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Euphorbia obesa Euphorbia obesa

Euphorbia obesa

Botanical Name — Euphorbia obesa

Common Name — Baseball plant

Plant Family — Euphorbiaceae


Background


Originating in Central Africa, Euphorbia obesa is a semi-arid succulent plant. Globose stems grow solitary or in slow-forming clusters. As the plant matures its shape shifts from spherical to cylindrical. This is an easy-care, beautiful ornamental plant that would grow well indoors or outdoors. Though fairly common in cultivation, unsustainable harvesting has pushed this species to near extinction. As a result, legislation has been enacted to protect the remaining population. Nursey and botanic gardens have been growing this species en masse to mitigate the amount of harvesting of this plant in the wild and further protect native plants.


Growth Requirements


Sun

  • Euphorbia plants do best in full sun, at least 5 to 8 hours a day. Avoid intense afternoon sun. Grow outdoors in light shade or indoors in a sunny window with southern exposure and direct sun. 

Temperature/ Humidity 

  • Euphorbia obesa prefers warm temperatures in the 70s and 80s. In can become stressed if left in conditions of extreme temperatures or intense sun. 
  • These plants are not cold hardy. If grown outdoors migrate these plants to a sunny spot indoors when nighttime temperatures drop below 55 ºF. 

Water

  • Native to arid and sub-tropical climates Euphorbia obesa are drought-tolerant plants. Their soil should be allowed to dry out entirely before watering thoroughly.

Soil/Roots

  • These plants prefer a sandy, sharply draining mix. Cacti or succulent potting mix is great. You can amend a regular potting soil with sand or pumice up to 50% to improve grittiness and drainage. 

Flowering

  • These plants produce small white or yellow flowers during the spring and summertime. Potted plants and plants grown indoors rarely flower. 

Fertilization

  • These plants do not require fertilizer though it can be added to give container-grown plants a boost or to supplement poor soil. Apply a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer monthly, diluted at half strength. 

Propagation

  • The baseball plant does not typically produce offsets, therefore seed is the most reliable way to propagate this species. 
  • Sow freshly harvested seeds in a gitty, well-drained mix. Keep soil moist and provide ample humidity to encourage germination and seedling growth. 

Health


Diseases

  • Euphorbia obesa are not prone to pests. Though not super common, they are more likely to fall victim to bacterial or fungal infections. Affected plants may need to be destroyed to prevent the spread of disease to other nearby plants. 
  • Root rot can also be a concern and is triggered by overwatering. Always err on the side of underwatering.

Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)

  • Little maintenance is required to grow these plants. These plants have very shallow root systems, and thus do not require frequent repotting. Repot once every two to three years.

Toxicity

  • All Euphorbia plants contain a poisonous sap that is very toxic if ingested and highly irritant if contacted with skin. Keep out of reach of pets and children. Wear gloves and take great care when handling this plant.