Answer: The annual seed packages should indicate whether you need to bury the seeds or simply sow them on the surface of the soil so be sure to follow those directions. As for preparing the planting bed, cultivate it with a hand shovel (dig around in it and mix up the soil, removing any large stones or debris) then rake the ground smooth and sow your seeds. Water carefully so you don't accidentally float the seeds away! The seeds usually sprout in 7-14 days as long as you keep the seedbed moist.
An umbrella tree would be quite happy to live outdoors in a shaded porch for the summer months. It will probably grow lots of new green leaves once it gets out in the fresh air.
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