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 I have recently inherited a heated propogator which has no instructions on how to use. It has a square of fabric(capillary matting?) included and I was wondering if this needs to be wetted before placing cuttings, seed trays etc inside or do they go direct onto the prop bottom?



Does it have any label, maker's name or model number on it, Madeleine?

If not, please upload a photo as there's a good chance someone here will recognise it.


I'd look for any label with a maker, / model then google it. I've found instruction manuals for all sorts of things on google.


 It's a Sankey one. I have looked underneath and found an information website but it "cannot be found". I did wonder if perhaps the fabric is just for packaging.


Mine had fabric like that, long since rotted, it is part of the propagator. I use newspaper now. It holds moisture and keeps the atmosphere damp so good if that's what's required. I don't use a propagator much so can't offer a lot of advice.



It looks like a Sankey Growarm 300 Propagator Kit. If so, that is definitely capillary matting.   Nice bit of kit with the temperature control.

Looking for a propagator if anybody not using one.

Mine has no temperature control facility.  You seem to either use it unplugged or turned on. 

Yes I still am unable to find instructions and gardening books only seem to touch the surface of the subject when talking about propagating.

More questions - sorry

1)  matting - do I need to re-wet it if it dries out?

2)  Should I wipe off any build up of moisture hanging from the lid?  

3)  When do I open the vents?  Is it when seed packet instructions say "remove lid"? 

Also how long do I keep seedlings in there after they have germinated.  I only have an unheated greenhouse (I am thinking of putting the plastic covers on the cheap  shelf units I have in there to provided some snugness instead of bubble wrapping the whole inside)   I should imagine that when any seeds have germinated, to whip the lids off and expose them to cold unheated greenhouse/conservatory air would kill them at this time of year.

Sorry about this


Madeleine - i can only answer for what i do ( but it seems to work) :

don't wipe off the moisture - the humidity seems to help

once you have a good lot germinated open the vents, but keep the lid on for a couple of days.

mine then go to an inside windowsill for a couple of weeks.

then to an unheated GH, but i run out every night frost is forecast to cover them with clear plastic lids, which i then remove in the morning.

Nor sure about re-wetting of capillary matting - my system doesn't have such sophistication

Thanks chicky

Just typed a load and then zapped it away by mistake  so here I go again

I was thinking of trying a few flower seeds which state on pkt can be sown in Feb. Doing as you say and opening vents of HP for a few days when germinated, I wondered if it might work if I then transferred  them to unheated greenhouse, and place them on shelves with the zipped up plastic covers on they originally came with to keep them warmer out there and also cover the trays with lids .That way it might take away any excess cold.

OH doesn't like trays on windowsills and besides, things used to get so leggy

Would that be feasible do you think?



Sounds like a good plan - give it a go and see   My methods have only come about by trial and error - good luck, and let us know how you get on

i usually place another long strip of capillary matting under the main one which runs out one end like a tongue, i run it into a old plastic milk bottle which i fill with water. This tops up the propagator tray as and when required

Malcolm Harrison
I use a Stewart electric propagator without
any capillary matting. I just place trays or
pots on a shallow bed of sand in the base
of the propagator. Keep lid on to give a
humid atmosphere then remove it after
germination of seeds or rooting of cuttings.
Temperature range 16 - 25 deg C.



i have a stewart and have sand on the base mine is supposed to be temp controled but didnt seem to be working so i put a thermomator in and it was 3 deg out so i have to set it accordingly it might be worth checking what temp yous gets to  


I'm using a heated propagator brought from Aldi. It doesn't have a capillary mat nor does it suggest putting sand in the bottom - could someone tell me if its a good idea to use sand in the base? Does it help control the heat / moisture in anyway that would be of benefit?


i think the idea of sand is to create an even distrbution of bottom heat and also the sand takes up the condensation and keeps the air round the cuttings and seeds moist, i have never used mine without sand do you get a pool of water in the bottom ?


Ann. I have been very sparse with my watering because I didn't want to create a damp problem so there isn't any water gathering - although the lid is always cover in condensation. The soils felt damp to touch when I initially planted the seeds so I didn't water them straight away. Do you think I'd be better off putting sand in?


i have always used sand but i have just looked at the instruction booklet and it says nothing about this and it didnt come with capillery matting so how i came to do this i cant remember so this is my method and im sure ther will be somebody else with a differant one very soon

i put dry sand in the bottom and turn it on the day before i want to use it so that its all ready warmed through, i water my seed trays from the bottom after sowing the seeds and dont water again the condensation will wet the sand, when the seeds have germinated i take them out and put them in the green house with a clear lid for a day or two and then uncover them during the day untill i think they are hardened enough to not need a cover, i hope this makes sense