Best Plants on Lava Rock | How to Grow Plants on Lava Rock

Sherin Woods is a California-based DIY enthusiast and garden design aficionado. With a background in Environmental Science, she combines creativity and sustainability in all her projects. A Pinterest favorite, Sherin is committed to eco-friendly solutions and has contributed to various home and garden publications. Her areas of expertise include DIY project planning, sustainable garden design, and content creation.
Learn About Our Editorial Policy

2-Minute Read

Plants on Lava Rock? This may sound unbelievable but here are some of the best ones that you can display in a different and quirky way!

If you are bored of growing your green friends in pots and want a different way to showcase them, then you can try Plants on Lava Rock. Sounds weird? It’s not! Read ahead!

Check out awesome indoor garden ideas to steal from Japan here

 Growing Plants on Lava Rock

Lava rocks are mined from ancient volcanos. They are a long-lasting, primarily permanent form of mulch that gives support, offer moisture and nutrition to plants. These rocks are porous and thus have a great water-retaining capacity and good drainage.

According to the Guardian, volcanic rock is porous and can taper water up to 20-30 cm. It is also quite absorbent and works amazingly well as growing media for small plants.

This technique is also commercially marketed by a Dutch Grower as Life On Lava – they have successfully grown ficus, Schefflera, and ferns on it.

How to Grow Plants on Lava Rock

  • You can easily drill or chisel into porous forms of lava rock for the plant to fit in.
  • If you have a huge piece of lava rock, break it into pieces with the help of a hammer.
  • Rinse them thoroughly with tap water.
  • Insert the plant or cuttings in the hole or tie it with a rubber band on lava rock. Put the rock in a shallow tray and fill 2/3 water.
  • You can try one more easy method – take a clean pot, and fill it half with lava rock pieces. Now place the cuttings and put more rock pieces covering the roots. Water well.


  • Washing the rocks is necessary as it clears the residue.
  • You can use plants with shallow roots as they can be grown easily in them.

Lava Rock Plant Care

Water: Do not allow the lava to dry out and always keep some water in the tray or container. Avoid using tap water as it contains lime, which can deteriorate the stone. You can use rain, purified, river, or lake water. If you are using tap water, then allow it to sit overnight before use.

Light: Lava rock prefers bright light. Do not place it in direct afternoon sun during the summer months.

Fertilizer: You don’t need to feed the plant immediately after planting it into lava rock as the plant receives nutrition from the stone itself.

Best Plants for Lava Rock

Epiphytes and plants that do well in poor soil are the best to grow in lava rocks. Here are our top picks!

1. Spleenwort

Plants on Lava Rock

Botanical Name: Asplenium

2. Staghorn Fern


Botanical Name: Platycerium

3. Orchids


Botanical Name: Orchidaceae

4. Air Plant

Botanical Name: Tillandsia

5. Kangaroo Paw Fern

Plants on Lava Rock 3

Botanical Name: Microsorum diversifolium

6. Dwarf Umbrella Tree

Botanical Name: Schefflera arboricola

7. Rabbit’s-Foot Fern

Plants on Lava Rock 4

Botanical Name: Davallia fejeensis

8. Anthurium



Botanical Name: Anthurium andraeanum

9. Succulents


Small species such as Echeveria, Euphorbia, and Sedum.

Here’s everything about Jewel Orchid Care

Recent Posts

Join our 3 Million Followers:


Related Articles


  1. Hi! I just want to know if the roots must touch the saucer (base) where water is? The rock I have does not have a hole. So I was thinking of just inserting it the top of the lavarock and tie it and rhe roots around the rock. is that okay?

    • The roots did not touch for a long while. Eventually reached the bowl it was sitting in and actually grew up the sides lining the bowl. It was very happy for many years until I changed jobs removing it from it’s happy place and put it in too sunny a location at home. It was a sad end for my plant of 5 years. I have a new one in a better spot at home.

  2. Reading the article you can ” tie it with a rubber band on lava rock” I believe that’s how the “Hawaiian Lava Rock Plant” I’ve bought were originally secured to the rock. The plant I have is an Anthurium.

  3. I have a lava rock growing a stag plant but my rock has white coming thru. I use filtered water. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks Chris

  4. How do you keep these plants alive without dirt or nutrients? The ones in the pictures are all just sitting out in the open without any kind of soil

  5. Hi. I got a plant from a shop that neglected it (discounted) .and the roots are dry and brownish but the leaves on top are still green, is this still OK? Should i spray the roots?? Thanks!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here