Lava Rock Plant: Unconventional and Quirky Ways to Display Your Green Friends

If you’ve grown tired of the conventional practice of displaying your beloved plants in pots, it’s time to explore a unique and quirky alternative: plants on lava rock. While it may sound unusual, growing plants on lava rock offers a refreshing and captivating way to showcase your green friends. Let’s dive into this fascinating technique!

Discovering the Potential of Lava Rock

Lava rocks are a product of ancient volcanos, making them a lasting and primarily permanent form of mulch. These rocks provide structural support and offer plants essential moisture and nutrients. The porous nature of lava rock allows it to retain water, promoting healthy drainage and facilitating optimal growth conditions.

According to the Guardian, volcanic rocks possess remarkable water-retaining capabilities, tapering water up to 20-30 cm. Additionally, they serve as excellent growing media for small plants, as demonstrated by the commercial success of “Life On Lava,” a Dutch Grower known for successfully cultivating ficus, Schefflera, and ferns on lava rock.

The Art of Growing Plants on Lava Rock

Growing plants on lava rock is a straightforward process that offers endless creative possibilities. Here’s how you can embark on this exciting horticultural journey:

  • Start by drilling or chiseling a hole into a porous lava rock to accommodate the plant.
  • Alternatively, if you possess a large piece of lava rock, break it into smaller, manageable pieces using a hammer.
  • Thoroughly rinse the lava rock pieces with tap water to remove any debris.
  • Insert the plant or cuttings into the hole or secure them with a rubber band on the lava rock. Place the rock in a shallow tray and fill it with water, ensuring it covers about two-thirds of the rock’s height.
  • Alternatively, you can take a clean pot, fill it halfway with lava rock pieces, place the cuttings in the pot, and cover the roots with more rock pieces. Water the plants generously.
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Note: Washing the lava rocks is essential to remove any residue. Opt for plants with shallow roots, as they are ideal for this cultivation method.

Nurturing Your Lava Rock Plant

Caring for your plants on lava rock requires attention to their unique needs. Here are some essential tips to ensure their well-being:

  • Water: It is crucial to prevent the lava rock from drying out. Always keep some water in the tray or container. Avoid using tap water, as it contains lime that can adversely affect the stone. Instead, opt for rainwater, purified water, river water, or lake water. If tap water is your only option, allow it to sit overnight before using it.
  • Light: Lava rock plants thrive in bright light. However, it’s important to shield them from direct afternoon sun during the summer months to prevent scorching.
  • Fertilizer: The unique nature of lava rock eliminates the immediate need for plant fertilization. The stone itself provides the necessary nutrition for the plants.

Ideal Plants for Lava Rock

Certain plants are particularly well-suited for growth on lava rock, especially epiphytes and those that thrive in poor soil conditions. Here are some top picks to inspire your lava rock plant collection:

1. Spleenwort

Plants on Lava Rock

Botanical Name: Asplenium

2. Staghorn Fern


Botanical Name: Platycerium

3. Orchids


Botanical Name: Orchidaceae

4. Air Plant

Plants on Lava Rock

Botanical Name: Tillandsia

5. Kangaroo Paw Fern

Plants on Lava Rock 3

Botanical Name: Microsorum diversifolium

6. Dwarf Umbrella Tree

Plants on Lava Rock

Botanical Name: Schefflera arboricola

7. Rabbit’s-Foot Fern


Botanical Name: Davallia fejeensis

8. Anthurium


Botanical Name: Anthurium andraeanum

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9. Succulents


Small species such as Echeveria, Euphorbia, and Sedum are excellent choices for lava rock cultivation.

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of growing plants on lava rock, it’s time to embark on an extraordinary horticultural adventure. Transform your indoor or outdoor space with these unique displays, creating a captivating and unconventional oasis for your green friends.

Discover more about the world of horticulture and plant care on the Ames Farm Center website.