Schefflera actinophylla, commonly known as umbrella tree, is native to rainforests in Australia and New Guinea where it grows as a tree to 50’ tall. It is widely grown in temperate climates as an ornamental houseplant. Indoors it is usually seen growing in the range of 6-15’ tall. It features palmately compound bright green leaves (7-16 leaflets). On each leaf, the elliptic to ovate leaflets (to 12” long) radiate outward in an umbrella-like fashion, hence the common name. Inflorescence consists of small red flowers in compact umbels that appear on long stalks (to 2’) radiating out like the tentacles of an octopus, hence the additional common name of octopus tree. Flowers may be followed by subglobose small black drupes.
- Soak the seed in water for 12 hours.
- Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite.
- Put the mixture in a pot with drainage holes in the base.
- Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds and keep the soil moist but not wet.
- Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.