Lava rock for plants

4 Uses for Lava Rock

There are several different uses for lava rock. Lava rock, also known as volcanic rock, is quite versatile. It is the product of volcanoes and filled with air bubbles which makes it very light.


Lave rock is used in gas barbecues. The flames heat the lava rock which then act like charcoal in a regular grill to cook the food very effectively and cleanly. You do need to keep the rocks clean between uses or you can simply replace them.


Lava rock can make effective landscaping in a flower bed or border. It’s not so effective as a pathway due to the irregular shape. Lava rock can be colored to give it a very startling effect in the garden.


Lave rock is often used in aquariums and terrariums. It looks good and provides texture to the area but has the advantage of being much lighter than normal rocks so it won’t put stress on the glass.

Surgical Tools

Some lava rock is solid obsidian and can be used in surgical tools as it’s even sharper than steel and gives a much cleaner cut. Historically, this type of lava rock, which has no air bubbles, was used by Native Americans to make arrowheads.

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Care and Keeping Of Your Air Plant

Welcome to the fascinating world of air plants (TILLANDSIAS). These unique plants are members of the bromeliad or orchid family. They are native to Mexico, Central and South America, growing mainly in the trees – sometimes even on rocks or wires. There are over 250 different varieties.



WATER – Mist the leaves thoroughly 2 to 3 times per week with non-chlorinated water (no tap water). In extreme heat or dry conditions it’s a good idea to soak the plant, (totally submerged in water) for no more than 2 hours every 10 -14 days. This allows the plant to soak up as much water as it needs. The preferred type of water is distilled, rain, well water or water from a stock tank, pond or aquarium. The stock tank or pond and aquarium have the natural fertilizer these plants enjoy.

LIGHT – The plants enjoy medium to high light but not direct sun. Morning sun is acceptable, afternoon is not!

INDOORS / OUTDOORS – These plants will grow either indoors or outdoors. Outdoors under a patio cover or under the trees is ideal. Indoors in bathrooms or in kitchens are best for the moisture and humidity. These plants are tropical so they must be brought in during freezing temperatures.

SOIL – NEVER! – If you feel you must “plant” your air plant – Spanish moss, sphagnum, marbles, pebbles, aquarium gravel, or rocks work best. Place around the base of the plant. NEVER use soil, sand or peat moss.

GROWTH & REPRODUCTION – Air plants grow slowly but some can reach the size of 2 feet in diameter or as small as 1 1/2″ tall.

They are self propagating. The life cycle is they grow, bloom and reproduce by pups or offshoots. Once a bloom spike is seen developing that is as large as that plant will get. A plant will bloom for a week to several months. At anytime during the bloom cycle the adult plant will begin producing pups or offshoots around the base of the plant.

Pups can be removed from the adult at 6 months or when they are about half the size of the adult. Pups can also be left attached and will form clusters or groups of plants.

HOW TO DISPLAY AND MOUNT – Since there is no soil the sky is the limit on display. They can be put in shells, baskets (all varieties get along), rocks, driftwood, wreaths, unusual containers or even in old cowboy boots!

To secure the plant, wire with lightweight florist wire or tie with monofilament fishing line. Some glues to use are: E-6000 or Household Goop. Hot glue can be used with caution. Put the puddle of hot glue down and wait (approx. 2 minutes) until glue is just about set. Then apply your plant.

Air plants are great gifts, fascinating school projects or are just plain fun to work with. Take your choice of many beautiful and unique plants and let your imagination run wild.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020 Wednesdays:
12pm to 6pm
11am to 6pm
9am to 5pm
Please note that the start and finish times can vary by around an hour in either direction. Schedule is subject to change. Feel free to text Mike before you get there to clarify times.

