Heat mat to start caladiums: leave on 24 hours a day?

linnea56(z5 IL)April 26, 2011

The heat mat I ordered just came. It is a seed starting heat mat, but that is the only kind I could find for this purpose. I have it set up on top of a thick sheet of corrugated cardboard, on top of a thickly folded bath towel, to avoid having heat sucked away by the table it's on. The flat with the caladiums is on top of the mat, then the clear plastic cover that came with the flat; which is also covered with a few layers of towel to keep it warmer.

But...do I leave it on round the clock, or use a timer to give it a certain amount of time off (like have it turn off during the warmest part of the day) ?

The bulbs are planted in a peat / potting soil mix, in shallow flats, set inside the larger standard sized flat. I trickled a small amount of water in, but was afraid to make the soil too wet, since the water will be trapped until I raise the lid.


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I would leave the mat on 24/7, but to know what your temps are before starting, I would check the mix temperature after 24 hours. The temperature of the room air will have some effect on the mix temperature too so I assume that temperature is fairly constant. Even though you think the plastic cover is air tight, I think you will find with the heat the water will evaporate faster than you expect. Al

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 8:59AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I've looked at it twice now, but have not checked the temperature. I will have to see what thermometer I have that can fit inside the flat. It feels very cozy! Like my bathroom after a shower.

There is much condensation on the plastic lid, but I'd expect that anyway even without the heat. I guess I'm seeing at as a potential rot situation with that lid on there.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 4:35PM
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Plants thrive by being given a specific time of growing, then they should be given a 'rest'.
Forcing a plant to grow 24/7 would be like putting yourself on a steady diet of food and sunlight.
You wouldn't like it, neither does a plant. It must have a rest.
Usually the seed or seedling is given up to 16 hours of growth phase, then 8 hours of rest.
Time your growth phase with a timer.
Water only as the plant requires to keep it damp...no more.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 12:28PM
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My incubator I use for my tropical plants will hold 8 one gallon nursery pots. Right now I am starting my Tuberose bulbs 8 at a time. By starting them at 85 degrees for a week they will grow to about 4 inches, then I take them out and keep them in the coldframe, while starting another 8 gallons. This gets them off to such a great start they will all bloom before the weather cools in the fall. Of course I prefer they grow than rest. Al

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 9:36PM
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