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Heat mats

Posted by golden_ca_2000 BC Canada (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 30, 09 at 22:21

I was considering picking up a heating mat for my hoya cuttings - would this be a good choice/acceptable? It says it has a constant soil temperature of 10 - 20 F.

http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.aspx?c=1&cat=2,43224&p=44602


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Heat mats

Golden those mats are nice but there may be a less expensive way to heat cuttings. I use an old aquarium, something that can be found very inexpensively and an under tank heater meant for reptiles. I place a ceramic tile over the heater to diffuse the heat and I have added a shelf made of that plastic light diffuser grid, the whole tank is sealed with transparent plastic vapor barrier.
The heat mats you show are nice but you will still have to solve the problem of humidity and having an entire aquarium to work with instead of a bunch of plastic bags makes the cuttings easier to deal with. The heat mats are appealing because you can use them over and over for starting seeds or cuttings in different environments vs the adhesive backed reptile heaters that can not be transferred or come into contact with moisture. The reptile heaters are less than $30 so you could probably put together a rooting chamber for less than a good sized heating mat.

Download the Stemma issue that is dedicated to propagation if you have not seen it, lots of good ideas.

Mike

Here is a link that might be useful: Stemma Journal


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RE: Heat mats

I put an aquarium on top of the heat mat and some plexi glass on top of the aquarium to keep the humidity in. It works well. I agree that the heat mats are a bit pricey especially when they quit working after a short period of time. I had that happen once.

Sandy


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RE: Heat mats

I have both the aquarium and a heat mat (but I've had my heat mat for years and it continues to work...) As suggested by David Liddle, I have about 4" of water in the bottom of my aquarium with an aquarium heater in the bottom, heating the water. The grid sits above the water level. It makes a good environment for rooting, but I can't get a lot of pots in there, so I use the heating mat, too. It works well to use one of those giant zip-lock bags, or you can use small ones, one for each cutting.

Denise in Omaha


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RE: Heat mats

I use my heat mat all the time (I believe some of my more fussy, heat-loving plants wouldn't have made it through the winter without it) and I have used it sucessfully for rooting, with baggies.

On an alternative note, has anyone used aeroponics? I have heard good things, but am loathe to spend yet more money on plant-related paraphenalia...


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RE: Heat mats

Mike - I phoned a pet store about one of those reptile mats - and they were more expensive - I think it was a 8 x 8 heating pad for 31.99 and a 10 x 11 for 36.99. The heat mat at lee valley is 9 x 19 - which would fit my under my aquarium almost perfectly and I was thinking I could buy some aquarium gravel or something and put that in the aquarium - pour some water into the gravel and put the plants ontop.
Would that be ok?


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RE: Heat mats

Golden you don't need a large reptile heat mat. These mats are designed to run about 10 to 20 degrees hotter than room temperature so a small heat pad will effectively heat the entire tank if you place a ceramic tile on the inside over where the heat mat is placed. I think my heat mat is 8"x6" but you could probably get away with a smaller one. Having water in the bottom helps to keep the environment warm and humid. I do like the submersible fish aquarium heater method that Denise mentioned as well but I already had a tank with a reptile heater attached so I just used what I has around the house.

I think your gravel method would work but it would be a mess to clean up, algae grows after a short time in those conditions. I would use the egg crate light diffuser panels cut to size with needle nosed pliers and held up by small pots or just use upside down plain old clay pots to keep your cuttings out of the water. Some people simply use damp sphagnum moss in the bottom of the rooting chamber with good results but you have to be careful not to damaging the new roots when it is time to pot up the cuttings.

Mike


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RE: Heat mats

Mike,
How big is your aquarium? What's the ceramic tile? Just one from a home store?

Kelly


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RE: Heat mats

Hills,
I have not tried aeroponics but my small hydroponic system is wonderful! So far...it has been a 'no fail' way to root brand new cuttings from Ted Green and also troubled plants that I take a cutting from in case the mother plant goes south. I like to use the Silica Stone or lava rock as well as a rooting compound.
Actually anything that is giving me trouble that has the least bit of green and/or sap in the stem will take hold under a month. Unless, of course, if it's a H. praetorii cutting which spent about 3 months being shuffled from coco coir/perlite mix inside my home to the same outside and finally I invested in the Hydro system and light ($180)...it worked. Right now I have a bunch of cuttings from plants that struggled to get thru our cold winter. I'm hoping they will take root prior to receiving my DL order which we are hoping will reach me by the end of April.

The great thing about Hydro is that the 'amount of water' is taken out of the equation also the light is on for 12 hours/day and it's a no brainer...just change the water each week and put in fresh fertilizer.
I've yet to try the aquarium method and hesitate only because I feel like they are constantly wet and I have a bad habit of overwatering in a controlled environment.

Joni


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RE: Heat mats

Kelly my aquarium is 12" deep x 12" tall x 24" long. The ceramic tile is just one form the Home store, it helps absorb and distribute the heat a little better but it is not really necessary. I only keep a small amount of water in the bottom of the aquarium so I can still set pots on the tile if they are on top of clay saucers.

Joni you only have to water the cuttings at the start and once they are in the aquarium they don't need water again for quite some time. The roots just take off with all the humidity and I feel that I get established cuttings and new growth much faster than other methods I have tried. I have never tried the hydro method but it sounds nice, hello two week vacations and no dead plants when I get home.

