15 Best Plants Around Pools Australia

Written By:
Scott Carroll
Published On:
March 5, 2024

Discover the 15 best plants to surround your Australian pool, blending aesthetics, privacy, and ease of care.

From the exotic allure of Hibiscus and Frangipani to the robust beauty of Olive Trees and Clumping Bamboo, this curated selection promises to transform your pool area into a lush paradise. Let’s dive in!

What are the best plants for around pools in Australia? 

In our experience, these are the best plants that thrive around pools in Australia, categorised by different types to help you navigate this article more easily:

  1. Best potted plants for pool area: Bird of Paradise, Lavender and Society Garlic.
  2. Best screening plants around pools: Clumping Bamboo, Golden Cane Palm, Viburnum.
  3. Best Australian native plants for pool area: Kangaroo Paw, Lomandra, Banksia.
  4. Best tropical plants for around pool areas: Agapanthus, Hibiscus, Heliconias.
  5. Best trees for around pool areas: Umbrella Tree, Frangipani, Olive Tree.

Together, these selections form the cornerstone of a pool area that’s visually stunning and harmoniously integrated with the Australian landscape.

Best potted plants for pool area

Potted plants are a versatile and stylish addition to any pool area, offering the flexibility to enhance aesthetics and improve air quality without committing to permanent landscaping changes. 

Ideal for pool edges, patios, or decking areas, they bring colour, texture, and life to your outdoor space. For those looking to add a touch of nature to their poolside retreat, our selection below showcases the best potted plants tailored for these spots.

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. Lavender (lavandula angustifolia)


Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a fragrant herb known for its soothing aroma and beautiful purple flowers. This plant is exceptional for pools, providing 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 grey-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 them versatile 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 harsh winters, and occasional issues such as spider mites and root rot can be prevented properly.

3. 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 appear similar 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!

Best screening plants for around pools

Screening plants serve as natural privacy screens, offering a lush barrier that enhances the tranquillity and seclusion of pool areas. 

Perfect for bordering the perimeter or as a backdrop to poolside lounging spots, they create a serene escape from the outside world. 

For those seeking to blend privacy with beauty around their pools, explore our top picks below, where each plant is chosen for its ability to thrive and provide ample coverage.

4. Clumping Bamboo (Bambusa multiplex)

Clumping Bamboo

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

5. Golden Cane Palm (Dypsis lutescens)

The Golden Cane Palm (Dypsis lutescens) is a popular palm tree species in 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. It is 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 much 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 drawbacks. The palm can be susceptible to pests and diseases like 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.

6. Viburnum (Viburnum spp.)

Viburnum species are celebrated for their versatility and beauty, making them a favoured choice for poolside landscaping. Originating from various parts of the globe, these shrubs are well-suited to tropical and temperate climates, thriving in the diverse Australian environment. 

Their appeal for pool areas stems from several key attributes:

  1. Viburnum plants offer lush, thick leaves that form a natural screen, ensuring privacy around the pool. Their ability to grow compactly makes them an excellent choice for creating secluded spaces.
  2. With blooms that vary in colour from white to pink, Viburnum adds a decorative touch and brings a vibrant burst of life to pool surroundings. The flowers enhance the garden’s visual appeal and attract beneficial pollinators.
  3. These plants are relatively easy to care for, requiring minimal attention once established. They adapt well to various soil types and prefer a balance of sun and shade, making them suitable for different poolside locations.
  4. Environmental benefits: Beyond their beauty, Viburnum shrubs contribute to a healthier pool area by filtering pollutants from the air and providing oxygen, creating a fresher and more inviting outdoor environment.

While Viburnum offers numerous advantages, knowing their needs and potential challenges is wise. Regular pruning can help manage their size and shape, ensuring they remain an asset rather than becoming an overgrown concern. 

Additionally, being mindful of specific species’ susceptibility to pests and diseases can help you select the most resilient varieties for your pool area. 

With the right care, Viburnum can be a stunning and practical addition to any poolside garden, offering privacy and natural charm.

Best Australian native plants for pool areas

Australian native plants offer a resilient and vibrant option for poolside landscaping, thriving in the local climate with minimal fuss. These natives bring a touch of the Australian landscape to your backyard, attracting local wildlife while being water-wise. 