Kihei Location:
Kalama Village Shopping Center
Sunkissed Wahine Maui
1941 South Kihei Rd. Unit A7
Open Daily 1030/11-6/7

Between the 76 Gas Station and Foodland across from Kalama Park you will find Kihei Kalama Village. This store is in the same market where I personally sold my plants in the retail format and now you can find them only a few booths away from my old booth. If you were to enter the shopping center from the parking lot side with Three’s Bar & Grill behind you and go over the bridge over the Koi Pond you will find yourself in the central courtyard of the marketplace. Take your first left and you’ll find them on the left of that first isle.. only 3-4 booth down.

Lahaina Side Location:
Diamond Resorts Ka’anapali Beach Club
104 Kaanapali Shores Place Lahaina, HI 96761
Open daily from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
The Gift shop phone number (808) 667-1315
From old Lahaina town travel north on Honoapiilani Hwy about 5 miles. Turn left onto Lower Honoapiilani Rd. by the Times Grocery Store at the stop light. On your left, you can’t miss the big pink resort with the white balconies! You can park downstairs in their parking garage. You’ll find the entrance to the garage on your left as your heading up the driveway towards the valet area. If you decide to stay for lunch or just to check the place out be sure to give the front desk your license plate number and let them know your there to purchase your Living Memories of Maui.

Oahu Locations:
Greeters of Hawaii
3375 Koapaka St #B250
Honolulu, HI 96819
Open Daily 8am to 4pm
Their main location is near Gate F1 with and additional seven seprate carts & kiosks with an assorted selection of Lava Rock plants spread throughout the Hononlulu Airport from Living Memories of Maui.

Tiare Enterprises
3901 Mokulele Loop

Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii 96766
This location is at the airport on the island of Kauai.


Living Memories of Maui is owned by Mike Medina. Here is his story about the beginnings of Living Memories of Maui.

Hi, I’m Mike. I moved to Maui in December of 1999 with my wife, who brought us here with her job as a nanny. She has since moved up the ladder in the Early Childhood field. After Co-Directing and Teaching at a Preschool she has worked at for about 12 years, she them took on a new role on Oahu at The University of Hawaii at Manoa as teacher and student, pursing her Masters Degree. Now she’s back on Maui and very busy in her field of Early Childhood where she has a full time role at IMUA Family Services as Educational Director along with many other roles, which include board member for MEO, HAEYC and a part time instructor in the Early Childhood field here at The University of Hawaii at Maui. When I moved here, I began work in the botany trade at a greenhouse in Lahaina where I was trained in the art of bonsai with the Schefflera Plant. I continued my college education here, receiving my degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. After working for about eight and a half years at that greenhouse in Lahaina, I opened Living Memories of Maui on May 1, 2008. With the help of friends and family, I built a certified greenhouse in Kula where I specialize in plants that grow in Lava Rock.. As of August 1, 2019 I now announce the closure of the retail location that I had in Kihei for over 11 years and to inform you of the new format of how I now distribute the plants to other retail locations. Please come and find me on Maui when you return to Hawaii so you can sign my testimony book, which is filled with hundreds of success stories from around the world that I’ve been collecting in a 3 ring binder since the first one from January 20, 2009! As you explore the website further you will see the passion I have for plants and for your success growing them. The biggest reward I get for what I do are your testimonials, some of which have been posted below. I work with a team of growers here on Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island to provide you with the best quality plants available for export within the USA!


Bought a Plumeria here and Tillandsia and took with me to Arkansas and it bloomed the same year! Very beautiful! — Gassville, AR

Mike is my plant guy! I have a beautiful collection of tropicals growing in my basement (yes, my basement!). It has a heat source (furnace room) and a red/blue grow light. One of the Evergreen Plumerias is getting ready to bloom, my Bird of Paradise I started from a seed is now seven years old and has leaves 5′ tall! … — Portland, OR

I love my plant! It is doing great in Modesto! — Carissa R., Modesto, CA

I bought a tillandsia plant last May. It is easy to care for and reminds me of Maui when I see it! Great purchase! — Plainfield, IL

