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Mr. Smarty Plants - Chlorine tolerant plants for planters near pool in Florida

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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

 

 

 

 

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