Low-Litter Plants for Landscaping Around Swimming Pools

Who doesn’t love to take a dip in the pool on a hot summer’s day?  I certainly do.  But I must admit that I don’t have a pool of my own.  Because of that, I don’t have to worry about trees and plants that may drop leaves and/or flowers….

Grass with Fallen Palo Verde flowers

To be honest, I like how fallen flowers look when they fall on my grass on directly on the ground, underneath my plants.

But for those of you who have swimming pools, this can be a huge headache.  So, here is a list of plants that are recommended for use around swimming pools.

**Most of the following plants are low-litter….NOT litter-free.  It is difficult to find plants that do not drop the occasional leaf or flower, unless you decide to plant silk plants – which I DO NOT advise doing :-)

TREES:

Willow Acacia      Acacia salicina

Shoestring Acacia    Acacia stenophylla

Mediterranean Fan Palm    Chamaerops humilis

Desert Fern    Lysiloma watsonii

Pygmy Date Palm    Phoenix roebelenii

Southern Live Oak    Quercus virginiana

Queen Palm    Syagrus romanzofianum

SHRUBS:

Mexican Bird-of-Paradise    Caesalpinia mexicana

Red Bird-of-Paradise    Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Red Fairy Duster    Calliandra californica

Natal Plum    Carissa grandiflora

Bush Morning Glory    Convolvulus cneorum

Hop Bush    Dodonaea viscosa

Valentine    Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’

Mexican Honeysuckle    Justicia spicigera

Lantana    Lantana species

Texas Sage    Leucophyllum species

Heavenly Bamboo    Nandina domestica

Rosemary    Rosmarinus officinalis

Autumn Sage    Salvia greggii

Chaparral Sage    Salvia clevelandii

Arizona Yellow Bells    Tecoma stans

Orange Jubilee    Tecoma x ‘Orange Jubilee’

Cape Honeysuckle    Tecomaria capensis

PERENNIALS / GROUNDCOVERS:

Desert Marigold    Baileya multiradiata

Blackfoot Daisy    Melampodium leucanthum

Iceplant   Drosanthemum speciosum

Gazania    Gazania rigens

‘Katie’ Ruellia    Ruellia brittoniana ‘Katie’

Verbena    Verbena species

Canna Lilies    Cannaceae species

Lily of the Nile    Agapanthus orientalis

Daylily    Hemerocallis species

Fortnight Lily    Dietes bicolor

Whirling Butterflies    Gaura lindheimeri

Angelita Daisy    Hymenoxys acaulis (Tetraneuris acaulis)

Penstemon    Penstemon species

Rain Lily    Zephranthes species

VINES:

Pink Trumpet Vine    Podranea ricasoliana

Purple Lilac Vine    Hardenbergia violaceae

Star Jasmine    Trachelospermum jasminoides

ACCENTS:

Agave    Agave species

Aloe    Aloe species

Sago Palm    Cycas revoluta

Desert Spoon    Dasylirion wheeleri

Golden Barrel Cactus    Echinocactus grusonii

Red Yucca    Hesperaloe parviflora

Deer Grass    Muhlenbergia rigens

Red Fountain Grass    Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’

 

**This list is by no means meant to include all low-litter plants suitable for use around swimming pools, but it is a good start.

There are some plants that you DEFINITELY DON’T want next to your pools.  We will cover those plants in our next post, so be sure to come back :-)


 

 

  1. Gail Afton says

    This is Great info! Not only are these plants great for around the pool they are also great for anyone that wants low maintenance and less clean up time!

    I know this is asking alot however it would have been nice if each of the above plants hyperlinked to photos and details.

    Thanks again!
    Gail

  2. says

    For the life of me, I can NOT understand why so many websites claim the willow acacia (A. salicina) is a low-litter plant appropriate for landscaping near pools. I came to call mine the devil-pod tree.

    It drops bushels of long pods that choke a Hayward pool cleaner (a $350 piece of equipment) and stain your plaster yellow.

    It drops tons of puffball fuzz that gags every filter and every strainer basket in your system.

    All year round, it sheds long strappy leaves that clog your in-line leaf basket, except for the ones that wiggle through and clog your strainer basket, except for the ones that wiggle through and clog your pump pot basket. In a day, you have all three baskets clogged and needing to be taken apart and scrubbed out with a brush.

    This is a plant that drops debris in huge quantities 365 days a year. In a monsoon wind, it will literally dump bushels of junk into your pool. Its debris is highly acidic, and so it messes with your chemical balance. You soon find yourself dumping great quantities of soda ash into the water in an effort to rebalance the pH. It took years for me to figure out why the fairly basic water that comes out of Phoenix’s taps kept skewing into the acid range and then into the really VERY acid range, when I was adding not one drop of pool acid. Only by stumbling across a web page that described this tree’s habit of acidifying the soil around it to suppress competing plants did I finally figure out what was wrong with the pool.

    I just had the thing taken out, to the tune of $465.

    Please, folks: NEVER PLANT A WILLOW ACACIA ANYWHERE NEAR A POOL!!!!!!!

  3. says

    What’s your feelings on lysiloma Trees near a pool?
    My friend mentioned not to plant it near a pool because of the white/yellow fuzz (like dandelion fuzz) is tiny and hard to take out with a pool net. Also, is there a particular season when this fuzz occurs and when does it stop?

    Your help is greatly appreciated.
    Bill

  4. Bill Fritzler says

    Please Help
    What’s your feelings on lysiloma Trees near a pool?
    My friend mentioned not to plant it near a pool because of the white/yellow fuzz (like dandelion fuzz) is tiny and hard to take out with a pool net. Hestates the tree is a year round mess. He also stated it clogs pool filter elements easily. Also, is there a particular season when this fuzz occurs and when does it stop?

    Your help is greatly appreciated.
    Bill Fritzler

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