How important are heating mats?

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

I bought two very expensive 60" heating mats with a thermostat........have I blown my money. I use them, but i haven't heard anything but light in germinating seeds and rooting cuttings?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I don't do much with cuttings (although I think that heat can help you there too), but I do know that heat mats can help with seed starting for many types of seeds. Depending on what you're growing you may not need them, but a lot of seeds will germinate faster with the heat mat. I attempt to grow a lot of tropical trees/shrubs from seed, and without the heat mat I don't think some of them would germinate at all, and they certainly germinate faster with the heat. And even if it's not weird tropical stuff, if you're starting seeds in the wintertime it can be a bit on the cool side even if you're doing it inside the house somewhere, so the heat mat can be a big help and may be a necessity if you've got your seed starting set up on a patio, in the garage, basement, etc.

If you want to read more about seed starting and cuttings, you can also check out the Propagation forum, lots of good information there.

(Zone 1)

I root cuttings and plant seeds, but I've never used a heating mat. I can't justify the $ for me ... but a lot of people use them all the time! The heat is great for speedier seed germination, and it would also be good for helping produce roots in new cuttings.


Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

THANK YOU......LOTS OF HELP....and you are right, I am doing all this germinating and cuttings out on the front screened in porch until I get to have a greenhouse...I did place an order from Jungle tropicals...

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

Lot's of people use heat mats for seedlings and rootings. They will grow germinaye and root faster if warm and less chance of losing them or having problems. Lot's of people use them for rotting African violet leaves to as Spring is really the very best time to do these but their fun to do all year long. Even in Florida they root better and faster in Spring/Summer.
I wish I could aford one but they just cost so much. I have some special seeds I bought 5 for $12.00 and they need to be kept at 80 degree's. I might warm the oven , then turn off keep light on and door open and check temp and keep them in there until they are a safe size and days when it's 80's and Sunny take them out in the windowshelves which we have been Blessed with a lot of days in the 80's. Even tomorrow will be 77 sunny and the Sun makes it even warmer !
I just want to make sure they grow !
But if I could aford a heat mat I'd be buying one.

(Zone 1)

Wow Allison! What kind of seeds did you buy? 5 for $12.00!!! I am still a novice I guess ... I've never seen any seeds at that price. Are they some kind of AV seed?

Wishing you the best of luck with germination, but I know you will be successful ... you are so smart with anything to do with plants and you know just the right care to give them! Keep us posted on how they do!


Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

I just know that you know someone well who owns a nursery and would order the mats wholesale for you..........gardeners love other gardeners and want them to succeed. My friend ordered my 60" heating mats which are 22 or 24" wide. The were 140.00 each...........good investment and will last a life time....I also have a thermostat control.

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

I just order a heating mat from Gadens Alive for $26.00 :)) for my special seeds :))
Reason being is you spend $40.00 they take $20.00 off right now ! I also ordered some of their seedling mix it does not need to be strelized and I have used it before love it !
If the heat mat was not of this great saving I would not have bought it. Hope it comes fast zI want to start my seeds. !!
Lin the seeds are Vigna Caracalla Corkscrew Vine/Snail
Shipping was free and she did send 8 ( Onalee) I shared 4 in a trade someone on DG was looking for them.
I did buy two more packages of them 5 seeds for $3.95 each from Parks no extras included and had to pay postage so comes out about the same. Thou I like Onalee's her's are home grown. I will keep track of which does best. I also added a package in the Valentine seed swap I am in in DG seed trading forum !
I hope to have six good plant three for each side of a large trellis, if extra I can use for trades, also can use wood cuttings to root . It's extremly fragrant ! Can be seen in PF .or on Onakee's home grown seed web sight. She is in Garden Watch with 100 percent feedback !

Central, LA(Zone 8b)


Thanks for that link. I've wanted a heating mat for awhile. I tried an old heating pad but it cut off every 20 minutes. I just ordered one from Gardens alive. Can't wait for it to come in.


Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

Yes me too. I bought $40.00 worth so I could get $20.00 off :)) I had goen on to buy the seedling mix I've used before and was great so I feel I'm just about getting the mat free and it was on sale too ! Glad you got one ! I can't wait so I can start my special seeds :))

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

There are also a few good bargain on Ebay for heating mats. I just bought two this week. These were the large ones that fit under four flats. I think they were $59 each. They are 20 X 48". I am just waiting for them to arrive!

Somewhere I read that geraniums needed heat to germinate, as well as some of the echinecea. I'll figuire it out before I start!

Gloucester, MA

If you want a cheap alternative to a heat mat, put them on your heater. But only if it is a realy big old one that does not get too hot. Not an electric one thoses get realy hot.

I got my Jimsonweed to germinate on them, and I could not germinate them anywhere else. Read my journal for the full story.

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

We don't have any heaters here :)) But several of my seeds need 80 degrees. Sure glad I fount the heat mat for almost free as if you spend $40.00 from Gardens Alive they take $20.00 dollars off right now .
Sorry you have your heat going I lived in RI and MA most of my life but
we don't miss the cold or the Heat bills . Stay warm !

Knoxville, TN(Zone 7a)

As you love tropicals, I think you will find your heat mats a wise investments. Many tropical seeds and cuttings do better if a heat mat is used (assuming that it's not hot outside in which case a heat mat isn't necessary).

During fall and winter, my heat mats are used to just start cuttings that I am rooting. And in the late winter, they are used to start seeds inside.


Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

Nat, thanks a lot!!! All my seeds for now have germinated and are off the I am headed straight to all my cuttings and place them on the mat (but only on 70 I guess) All of you DG gardeners are just the best!!!

West Orange, NJ(Zone 6a)

I use my heat mat to keep tropical plants warm through the winter, without raising my energy bill significantly. I just ordered another one so I can start seeds and then keep more plants warm. Some plants really need the bottom heat to root or germinate, other maybe not. In the summer time I used the hot cement outside in place of the heat mat for rooting things, but with temps in the teens tonight, I'm glad to let it keep my plants warm.

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

I got my heating mat today I'm very pleased ! Now ready to do my seeds !

Weedville, PA(Zone 6a)

This may be a little late, but I just found this thread. Here's a link to a diy heat mat. We have made these and they work GREAT! Right now I have 4 of them set up and have containers to make 2 more.

We did our own take on these, changing things a bit. We only used one container and we've used scoopable kitty litter instead of sand, simply because it's easier to find this time of year...and cheaper. We secured the rope light to a piece of plywood and set the plywood in the bottom of the container, covered it w/ the kitty litter...and that's about all there is to it. I have my cells in the flats and the flats are setting right on top of the litter. Very easy, very cheap! =^)

Hope this helps someone out!

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

Hi Heather ! How are you. Thanks for the info.

Weedville, PA(Zone 6a)

Hi Allison! Doin ok, how are you? =^)

This info just shows how cheap I am, tee hee hee!

Eastlake, OH(Zone 5a)

Heat mats with a thermostat are the best way to go as you have. Certain seeds require more heat then others do to germinate. Learning these temperatures are helpful. If you use a mat without a thermostat, you can dry up the seeds fast. Good luck, and you did well pruchasing that product.

"Stay Happy and Keep Gardening!"

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

I do have a thermostat that supports both mats.....the problem is that i don't know where to set the temp for seeds or cuttings...right now all the seeds have germinated and are elsewhere under lights. I have cuttings of hibiscus, and two colors of Jatropha on the mat.............any suggestions on temp....i have it set on 70 degrees and they look good.

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

I have seeds that need 80 degrees. My new heat mat does not have thermostat but that's Ok I like it and after my $20.00 of coupon only cost me $6.00 :)) It says it keeps them approximately 10-20 above ambient air temperature which will be great for me !
I just have some special seeds I need it for so glad I could get one that did not cost me an arm and a leg.

Columbia Heights, MN(Zone 4a)

Maybe this has already been mentioned, but did anyone notice that Gardens Alive is associated with some of the worst vendors out there? Their WD rating is only 70%, so I'd be careful what you order.

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

I don't understand that as I have ordered from GardenAlive for years and always pleased.
Another seller I buy from often fro years is Secretgardens ..
The owner says anyone can write any opinion they want on DG garden watch even if they have never bought from them.
Not like on Ebay or Amazon you must buy from first before leaving feedback.
I for one can say Gardenalive is a wonderful company. !!

Bloomingdale, OH(Zone 6a)

never mind

This message was edited Jan 31, 2007 8:11 PM

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

I did pay $6.00 with my coupn for my heat mat I'm happy using !
I don't think my Hubby will go for any used electrical items, being I'm bed bound and we live in a trailer/mobile home not safe.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I've seen it discussed on other threads that you shouldn't use the waterbed heaters, they can be a fire hazard.

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

Yes not safe Fires a waiting . You have to be careful what you use.

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

My instructions on my heating mats say that they run at 80-85 without the thermostat on any setting....

Wilkes Barre, PA(Zone 6a)

I used a heating pad for sore muscles with -high ,med, low settings and it made my seedlings pop up in about 4 days! But I watch it carefully!

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

I have a heating cable which my dh got me for Christmas and I think it makes all the difference in the world. My cable is buried in sand and so my space total for germinating flats of seeds is about 5 feet by 5 feet. I use it for cuttings too.

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

heating pad can be very dangerous beware FIRE hazzard big time only takes a second.

Wilkes Barre, PA(Zone 6a)

true, I will more likely reconsider it!

Starkville, MS(Zone 7b)

I used a heating pad to germinate the impatients seeds for my May wedding. It was a little too warm at first so I padded it with a towel to dissapate some of the heat . I stared at them nearly 24/7 so I wasn't too worried about a fire. Some of my family thought I was nuts for growing my own wedding flowers. But Hey they were beautiful and I spent the saved money on our honeymoon :)

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

Sounds awesome ! Have pictures please !!!

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

allison, I thought you had seen mine outside....he still hasn't put the big stands on rollers yet in the house....maybe next week. The carpenter built these I put on my front porch for now as the weather is pretty and the cuttings do better on heated mats in the humidity rather than those zip lock bags (which begs for pests)......

Thumbnail by gessiegail
Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

Until i get my big gro-lights on stands with rollers (next week??) this is what i do with my african violets in the kitchen.

Thumbnail by gessiegail
Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

Yes I saw your new light stands awesome ! You have some nice plants there too :))

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

I have used a heat mat for years to germinate seeds that like it warm -- especially peppers and eggplants. In fact I put any seeds that like hot weather on it if there is room. Not necessary for lettuce and broccoli and cabbage however. Most seed packages tell you the temperature the seeds like for germanation. I think heat mats only reach about 85 degrees F. And I have never had a fire or a thrown breaker.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.