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Euphorbia obesa (Baseball Plant)


Scientific Name

Euphorbia obesa Hook.

Common Names

Baseball Plant, Baseball, Basketball Plant, Basketball, Sea Urchin, Living Baseball, Gingham, Golf Ball, Vetmensie, Klipnoors

Scientific Classification

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Euphorbieae
Subtribe: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia


Euphorbia obesa is a dwarf, spherical, spineless succulent, grey-green with transverse red-brown or purplish bands. It can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and up to 3.5 inches (9 cm) in diameter. It has rudimentary, caducous leaves and usually eight vertical, broad, slightly raised ribs with shallow furrows in between. The small inflorescence is borne on a short peduncle from stem apices. Female and male flowers are born on different plants. The fruit is a slightly 3-angled capsule up to 0.3 inches (8 mm) in diameter.

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

As Baseball Plant often grows in partial shade in its native habitat, place it on a windowsill where it receives sun for only part of the day, preferably during the morning. If you move the plant outdoors during the summer, adapt it to the increased light gradually and position it under the high shade of a tree or shrub, where it will receive direct sunlight only at times of the day when the sun is not directly overhead. If it begins to lose its plaid coloring, it needs more light.

Like most succulents, Baseball Plant will rot in soggy soil, so keep it in a clay pot filled with a potting mix intended for cacti and succulents. Use a pot with at least one drainage hole. If you don't have such a mix available, you can create your own.

From spring through fall, water the plant thoroughly about once a week until water runs from the pot's drainage holes. At each watering, add a liquid 10-10-10 plant food at one-quarter strength, which should be about two drops of the plant food in 1 quart of water. Stop fertilizing the plant during its winter dormant period, and allow its soil to dry out before you water it again.

Only repot the plant when its girth grows large enough to press against the edges of its current container. Handle the plant carefully, preferably wearing gloves, because the white sap it exudes when broken can irritate the skin.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.


Euphorbia obesa is native to South Africa, especially in the Cape Province.

Subspecies and Forms


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