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After some years of failing seed germination i have decided to get a heated propagator for the window seal. Any ideas of a good cheap one? I think i'd like something about 50cms long that i can fit 2 rows of tiny pots? Thanks..

The cheapest way is to make a box get some soil warming cables & thermostat etc, & make a cover yourself. The best way is to buy (or as in my case persuade the family to club together & buy you) a Vitopod ready made one. They are not cheap but you will NOT regret it there is a reason why they consistently come out best in all the trials by various magazines etc. However neither of these will fit on a window cill but you will find once you have one you will want a bigger one.  Just like greenhouses & sheds you never regret getting as big  one as you can fit in to any given space.

The greenhouse sensation website shows them (& a window cill option if you really are strapped for space). Not sure if there are cheaper suppliers elsewhere.


Go round the local garden centres and look online and then buy the biggest and best you can afford and make sure it has temperature control as different seeds need different temps and you'll want to use it ofr bottom heat for cuttings later on in the year.

I have a long narrow one which would fit on a normal window sill but has 5 individual little trays with lids that fit in it.  Very faffy.  If you have a greenhouse work bench or even just a cold frame you could, as Ian suggests, make your own to size.

Remember too that whatever you buy or make, it is important to have plenty of light available to stop seedling becoming etiolated (leggy and weak).

Chris 11

I've only got basic heated propagators myself, with no thermostat or lights, but it's still a lot better than nothing and makes a massive difference for things like chillies, or just germinating everything more quickly and reliably.

I've got two 38cms ones, so that's an alternative to a single 50cm one. If you have the circumstances in terms of space and money, then I'd agree with Iain, the Vitapod is usually considered the benchmark.

If you want something cheap and cheerful at the 50cm size, you could look at this one:


gardenning granny

I'm afraid my window-sill heated propagator was not much good, but I invested in a super-seven set of seed trays.  It consists of a windowsill tray, a raised platform covered in capillary matting and seven quarter sized seed trays with clear covers.  I have complete success with this and have grown all sorts of different things at the same time.  As soon as the seedlings are big enough to transplant the little tray is ready for more seed.  Because each seedtray in independant the rate of germination of individual plans is no longer important.  I think Crocus sell them, though I've been using mine for many years now.

Mike Allen

Ian-R comment is good.  Something about gardening, it opens up the window of opportunity, have a go, try it out.  Most propogators on sale have no thermostat.  They do contain in the wiring what is called, a thermal cut out.  This operates in the same ways as a ladies hair tongs and the like.

Forgive me but.  I often wonder why the basic gardener wants a proporgator.  OK big business have created new fields, but for you and me.  OK at the end of the day.  I/We want so many plants of etc.  I livelyhood doesnt depend upon it.  Consider your location.  Then springtime etc.  Scenario.  Hey mates, my probogater has come up trumps...yippy.  I now have four hundred seedlings.  I only wanted a couple of dozen plants.  Now the seedlings are growing fast but....leggy.  Folks ask yourself.  Do I really need a proporgater.?????????


I have a windowsill propagator with seven small seed trays. I use it to germinate tomatoes chillies and cucurbits etc so that I can grow varieties of my choosing rather than the ones stocked by the big garden centres. I also germinate some  perennials that require a little heat to start. 

I don't end up with too many leggy seedlings. I sow approximately the number I need and pass on the remainder of unused seeds to fellow gardeners. 

With carefull use of bright windowsills and a wooden mini greenhouse to bring on the seedlings, I find the propagator very useful indeed. 

Last edited: 05 January 2018 07:45:41


I’ve got one of the windowsill ones that fits 7 trays too - made a massive difference to my success rate with seeds   Think its called a super-7.

I also have a self watering one of the same design - I have a sort of production line going each spring ....germinate in the heated one, move to the self watering one to get a bit bigger, then out into an unheated greenhouse.

Can’t wait to get started again this year .....poring over Chiltern Seeds catalogue now 

Chicky  you and I use   propagaters the same way I find .it's very economical .  

Clinton, I bought one of the cheapest and one of the best from "Home Bargains " .I've seen them in other cheap stores too .i.e.  B&M  Bargains

It's worth checking out.

Though I know some who make their own using the plastic box  packaging from supermarket s. A friend buys meat, saves the tray and cartons ,turning them  into mini propagation .

hollie hock

I'm thinking of using a heated propagator for the first time this year, starting maybe end of Jan, early Feb, harden off and then out in the cold frame. I'll only be sowing hardy stuff so they won't mind going outside.

In previous houses I used the Wilkos plastic top unheated ones and grew loads in them, just dont have the right windowsills anymore

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