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At our new house in southwest Florida, we have a few bushes growing outside one side of our pool cage. Each plant has a single main trunk/stem, which looks like a tree or bush trunk, and they are about 3 - 3.5' tall. The leave sprout out at the top of the plant (so the bottom 2/3 are just trunk).

I haven't noticed them recently around here to purchase, so I am not sure what to ask for when I'm shopping. Having only been here since May, we haven't noticed any flowers, just the leaves.

What could thy be?

Pool Plant http://www.unkfrank.com/images/StackExchange/Pool_Plant.jpg

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This plant is a common ornamental called the croton or Codiaeum variegatum. It is often sold as a multi stemmed plant to consumers as an indoor plant but in warmer climates where it does not go below 10 degrees celsius it can be used as hedging or a specimen plant.

When grown indoors these plants can be attacked by spider mites, mealy bug or scale. Fortunately soap and water offers good control but care must be taken to wash the soap solution off the leaves after a few minutes or the fatty acids can burn the leaves in outdoor conditions.

There are hundreds of cultivars so it could be challenging to find more that are exactly the same.

However these plants can be cut back and you can use the stems to propagate more of them yourself. Propagation involves cutting a stem with at least three sets of leaves. A wound is created by removing the bottom set of leaves, and new roots form at the wound site. The stem is planted in a container filled with a light soil less mixture, and then covered with plastic to create a greenhouse atmosphere. Any sunny window or outside in some shade will do.

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