Plant This, Not That!

Some would say that you’re lucky if you live where an outdoor pool is a way of life. Others would warn you of a maintenance hastle. Which plants will brighten a backyard pool area, and which will cause more work?

If the right foliage is chosen, touches of greenery can really liven up a pool area and complete the backyard you’ve always dreamed of. Landscape surrounding a pool should create a relaxing oasis and provide space to entertain. Whether trying to achieve a tropical sanctuary, garden getaway or modern retreat vibe, plants situatuated around the pool should provide color, create privacy, and have texture. Here is a look at what plants are better-suited for pools and which ones will cause a headache by dropping a significant amount of debris.

Plants That Work Well Around the Pool

Select colorful foliage that can thrive in your given climate and that will not drop debris in the pool.

Choose plants that are native to your region. According to the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association and other resources, examples of foliage that will not litter the pool include:


  • Southern live oak
  • Queen palm
  • Mexican blue palm
  • Cascalote
  • Ironwood
  • Mastic
  • Fruitless olive


  • Red justicia
  • Weeping dalea
  • Desert lavender
  • Golden euonymus
  • Arizona Rosewood
  • Mountain Laurel
  • Dalea
  • Turpentine Bush


  • Aeonium
  • Bird of paradise
  • Cotyledon
  • Octopus agave
  • Pale-leaf yucca


  • Blackfoot daisy
  • Midknight blue agapanthus
  • Fortnight lily

Ornamental Grasses

  • Gulf muhly
  • Deer grass
  • Yello foxtail
  • Giant reed

Stay away from plants that drop debris and thrive in the shade.

The plants you choose should add visual interest to the space — not unwanted leaves and materials that can make their way into the pool.

Plants to avoid around the pool include Acacia, Azalea, Bougainvillea, Crape Myrtle, Dwarf Arborvitae, Honeysuckle, Ash trees, Evergreen Elm, and Mesquite.

Consider the plants’ needs. Choose plants that can survive in the same ambiance that the pool is in. Most pools are installed in direct sunlight, so plants that are chosen for the surrounding landscape should be able to hack it under the bright light and heat.

Trees, bushes, flowers and shrubs should be used to perfect your backyard sanctuary! Do not select greenery that will cause a debris nightmare.