Euphorbia Obesa: Growing the Unique Baseball Euphorbia

Euphorbia Obesa plant [yoo-FOR-bee-uh oh-BEE-suh] known also as the baseball Euphorbia is a shrubby species.

It belongs to the Euphorbia genus along with the Crown of Thorns cactus and originates in the arid regions of South Africa.

At first glance, you may assume that the Euphorbia Obesa plant is a cactus.

While it shares many characteristics with a cactus, it’s an entirely different succulent species of plant.

The baseball succulent perfectly hard, rounded, spineless

The ‘Obesa ‘ is a fascinating euphorbia.

The globular shape and the lines running along the exterior make it look like the plant was stitched together into a ball.

It is what gives the plant its common name – the baseball euphorbia.

Read on to learn more about the growing and care of this unique baseball plant.

Euphorbia Obesa Care

Size and Growth

The baseball euphorbia is a slow-growing succulent with a large globular stem. It has a gray-green surface with V-shaped markings.

When you look closely, the “seams” of the plant look like little stitches.

The large growing globe is the stem of the plant which can live for years reaching 4″ or 5″ inches in size.

Flowering and Fragrance

While the plant doesn’t grow foliage, it produces small flowers. The flowers appear in clusters on the top of the plant.

Male and female flowers appear on different plants which bloom at random times throughout the year.

Light and Temperature

The baseball plant grows outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. Outside of these zones, grow the plant indoors growth.

Plants need at least four hours of bright sunlight. If the plant doesn’t get enough light, the sphere starts to lose its shape.

In the spring, summer, and fall, the plant prefers temperatures in the 75° – 85° degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter it can tolerate temperatures as low as 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

If grown indoors, normal room temperature is fine. However, place the baseball euphorbia in a window with lots of sunlight, such as a south-facing or east-facing window.

Watering and Feeding

Watering the baseball plant is the biggest challenge. If the plant is overwatered or underwatered, it’s likely to suffer.

Allow the soil to dry between watering. However, it should not be allowed to dry completely.

Watering is required more frequently during the warmer months and sparingly during the winter.

During the spring and summer, apply liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength to give the plant more nutrition.

Soil and Transplanting

While the plant isn’t a cactus, plant Obesa a in standard cactus potting soil. Use a standard potting soil with additional perlite as another option.

Twenty-five percent to 50% of the soil mixture should include perlite.

Terra cotta pots are recommended, but any pot with drainage holes should work just fine.

Transplanting is not necessary unless the plant has outgrown its current container. When transplanting, allow the plant to dry for half a day before placing it in the new pot.

Grooming

It is an easy plant to maintain and requires no grooming.

Obesa basketball plant euphorbia at Prague botanic garden

How to Propagate Euphorbia Obesa

The plant doesn’t produce offsets, but propagation is possible with seeds.

As mentioned, the male and female flowers are on separate plants requiring hand pollination.

After the seed pods appear, cover the plant with a mesh cover. This keeps the seeds from scattering after the pods ripen.

It typically takes about ten days for the pods to ripen and explode. After this occurs, collect the seeds for sowing.

Sow the seeds in sandy soil and cover lightly. Cover the top of the tray or container with a plastic sheet and punch some ventilation holes.

Set the tray in bright, indirect light. After the seedlings appear, remove the plastic cover and place the tray in a slightly brighter location.

Wait until the seedlings are about ½” inch in diameter before transplanting into deep individual pots. Allow the roots to grow properly.

Euphorbia Obesa Pests or Disease Problems

Mealybugs and scale insects are potential threats. Remove mealybugs with a damp cloth.

If the bugs are in the soil and around the base, drenching with an insecticide may be needed.

Remove scale insects with a toothpick or cotton swab. If the infestation is severe, use insecticide.

When the plant develops white furry patches, it’s likely suffering from mildew. Transplant the plant and limit the watering.

TIP: Treat mildew with commercial athlete’s foot powder.

Suggested Euphorbia Obesa Uses

The globular shape of this plant creates a distinct look that should add more character to any succulent garden.

The Euphorbia Obesa is also a great plant to display on its own, especially when it is mature and reached a larger size.