees can stain paving and coping, not to mention clog up expensive filtration and cleaning equipment. Leaf litter left on the pool floor may also stain the internal lining, resulting in costly repairs that could easily have been avoided. Disaster!

According to the Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA) Queensland, plants with invasive root systems must be avoided at all costs as they may be prohibited under the pool builder’s warranty due to the damaging effects they have on the pool shell. Some plants to steer well clear of around pools are umbrella trees (Schefflera) and rubber trees (Ficus elastica), both of which are notorious for causing problems to pools, paving and underground plumbing.


Choosing pool-friendly plants

In order to be classified as both pool-friendly and hardy, a plant must fit a few criteria - and not every pool area you've pinned on Pinterest will fit the bill from a practical standpoint. Assuming you're working with the typical pool location and environment – a sun-drenched spot, with wind and salt exposure expected - your plants should be versatile and capable of thriving in semi-shade to full sun. They should also be tolerant of wind due to the normally exposed nature of pool terraces, while being able to withstand intermittent salt or chlorine exposure from pool splashes.

Despite this list of necessities looking a little daunting at first, there is actually an enormous variety of plants that are suitable to plant around pools. Here are some of my favourites.


Dragon trees and frangipanis are popular poolside trees.


Best trees for pool areas


Best palms for pool areas


Hibiscus and rhaphiolepis 'Oriental Pearl' make great poolside plants.


Best shrubs for pool areas


Lilly pilly 'Cherry Surprise' and bamboo 'Gracilis' make great hedges and screens for pool areas.


Best hedges for pool areas


Agave attenuata and Strelitzia reginae make great structural poolside plants. Just be mindful of where you plant your Strelitzia, ensuring you keep it at least 1.2m away from the pool.


Other pool-friendly plants to choose from