Summertime in Texas can be brutal. One of the best ways to beat the heat is with your own backyard pool. If you want to turn your pool into your own tropical paradise, check out these plants. The plants here are ideal for Texas climates and best suited to plant around your pool.
1. Elephant Ears
Elephant ears are tropical plants with large leaves that resemble an elephant’s ears. These plants are perennials and fast-growing. On average, they reach full size (3-6 ft / 0.91-1.82 m) in about 2 months. You can grow elephant ears in sun or shade.
Like the elephant ear plants, ornamental banana trees have large leaves. The variety of trees will determine the color of your leaves and the size of the tree. These come in a dwarf, medium, and tall size range to compliment any other foliage around your pool.
- Grow your own banana tree
- The outer "skin" is a bluish hue
- Edible fruit
Coleus plants have vibrant-colored leaves that can add some nice color to your pool landscaping. These plants do like a mix of sun and shade, so be sure to keep them out of full sunlight. Coleus plants are also a little more delicate in terms of care and prefer an even amount of water. It might be a good idea to plant these out of pool splash zones so they don’t receive too much water.
Crotons are another plant with brightly colored leaves. They can be planted in the ground or grown in pots. They are more temperature-sensitive than other plants and should be taken indoors when temperatures fall below 50℉/ 10℃. Please note that Crotons are poisonous and are not recommended if you have pets or small children.
Common types of ornamental grasses include Zebra Grass, Mexican Feathergrass, Dwarf Pampas, Texas Palmettos, Fountain Grass, Maiden Grass, and Autumn Grass. These grasses are perennials so you shouldn’t have to worry about planting them each year. They do like sunshine and will hold up to extra splashes from the pool area. Ornamental grasses grow to different heights, so be sure to check the height of each variety before planting.
Plumerias are small trees that can be planted in the ground or grown in pots. They do need to stay above 32℉ or 0℃, so you may want to consider using a pot so you can bring this tree indoors if a freeze is expected. They are slow-growing trees and will gain less than 2 ft or 60 cm per year.
- Authentic exotic plumeria plant cuttings
- With U.S. Department of Agriculture stamp
Succulents are very hardy plants that love sunshine and don’t require a lot of water. This makes them great ornamental plants to add to your outdoor space. Examples include aloe, agave, aeoniums, blue chalk sticks, and cereus. These plants are also not bothered by chemicals like chlorine if water splashes on them from the pool.
Palms can be planted in the ground or in pots. These are also drought-resistant, making them a nice choice for the heat and sunshine. Their leaves can provide some shade to the pool area but leaves and seeds can be shed from palms. So be careful with placement to avoid extra cleanup.
Add some beautiful red, orange, or yellow colors to your pool area with Cannas. They are perennial plants that love heat and sunlight. Cannas tend to like rich soil and a fair amount of moisture, so make sure they are getting enough water to keep the flowers alive.
- Perennial (lasts multiple seasons)
- Loves heat and sunlight
- Comes in red, orange, or yellow colors
Hibiscuses are flowering tropical plant that thrives in humid conditions. They grow best with temperatures under 90℉ / 32℃. These are not tolerant of cold temperatures and cannot survive below-freezing temperatures, so consider planting in pots rather than in the ground if you have a cold spells during the winter.
Herbs like mint or rosemary can add some fragrance to your backyard pool area. They don’t grow very tall and can be a nice addition if you’re looking for something smaller for your landscaping. Plus, some herbs are natural bug repellent, so you’ll get the added bonus of a bug-free yard!
Ground covering plants such as Creeping Jenny can add a little texture to your landscape. It grows quickly on the ground. Or you can have it climb a trellis or wall if you want to get creative.
Phloxes grow well in sunlight or shade, making them versatile planting options. These look great growing between rocks or in between other plants, so they can really be used with any type of pool landscaping. Phloxes do prefer soil that doesn’t stay too wet, so just beyond pool splash zones is probably the best placement for these plants.
Lantanas are small shrubs that have bright red, yellow, or orange flowers. They are drought-resistant and thrive in heat and sunlight. These plants also attract butterflies that you’ll be able to see from the pool.
Nandinas are tough plants that tolerate heat very well. They’re a great option to have close to the edge of the concrete because they can handle the reflective heat and glare coming up from the concrete.
- Stunning leaf color throughout all seasons
- Low maintenance
- No blossoms
Plumbago offers a nice color contrast from all the reds, yellows, and oranges of some of the other plants. These have a nice blue color on the flowers and are fairly insect resistant. They love the sunshine and don’t require a lot of water. These shrubs can grow 3-4 ft or 0.91-1.21 m tall.
These shrubs will stay green and have flowers for most of the year if maintained properly. Oleanders grow quickly and can handle temperatures below freezing. They do not require rich or fertile soil to grow and do well in sandy or clay soils. The dwarf variety of oleanders shouldn’t get more than 8-10 ft or 2.43-3.04 m tall.
Junipers can come in a ground cover form or a tree form. Ground cover varieties add some nice texture to your pool landscaping. Most have a green or blue-green color and a feathery appearance. Junipers are great near sidewalks or concrete and will be resistant to any splashing from the pool.
Indian Hawthorn is an evergreen shrub with pink or white flowers. They love full sunshine and need to be in an area with good air circulation. There are several varieties of Indian Hawthorn so be sure to check sizes and leaf sizes/shapes before you buy. Some varieties also produce berries, which are not recommended near concrete patios or pool decks due to staining concerns.
- Further Reading: 30 of the Worst Trees to Have Around a Swimming Pool
These perennial plants grow best in full sunlight. They will grow in a variety of soil conditions but prefer wet soil. So, you can plant these near the edges of pools or splash areas without worrying about them becoming oversaturated.
As you decide which plants to include in your landscape around your pool, keep these tips in mind:
- Choose plants that can withstand reflective heat and glare from concrete to place close to the pool’s edges
- Texas has diverse weather. Be careful to choose plants that can tolerate the temperature in your area.
- Consider the size of each variety of plant you choose to make sure you can accommodate the size of the plant when it is fully grown
- Avoid plant varieties that will drop flowers, leaves, or fruit – you don’t want this ending up in your pool or staining your deck or pool surrounds.
- Be aware of the soil drainage in any potted containers or planting areas to be sure plants don’t get too soggy (especially important for things planted within the pool’s splash zone)