Propagators are a very necessary tool for anyone who wishes to experience one of the most rewarding and exciting gardening tasks. There is nothing to beat the satisfaction of raising plants from seeds or propagation.
A heated propagator will give you faster and better results and allow you to be more adventurous with the choice of plants you try to propagate.
There are three basic types of propagators that you can buy, but within these three types are many different styles and prices to choose from. Basic propagators can start around £20.00 ($ 39) rising up to £120.00 ($235) or more.
The simplest propagator is a warm pad, or mat, which provides heat to potted plants and are good for over wintering tender plants. These come in various sizes and types. Some propagator mats are just windowsill width, so you do not need a greenhouse or shed to raise your plants. Some seeds or cuttings would require the pots to be covered to keep the heat in.
For beginners the best propagator may be the fixed temperature propagator, you just plug them in and switch on. They generally have a set temperature of 18c to 21c and when up to heat switches off. The propagator should have a lid with vents in so that you and control the temperature. If your plants are hardier then the lid can be removed.
More experienced gardeners have the option of thermostatically controlled propagators. These propagators need you to control the temperature and environment, by adjusting the settings.
Propagators can come as one single seed tray, of various sizes, or can come as a set of smaller trays that fit together, either on a mat or within a heated box. Some propagators can come with height extensions, so that the height can be extended as your plants grow. These propagators would be very useful for when you are trying to get larger cuttings to root.
Some larger propagators may come shaped as a mini poly tunnel. These propagators allow you to raise plants all year round with plenty of space, and with a variable temperature setting of up to 40c.
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