Mike


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RE: Heat mats

Joni,

Which hydroponic system did you get? I keep thinking about trying to make my own, but am not sure just how much aeration the water needs or are the bottom of the plants actually in water or just above the water?
Rooting can be so odd! I bought my praetorii cutting really before I knew much about rooting at all. Put it in a light mix and on a heat mat and it rooted in less than a week. You just never know!
Kelly


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RE: Heat mats

Well my husband picked up my heating mat for me so I have my aquarium all set up. This is how I set my aquarium up for added humidity. My husband went out and bought some flourescent light defusers and cut them to size for my aquarium - then I just poured my water in the bottom of the aquarium.
Photobucket


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RE: Heat mats

Looks like a nice set up Golden. Are you in Golden? Just curious, if you are we are fairly close and may be able to trade cuttings after they grow.

Trish


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RE: Heat mats

That look perfect and the best thing is you can use it over and over again. To keep the humidity high it is probably best to seal the top with plastic film of some kind. My aquarium is sealed and the humidity is usually around 90%, it's hot and steamy in there and the Hoyas love it.
I am not sure what others use for light but I have my aquarium on the bottom rack of a light stand I built using adjustable metal racks. The dual bulb 4 foot fluorescent shop lights are about two inches from the top of the aquarium. I am sure that the opaque vapor barrier helps diffuse the light a little but it is quite bright and makes for strong compact growth.

Mike


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RE: Heat mats

Wheatgrl, No Im in Langley B.C.(which is just outside of Vancouver) But yeah - Im sure we could do that. Where abouts are you? Golden


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RE: Heat mats

You know the only thing I am wondering about now is - do you think my plants will get ENOUGH bottom heat with this set up? Its definitely getting humid but I dont know about the bottom heat? With all those levels of light defusers I have in there???


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RE: Heat mats

Hi Golden,

I am in Vernon, near Kelowna, so we're quite close. I am down there a lot for the dog shows. Also buy tons of roses from Brad ar Select Roses in Langley.

Trish


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RE: Heat mats

Along with the question about bottom heat - I am wondering - my humidity is at 80% the sides are all fogged up - Is that too much humidity? Should I take out some of the water? I dont want my cuttings to rot.


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RE: Heat mats

Golden my aquarium runs between 80% and 90% humidity with fogged glass and all and I have never lost a single cutting, in fact I think they do better in that environment. The aquarium and it's contents will maintain an ambient temperature so bottom heat is not necessary. In a week or so you will see the results, lots of roots beginning to form. The last factor of success is light so make sure there is enough or you could very well run into problems. If you want to try direct bottom heat you can use the ceramic tile method I use but it is not necessary. I have a batch of cuttings rooting now and some are on the tile while the others are suspended about three inches above the bottom on the plastic grid and both groups of cuttings are performing equally well.

Mike


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RE: Heat mats

Thanks for all your help Mike - You have been a GREAT help to me. And thanks to everyone else - great bunch of people - Cheers, Golden


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RE: Heat mats

Mike, thanks for that answer. That was exactly the question I was going to ask too. I currently have a whole load of cuttings on my heat mat and I hope they're going to root for me. Last year I had a good success rate using this system but it seems to be very seasonal for me (i.e. in winter my ability to root goes to zero). I just hope it's just about the right season for rooting!
I find that letting the humidity escape every now and then does help, otherwise there is a bit more of a tendency to rot.


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RE: Heat mats

Well the problem is when I turn my aquarium light out at night - the humidity rises again. In the morning the humidity in there is dripping off the sides. It was 90% humidity in there this morning. I have a little opening in the top of the fish tank that I am going to leave open and let some of it escape. I was reading on one of the stemma journals about this sort of propagation but they do not mention anywhere about humidity levels. Actually I think they said that they did not measure the humidity but it should be above 50%. Well 90% to me might be a bit high - correct me if Im wrong?? Ive never done this before??


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RE: Heat mats

I also do the aquarium and heat mat method. I cover mine with saran wrap. Had some problems over a year ago with rotting, so a member of another forum suggested I poke holes in the saran wrap and place a fan at one end so it blows straigt across the top. I think the rotting may be the result of high hummidity with no air movement.

Just a thought!
Kelly


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RE: Heat mats

Well what did you use as a light source then? I guess I could take the lid off completely but then I would not have as much light? As you can see in my photo its pretty humid in there - lol. Also note the little door at the top that I have left open. Maybe I could take out some water and that would make the humidity go down a bit??

Photobucket


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RE: Heat mats

One other thing that I should ask - I decided to take 2 levels out of the white grating out of my tank and pour out some of the water - and I felt the heating mat underneath - its really not very warm? Basically a little warmer than my body temperature? Is this normal or is something wrong with the mat? Just didnt seem all that warm to me? (I know I ask alot of questions - lol)


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RE: Heat mats

I think the humidity level will be fine and if you want to lessen it a little just open the little door on the lid. My aquarium is always fogged up like yours but if you notice the condensation is on the cool glass and not the plants, the plants will stay dry but be in a high humidity environment which is what you want. If you are using a incandescent light in the aquarium lid that may be why the humidity is so high, added light but also more heat. I use a fluorescent light fixture a few inches above the tank but you could use a compact fluorescent bulb as well. I think the heat mat is probably fine, they heat slowly but surely instead of an intense heat.

Mike


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RE: Heat mats

Golden I use a plastic container with wet moss and cookie cooler racks and bottom heat. I also use plastic warp on the top and theirs always that much moister in my container so once a day I lift the plastic off for about 20 min first thing in the morning. I have had 100% percent of my cutting root. I keep them in there for 4 weeks and I slowily start to take the plastic off for longer times.
Good luck with your new cuttings

Cindy


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RE: Heat mats

Cindy, Thanks, Well I guess if it works for your guys - hopefully it will work for me. Thanks for all the advice and help! Golden


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