Purchased a rabbit’s foot fern over a year ago. It’s been a great indoor plant, living in moderate light. The fern is very healthy. It was shipped from Maui to San Francisco and arrived in great condition. Very happy with purchase and service! — San Francisco, CA

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

I could never keep a plant alive but I took a lava plant home, put it in the bathroom and next to a glass window and it’s going great. A touch of Maui in Idaho! — Anonymous

I bought my plant in Dec. ’08 and made the journey back to Denver, CO. I am a classic “plant killer”! I have not been able to keep other plants alive. This is the ONLY plant I have been able to keep alive with EASE! … Brought my aloha home with me! — Davina O., Denver, CO

I bought a tillandsia plant last May. It is easy to care for and reminds me of Maui when I see it! Great purchase! — Plainfield, IL

XMas ’08 bought four different plants and had them shipped. They arrived there the day after we got home. The Anthurium is now blooming and the others are happy and healthy. Would totally recommend plants from here! Mahalo! — Debbie S., Des Moines, WA

I bought a macadamia nut tree in November and it’s been very happily growing in my sun room in Alaska right next to my lime tree. Such a blessing to have during our harsh winter months to know that our macadamia lives on. — Katy

Last May, I got a lava plant. When home, I put it into a window and it has done great. I water it one time a week. Every time I look at it, I think of several trips to Maui. I just came back and bought more! They do well in the Washington state weather. Thanks! — Anonymous

Enjoying watching my plumerias grow and bloom! Love it! — Teresa D., Sheridan, WY

We bought an evergreen plumeria last year and had it shipped. It arrived in great shape. It’s thriving beautifully and this year it bloomed for the first time. It’s beautiful. We recommend buying here! — Lakewood, CA

Lava Rock and Briquette Etiquette!

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Should I choose rocks or briquettes in my grill?

The fundamental difference is lava rocks are a natural product, but they tend to be fragile so they need to be replaced every season or two (depending how much grilling you do). Briquettes, while more expensive, are a stable manufactured product that have a longer lifespan and can be turned over and reused.

Lava rock and briquette maintenance:

  • Remove the rock and rock grate they rest on.
  • Lightly brush residue off with a wire brush.
  • An easy way to clean briquettes on an ongoing basis is to periodically turn them upside down and cook on the opposite side, which will gradually burn off and clean the underside of the rock.
  • Reinstall the rocks, make sure they are distributed evenly across the Rock Grate surface. This will help the grill cook at an overall even temperature
  • When replacing uniformly shaped briquettes, arrange the rock to have a minimum amount of space between them.
    This will reduce the grease drippings directly onto the burner flame and help reduce flare-ups

What do I need to know about Lava rocks?

  • If your grill uses lava rocks, you should replace them every season or two
  • Lava rocks absorb grease over time and can cause flare ups if they become saturated
  • Make sure you buy a quality rock that won’t fall through the rock grate opening
  • Purchasing a high quality briquette may be better value for money, it’s important to know that briquettes do not normally need to be replaced as regularly as lava rocks do.

Flare Guards:

  • Flare guards can also work in place of briquettes. It’s important to buy a high quality cast iron flare guard if you decide to take this route, as the cheap thin porcelain metal alternative will burn out quickly, and provide a hot and uncontrollable heat source.

About the Author: Appliance Factory Parts is a one-stop shop for your grill needs. They have parts for 12,000 BBQ models and 40,000 BBQ parts, including gas grill burners, grids, and grates

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Volcanoes and Oil: How to turn your lava stones into diffusers

Volcanoes have a long and rather violent history, though that’s not a bad thing! Volcanoes are one of the most creative forces of nature, creating islands and generating some of the most fertile soil in the world. They’re also the source of our favorite Lava stones. Lava stones suit just about every type of jewelry, maybe even a key chain if you’re feeling adventurous.


