Tropical rainforests of the Northern Territories of Australia, New Guinea and Java are home to the evergreen tree, Schefflera actinophylla, also known as umbrella tree or octopus tree. This tender plant is often grown as an interior tree or house plant. Outsie grows in USDA zones 10-15 only.
A large tree or small shrub, umbrella tree tends to grow multiple trunks. The leaves are usually grouped at the ends of the trunks. They are large and roughly circular with several to many oblong, wide, shiny, light-green, finger-like leaflets. Each leaf is held on a long leaf stem. The plant has an upright and narrow profile.
If grown outise in tropical regions (no flowering if grown inside) many dull-red flowers are produced in the late summer and fall on unusual crest-like stalks. The flowers are held well above the foliage at the tips of the branches. The abundant purple-red fruita are drupes or stone-fruits like a peach and a major food source for wildlife in the plant’s native range.
Only grown in the landscape in frost-free zones, umbrella tree prefers sunny to partly shady locations with well-drained soil. It is tolerant of drought and poor soils once established, but looks best with regular watering. This species, Schefflera actinophylla, is a popular plant for interiors. It takes well to containers and can be maintained as a large shrub or small tree. Provide moderate to bright indirect light, soil with ample drainage, good humidity, and do not let the soil become bone dry. Overwintering at +13C inside.
Information source: http://learn2grow.com/plants/schefflera-actinophylla/
Genus - Schefflera
Species - Actinophylla
Common name - Octopus Tree
Germination rate - 70%
Pre-Treatment - Not-required
Plant type - Tropical tree, indoor plant
Vegetation type - Deciduous evergreen
Hardiness zones - 3 - 15
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Height - 6 - 15 m
Spread - 4 - 6 m
Growth rate - Fast
Bloom season - Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall, Late Fall
Leaf / Flower color - Green / Red, Pink
Soil PH - Acid, neutral, alkaline
Soil type - Loam, sand, well drained
Water requirements - Average, drought tolerant
Landscape uses - Container, houseplant, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Screening / Wind Break, Street Trees, Tropical
Plant seeds all year long in a commercial potting mix.
Soak the seeds in hot water for 12 hours before you sow them. Use four times as much water as the volume of seeds. The water should be +60C. If you soak the seeds in hot water before you plant them, the germination will be faster and rate higher.
Sow seeds twice as deep as their size. After you plant them, water the medium enough to make it moist but not soggy. Keep the planting medium between +20-23C and out of direct sunlight.
Germination time - 20-40 days.