Last Updated on June 29, 2022 by Real Men Sow
The basic function of heat mats is to warm the soil gently, encouraging faster germination and healthy seedlings. These mats are great for rooting cuttings. Although heat mats can be used as propagation mats or seedling heat mats, their function is the exact same. Continue reading to learn more about heat mats for seed starting.
What Does Heat Mats Do?
Most seeds germinate well in temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 32 degrees Celsius). However, some, like pumpkins, will germinate better in soil temperatures between 85-95 degrees Fahrenheit (30 to 35 degrees Celsius). Many seeds won’t germinate if the soil temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) or 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius).
Many climates don’t have the right temperature to germinate seeds. This is especially true in late winter and early spring when seed starting is at its best. Remember that even in a warm area, damp soil is colder than the air temperature.
Although it may seem like a good idea to place your seed trays in a sunny window in the early spring, windows don’t always get warm enough and can be very cold at night. Heat mats produce consistent, gentle heat using very little electricity. Some heating mats are equipped with thermostats that allow you to control the heat.
How to Use a Heat Mat
Place a heating mat underneath seed starting flats, celled tray, or individual pots. It may take several days for the mats to heat the soil, especially if the pots are large or deep.
A soil thermometer is used to check the soil every day. To ensure that thermostats work correctly, heat mats should be checked periodically. To cool the soil, you can raise the container or tray slightly using a piece of wood or a potholder. Too much heat can cause seedlings to become weak and leggy.
You should take the seedlings out of the heat immediately after they germinate and place them in bright light. If the room is cold, you can keep the seedlings covered with warm mats until the temperature rises. To prevent overheating, you may need to raise the containers. Every day, check the soil moisture. Warm soil will dry out quicker than cool soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
How hot is too hot for seed germination?
Every plant germinates at a particular temperature, making this a difficult question to answer. Plants thrive between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures significantly lower or higher than this range will likely cause a delay in germination. However, plants can grow in extreme temperatures. They won’t grow as fast or as healthy. It’s best to recreate the environment in which the plant was born. This will increase its chances of germinating.
What’s the difference between heat mats and grow lights?
You should invest in heat mats and grow lights if you plan to grow plants in a greenhouse all year or in the winter. Grow lights simulate direct sunlight and allow plants to photosynthesize. Heat mats heat the soil below and increase the germination process. Grow lights would be my choice if I had to choose, but I recommend both!
When should I start my seedlings?
This is like many gardening topics. Every plant will thrive in different environments and germination periods. It’s important to consider these factors when choosing plants. You can make your life much easier by planting things in the best weather conditions. It is possible to start a seedling in winter but it will thrive in summer. It does mean that you will need to put in a lot of work to create a summer environment for your plant in your greenhouse.