Zamioculcas: the plant of Padre Pio

One of houseplants that met more widespread in less time is the Zamioculcas. Introduced in the West until 1998, soon it was adopted in many homes because of its aspect considered design.

It looks tall and slender: in nature can measure up to a meter, but generally does not exceed 60 or 70 centimeters in height. It has beautiful leaves dark green, lanceolate, so shiny that could think of has been treated artificially. The base can be formed suckers from which new branches arise. In addition to its beauty, another aspect that make appreciate the Zamioculcas is the ease of cultivation. Originary of East Africa, especially the areas of Tanzania and Madagascar, the Zamioculcas is accustomed to climates where alternate periods of drought to others of abundant rainfall. This made it very robust and ruggedized.


The Zamioculcas really needs very little care to survive; although, if you want the beautiful and lush, it is appropriate to do so it has everything it needs.

She loves light, but not direct sunlight, therefore should be placed in a bright area home. Also likes the semi-shade, but in that case it will produce fewer leaves.

In the summer it can be safely outdoors if you live in temperate zones: the ideal temperature is 18-20° C. It could suffer when the temperature drops below 12°C; in winter so you better admit her into the house.

The Zamioculcas needs constant watering, but not abundant; the stagnation of water is what we fear most because it could rot. You always have to provide him with draining soil, composed in part of peat. In winter it can also be watered once a week, and a little ‘more often in the summer. The best way to figure out if it needs water or not is to test the soil. If it is wet, even if the surface is dry you can expect to proceed with the watering., But if the soil is dry, the plant should be watered immediately.

Repotting is done in the spring, every two years. Care must be taken to free the roots from rotting parts or death, and cover the jar with a breathable fabric for the first time, taking the plant in a somewhat ‘shady area.

The Zamioculcas can produce flowers, but it’s really rare to do it if you live in an apartment. They are yellow flowers similar to the calla lilies, very beautiful.

Advice of Gardener: whenever you water your Zamioculcas, rotate a quarter turn (45 °) the vessel to prevent the plant to bend toward one side. Padre Pio plant  has the tendency to bend toward the light and, in this way, you will ensure that it can remain straight and beautiful.


The Zamioculcas is a really fascinating plant because at the beginning botanists had many difficulties to find its correct classification. Today we know that belongs to the Araceae family and his full name is Zamioculcas zamiifolia, and is the only species belonging to the genus of Zamioculcas.

Another name by which this plant is popularly known is gem of Zanzibar, while in Italy it is often also known as Padre Pio plant. The association between the Zamioculcas and the saint of Pietrelcina was born from a popular legend has it that he held in his cell a Zamioculcas plant. But probably this is not true, since at the time this plant was not yet arrived in Italy (San Pio died in 1968). Perhaps the association comes from the fact that the Zamioculcas sometimes emits latex drops, which seem to tears: the tears that Padre Pio pay for man’s sins.

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