Using a propagator is a great way to get your flowers, fruit and veg off to the best possible start. Here, we take a look at some of the questions our customers often ask us about germinating seeds in propagators.
What is a propagator?
A propagator is basically a box, usually with a clear lid – a mini greenhouse – in which to sow and germinate seeds. Some propagators are essentially seed trays with clear lids, while others are more sophisticated, even incorporating a heating pad to gently warm the soil, aiding with swift and vigorous germination. Here at Dobbies, we also offer pots with specially designed clear bell jars which fit over the top, garden cloches, cold frames, and more. Propagators are a great way to germinate seeds at any time of year and also help to ensure that more of the seeds you sow germinate and grow.
How to propagate seeds
Prepare your propagator by adding the recommended quantity of seed-sowing compost. Plant your seeds in accordance with the instructions on the packet before watering in and covering them with the propagator lid. Place your propagator in a warm location like a windowsill, keep the compost moist, and wait for your seeds to germinate. Once the seedlings are established, thin them to encourage larger seedlings, which you will later plant into pots once the first true leaves have developed.
How to use a heated propagator
Prepare your heated propagator in the same way you would any other model. Sow your seeds, water well, and place the propagator on a window ledge or similar; switch it on, leaving the vents closed, only opening them to reduce excessive condensation. Once your seedlings appear, open the vents in the container lid to ensure adequate air reaches the plants – failure to do so can result in the growth of fungal and bacterial infections, which can easily wipe out your young charges. Once the seedlings are established, remove the lid and leave the tray on a sunny windowsill. After potting on your seedlings, gradually acclimatise them to cooler environments before moving them permanently.