I am thinking about getting something to help the germinations of some lavender seeds. Other posts have suggested to get a seed warming mat. They are relatively pricey though. Could I use a regular old heating pad from a box store instead?
Yeah, just make sure it doesn't have an automatic shut-off feature.
Sounds like an expensive and unsafe adventure. First, the germinating mat is a big investment for so few seeds, I wouldn't make the purchase. Second, the heating pad idea, although appealing, has two draw backs: 1) it could cause the soil to get well above optimal germinating temp and 2) if left unattended, it poses a fire hazard. So what are you to do? The simplest, safest, and least expensive is place the seed tray over a relatively warm appliance such as on top the fridge., near the furnace, or in the laundry room. Remember 95% of seeds don't need light to germinate so any of these places would work just fine.
Use the top of your water heater if you have one. It's free and works perfectly for seed germinating
I just bought a seed warming mat. $20 & $7 shipping.... not that expensive. And they last for years, at least mine has. I just wanted a second one.
I wouldn't use a heating pad. They aren't made to run continuously or to be exposed to moisture. That being said plenty of people do it but I believe it's a fire hazard. Like Tom posted seed mats aren't expensive and a single tray size (about 11"x 21") is only about $20. If you don't want to invest in a seed mat you can use the top of your fridge if it's not built into the cabinetry.
For starting cuttings a soil warmer than the air temperature is helpful to encourage roots to grow. For seeds there is no such advantage. Air temperature will equal soil temperature and a soil heater will not do anything except dry out the soil. If you are only interested in seed starting, save your money. Al
I've never used a heating mat...ever. I'd try the lavender without and see how it goes. As other suggested...try a warm appliance..radiator..boiler..etc.
I've sprouted lavender seed without bottom heat, in warm room temperature(73-74). I made a plastic bag tent over the starting pots until I saw green, then put them under CF lights until I could plant them outside. Unfortunately, they weren't hardy to my zone and died out over the winter, but they were not difficult to start from seed.
I've never germinated lavendar seeds, but I do germinate a number of other things that do better with some extra heat. I use neither a heating mat nor heating pad, but rather a box covered with glass, and an incandescent bulb close to the glass surface and shining in. The box I use is one of those styrafoam packing boxes tho an ice chest would probably do. I keep a thermometer inside and I keep a temp of about 80. I only keep the light on over night, and let the sun shine on it during the day. Sometimes you have to vent the box if it's too warm.
I've been using this sort of set up for years now. Works very well. I have low humidity here so damping-off is no problem.
YA know..I found lavender to be a real PITA to germinate and grow on.
I tried 3 different types from seed. I have ONE plant that is over wintering in a pot out side and is fine...the 2 gallon sized ones I brought are fine too..I think I am just going to do cuttings from those this yr. HTH.
For the last few years I've been coiling a rope light under my trays to heat the soil. I just check every now and then to make sure it doesn't get too hot in there.
Ironically, I was able to start many lavender seeds before I messed around with heating or lighting. They just seemed to take off in a covered tray.
I used heating pads on LOW for years and always had good results. Obviously, try not to get them wet, but most of them are rubber coated anyway.
Lavender can be hard to germinate, or at least some types take a good long while. If yours don't germinate within three weeks, take them off heat and put them in a cold spot for three weeks (~
Thanks for the responses everyone. I have alternated my seeds between the hot water heater and the top of the fridge. I think I see a green stem trying to emerge from the soil.
But, all of these discussions have made me curious: What is the difference between a seed mat and an electric grow mat? Is one better than the other?
thats a great question...i also was wondering what the difference is between the two. Also some people mentioned that they got seed mat for $20, from where? Most places I checked they are around $40.
did my message come thru? i asked what is a rope light, and also how to overwinter fuchsias, rosemarys, scented geraniums like mosquito plants. I wonder if using a heat mat might help them survive in my home. and if they are dying for lack of light?
Wow, don't know the difference between seed mat and grow mat. But to the OP. Lowes sells a seed starting kit from Ferry Morse, for $27.00. Includes heat mat and 72 cell tray with pellets and dome.
I reckon a heat mat would be or not be needed depending on where your seed starting station is located IMH. Everything I started last yr came up (no heat mat) Cept for my marigolds.. ARGGHH!! only got around 15 - 20 plants last year out of a 72 cell tray!
My seed starting station is near the front door this year and a bit drafty! So I will be trying the afore mentioned kit just to make sure they stay warm and have a chance for all to germinate.
The heating pad I had under them has a 2 hr. shutoff feature so I just unplugged it and put it away, I very gently dug around and found out some of the moonvine seeds have roots growing out of them, so I took the moonvine seeds and put them in a separate pot, and the moonflower seeds are together in one pot that way they won't trying to grow two different ways. I did not break the root and I put it back into the potting soil and misted it real good.
I found this web site how to make a heating mat out of rope lights .. looks pretty nice I might try it ..
If you use rope lights make sure to buy the incandescent ones. The LED ropes don't put out heat.
This discussion of using heating pads for warming soil, reminds me of my friend who manages the produce in a large market. He always has a good selection of ripe bananas, while the competition has green bananas. When I commented on this he took me into the backroom where he has an old electric blanket. If he wraps the green bananas in the blanket at night they are ripe in the morning. Once in a while an early shopper may notice the bananas feel warm, but not a big problem. My lettuce seeds reliably show sprouts in three days in my incubator set at 80 degrees. Al