En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - April 19, 2010

From: Cape Coral, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Tropical plants for a pool-side planter in Cape Coral FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in Southwest Florida and have a pool inside a cage with a pool planter built into the deck around part of the pool. What kind of tropical plants can I put in the planter that are not root invasive so as to not cause damage to the pool walls.


The first problem we have with dealing with your question is that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. That doesn't include a whole lot of "tropical" plants, although Florida is the poster state for having non-native tropicals in their landscapes. We can't recommend any of those, because they are out of our expertise.

We will look in our Native Plant Database for plants native to Cape Coral, Lee County, Florida on the southwestern coast of the peninsula, USDA Hardiness Zones 9b to 10a. First, however, we would like for you to read two of our How-To Articles, A Guide to Native Plant Gardening and Container Gardening with Native Plants. In terms of the roots interfering with your pool wall, since we do not know the exact space involved, we will confine our choices to herbaceous blooming plants that will not have such expansive roots, and perhaps a small shrub or two. We also don't know how much sun these planters will get, so we will choose plants without selecting on Light Requirements. You can follow each plant link to our page on that plant, and determine if it is suitable for your purposes.

Shrubs for Cape Coral FL:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Gaylussacia dumosa (dwarf huckleberry)

Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow)

Herbaceous blooming plans for Cape Coral FL:

Helianthus debilis (cucumberleaf sunflower)

Ipomopsis rubra (standing-cypress)

Liatris tenuifolia (shortleaf blazing star) - pictures and more information

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Callicarpa americana

Gaylussacia dumosa

Hibiscus moscheutos

Helianthus debilis

Ipomopsis rubra

Lobelia cardinalis

Salvia coccinea






More Shrubs Questions

Death of Tecoma stans after heavy rain
July 21, 2008 - I had two esperanza plants. They have been planted for about four months, this spring. They were blooming and growing. We had six inches of rain in five days and they began to wilt - and then they d...
view the full question and answer

Revegetating a hillside in western Washington state
October 10, 2012 - Removing several downed trees across my dock demolished the native plants growing on the hillside and the contractor pulled out their remains. The area faces east on an open freshwater bay. Close to...
view the full question and answer

Hummingbird Bushes for Broken Arrow OK
August 27, 2014 - I am looking for bushes that attract hummingbirds. I live in Broken Arrow, OK. Can you recommend some?
view the full question and answer

Texas native plants for cemetery site
February 09, 2005 - I am trying to landscape my mothers gravesite located in far East Texas (just outside of Nacogdoches) and I am looking for some evergreen bushes or any other decorative plants for that area. I am thi...
view the full question and answer

Foundation Plants for Leander, TX
June 05, 2015 - Looking for suggestions for a narrow bed 2-3 ft. wide, 32 ft. long against my house. Full evening sun with morning shade. Considering Salvia greggii with some type of companion plants/grasses ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center