Perfect for areas seeking a low-maintenance, drought-resistant garden, they suit edges and open spaces around pools. 

Dive into our recommendations below to discover which Australian natives will transform your pool area into a local haven.

7. 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 tolerates 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 visually appealing and attract pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds, which can help improve the garden’s overall health.

However, there are some considerations to consider 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.

8. 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, Lomandra may not provide as much shade as other plants commonly used near pools, so it may not be the best choice if shade is your primary concern. Additionally, the Lomandra may be less showy and eye-catching than 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.

9. Banksia (Banksia spp.)


The Banksia (Banksia spp.) is a quintessential Australian native plant celebrated for its rugged beauty and resilience. Thriving in various climates across Australia, Banksia is a superb choice for poolside gardens, offering both aesthetic appeal and ecological benefits.

Some benefits that we enjoy of Banksia include:

  1. Banksias produce unique, cylindrical flowers ranging from yellow to red, attracting a host of native wildlife. Their evergreen foliage adds year-round interest and texture to pool areas.
  2. Capable of thriving in various soil types and climates, Banksia is a versatile addition to any garden, requiring minimal upkeep once established.
  3. The nectar-rich flowers are a magnet for birds, bees, and other pollinators, enhancing the biodiversity of your garden.
  4. Once established, Banksia plants are drought-tolerant, ideal for water-wise landscapes.

However, it’s important to note that Banksias have specific needs to flourish. They prefer well-drained soils and a sunny position to produce their best blooms. Regular pruning can help maintain their shape and encourage denser growth. 

Awareness of these needs ensures that Banksias remains a stunning and sustainable choice for enhancing poolside environments.

Best tropical plants for around pool areas

Tropical plants bring a lush, vibrant feel to pool areas, creating a resort-like atmosphere in your backyard. Their large leaves, bright flowers, and exotic appearance are perfect for adding warmth and luxury to poolside settings. 

Ideal for sunny spots and sheltered areas that mimic their native humid environments, tropical plants can transform any pool area into a tropical paradise. 

Explore our top recommendations below to find the perfect tropical companions for your pool oasis.

10. 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 popular with 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 various 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, monitoring the plant’s growth and taking appropriate measures is important.

11. Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Hibiscus identification

The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, known for its large, colourful blooms, is a tropical plant that thrives in warm, sunny climates, making it an ideal choice for poolside gardens across Australia.

Some benefits that we enjoy of Hibiscus include:

  1. Hibiscus plants produce large, eye-catching flowers in various colours, including red, pink, orange, and yellow, adding a splash of tropical vibrancy to pool areas.
  2. With proper care, Hibiscus can bloom from spring through autumn, providing long-lasting beauty beside your pool.
  3. Hibiscus plants are relatively easy to care for, requiring well-drained soil, regular watering, and occasional fertilisation to thrive.
  4. Their lush foliage and tropical appearance can transform pool areas into a serene, resort-like setting, enhancing the overall ambience.

However, it’s important to note that while Hibiscus is adaptable to various regions in Australia, it performs best in areas with mild winters. 

In cooler regions, consider planting Hibiscus in pots that can be moved indoors during cold spells to protect them from frost. Additionally, Hibiscus may require protection from pests such as aphids and spider mites to keep the plants healthy and blooming beautifully.

12. Heliconias (Heliconia spp.)


The Heliconia spp., with its striking and colourful bracts, stands as a beacon of tropical allure, making it a splendid addition to poolside gardens seeking that lush, exotic ambience.

Some benefits that we enjoy of Heliconias include:

  1. Known for their vibrant, elongated bracts that range in colour from bright reds to deep yellows, Heliconias bring an instant tropical flair to any pool area.
  2. With species varying in height from compact to towering, Heliconias can be selected to fit any poolside space, offering flexibility in garden design.
  3. Once established, Heliconias are relatively low maintenance, thriving in warm, humid conditions with ample sunlight and regular watering.
  4. Their nectar-rich flowers attract birds, especially hummingbirds, adding a dynamic element of wildlife to your garden.

Heliconias flourish in Australian climates, particularly the warmer northern regions, creating spectacular poolside retreats. In cooler areas, they can be grown in protected spots or greenhouses to mimic their natural, warm habitat. 

When integrating Heliconias into your poolside garden, consider their mature size for optimal placement, ensuring enough space to showcase their full beauty without overcrowding. 

