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How to choose a heated propagator

Heated propagator on the windowsill

If you want to sow perennial flowers, tender bedding and patio plants, and/or tender vegetables (such as cucumbers, tomatoes, courgettes and so on) early next spring, you’ll need somewhere with a constant, warm temperature; between 20-25ºC is ideal.

The best place to germinate seeds and start off tender plants is in a heated propagator. It will maintain the warm, moist environment that’s ideal for rapid germination. Heated propagators are also useful for rooting cuttings.

If you haven’t got a greenhouse, you can put a propagator on a well-lit windowsill in a cool room. Some are even slim enough to fit easily onto a narrow windowsill.

One word of caution is to remember that water and electricity isn’t a good combination. If your ring mainisn’t protected by an RCD, use an RCD adaptor when using a heated propagator. Take care when cleaning the bottom tray and don’t immerse it in water.

Suttons heated propagator offer

Suttons heated propagator offer – Click for details

If you fill the propagator directly with compost it could be too hot for some seedlings. Use smaller trays or pots inside the propagator and a max-min thermometer to aim for a temperature of 20-23ºC just below the compost surface. Propagators with a thermostat make it easier to set the temperature to what you require.

The temperature inside a propagator can increase rapidly on a sunny day. Try to use a windowsill that doesn’t get direct sunlight at the middle of the day. On sunny days, switch it off. A model with vents in the plastic cover will allow you to control the temperature more easily than one without.

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