Great Plants for Patio and Pool Side Containers

December 06, 2017

Great Plants for Patio and Pool Side Containers

Ahhhhh…warm weather and sun. It’s the perfect combination for spending time outside and extending your family’s living space into the backyard. Whether you have a fantastic patio, or a backyard pool, including plants in this space adds visual impact to help create a beautifully decorated area. Plants can also help to create visual boundaries, and help to reduce ambient noise from neighbors.

Landscaping your patio and pool side takes a slightly different approach than planning other areas of your yard and garden. For the best landscaping ideas you will want to look for plants that are fairly low maintenance especially in terms of the leaves and/or debris they drop, while providing some privacy at the same time. This will help keep the wandering eyes of nosey neighbors out of your business and cut down on the time you’ll spend cleaning leaves out of your pool or off your patio. You can add pops of color and wonderful scents to your landscape with flowering shrubs/trees, or stick with simple greenery. To provide flexibility, and make it easier to move plants around when needed, more and more people are landscaping spaces using potted containers for their plants instead of putting them directly into the ground. This is a great option and can add even extra visual interest with gorgeous containers.

The following are some options that work really well in patio and pool side containers. When planning keep in mind the size containers the plants need, and their climate requirements. Some of them will need to be protected in the winter time from low temperatures or brought indoors to a more sheltered area. When moving such large potted containers, it’s worthwhile to invest in a heavy duty rolling plant caddy to make it easier.


Some plants are more suited for containers than others, and without a doubt, bamboo is a perfect example of that. Bamboo is one of the most rapidly growing plants and has the tendency to spread voraciously; planting it in containers will keep it from overtaking your yard and your neighbor’s while still providing the benefits of having it as a landscape plant. On average, bamboo can grow 3 – 5’ in height annually making it great to use for a privacy screen. It prefers large containers, well-drained soil and can withstand winter temps down into the 40’s. If your winters are extremely cold it may be better to move plants into a garage during the winter for protection.

Elephant ears

Looking for a statement plant that is sure to draw attention to your landscape? If so, the widely recognized elephant ear plant is a great choice for your potted containers. They are fantastic if you want quick growing summer greenery or are adding a tropical feel to your patio or pool side. Elephant ears are warm weather plants that grow well in full sun to partial shade. Their gigantic leaves can grow to almost 4’ across so it’s important to give them plenty of space to branch out. Like other tropical plants they need to be brought inside in cold winter areas.

English ivy

Most people are familiar with English ivy as a ground cover, but this fast-growing vine plant can be trained to climb trellises. This makes it another excellent option for patio and pool side containers as it will create a fantastic privacy screen within a short amount of time. English ivy is fairly low maintenance: it’s somewhat drought tolerant, even in containers, and requires little fertilizer to grow. It is disease and insect resistant and some varieties can overwinter well outdoors.


If you’re looking to add some color or tropical flair to your outdoor space, hibiscus plants are a fantastic option. The plants grow as a shrub or small tree with woody, thick stems and glossy, dark-green foliage. Available in a range of colors – red, orange, yellow, salmon-pink, and multicolored – the blossoms range in size from 3 – 6” in diameter. Hibiscus plants can be grown year round in more temperature zones, but should be brought indoors in areas where the winter time temperatures will drop below freezing.


Known for their intoxicating fragrance, honeysuckle plants are another low maintenance option that grows really well up trellises. Honeysuckles need lots of sunlight and thrive on patios and around pools, growing best when they can receive full sun during the day. They are heat-tolerant and in many areas require no water other than rainfall. The gorgeous flowers on honeysuckle come in a range of colors and attract an abundance of butterflies and hummingbirds to your space.


Although not tropical in nature, lavender plants make great container plants for pool side and patio landscaping. Lavender plants love full sun and heat. They are fairly drought tolerant which makes them a great candidate for potted containers that dry out more quickly. The soothing color and fragrance of lavender accentuates a space bringing a calming effect. Plants do not handle cold well and prefer to be brought indoors during the winter months.

Windmill palm

A quintessential tropical plant, the windmill palm makes a great tree for potted patio or pool side containers adding a trade-wind ambiance to your landscape. Although not native to North America these hardy palms can withstand winter temps as low as 10°F and a layer of snow. They grow best in shade or partial shade but are tolerant of sunny conditions as long as they receive adequate irrigation. Windmill palms are slower growing, with average sizes between 7 and 10 feet tall when grown in containers.   

These are only a few of the great options you have to choose from when looking for plants to use in your pool and patio landscaping. All of the aforementioned grow well in containers, making them to easy move around to redesign your landscape if you want, and then also to bring indoors for the winter if need be. To make this process easier, invest in well-made, heavy duty plant caddies to move huge containers without hurting your back or damaging your plants.

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