Imagine swimming in a tropical oasis right in your own backyard. It’s easier to realize that dream than you think. With the help of these exuberant, brightly-colored plants, you can turn your pool into a leafy, blooming paradise. Here are seven ideas for plants around your backyard swimming hole!


This classic tropical is known for its exuberant flowers with a long stamen. They seem to be calling out for pollinators to visit it and for people to breathe in their beautiful fragrance. Bred into many varieties, you’ll find hibiscus blossoms in apricot, red, and various shades of pink. They’ll flower all summer long with enough moisture, giving you consistent color and fragrance while you enjoy a cool swim.

Pine Hills Nursery -Plants for the Poolside-bird of paradise plant
Bird of Paradise

This perennial is known for its unique orange and indigo flowers that look like a tropical bird in mid-flight. The flowers emerge among big leaves that look like banana leaves. Coming from South Africa, it’s no stranger to heat, although it initially needs consistent moisture to get established. The leaves can reach upwards of 5 feet at a mature height, giving it the lush and abundant look that we want in a poolside oasis.

Canna Lily

Also called Cannas, these tropical plants from the Americas produce luscious flowers of bright orange, red, or pink. The deeply veined leaves show an impressive texture when lit up by the sun. Depending on the variety, the leaves can be chartreuse, burgundy, or dark green. The size of cannas also varies, ranging from 2-8 feet tall, but all breeds have the signature feature of showy, colorful flowers—just the kind of plant to enjoy next to the pool!

Pine Hills Nursery -Plants for the Poolside-caladium


Looking to brighten a shady spot beside your pool? These tropical perennials are known for their silver, pink, and chartreuse foliage that will do the trick. The intricate patterns on the leaves bring zest to your landscape without any need for flowers. Depending on the variety, they’ll remain a compact size of 1-3 feet. They also tolerate summer heat as long as they have moisture in a shady or partially shaded area.

African Iris 

African Iris is a low-maintenance perennial that will bring bright white blossoms to your poolside garden. With narrow ribbons of leaves, they also bring a soft texture to the landscape. The flowers themselves are similar to the well-known Bearded Iris but with a tropical flair. Initially, they bloom in the spring and summer, but after a few seasons, they’ll keep flowering from spring to fall. Once established, they’re relatively tolerant to drought.

Pine Hills Nursery -Plants for the Poolside-bougainvillea

This tropical, vine-like shrub often seems to have more flowers than leaves. The bright pink, purple, apricot, or red petals will overwhelm your senses and bloom throughout the whole year. The secret is that these colorful petals are actually leaf bracts, while the true flower is the small white circle hidden at the center. Regardless, these plants are a joy to have around your pool and can be trained into many different shapes, big or small, and climbing or shrub-like. They’re also tolerant to summer heat and even withstand drought conditions.

Elephant Ear 

Besides colorful flowers, another feature of a tropical oasis is a lot of big, impressive leaves. True to its name, the Elephant Ear brings exactly this kind of foliage to your poolside garden. Also known as Colocasia, this plant is a popular houseplant in colder regions but grows outside beautifully along the Mississippi coast. Like other tropicals, it loves the summer heat, but it needs extra water to stay in shape during dry spells. It will feel right at home with the extra humidity around your pool.  

To get more ideas for your poolside oasis, feel free to visit our nursery in Pass Christian, Mississippi; you’ll see our full selection of the many shrubs, trees, annuals, and perennials we have available!

Rachel Bond

Rachel Bond

I grew up around our family garden center, Pine Hills Nursery while attending Mississippi State University and studying Horticulture. Now I work there full-time and love it!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.