Best Trees and Plants to Grow by Swimming Pools

If you have a swimming pool, you want to keep it clean. Get expert picks for the best plants and trees to grow 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.

best trees for around poolsNoelle Johnson
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.

Backyard Tip: 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.

Best Trees for Around Pools

European fan palm leaves (Chamaerops humilis)saulgranda/Getty Images
Mediterranean fan palm
  • 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

Best Shrubs Around Pools

valentine bushCourtesy Noelle Johnson
Valentine bush
  • 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/Groundcover Plants Around Pools

Blackfoot Daisycampbell36/Getty Images
Blackfoot daisy
  • 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 Around Pools

star jasmineJill Staake
Star jasmine
  • Pink Trumpet Vine    Podranea ricasoliana
  • Purple Lilac Vine    Hardenbergia violaceae
  • Star Jasmine    Trachelospermum jasminoides

Accent Plants Around Pools

  • 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.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist, writer and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. She is the CEO and owner of 'AZ Plant Lady,' an education company that aims to help people garden successfully in the desert climate. She is the author of the book, Dry Climate Gardening, and her byline has appeared in publications such as Birds & Blooms and Phoenix Home & Garden magazine. She is an instructor at the Desert Botanical garden and Tucson Botanical Gardens.