What is a seedling heat mat
Plant heat mats or seedling heat mats are used to fasten the germination of seeds. They consist of a sheet of plastic that is embedded with heating elements. When you turn on the mat, it heats up and heats your seeds and the soil that is placed above it.
Basic plant mats will just turn off and on when you plug them in, the more advanced heat mats come with a temperature regulator. Usually a heat mat will raise the temperature by 15°F (7-8°C). These heat mats are usually used early in the growing season, to accelerate the seed sprouting.
Why use heat mats for plants?
When planting seedlings in soil or hydroponics, you usually place them somewhere in your house or greenhouse. Wherever they’re placed, the temperature will fluctuate during the day. A consistent temperature is one of the most important factors for seedlings to sprout, and that’s where a plant heat mat comes in.
Plant heat mats are used to help grow vegetable seeds. When you home grow vegetables, outside or inside a greenhouse, you want to take full advantage of the growing season. Especially in more Nordic areas, the growing season is short and it’s interesting to help your plants to sprout earlier. Especially when you’re trying to grow seeds in a colder room, such as the basement or an unheated greenhouse, the seedling heat mats will help your seeds to germinate.
We tend to use our heat mats for crops that take a long time to grow and are temperature sensitive, such as onions and tomatoes. I’m kind of an impatient person and when the long winter is over, I can’t wait to start growing again. The plant heat mats are my little spring booster.
There’s no data that suggests heat mats influence plant growth in the long run. A seedling heat mat will help you optimize the germination process and increase your chances of success.
How do you use heat mats for plants?
Seeds need a balanced amount of water, oxygen, light and warmth to be able to germinate and grow. When you’ve tried growing seedlings, you know it’s quite a challenge and it’s sometimes hard to determine why a seed didn’t sprout.
Every seed package comes with an instruction to determine the amount of light and the best temperature to sprout. When you know the amount of light a seedling needs, you determine the best place in your house or greenhouse. When you don’t have enough natural light, you can use artificial lights (although some seeds need darkness to sprout). Your heat mat needs to be placed on a flat, dry surface and close to an electricity source to plug it in. When you have a plant mat with a thermostat, you set it to the desired temperature, and you are done! When you don’t have a thermostat, make sure to check your seedlings regularly to see they’re not overheating.
As soon as the plants start to germinate, turn off the heat mats and remove them to allow the seeds to continue to grow at a slower pace.
Heat mats in a greenhouse
Greenhouses are perfect to help seeds to sprout in late winter or early spring, as they offer a controlled environment. You can regulate the amount of light, the temperature and the humidity. By opening and closing the roof vents you let fresh air in to give oxygen to your plants and seedlings. When you don’t have heating in your greenhouse, plant heat mats can be a perfect way to start growing early in the season. Where greenhouse heaters can be expensive, a seedling heating mat is very affordable and it centralizes the heath where it’s most needed, underneath your seedlings!
Types of heat mats for plants
Plant heat mats vary in price and start at about $15 for a basic model and $100 for a package with two heat mats including a thermostat. You can buy a heat mat with a thermostat or buy the thermostat separately.
We’ll share our favorite models with you, to help you get started!