THE BLOG
08/19/2012 10:02 am ET Updated Oct 14, 2012

Sprout Home Plant Of The Week: Jatropha Berlandieri

A baseball plant, or Jatropha Berlandieri, is a spectacle of a species for sure. Native to the arid parts of the southern U.S. in addition to Mexico and Central America, this plant is most widely known for it's engorged root system that looks a lot like a baseball sitting on top of the soil. Since most parts of the U.S. aren't exactly known for arid weather, you'll mostly find these in homes and garden centers in container gardens.

The baseball plant can near 12 inches in height and sprouts bright green leaves and pink to red flowers from April-November. With the onset of winter, the plant will lose its leaves as it goes into a dormant state. The stems should be trimmed, but not before harvesting the three seeds it offers up in each of its lobed seed pots. No more, no less, just three.

sprout home plant of the week

Photo by Flickr user graftedno1.

In their ideal climate (zones 9-11), their large root isn't shown and stays hidden under the soil. In a container indoors, this monstrosity peeks above the soil level and can even live without soil entirely and just sit on your coffee table! They make great house plants as their size is manageable even in small spaces and they provide a bit of color that other succulents won't. Even though they prefer full sun, they can tolerate shade, making them appropriate for homes that don't receive 6 hours of full sun a day.

The key to keeping your baseball plant happy is keeping it well drained and warm. Although it can tolerate colder temperatures, it doesn't prefer them. So keep it indoors in the winter and planted in a succulent mixture for best results. Impress your friends with this unusual species and branch out from your basic aloe and jade plants. This one is sure to steal the show!