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Perfect Plants for Your Pool Landscape

This post is excerpted from the June/July 2006 issue of Horticulture.

Landscaped under-ground pool

Question: I want to put plants around my swimming pool, but I am worried about the chlorine and bees that the plants might attract. Can you recommend some plants for a pool landscape?

The good news is that you don't have to worry about the chlorine. Pool water splashed on nearby plants won't harm them. The form of chlorine that is commonly added to pool water is not household bleach (which is toxic to plants) but instead solid calcium hypochlorite, which forms hypochlorous acid (HOC1) when placed in water. Established plants (and animals) can tolerate the concentrations found in pool water.

As far as protecting swimmers, you should choose plants that, first of all, don't have spines or thorns. Likewise, avoid those that shed leaves, bark, seeds, fruits, and other assorted plant parts that could get underfoot. To avoid confrontations with pollinating insects, select poolside plants that bloom in early spring and late fall when there will be less activity around the pool. You might begin the season with creeping phlox, dianthus, or blue star {Amsonia hubrichtii), and finish with assorted chrysanthemums and New England asters. Or choose plants like caladiums, elephant ears (Alocasia and Colocasia), New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax), and ornamental grasses—foliage is their principal visual delight, not flowers.

In short, don't hesitate to landscape your pool (in-ground or above ground). Just as plants benefit from an abundance of water, so too does water benefit from an abundance of plants.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Pick the perfect foliage plants for your pool landscape with Smart Gardening Guides: Foliage Plants.

Read about other summer gardening tasks in Smart Gardening Techniques: Summer Tasks.

Find inspiration for all of your landscaping projects in Smart Gardening Series: Landscaping.

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