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?

Share

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
2 ratings

Tuesday - June 01, 2010

From: Jupiter, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Soils
Title: Chlorine tolerant plants for planters near pool in Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for planting ideas for two planters next to our hot tub/pool. Plants need to withstand chlorine from pool, not attract bees, and take full sun. We are in South Florida. The planters are only about 3' x 4'.

ANSWER:

In Symptoms of Deficiency in Essential Minerals in A Companion to Plant Physiology (OnLine), 4th Edition by Lincoln Taiz and Eduardo Zeiger, Wade Berry says that "Plants are generally tolerant of chloride..." and listed some plants that are sensitive to chloride (avocados, stone fruits and and grapevines). He also wrote that "Chloride is very abundant in soils, and reaches high concentrations in saline areas...".  By the way, chlorine and chloride are often used interchangeably, but chlorine is the element and not really found free in nature.  It is found as chloride  in the form of its salts (e.g., NaCl—sodium chloride or table salt is the commonest form).  This would lead us to believe salt tolerant plants would be good ones to plant by the pool.  Several gardening sources on the internet suggested that plants with waxy leaves would probably be more resistant to chlorine in the splashed water  from the pool.  The Florida Native Plant Society lists for various regions of Florida that include indications of native plants that are salt tolerant.  Here are a few that are listed on the Natives to Grow in Palm Beach County list that are designated as highly salt tolerant.  Some, but not all, of them have waxy leaves.

SMALL SHRUBS

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Hamelia patens (scarletbush) and here are photos and more information.

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)  There is also a dwarf version of this plant that might be most suitable for your planters.

Suriana maritima (bay cedar) and here are photos and more information.

VINES AND/OR LOW GROUND COVERS

Sesuvium portulacastrum (shoreline seapurslane)

Scaevola plumieri (gullfeed) and here are photos and more information.

Ipomoea imperati (beach morning-glory)

Ipomoea pes-caprae (bayhops)

Many (if not all) of the plants above may attract at least some bees.  Flowering plants need pollinators and many pollinators turn out to be bees of some sort. Bees are not normally agressive unless you disturb their hive.  However, if you are especially allergic to bee stings, I can understand your concern.  Grasses are one type of plant that would not normally attract bees since they are mostly wind pollinated.  Here are a few grasses that are on the list as being salt tolerant and are somewhat ornamental.

GRASSES

Eragrostis elliotii (blue love grass) and here are more photos and nformation.

Tripsacum dactyloides (eastern gamagrass)

Uniola paniculata (seaoats)

Here are photos from our Image Gallery for some of the above plants:


Callicarpa americana

Morella cerifera

Sesuvium portulacastrum

Ipomoea imperati

Ipomoea pes-caprae

Tripsacum dactyloides

Uniola paniculata

 

 

 

 

More Soils Questions

Improperly prepared building site in Virginia
June 24, 2008 - Hi, I have a question about planting on newly-built homesite. We just moved into a new home in DC suburbs (Northern VA) and the landscape is the worst of the builder grade. There are prickly junipers ...
view the full question and answer

Will wood shavings in the soil require nitrogen from Charleston MO
May 04, 2011 - I cut down a big maple tree and a lot of the wood shavings was left in the soil. I planted a flower bed over the area this spring. I later read that the wood chips in the soil would use a lot of nitro...
view the full question and answer

Adding Wildflowers to Corpus Christi
May 20, 2012 - I have a dry sandy yard, full sun in Corpus Christi with lot's of stickers mostly, want to transform to wildflowers. When should I plant, how should I prepare soil, should I dig out stickers? Which w...
view the full question and answer

Problem With Vegetable Garden Soil
June 09, 2013 - We live in Liberty Hill on 25 acres and we are working to restore native grasses and plants. We are ardent supporters of the Wildflower center. I say this because my question is not "typical" of wh...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen pet-safe shrubs for house and screening in McKinney TX
April 15, 2010 - Looking for shrub, preferably evergreen, to plant near the house that can handle wet ground and is pet (dog, cat, horse) safe. The area became boggy after we had an underground water leak that is now ...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center