When you think of a mountain losing its temper, you’re probably thinking of a volcano shooting a column of soot and rock into the sky with lava rolling down the sides. You can thank the island of Vulcano and the 79 CE eruption of Mt. Vesuvius for that.

Vulcan: The origin of volcanoes

Vulcano is named for the Roman god Vulcan, which is just the Greek god Hephastus, the black smith of the pantheon. It was believed he owned a forge below the volcano on Vulcano, the earthquakes preceding eruptions caused by him working his forge, and the island was basically his dump. It grew because Vulcan would clean out his forge of all the cinders and ash, depositing it on the sides of the mountain.

Mt. Vesuvius: The inspiration for how you picture volcanoes

In 79 CE, Mt. Vesuvius erupted, covering the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in ash and pumice, destroying the cities and killing thousands. This was one of the first documented eruptions in history, recorded by Pliny the Younger shortly after the catastrophe. His uncle, Pliny the Elder and author of Naturalis Historia, died in Herculaneum as a result of the eruption. It was the “classic” volcano eruption, with the column of smoke and rolling lava that has invaded movies and TV series. Today, the area around Mt. Vesuvius is considered to be one of the most densely populated areas around an active volcano.

Because of these historical precedents, as well as the natural process of a volcano, Lava stones have come to symbolize creation, raw energy, and fertility. The soil around volcanoes has always been incredibly fertile, lending the area around Mt. Vesuvius, and others, to be used primarily for farming.

Volcanoes erupt due to a build up of pressure, much like a pressure cooker. Instead of having a small release valve to vent off some of that pressure, it keeps building until the “plug” at the mouth of the volcano fails and everything gets a new coating of ash and lava. Depending on the volcano, this can lead to the massive destruction of Mt. Vesuvius, or can be more like a tub overflowing with water, like the lava domes of Mt. St. Helens. Almost all of them leave a deposit of lava that can become the pumice in your bathroom or the Lava stone on your necklace.

Oil Diffusion in Jewelry

Lava stones are generally a type of pumice, they’ve just been shaped into generally uniform spheres to be used for things other than making your skin soft and healthy. Pumice is incredibly porous, meaning there are lots of air bubbles in the stone. Those pockets are created by steam being captured in the stone as it cools and are the secret to turning all of your Lava stones into oil diffusers.

Oil diffusers work by slowly allowing the oil to evaporate over the course of hours or days. Usually, this means drawing oil into a wick of sorts and the oil evaporates into the room. These diffusers tend to last weeks before needing to be replaced. With Lava stones, things get a little more interesting. The oil wicks into all of those pockets and, as you wear it, the oil warms with your body heat. This causes the oil to evaporate over a much shorter time, hours instead of days, but also means the scent will be that much stronger.

How to make an oil diffuser out of your jewelry:

First, choose your oil. It’s recommended that you use pure oils so it doesn’t stain your clothing, just in case. Common scents are citrus or lavender, but any oil will work. Feeling nauseous? Use ginger, it’s a classic remedy to all kinds of tummy troubles, dating back centuries as a cure for seasickness. Feeling tired, bloated, tired of mosquitoes? Use peppermint or spearmint. Can’t sleep? Use sage, it’ll help with insomnia almost as quickly as a good cup of chamomile.

After choosing your oil, or oils, mix them up as you please, just use a Q-tip or your finger to rub oil onto the surface of the bead. It’ll take a couple minutes before all the oil gets absorbed, so leave it alone. Keep adding oil until the bead won’t absorb any more. Rub off any excess with a cloth or paper towel or clean finger. You can put the rest of the oil behind an ear or on your wrist like normal perfume.

Once that’s done, wear your jewelry!

Want to learn more about Lava stones, making jewelry, or just to say hi? Come on in and say hi! If you’re interested in classes or attending our Wellness Weekend click here to learn more!

First of all, both fire glass and lava rock are good conductors of heat.

