Which Tropical Plants Are Best For Around a Pool?

When selecting plants to put around a pool, it's just as important to know what not to plant, as what to plant. Plants that drop leaves or fruit, such as oaks or palms, plants with invasive root systems, and plants with spikes all should be avoided. The most pool-friendly plants are those that require little care, don't litter and add color to the area. When it comes to tropicals, many plants fit the bill and will help to create an oasis in your pool area.


This succulent is a member of the Liliaceae family and is originally from South Africa. Aloe (Aloe) is available in many different shapes and sizes, but all are nearly drought tolerant and thrive in moderate to hot climates. Aloe is a good, low accent plant for a pool area, as it requires little attention and is not messy. The most well-known variety may be Aloe Vera, also known as Medicinal Aloe or Barbados Aloe. This variety is low-growing, has narrow, stiff leaves that may be up to 2 feet long, and produces a yellow flower spike on top of a 3-foot stalk. The substance contained inside the leaves is often used to treat burns or inflammation.

Bird of Paradise

This showy tropical is a great choice around pools, as it does not litter, can withstand some splashing and produces orange, blue and white flowers that resemble birds. Birds of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) are generally sun-loving plants that survive an occasional frost, but thrive in warm to hot climates, such as Florida or southern California, where the 5-foot high foliage is evergreen. In hottest climates, such as Central or South Florida, birds of paradise may be planted in light shade. These plants require regular water.


This showy vine adds color and is an evergreen presence around a pool, though it does drop its bracts from time to time. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea) has green foliage on spiky vines, but is best known for its paper-thin bracts, which are available in fuchsia, purple, white or yellow. The plant also produces small, white flowers throughout the year. Bougainvillea is best suited to mild, frost-free areas and thrives in full sun with little water. However, in hot, humid climates, such as Florida or South Texas, plant in light shade and water more frequently.

Canna Lilies

Native to the tropics and sub-tropics, tall Cannas (Canna) can add a blast of color with minimal care to a pool area. These plants have tuberous roots and may be invasive, but around a pool in an enclosed growing area, their spread will result in a stand of bright color during the summer. In addition, the foliage, which resembles small banana leaves (though they may reach 3 feet in length), adds interest with leaves that are deep green, green with red veins or variegated. Flower spikes appear on individual stalks and are available in oranges, pinks, reds and whites. Cannas do best in tropical regions, but tubers may be dug up and stored in colder climates. These flowers should be planted in full sun and require ample water.

Keywords: pool plants, plant around pool, pool flowers, pool area landscape, landscape pool deck

About this Author

J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.