Planting around a pool can make the area more attractive, lush and pleasant, but it is important to select plants carefully. You do not want deciduous plants dropping leaves into your pool, or messy plants such as impatiens or palms that drop flowers or seeds. Many tropical plants make excellent pool-area plants; they are often evergreen, and though they require pruning, they will not drop leaves. Plants for the pool area should have non-invasive root systems, enjoy full sun and generally be low maintenance.
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) is a tropical evergreen shrub that does well in USDA agriculture zones 10 to 11 and is known for its colorful leaves. This plant will provide plenty of interest around a pool, and since it can reach 6 feet, may also be used for privacy. Leaves, which are oblong but pointed at the ends, may be bronze, green, pink, purple, red or yellow, or any combination of these colors. Croton thrives in full sun with ample water and can survive hot, humid summers.
Holly (Ilex spp.) is available as a shrub or tree and may be evergreen or deciduous, depending on the zone. Holly can grow in just about any climate, if the right variety is selected. The most well-known is English holly (Ilex aquifolium), which is used in Christmas wreaths and garland and only grows well in the Pacific Northwest and far northern California.
Around a pool, holly can provide some color, as most varieties have small berries in winter. In addition, holly can work as a privacy border--some varieties (Ilex aquipernyi, Ilex cornuta and Ilex crenata) can grow to more than 10 feet. Hollies thrive in full sun to partial shade and require regular water.
Salvia (Salvia spp.) is more commonly known as sage and is a perennial shrub. There are many varieties, and sage can grow in nearly any zone. In most cases, sage makes a nice, low, flowering border plant around a pool, though several varieties, including Salvia guaranitica, Salvia involucrata and Salvia regla can grow to 5 feet or more. In most instances, Salvia can take full sun, though it should be planted in light shade in the hottest zones. This plant requires regular water.