However, the reflectivity of the fire glass enables it to absorb the heat better, and thus it can give off more heat.

In addition, fire glass generally comes in smaller, more uniform pieces.

This allows them to disperse heat more evenly, and thus make the surrounding area feel warmer.

Does the Extra Heat Produced …Save You Money?

Starfire Direct explains that you get the heat produced by the flames themselves, plus the additional heat generated off the fire glass pieces.

Essentially, you might be able to reduce the flame size in your fire pit while getting plenty of warmth, therefore reducing your propane gas costs. However, I don’t have the numbers on that…

When given the option, people sometimes choose fire glass over lava rock due to the fact that it heats more efficiently. That said, some people don’t care about the heat difference and prefer the look of lava rocks or faux logs.

What is Fire Glass, Exactly?

Fire glass is not regular glass. Regular glass can heat up and explode. These crystals are “tempered” or “fire rated”. Therefore, it does not burn or melt. It will not discolor either, which makes it a great option for both outdoor fire pits and indoor fireplace beds.

That said, Glaz Chips Fire Glass says that propane gas burns “dirtier” than natural gas. Therefore, a slight film of soot build-up can accumulate on the glass itself. They recommend rinsing down the glass after an extended period of time to clean them.

The Benefits of Lava Rock VS Fire Glass:

Lava has a rustic and natural look. It also has a lower cost. If you purchase a fire pit table that includes lava rocks, you may have no need to switch to glass.

If you like the look of lava rock, yet you want to enjoy more heat, buy smaller rocks. Yes, lova comes in a variety of shapes and sizes – and colors for that matter. Remember, smaller pieces disperse heat more evenly.

Should You Switch to Fire Glass?

Honestly, I think this comes down to personal preference. Consider these questions:

  • Do you prefer the look of sparkly crystals as compared to natural, rustic lava rock?
  • Does your fire pit already have lava rock? Do you want to spend the extra money to switch?

Here’s another idea: You can combine fire glass with lava rock. If you go half-and-half, you may be able to cut your costs while still enjoying more heat.

How Much Fire Glass Do You Need?

According to The Magic of Fire, a fire pit with 1″ depth and a 24″ diameter needs approximately 24 lbs of glass. Alternatively, a square fire bowl measuring 24″ x 24″ will require a little more: 30 lbs.

If your pit has a deeper fire bowl and you want to save money, they suggest using lava rock as the bottom layer. Lava rock costs substantially less. This strategy lets you fill the space while taking advantage of the increased heat of the fire glass on the top layer.

If you only need a small amount of fire glass, Bond sells a 10-lb jar of Lava Glass in multiple colors (Amber Sunset, Bodega Blue and Crystal Cove). A jar sells for about $20 (unless it goes on sale, that is).

Alternatively, buying smaller container lets you mix and match bead colors without having to buy excess pieces. Of course, you can also use these lava glass rocks in a traditional indoor fireplace because they are heat resistant.

Buying Lava Rocks for Gardening and Landscaping

rand22/iStock/Getty Images

Suppliers sell lava rock by the cubit foot, cubic yard and by the truckload. Use this porous stone to create effects ranging from a tropical paradise with colorful plants surrounded by black lava pebbles to water-saving hardscapes in place of a lawn. Lava rock lasts much longer than organic mulch, saving on labor. This versatile rock serves as garden mulch, erosion control, shrub underlay and rock garden material.

Check Your Choices

When the supplier specifies a size, such as 3/8-inch lava rock, the measurement refers to the average size of the rocks. These small rocks, similar in size to pea gravel, work well for mulch, paths and ground covers. For decorative areas, 3/4-inch lava rock has a chunkier appearance that adds texture to the landscape. These larger stones make for unsteady footing, so don’t use them for pathways or seating areas.

