Plant Care!

Print This Page


The following is some information on how to begin the plant routine that works best in your environment. By understanding more about the plants you have, you will know what type of routine is necessary to maintain your plants health. Since all environments are different, you will need to do what works best where you are. I recommend doing thorough research about your new plant outside of this website to further your success with them.  Even though there are some tips to follow, I believe that the more that you understand the nature of the plant you have that the more success you will have with it.  In other words…  Don’t just do what it says, know why you’re doing what it says!

THE BOWL AND ROCKS are tools used to help the plant collect humidity as water evaporates throughout the week as well as to arrange the lava rock plant the way you want it displayed.  The bowl should be filled about 2/3 to 3/4 full with rocks and the plant will sit on the rocks in the bowl.  If you didn’t bring home with you a bag of rocks aka cinders, which are small pieces of porous lava rock the size of aquarium gravel, and can’t find any at your local supply store then several substitutes can be used, such as glass beads, marbles, pebbles, sand, or aquarium gravel.  There are several techniques/routines that you can establish for your lava rock plant in regards to whether you fill the bowl with water or not.  If you choose not to fill the bowl with water then you will find yourself soaking the lava rock plant more often.  For example if you saturate the lava rock plant well enough while it sits in the bowl and fill the bowl to the full point, which is where the surface of the water just barely covers all the cinders in the bowl, then it will take longer for the plant to dry well enough to the point to where the routine is repeated. However,  if you remove the lava rock plant and soak the plants rock under water until saturated and simply place back in the bowl without filling the bowl with water, just a little run off from the fully saturated rock you will need to repeat this procedure more often.  The environment where the plant is will determine when you need to water your plant.  For example if you have 3 identical plants that all have the same needs and place one in the bathroom, one in the kitchen, and one in the driest part of your home, the one in the kitchen might only need water once a week, the bathroom every 10 days, and the driest place every 4 days.  The examples given are only to help you understand the concept of why I can’t tell you exactly when to water your plant as it depends on their individual needs.  Another example would be if you had 3 different plants all growing together in the same environment, one plant might need water twice a week, while the other 2 might only need water once a week. Get to know your plants by checking their water level often. To better understand your specific plants individual needs please see the Plant Care links below for more information.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN…  If the plant you purchased was shipped to you then keep in mind it has been in a box with no light or air circulation.  If your plant was shipped to you it was most likely packed by putting two boxes together to make one box. Start by cutting the seam so that you can remove the top half.  Next, cut all the remaining seems on all sides now you should be able to unfold the box so that all four of the sides of the box are flat on the counter.  From here you can see how the plant is strapped in, carefully cut it free and carefully remove from bag. I recommend cutting a large enough opening in the bag at the bottom where all the tape is around the rock so that you can and gently pull it down out of the bag, while being careful not to bend or snap anything. Most likely you will not need water on the day that you unpack your plant from the packaging it came in, unless it appears dry enough to need water.  After you unpack the plant, allow it to breath by giving it good air circulation and lighting. Set it up with the bowl and cinders, but ONLY water when dry enough to need water.   See the link below for your specific plant this will inform you of the watering needs for the plant you have.

THE BEST WATER to use would be clean rain, melted snow, or filtered drinking water, but to avoid a white calcium build up, distilled water would be best.  In an effort to maintain the quality of the surface of the lava rock and the health of the plant, avoid hard or soft water. If you have any mold growing its usually a sign of too much moisture and not enough light.  The pressure of a fine spray of water from a garden hose on high should clean the surface well. If a white build up occurs on the surface of the rock its probably calcium. With a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 3 parts water it can be a good solution to dip the brush/file in when cleaning the surface of the rock. This can be done routinely once every 10-14 days as needed if you need to switch water type due to a white build up on the surface of the rock as way to cleanse the rock of minerals that can stick to the surface of the rock when water evaporates. You can also use a steel brush designed to remove rust or paint to clean the surface of your lava rock, and/or a file as well.   Just be CAREFUL with the roots!  When you first receive your new plant you might need to use a sponge and gently wipe off some of leaves if they show any signs of a film on them.  Another good tip is to flush the rock out by running water through the lava rock plant for a minute or two once every couple of weeks, but only do this when its time for the plant to need more water.

FERTILIZER NOTE:   The temperature and environment that the plant grows in will affect the type and frequency of the food to be used. So if you’re not sure, a suggestion I make is to let your local plant expert know what plant you have and feed it with what they suggest and when, as they will know your specific environment best!  For example with the Bromeliad, Tillandsia Cyanea I mention a ratio of specific numbers that are not easily found everywhere.  Since the Tillandsia is a Bromeliad, find a fertilizer ideal for Bromeliads. Either ask someone to help you find a fertilizer that works with Bromeliads, or start looking on the back of the packaging in the area marked ‘suggested for use with the following plants’, or a likewise statement and find one for Bromeliads, or what ever the type of plant you have.  The Schefflera just needs a general houseplant fertilizer, while the Anthurium could use a general  flowering houseplant fertilizer, hopefully you can find something ideally specific to Anthurium.  There is also a product called Super Thrive that can help with any of these plants, but is not a replacement for a good fertilizer routine.

What To Do With Your Plant When On Vacation:    This technique outlined is a last resort plan as plants prefer consistency and some plants will take to this technique better than others.   Ok…  Use a deep 5 gallon bucket and put some bricks, a cinder block or something in there up to about halfway point of the bucket and set your Lava Rock Plant on the top, filling with water up to the one quarter to the middle of the rock that the plant is growing in.  Now use a piece of clear plastic, perhaps Saran Wrap, as a lid, but with holes for it to breath, condensation will occur and with good light and temperatures while away this should hopefully keep it alive while your away for up to 4-6 weeks, give or take and depending on your environment and if you cant find a plant sitter. The Schefflera plant can be the first of the different lava plants to show the signs of suffering from over watering, which is why you want to make sure its not sitting too deep in the water.


How to Grow a Lava Rock Anthurium

How to Grow a Lava Rock Rabbit’s Foot Fern

How to Grow a Lava Rock Schefflera

How to Grow a Lava Rock Tillandsia Cyanea

How to Grow a Lava Rock Tillandsia Funckiana

How to Grow a Lava Rock Vriesea Ella/Robin & Other Bromeliads, including Vriesea Splenriet, and various Guzmania species…

How to Grow a Plumeria

How to Grow Tropical Plants (multiple)


Airport plumerias didn’t work at all, but this one [from Living Memories of Maui] took off and we got flowers the first year! — Rog & Alice, Denver, CO