Root Zone Heating? in Florida ?
|Electric propagation heating mat|
courtesy of Thompson and Morgan
|sealed polymer heating and propagation mat|
courtesy of Growers Supply
Victorian-era greenhouse gardeners often used paraffin oil burners underneath metal clad seed beds to boost root zone temperatures, and many temperate-zone gardeners have long used root heating mats to keep plants healthy. There are many ways to stabilize and boost root zone heating, many of which are easily available from garden supply firms. Styles range from slender heating cables to be buried in soil or sand, to wafer-thin sealed polymer mats to hefty swine heating mats capable of handling foot traffic. Most of the higher-cost heating mats require the use of a thermostat to regulate the temperature, some of the basic ones are pre-set to 74F. In areas where the growing area temperature is very cool, 74F would be suitable; for our needs with tropical plants, 78-80F is preferred.
|a basic, single-zone controller|
courtesy of Amazon.com
It is surprising how well plants will respond when their roots are kept warm, especially in the shorter days of the year. Tropical plant seeds and seedlings especially like to have warm root zones; their genetic world is made up of stable temperatures with little difference from day to night. Many palm and cycad species will grow far better and will have fewer diseases with root heat in the cooler months.
|Kane brand pig warming mat|
courtesy of QC Supply
One of the simplest techniques seen on the Internet is to use an old water-bed heater, placed under a large mortar-mixing tub of coarse sand. Seeds, cuttings and pots can be stuck into the warm sand, the improved growth results are worth the effort. This technique is the modern version of the Victorian-era tactic of placing paraffin burners under a metal box full of compost. Try heating up the roots of your sensitive plant species a few degrees, and watch the results. The difference is remarkable.
|multiple-zone propagation mat controller|
courtesy of 4 Hydro