Using a Seedling Heat Mat for Germination of Seeds

Is using a seedling heat mat for germination of seeds necessary? Let's see, when you should use one and when you can pass. Discover, how to choose and apply this gardening tool for starting vegetable seeds.

When to use a Seedling Heat Mat?

All vegetable seeds can germinate only, when the soil temperatures stay in their preferred range. Species, which require a lot of warmth may need more warmth, than your home provides. Please keep in mind, that the temperature of a soil must stay above the minimal acceptable level all the time. Cold nights often interrupt the sprouting of the seeds and cause problems with a germination process. Using a seedling heat mat is the cheap and easy way to provide the optimal conditions for your vegetable seeds.

Heat mats are rarely necessary for starting plants with the lower temperature requirements, such as tomatoes. However, you can speed up their germination process, when you provide more warmth for vegetable seeds.

Use a seedling heat mat during the seed germination test, if you want to see the results sooner. When you are late with starting vegetable seeds indoors, shave a few days off the planting schedule with the aid of the seedling heat mat. This will make a difference in the expected harvest in your vegetable garden.

Certain seed germination trays or greenhouse kits have inbuilt heaters. In these cases, you can skip an additional heating, unless the original system breaks down.

Which Heat Mat is best for Seed Starting?

Remember to use only the heat mats, which were designed for the seed germination! They have different technical parameters, than other types of heating mats, which could overheat and kill your seeds.

What should you look for, when choosing heat mats for your indoor seed starting?

  • Waterproof construction.
  • Power cord long enough to reach the outlet; the cord, which were just an inch too short, would be a huge inconvenience.
  • Sufficient size to handle the seedling tray or the seedling pots.
  • Sufficient power to supply enough warmth, even when the ambient temperature is low. That's essential, when you are germinating vegetable seeds in a cool room, such as a cellar or a greenhouse. Check, how many watts the chosen seedling mat features.

What type of thermostat is best for seedling heat mats?

Because this gardening tool should maintain an uniform temperature of the soil, you should attach a thermostat to it. Choose the type, which is able to work with different models and brands of the seedling heat mats. What else should you look for, when shopping for a thermostat to add to your seed starting supplies?

  • Temperature sensor, which you can insert into the soil, as you need to maintain the warmth inside the germination tray.
  • Pre-programmed temperatures for the popular types of vegetable seeds.
  • The scale in both Fahrenheit and Celsius degrees, as you won't have to recalculate, when you use foreign online sources of an information.
  • The possibility of controlling multiple heat mats at once.

How to use a heat mat for seed starting?

Place the insulation, such as the Styrofoam plate, under the seedling heat mat to provide optimal effect. Then, plant the vegetable seeds and place your sprouting trays or pots on the heater. Remember to plug the seedling heat mat to the outlet and to insert the thermostat's temperature sensor into the soil.

See this article for the detailed tips on starting vegetable seeds indoors. If your seed germination attempts fail with the aid of the heat mat, there's a chance your sprouts need more light. Consider implementing the grow light system to strengthen your veggies.

Are there any alternatives to using seedling heat mat?

Some gardeners report success with placing the containers with seeds in the warm spots, such as the top of kitchen appliances. Others use different types of heaters or electric blankets. However, such measures run the risk of overheating the veggie seeds. Feel free to experiment, but realize that before you get it right, a few batches of seeds will probably suffer.

Can you use a seedling heat for other purpose?

Is your heat mat useless after the season of the vegetable seed starting? Not necessarily. Use it, when you propagate plant cuttings, as the root area develops faster in a warm soil. This mat works for heating a small pet tank or home brewing project, too. Perhaps you will discover yet another use for it?

Where can you buy the seedling heat mat?

Check out a garden center near your location. You can also find most of the good brands online on Amazon. Try the Hydrofoam Seedling Heat Mat, or a similar seed starting aid, and see how it improves your seed starting attempts.