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Thursday - October 28, 2010

From: Wooster, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plants for a pool fence in Ohio
Answered by: Anne Bossart


I live in Ohio and have a pool with a white vinyl fence. Each year I plant sunflowers around it, but they are so messy when the birds/bees find them. Previously I planted castor beans, however, they are so poisonous that I stopped doing that. Could you give me some ideas of tall full plants, annual or perennial, flowering or non-flowering that would do well in this area. I currently have clematis growing which do quite well along with other smaller flowering plants. Thank you for your help


You don't mention what kind of growing conditions you have but I am assuming that around a swimming pool it is fairly sunny and that in central Ohio soil fertility is not an issue.  I am also assuming that you are dealing with a fairly narrow strip, which is why you are not considering shrubs.

Our Native Plant Database can generate lists of plants that are native to Ohio for you to choose from, but you will ultimately be limited by what plants are available in your local nurseries. You can perform a Combination Search selecting: Ohio, herb (herbaceous plant), and then the size (I chose 3-6 ft), conditions (sunny) and bloom time (I chose June/July/August as that is when you use the pool).  You can also go to the Recommended Species page, click on Ohio and then narrow your search in the same way. It will give you a shorter list of plants that are considered to do well in garden situations and are readily available.  You can locate native plant nurseries in your area by going to our Suppliers page and, again, selecting Ohio.  All of the lists have links to detailed infomation pages with photos for each plant. You can repeat the process for grasses and vines. 

You should be able to create a planting using a combination of these that is not only attractive and interesting but will also be easy to take care of.  Native plants are adapted to your ecosystem and require little extra water, fertilizer or pesticide.

I have selected some plants from those lists that I think would work well for you. 

Perennials (some tall, some shorter)

Agastache scrophulariifolia (Purple giant hyssop)

Aruncus dioicus (Bride's feathers)

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

Heliopsis helianthoides (Smooth oxeye)

Liatris spicata (Dense blazing star)

Vernonia noveboracensis (New york ironweed)


Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie dropseed)


Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper)

Agastache scrophulariifolia

Aruncus dioicus

Coreopsis lanceolata

Echinacea purpurea

Heliopsis helianthoides

Liatris spicata

Vernonia noveboracensis

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sporobolus heterolepis

Campsis radicans






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