Tropical Look Around Pool, Patio


Looking for a “tropical look” around a pool or patio? Bright colors help, to be sure, but so will varied textures. Use large-leafed plants, then contrast them with smaller-leafed types for interest.

Best brightly colored plants for full sun near patios and pools: purslane, moss rose, pentas, trailing lantanas (petals will fall into pool), firebush, copper plants, tropical hibiscus, mandevilla, and perhaps sun-tolerant coleus. You may have others you’ll want to post. I would beware of periwinkles (vinca), because of all the disease issues, even with the new Cora series. Crotons would be terrific if you could get them a little afternoon shade.

Color for shady areas: Caladiums, coleus, impatiens, plus variegated tropicals like sansevierias, aglaonemas, crotons. Less common plants like bloodleaf and chicken gizzard plant, also Persian shield.

Large-leafed plants for pool- and patio-side: (sun) Little Gem southern magnolia, varnish tree (Firmiana simplex), Mary Nell holly. (shade) Elephant ears and caladiums, fatsia, aspidistra, Mary Nell holly, oakleaf hydrangeas (These are shrub-form, not the florist hydrangeas.), also split leaf philodendrons, especially the self-headers such as P. selloum and Xanadu.

Small-leafed plants for pool- or patio-side: (sun) Asian jasmine, dwarf yaupon holly, Italian jasmine, junipers. (shade) mondograss, dwarf mondograss, Asian jasmine, dwarf yaupon holly, ferns.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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