What Should You Not Plant Around a Pool

landscaping around a poolA pool is a big investment in both money and time. Making the most of this investment is a priority for homeowners. Landscaping can add to its beauty, but choosing the right plants can help keep the maintenance and cleaning to a minimum.

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When choosing plants and trees and for around your pool, there are several things to consider:

  1. Creating an oasis vibe and also adding color and privacy are usually top requests.
  2. When selecting plants that meet these criteria, think about the area they will be planted in.
  3. Most pools are in a sunny part of the yard. Plants that thrive in full sun and are heat and drought resistant make good choices.

Unfortunately, some of the main offenders are plants that are beautiful and colorful otherwise, but can create a mess around a pool.


Succulents are low maintenance and also are drought resistant and can handle sun. Pale Leaf Yucca is a good option. Some other succulents that are good around pools are Cotyledon, Aeonium, and some Eschevarias.

One of the main things to consider is how much mess a plant or tree might make. Plants that shed flowers, especially small ones, or leaves and seed pods, are often a poor choice.

The debris can clog filters and skimmers and add lots of extra cleaning to regular pool maintenance. No one adds a pool to their yard with the hope of constantly cleaning it!


Acacia is a popular shrub for its bright yellow blooms, but those blooms are exactly why it should not be planted. It sheds blooms as well as leaves.


Azaleas are a very colorful plant but they also tend to drop lots of flowers and leaves which can clog pool filters.

Bougainvillea & Crape Myrtles

Bougainvillea and Crepe Myrtles are also very tropical looking, brightly colored options that are popular in yards and gardens. Unfortunately they also both tend to be very messy.

Dwarf Arborvitae

Dwarf Arborvitae have leaves like needles and Honeysuckle drops a lot of blooms and can also become invasive.


Bamboo seems like a natural choice for a pool landscape because of its tropical look and how quickly it grows. Avoid it however, because it also drops a lot of leaves.

Look for plants that are colorful and can survive the climate but won’t drop leaves or foliage. Plants that bloom in summer, when the pool is most used, are also a good choice to get the most payoff.

Additional Considerations

  • Thorns and needles
  • Abundant tiny flower petals
  • Extensive root systems
  • Plants that attract pollinators

Any plant with thorns or needles is not a good choice around a pool so avoid roses and cactus.

Avoid trees like cherry and plum, which not only produce thousands of tiny flowers, but also create messy fruit later.

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Also, avoid any plants or trees with extensive root systems. These roots can get into water lines or even disrupt the concrete decking around your pool if they get too large.

Plants that attract bees are not a good idea around a pool as well. Choose plants in the mint family that are naturally insect resistant. These include popular herbs like rosemary, basil, lavender, and peppermint. Mint is better planted in containers, as it can become invasive.

Native plants and grasses will thrive the best so choose ones that naturally grow in your area and climate.

Pool-Friendly Plants

Some good options for your pool landscaping are the Southern Oak tree or the Mexican Blue Palm for trees.

Shrubs like the Golden Euonymus or Weeping Dalea, and ornamental grasses like Deer Grass and Gulf Muhly are also good choices.

For ground cover, consider Miss Huff Hardy Lantana.

Best Plants Around Your Pool, Both Large and Small has additional helpful ideas.

For best results and help in planning and planting, consider hiring landscape professionals. They can not only assist you in planning what to plant and where, but also assist in ongoing care and maintenance of your plants.

Spend more time enjoying your pool landscape and less cleaning and maintaining with these planting tips.

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