10 Best Plants Around Pools Australia

Written By:
Scott Carroll
Published On:
March 1, 2023

A pool in your backyard is the perfect addition to your home. It’s a great place to cool off during the hot Australian summer and spend time with family and friends. However, your pool area doesn’t have to be just about water – adding plants can create a relaxing and aesthetically pleasing environment.

Choosing the right plants around your pool in Australia can be daunting, as not all plants thrive in the hot, sunny climate. In this article, we will explore the 10 best plants around pools in Australia, along with their unique features and maintenance requirements.

1. Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)


The Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is a tropical plant known for its unique, bird-like flowers. The plant has large, leathery leaves arranged in a fan-like pattern. Bird of Paradise plants are typically grown in warm, tropical climates and can reach heights up to 2 metres.

There are a few reasons why Bird of Paradise plants could be a good choice for your pool area:

  1. Relatively low-maintenance plants that require minimal care once established.
  2. They are drought-tolerant and can withstand periods of dry weather, which is helpful in areas with limited water resources. 
  3. Their large, tropical leaves can provide shade and create a lush, tropical atmosphere around the pool.

However, it’s important to note that Bird of Paradise plants are generally hardy but may only be suitable for some pool environments. For example, you may find that the plant will struggle in environments with heavy foot traffic or exposed to excessive wind or direct sunlight. 

2. Golden Cane Palm (Dypsis lutescens)


The Golden Cane Palm (Dypsis lutescens) is a popular palm tree species native to Madagascar. It is often grown as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, including near pools and other outdoor living areas.

Some benefits that we enjoy of Golden Cane Palm include:

  1. Attractive bright green, feathery fronds that create a lush, tropical look around a pool area. 
  2. Relatively easy to grow and care for, making it a popular choice for homeowners who want to add some greenery to their outdoor spaces without a lot of maintenance.
  3. Creates shade and helps to reduce the amount of direct sunlight that reaches the pool, which can help to keep the water cooler and prevent excessive evaporation.
  4. Helps filter the air around the pool, removing pollutants and adding oxygen to the atmosphere.

However, it’s important to note that the Golden Cane Palm has its drawbacks. The palm can be susceptible to pests and diseases, such as scale insects and fungal infections. It also has sharp, needle-like spines on its fronds that can cause injury if not handled carefully. Additionally, the palm can shed its leaves and create debris around the pool area, which may require regular cleaning. If you like this style, head to our guide on palm tree types in Australia to explore more varities. 

3. Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla)


The Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) is a popular tropical plant often used near pools and outdoor living spaces. 

Some benefits of this plant include:

  1. Large, umbrella-shaped leaves provide shade and create a lush, tropical atmosphere around the pool.
  2. Easy to grow and care for, making it a low-maintenance choice for homeowners.
  3. Drought-tolerant and able to withstand periods of dry weather.
  4. Can help filter the air and remove pollutants, improving the overall air quality around the pool.
  5. Can grow up to 4.5 metres tall, providing a natural privacy screen for the pool area.

Its bright red berries can attract birds and other wildlife to the area, adding to the space’s natural beauty.

It’s important to note that while the Umbrella Tree has many benefits, it can also be toxic to pets if ingested. Therefore if you have any pets, we recommend avoiding this one! 

4. Lomandra (Lomandra longifolia)


Lomandra (Lomandra longifolia) is an evergreen perennial plant native to Australia. It’s a popular landscaping plant due to its attractive appearance and hardiness, and it can be a great choice for pool areas. 

Here are some of its features and benefits:

  1. A low-maintenance plant that requires minimal care and can tolerate a variety of growing conditions, including drought, heat, and poor soil.
  2. Its long, narrow leaves form clumps that provide a textural contrast to other plants and hardscaping around the pool.
  3. Lomandra is non-invasive and doesn’t have thorns or other sharp features, making it a safe choice for pool areas where people and pets may be walking barefoot.
  4. The plant is also resistant to pests and diseases, reducing the need for chemical treatments that could harm the environment or people using the pool.

However, we do find that Lomandra may not provide as much shade as other plants commonly used near pools, so it may not be the best choice if the shade is your primary concern. Additionally, the Lomandra may not be as showy or eye-catching as other plants, so it may not be the best choice if you’re looking for a plant with a strong visual impact in your pool area.

5. Agapanthus (Agapanthus africanus)


A personal favourite of mine, the Agapanthus (Agapanthus africanus), also known as Lily of the Nile or African lily, is a flowering perennial plant native to South Africa. It’s a popular choice for many Australians due to its attractive flowers and low maintenance requirements. 

Some common features and benefits of Agapanthus include:

  1. Produces large clusters of funnel-shaped flowers in shades of blue, white, or purple that bloom in the summer, adding colour and visual interest to pool areas.
  2. It’s drought-tolerant and can thrive in a variety of soil types, making it a low-maintenance choice for homeowners.
  3. It can grow up to 1 metre tall and wide, providing a natural screen and privacy around the pool.

Despite its striking appearance, we have found that Agapanthus can be invasive in some areas and may spread to neighbouring gardens or natural areas if not properly contained. Therefore, if you go with this plan, it’s important to monitor the plant’s growth and take appropriate measures if needed.

6. Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca)


Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca) is a small, clumping ornamental grass native to Europe and parts of Asia. It’s a popular choice for gardens and landscaping projects, including pool areas, due to its attractive blue-green foliage and low maintenance requirements.

We think that this plant is great for pool areas as: 

  1. It is a short, densely-packed grass that typically grows to a height of 6-12 inches and a width of 8-12 inches, making it an ideal choice for small or narrow pool areas.
  2. The plant’s blue-green leaves are thin and wiry, and grow in tight clumps that create a distinctive, attractive texture.
  3. Blue Fescue is drought-tolerant and can thrive in various soil types, including sandy or rocky soils that may be common in pool areas.