Plan and Measure

When you design, avoid lava rock under trees that drop needles or other sources of debris. They’re challenging to keep clean. If your climate has high temperatures, don’t use lava rock near plants in full sun. The rocks reflect heat up to the plant and raise soil temperature. Lava rock works well under decks, around fire pits, for shade plantings and for other bedding areas in temperate climates. Measure the areas where you want coverage and note the dimensions to calculate how much lava rock you need to buy.

Calculate Quantities

For ground cover, plan to apply the rocks 2 to 3 inches deep. Each 1 cubic foot of lava rock will cover a plot about 6 feet square with a 2-inch layer of rocks. When you buy lava rocks, buy landscape fabric to lay under them. Landscape fabric helps with weed prevention and keeps the rocks from sinking into the soil. Landscape fabric also makes lava rock far easier to remove if you redesign your yard in the future. Add edging to your shopping list, too. Flexible metal edging works well on curved beds and lasts longer than plastic. Bricks, larger lava rocks and wood also work. Edging keeps lava rock in place so it doesn’t float off during heavy rain or watering.

Shop and Order

Suppliers often sell small quantities for garden use, such as bags containing “0.5 cubit foot,” meaning 1/2 cubic foot, or loose rock by the 1/2 yard, meaning one-half of a cubic yard. Some stone suppliers and landscape suppliers will deliver the rock. If you order it by the truckload, check how much lava rock you’ll be getting in each load. For a large project, having the rocks delivered can be worth it. Lava boulders make eye-catching landscape features. Lava rocks called “red” tend to be brick colored. Black lava rocks may have a gray or burgundy cast to them.

DIY Lava Rock Landscaping

The popularity of lava rock landscaping has skyrocketed exponentially over the past decade. However, landscaping businesses are also very aware of the new demand for this type of landscaping and have been quick to slap high price tags on any lava rock landscaping job as a result. This guide will teach you the best ways of DIY lava rock landscaping to achieve calming garden designs without paying thousands of dollars.

Step 1 – Deciding On Your Design

One of the benefits of a rock landscaped garden is the sheer number of possibilities available to you and you are only limited by your creativity. You can also produce all-rock gardens with almost no maintenance worries and an endless lifetime. For the best value lava rocks visit your local garden wholesaler. Many landscaping companies will charge thousands of dollars per rock and claim it is genuine Hawaiian lava rock when actually it is from a garden store down the road. Why not examine images of Hawaiian gardening before finalizing your design so that you can gain the largest possible variety of influences? Once you have designed your garden, it is time to purchase your lava rock.

Step 2 – Preparing Your Garden

Begin by removing all surrounding weeds and grass by spade. Another benefit of lava rock landscaping is that they will deter weed growth and provide a much smaller area for you to apply weedkiller to. Any unimportant plants should be removed so that they do not detract from the overall appearance of your new landscape. Mark the areas you have chosen for the larger rocks in any way you wish. Remember that the dark grays and blacks of your lava rock will contrast beautifully with the bright greens and colors of many flowering plants so if you wish to include plants in your design, keep the soil space to accommodate for them.

Step 3 – Inserting Your Lava Rocks

Now that you have speculated over the appearance of your lava rock landscape, it is time to roll the stones into place and begin creating your volcanic paradise. For the largest rocks, simply dig a six-inch trench that is similar to the size of the rock itself and place the rocks into this recess. Pile up soil and smaller rocks around the edges using your trowel. The surprisingly light structure of these large rocks will impress you as you are able to shift rocks spanning five feet by yourself.

Step 4 – Creating Your Borders

With larger rocks in place, you will now be able to envision the finished landscape and its serene calming beauty. Now for the most fun part! This involves using the smaller volcanic rocks and any plants that you have acquired to truly accentuate and add to the new levels of tranquility your garden offers. Remember that small volcanic rocks, contrary to popular belief, filter water and air through the soil level perfectly due to their lightweight and porous composure. You need not worry when surrounding plants with these rocks as they will not deter plant growth in the slightest.

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