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Propagators, is it worth it?

Im thinking of getting one for my small garden. I usually use my radiators for heat but with variying success. I don't really have much space to store or use on in the flat so am a bit unsure if it is worth the money. Any advise? I would use it for tomatoes and similar plants that need a bit of heat.



  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,145

    I have never had one but lots of people do. If anything needs extra heat or to be kept in the dark. you could cover with a plastic bag. Tomato seeds are up in a couple of days with nothing over them at all

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • LesleyKLesleyK Posts: 4,029

    I have a Garland Super 7 which fits easily onto a windowsill and it is wonderful for germinating seeds.  The only problem comes when you need to prick out into larger modules and you could run out of windowsill spaceimageimage.

  • cornellycornelly Posts: 968

    Unless you have a glasshouse or similar, a propagator is really not that useful, the original tray of seedlings will require a lot more room to be pricked out, I have in the past used back bedroom radiators, but only for a few plants, at the moment I use  in the glasshouse a 4 foot by 2 foot heat sheet, but I stike cuttings a well as sow seeds.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201

    I'd agree with cornelly - limited use unless you then have the room for pricking out etc. An unheated one - used at the right time so that you can harden them off - is quite good, but again, unless you have a greenhouse to move the potted on plants into, it's only worth having one or two of them. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,267
    I have a super 7, windowsill one. It has a constant temperature and is excellent for starting plants off early like Aubergine's, chilli's and peppers all of which need a long growing season. I also start toms amd some flowers in the heated propagator.

    It's usually only used March/April but I like to grow stuff from seed. I then sow stuff in unheated propagator's.

    In terms of time, effort and cost, if growing a small number of plants, it's more economical to buy seedlings in April/May or go for a combination of both, sow some and buy in different varieties to the one's sown.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,145

    I have tomatoes and peppers here, sown a few weeks ago, no propagator, they are all pricked out and growing well. 

    I suppose if you want to grow some exotics it would be handy but for everyday plants that I grow, veg and flowers, I don't need one.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Stephanie newish gardenerStephanie newish gardener Aberdeenshire/Moray coastPosts: 453

    I've got two unheated propagators, one I bought and one inherited.  The one I bought has a vent in the top.

    As we are in north Scotland I had intended to use them to start off most of my seeds that need sowing before April because otherwise the windowsills are too cold - or at least that's what I assume.  We have a stone house so thick walls so not much heat on the windowsills from the radiators,which are not really the sort you could balance pots of seedlings on.

    I grew a number of plants from seed in the propagators last year and they mostly worked out ok, though I was quite late in starting a lot of them so am trying to be more organised this year.

    So is the consensus now that a propagator isn't much use, the seeds would germinate anyway and you would need lots of them for pricking out? I did find that I didn't have space for all of the seedlings in the two trays so it ended up a bit Heath Robinson but also by then the weather was warmer and I moved some of them to one of those cheap polythene mini greenhouses where most of them did ok before being moved on into the garden.

    Any thoughts welcome, thanks

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,145

    You wouldnt put pricked out plants back in the propagator, there in is the problem. You can put your seeds in there, they will germinate quickly, then comes the problem of where you will put them, its ok if you have lots of warmish places to keep them. You still can't plant them out until probably early June living in north Scotland.

    the other downside is if you want to grow lots, how much can you get in there, I would need one about the size of my carpet.image


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 10,300
    I wouldn't be without my windowsill super 7 - get very good germination rates now, whereas before I had it it was very hit and miss. But I do have a large unheated GH to move things on to in April, and that is full to the gunnels by the end of May when things head in to the garden.
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