Rotary fruit: profile and care

Rotary fruit: profile and care

Origin and Distribution

Most types of twist fruit come from tropical Africa, where they are primarily at home in South Africa, Tanzania and Madagascar. Only four species of the genus are native to Asia, such as Streptocarpus burmanicus in Myanmar, Streptocarpus orientalis in Thailand or Streptocarpus sumatranus in Sumatra.

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Due to its tropical origin, the warmth-loving twist fruit can only be grown as a houseplant or, during the hot summer months, on the balcony or terrace. Different hybrid forms are mainly used, but the specific species are very rare as indoor plants.

Appearance and stature

The rotary fruit hybrids kept in indoor culture are usually perennial and evergreen plants that grow herbaceous and do not lignify. Many popular varieties form long shoot axes that hang over the edge of the planter. These rotary fruit varieties are perfect for planting in hanging baskets, where they can let their shoots grow downwards. Other varieties also develop quite long shoot axes, which, however, remain upright on their own. These varieties are usually easy to cultivate on the windowsill. Streptocarpus is usually only between ten and 20 centimeters high.


Many twist fruit hybrids develop large, often finely hairy and oblong to elliptical leaves that are arranged in basal rosettes. Some varieties (e.g. Streptocarpus wendlandii), on the other hand, only develop a single leaf, up to 90 centimeters long, which continues to grow or subsequently dies after the formation of a new leaf / new leaves. These leaves must not rest on the substrate, otherwise they will rot. The leaves are usually green, but there are also varieties with variegated (ie multi-colored) foliage.

Blossoms and flowering period

The five-fold, orchid-like funnel-shaped flowers appear between April and September, whereby the twist fruit is a very perennial flowering plant - it constantly forms new flowers and is therefore very decorative. Depending on the variety, several or just a single flower grow on a stem. These can be monochrome to multi-colored - the color palette is very extensive, especially with the hybrid forms, and ranges from white to red and pink to blue and purple in various tones.

Fruits and seeds

After the blossoms, the cylindrically twisted fruits form, which gave the plant its name. The spiral capsules contain the numerous, very fine seeds. You can extend the flowering time of the twist fruit by removing dead stalks in good time, thus hindering fruit development. The plant will then invest its energy in developing new flowers.


The twist fruit is considered non-toxic. However, their leaf juice can cause an itchy rash in sensitive people.

Location and temperature

As a real plant of the tropics, the rotary fruit prefers a bright location with high humidity and a warm ambient temperature. If possible, place the pot next to a window facing east or west, as the plant needs light, but too much intense sunlight is harmful. If the plant is facing south, you should provide shade over midday. In addition, the location should be airy, but not drafty and at least 15 ° C warm all year round. During the flowering period, the optimal temperature is 22 to 25 ° C, with a humidity level of at least 60 percent - even better, more.


The beautiful blossoms only develop if the twist fruit is in a soil that suits its needs. The plant can be found in its natural habitat in the loose, humus rich soils of the rainforests, which is why the potting substrate should be composed accordingly. For this purpose, mix humus, peat-free potting soil about halfway with loose coconut soil.

Planting and repotting

The roots of the rotary fruit grow just below the substrate surface, and the root ball can become quite wide. Therefore choose a wide plant pot instead of a deep one. The right time to repot has come when the planter is well rooted.

Pour twist fruit

The correct watering of the twisted fruit requires a certain tact, because the plant needs to be kept evenly moist - but only slightly, because excessive moisture and especially waterlogging has an extremely harmful effect. Always water when the top layer of substrate has dried, but not the whole pot is completely dry. Always check the necessity with a thumb test first. Use room temperature rainwater or stale tap water for watering and be careful not to wet the leaves and flowers. Always water from below and also refrain from spraying the twist fruit, as the leaves tend to rot. Remove excess water from the saucer or planter promptly.

Fertilize twist fruit properly

Fertilize the rotary fruit every 14 days between March and October with a liquid flowering plant fertilizer that you apply together with the irrigation water. Never fertilize on dry substrate, always moisten it.

Cut the twist fruit correctly

A regular shape cut is not necessary for rotary crops. Only withered, dried up and diseased parts of the plant should be removed regularly with a sharp and disinfected cutting tool, which can be done at any time. Do not simply tear off the relevant parts of the plant, as this procedure makes it easier for fungi, bacteria and other pathogens to enter.