Regular feeding during the growing season will support their vibrant display, making your pool area a stunning tropical paradise.

Best trees for around pools

Trees around pools offer shade on sunny days and add a touch of natural beauty, creating a tranquil oasis. Ideal for areas where space allows for their growth without interfering with pool infrastructure, they can serve as focal points or privacy screens. 

Perfect for those with a fence line or seeking to blend functionality with aesthetic appeal in their poolside landscaping, our selection below highlights the best trees that promise to enhance the serenity and beauty of your pool area.

13. Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla)

The Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) is a popular tropical plant 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. It can help filter the air and remove pollutants, improving the overall air quality around the pool.
  5. It 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! 

14. Frangipani (Plumeria spp.)

Frangipani tree

The Frangipani (Plumeria spp.) is celebrated for its sweet fragrance and stunning flowers, making it a favourite for poolside planting. This tree encapsulates the essence of a tropical paradise with its lush appearance and aromatic blooms.

Some benefits that we enjoy of Frangipani include:

  1. Frangipani blossoms offer a variety of colours and a captivating scent, enhancing the poolside ambience with a relaxing, tropical fragrance.
  2. Once established, Frangipani trees are remarkably drought-resistant, making them suitable for warmer climates and water-wise gardens.
  3. With their distinctive form and colourful blooms, Frangipani trees add an exotic touch to pool areas, creating visually striking focal points.

However, it’s important to note that Frangipani trees thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. 

They are best positioned in sunny spots around the pool, where they can receive at least six hours of sunlight daily. During the cooler months, they may lose their leaves, but with the arrival of warmer weather, they quickly bounce back, regaining their lush, vibrant appearance. 

Regular watering during dry periods and occasional fertilisation can help maximise their health and flowering potential, ensuring your poolside remains a fragrant, tropical retreat year after year.

15. Olive Tree (Olea europaea)

Olive Trees

The Olive Tree (Olea europaea) brings a touch of the Mediterranean to poolside landscapes with its silvery foliage and rustic charm. This enduring symbol of peace and prosperity is as practical as it is picturesque, suited for creating serene and shaded retreats by the water.

Some benefits that we enjoy of Olive Trees include:

  1. The distinctive grey-green leaves of the Olive Tree add a sophisticated, Mediterranean flair to pool areas, complementing various architectural styles.
  2. Olive Trees are renowned for their ability to thrive in dry conditions, making them a perfect match for poolside settings in regions with water restrictions or those aiming for low-maintenance gardens.
  3. With a naturally slow growth rate and the ability to be pruned into various shapes, Olive Trees are easily managed, ensuring they keep the space manageable.

When selecting an Olive Tree for ornamental purposes, consider dwarf or non-fruiting cultivars to minimise maintenance and avoid the issue of olive drop, which can be a concern in pool areas. 

Planting trees at a suitable distance from the pool ensures roots don’t interfere with pool structures, and strategic positioning can enhance privacy and provide valuable shade. Regular pruning maintains the desired shape and size and helps manage fruit production, keeping your poolside clean and inviting. 

With their timeless beauty and resilience, Olive Trees are a splendid choice for those looking to infuse their pool surroundings with a touch of the Mediterranean.

Final thoughts

This guide has explored the best plants for enhancing pool areas in Australia, from the vibrant blooms of Hibiscus and Frangipani to the lush foliage of Clumping Bamboo and Olive Trees. 

Each selection is tailored to create a serene oasis, offering privacy, shade, and tropical beauty. Whether you’re drawn to the allure of Australian natives or the charm of Mediterranean landscapes, these recommendations promise to transform your poolside into a picturesque retreat.


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 provide a decorative look and help prevent debris and dirt from entering the pool.

How long should chlorinated water sit before watering plants?

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

What colour makes a pool look bigger?

Lighter colours like 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.

What plants are chlorine-tolerant around pools?

Plants that exhibit tolerance to chlorine, making them ideal companions for poolside areas, include robust species such as Agapanthus, Clumping Bamboo, and Oleander. These plants withstand occasional chlorine exposure and thrive in the poolside environment, ensuring your garden remains lush and vibrant.

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 with a non-invasive root system and plant them safely from the pool area. Alternatively, consider planting trees in pots or containers that can be moved as needed.