However, it may not be ideal for areas with poor drainage, heavy foot traffic, or extreme heat. It is generally resistant to pests and diseases but may occasionally suffer from aphids, rust, or fungal diseases.

Therefore, we recommend avoiding this one if you have any garden sheds in the backyard or near your pool area. 

7. Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)


Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) is a popular plant for pool areas in Australia due to its attractive appearance, low maintenance requirements, and ability to repel insects. 

Here’s an overview of this plant and its benefits:

  1. Society Garlic is a clumping perennial herb that grows to a height of around 1 metre, making it an ideal choice for adding height and texture to pool areas.
  2. The plant produces long, slender leaves that are similar in appearance to chives and pretty clusters of purple or pink flowers that bloom in spring and summer.
  3. Society Garlic is a drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plant that can thrive in various soil types, including sandy or rocky soils that may be common in pool areas.
  4. The plant is known for repelling insects, including mosquitoes, making it a great choice for pool areas where insect control is a concern.
  5. Society Garlic is also edible and has a mild garlic flavour that can be used in cooking or as a garnish.

A critical consideration with Society Garlic is that it is unsuitable for areas with heavy shade, as the plant prefers full sun or partial shade. Additionally, the plant has sharp and prickly leaves, which may not be suitable if you experience high foot traffic around your backyard pool!

8. Lavender (lavandula angustifolia)


Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a fragrant herb that is known for its soothing aroma and beautiful purple flowers. We find this plant exceptional for pools, as they provide a fantastic burst of colour to your backyard. 

Other benefits include:

  1. The fragrance of lavender can create a relaxing and calming atmosphere around the pool area. 
  2. The scent of lavender is also known to repel mosquitoes and other insects, which is beneficial for a pool area where bugs can be a nuisance.
  3. Lavender is a drought-tolerant plant that requires minimal maintenance, making it a great option for poolside landscaping.
  4. Lavender’s purple flowers and gray-green foliage add a lovely pop of colour and texture to any poolside landscape.
  5. Lavender flowers can be used in cooking and baking, adding a unique flavour to dishes and drinks, making it a versatile addition to any poolside feature plant.

It is important to note that Lavender requires well-drained soil and regular pruning to maintain its shape and health. It may not survive very harsh winters, and occasional issues such as spider mites and root rot can be prevented with proper care.

9. Clumping Bamboo (Bambusa multiplex)


Clumping Bamboo is a type of bamboo that is native to China and Taiwan. As the name suggests, it grows in dense clumps, distinguishing it from the more invasive running bamboo species. Clumping Bamboo is a popular landscaping plant, particularly in pool areas, due to its many benefits.

This includes:

  1. Its tall, slender stalks with delicate, feathery leaves rustle in the breeze, creating a soothing, natural ambience in pool areas.
  2. The plant is relatively low-maintenance and can tolerate various growing conditions, including full sun and partial shade. It also requires minimal watering once established, making it a great choice for water-wise landscaping.
  3. The plant can also help to improve air quality in pool areas by absorbing pollutants and producing oxygen.

In addition to its aesthetic and functional benefits, Clumping Bamboo is also a sustainable choice for pool areas, as bamboo is a fast-growing and renewable resource. However, as this is a bamboo, you must occasionally prune or shape the plant to maintain its appearance and prevent overgrowth.

10. Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos flavidus)


Kangaroo Paw is a unique Australian native plant known for its distinctive, brightly-coloured flowers. It is a popular landscaping choice, particularly in pool areas, due to its many benefits to your backyard! 

These benefits include: 

  1. It requires little water and is tolerant of both drought and humidity, making it an ideal choice for pool areas.
  2. The plant produces tall, slender stems topped with large, furry flowers in shades of yellow, orange, red, and pink. 
  3. These flowers are not only visually appealing but also attract pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds, which can help improve the garden’s overall health.

However, there are some considerations to keep in mind when planting Kangaroo Paw. The plant is sensitive to frost and is best suited to warmer climates. It also requires well-drained soil and should not be overwatered, as this can lead to root rot. Finally, the plant can be toxic if ingested by pets, so care should be taken to keep it out of reach of dogs and cats.

In conclusion, adding plants to your pool area in Australia can enhance its beauty and create a relaxing atmosphere. With our list of the 10 best plants around pools in Australia, you can choose the perfect plants that thrive in the hot and sunny climate. 

Consider each plant’s maintenance requirements and choose the ones that suit your lifestyle and preferences. With proper care and maintenance, these plants will add greenery and life to your pool area for years to come!


1. What is the best mulch to use around a pool?

The best mulch to use around a pool is one that does not decompose quickly, such as pea gravel, river rock, or crushed granite. These types of mulch not only provide a decorative look but also help to prevent debris and dirt from entering the pool.

2. How long should chlorinated water sit before watering plants?

Chlorinated water should sit for at least 24 hours before using it to water plants. This allows the chlorine to dissipate and prevents damage to the plants.

3. What colour makes a pool look bigger?

Lighter colours, such as white or light blue, tend to make a pool look larger. These colours reflect light and create an illusion of space, while darker colours tend to absorb light and make the pool look smaller.

4. Should you plant trees around a pool?

While trees can provide shade and enhance the beauty of a pool area, they can also cause problems such as clogged filters, dropped leaves and debris, and root damage to the pool structure. It is important to choose trees that have a non-invasive root system and to plant them at a safe distance from the pool area. Alternatively, consider planting trees in pots or containers that can be moved as needed.