Propagate twist fruit

As demanding as the twist fruit is in terms of its care, propagation is just as uncomplicated. Above all, vegetative propagation via cuttings and leaf cuttings can also be easily carried out by laypeople.

Leaf cuttings

Leaf cuttings can naturally only be obtained from species with multiple leaves, whereas the single-leaved rotary fruit species are unsuitable for this purpose. And that's how it works:

  • Cut off a healthy leaf in spring.
  • Cut this crosswise into three to four parts.
  • Insert the partial leaves about an inch deep into the growing medium. (€ 9.05 at Amazon *)
  • If necessary, support them with matches or other wooden sticks.

Place the plant pots in a bright and warm window seat and always keep the substrate slightly moist. Do not stretch any foil or similar over the cuttings, as this promotes rot. Instead, use willow water for irrigation, as this will encourage roots to develop. Within a few weeks, small rotary fruit plants with their own roots form along the cut edges. Separate these from the leaf cuttings and pot them separately in their own pots from a height of approx. Seven centimeters.


Hanging rotating fruit species and hybrids such as Streptocarpus saxorum are very suitable for propagation via shoot cuttings. And this is how you proceed:

  • In the spring, cut head cuttings seven to ten centimeters in length.
  • Remove all but the top pair of leaves.
  • Plant the cuttings individually in plant pots filled with growing medium.

You can also place these vessels in a bright and warm window seat. Keep the substrate evenly moist, but not wet. As soon as strong roots have developed, the cutting sprouts again. Now, if necessary, repot it in a larger container.

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Proper winter storage is the most difficult phase in the life of the rotary fruit. If you want to be on the safe side, simply leave the plant in its proven location and reduce the temperature here to around 15 ° C. This procedure is practical, but not necessarily practical, especially in the living room. In principle, the rotary fruit can be cultivated here all year round in warm temperatures, but there is a risk of blooming failing if there is no vegetation break. So put them in a comparable but cooler place (e.g. in the bedroom), water them a little and stop fertilizing from October. From February / March, slowly get used to the plant again to warmer temperatures.

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You can create the right humid microclimate with a simple trick: place the planter on a bowl filled with pebbles and water, but do not allow the roots to hang in the water. The evaporation automatically increases the humidity to the desired level, just don't forget to top up regularly.

Species and varieties

There are around 135 different types of rotary fruit, some of which are also cultivated as house plants. Most indoor cultivars, however, are specially bred hybrid varieties, of which there are several hundred different. To list them all at this point would go beyond the scope. We are of course happy to introduce you to the most beautiful varieties.

Streptocarpus saxorum

This pendulous and very profuse flowering species originally comes from Tanzania and Kenya, but can also be kept indoors. Most varieties have bright blue flowers - for example the very popular 'Blauer Paul' variety - but there are also white or pink blooming forms.

Streptocarpus candidus

This species, which comes from South Africa and is rarely cultivated in our country, delights with numerous pure white calyxes.

Streptocarpus wendlandii

This is a so-called single-leaf plant that only develops a single, but very large leaf. Streptocarpus wendlandii flowers very long and shows pretty purple flowers, but dies after flowering. The species originates from South Africa.

Streptocarpus parfuflora

This species also forms only a single, but very long leaf with a length of up to 30 centimeters. The plant, which also comes from South Africa, can grow to a height of 30 centimeters and blooms very persistently. The flowers that are constantly forming are white.

Streptocarpus hybrids

Outwardly, the numerous Streptocarpus hybrids are very different. Some varieties can become very large and develop leaves with a length of up to 50 centimeters, others show an upright growth habit, while others are prostrate or drooping. However, the differences are particularly great in the flower colors: single-colored varieties in the most varied of shades are represented as well as two- or even three-colored varieties.

  • 'Harlequin': Growth height up to 35 centimeters, three-colored flowers
  • 'Asia': Growth height up to 30 centimeters, white flowers with a curled edge
  • 'Iona': deep red flowers, blooms up to ten months a year
  • 'Roulette Cherry': Height up to 35 centimeters, pink flowers with a white throat

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