Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Euphorbia obesa (baseball plant)

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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jan 15, 2018 8:28 AM CST
Baseball Plant (Euphorbia obesa)

Every time I see one of these, I'm so amazed! I feel optimistic for some reason about finding one soon and wonder what the light situation is for those who have them already. Please describe and share any other thoughts or pics about this amazing plant. And how big can they get? Have you sprouted any seeds?
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 15, 2018 11:32 AM CST

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I have one of these and it is a pretty cool plant. It gets hours of daily sun where it's located here (outside year round) but the overhead protection kicks in during the summer to reduce the more intense overhead rays.



These plants are male or female and you need two of them (male and female) to make more. The plant in the picture above is male. Like other Euphorbias you have to harvest the fruit right before it explodes or you lose the seeds. You can also try to bag it if you aren't going to be there at the right time.

They also hybridize with other similar Euphorbias and I have seen some pretty attractive polygona hybrids for sale. It's not hard to pick up some pollen on a fine paintbrush (the yellow dots on the male flowers above, falling onto the body of the plant below it) and transfer that to a female plant to see what happens.

In old age they become more tall than wide, less and less like a baseball over time. This is different from the etiolated growth you sometimes see in pictures, where the top part is narrower than the bottom part. A mature E. obesa grows like a column with a rounded top.

Try to provide strong light so that you avoid etiolation, especially since the main appeal of the plant is its form. You will read that this plant is sensitive to rot, and no doubt it will respond poorly to too much water, but I tend not to worry so much about that with strong light, excellent drainage, and a relatively small pot. I water this plant like most of my other succulents. You do want to be careful with cold and dark conditions during winter, like most other succulents.

I have seen some pretty ancient plants in small pots, so you don't need to provide lots of space. I try to use a pot that's just wider than the body of the plant. I'm guessing my plant will end up in a 6 inch pot as its final home.

Some of these plants offset at the base, and I'm not sure if that's due to some hybrid character or actually just the variation of the species. Either way it's not a bad look.

One thing that's kind of fun is each plant has its own pattern of banding in between the ribs. Some of them can be colorful. This texture is probably something you can pick up at a very young age, and it imparts quite a bit of character.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 15, 2018 11:36 AM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jan 15, 2018 11:35 AM CST
Wow! What an amazing reply! I can't thank you enough! You answered questions I did not even know I had. LOL!

Does one generally see an already-growing plant for sale or start from seeds?
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 15, 2018 12:55 PM CST

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Thank you for the acorns! This is one of the more common succulent Euphorbias grown from seed, so it should be relatively available in smaller sizes (maybe 3-4" pot, 1-2" plant). Occasionally you might see an older plant for sale, at a real premium.

If you haven't grown succulents from seed before, buy a plant. If you want to experiment with seeds, go for it. One advantage of starting from seed is that you can renew the cycle of life when the little boy and girl seedlings grow up to flowering age (which is pretty young actually). I have been told this is a popular plant for cactus club propagation projects. I'm guessing the difficulty level is pretty low if you're careful to provide strong light and excellent drainage and regular water to the baby seedlings.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jan 15, 2018 1:13 PM CST
Thanks again! I'd love to find either plant or seeds. This is one plant I would probably keep as a loner... maybe.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Jun 30, 2018 7:30 AM CST
No luck yet spotting one of these plants. What are people seeing out there in their areas?
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jun 30, 2018 7:50 AM CST
I have and have seen only hybrids. But to be honest I can't really tell where the "true" species begins and the hybrids end.
Keep going!
Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Jun 30, 2018 10:08 AM CST
Plenty of them on eBay.
(Zone 9b)
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greyhorse
Jul 1, 2018 5:09 PM CST
I bought one at a cactus show in Riverside, Calif. about a year ago. It was golf ball size, and hasn't gotten any wider wince then, just slightly taller. I bought it because I wanted one that stays small or grows slowly, which this definitely has so far. It seems to have the tiny flowers year round. Right now it isn't getting any direct light, so I hope it will be OK.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jul 1, 2018 5:22 PM CST

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The shape of the plant will tell you whether it is getting sufficient light. It should be round like a ball, or wider than tall, until it reaches full width, and then it will elongate to a cylinder with a rounded top, if it lives that long.




If the growth center starts to stretch (due to low light) you will see a distinctive tapered top like this, as well as a greener color.



These indications are probably much more evident in the wintertime, when there is less light. They are a signal to provide more sun.
Name: Stefan
SE europe(balkans) (Zone 6b)
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skopjecollection
Jul 1, 2018 8:40 PM CST
Ive got 2 of these. One got some kind of fungus-sunburn scarring, so i bought a second one, and placed it in a shadier spot.... no sunburn so far. Im new to euphorbias, and so far, only trigona has managed to wow me.
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