Whether you’re starting seeds off in these cold, winter months, encouraging cuttings to root or raising tender plants originally from warmer climates, a heat source will help create the best conditions to nurture them. Heated propagators are an ideal accessory which, depending on the type you choose, either offers a consistent, ambient temperature or can be set at a particular temperature to suit your needs.

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Because of our cooler temperatures, plants like tomatoes, chilli and bell peppers and squashes need a long growing season so that they have time to grow, produce fruit and for the fruit to ripen. Germinating them indoors in a heated propagator early in the year, when outside it would be much too cold for them to grow, ensures they get the long growing season they need.

Even hardier and native plants benefit from being germinated at a constant temperature. Thanks to their bottom heat and high humidity, heated propagators can also be instrumental in helping cuttings to take root. Whatever you’re growing, a heated propagator will protect germinating plants from sudden cold snaps like we’re having at the moment.

Growing other plants? Check out our guides to the best self-watering planters, or the best garden cloches. And if you're growing in a greenhouse, our 11 useful greenhouse accessories article will be worth a look.


How to choose a heated propagator

Consider the following when shopping for a propagator:

  • Space - Unless you have a greenhouse with a power source, most of us will use a heated propagator at home. Position it on a flat surface; a windowsill out of direct sunlight is a good spot, but make sure the dimensions of your chosen propagator are a good fit.
  • Size - Make sure the dimensions of the propagator are right for your needs. If you’re planning to grow on tender plants you’ll need a bigger propagator than if you're germinating seedlings.
  • Features - For most projects, a basic heated propagator is fine. However, if you’ve the budget to spare, look out for self-watering propagators. Some also come with lights to further help propagation.

Heated vs non-electric propagators

A non-electric propagator is simply a seed or modular tray with a transparent lid that aims to provide seeds and young plants with a consistent growing environment. The lid helps to increase the humidity within as well as generate and trap warmth, particularly if placed in a sunny spot. Some have ventilation in the lid and may even have watering spots so you can water without removing the lid and splashing plants. Lids can also be purchased separately so you can add them to your seed trays as you need them.

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Non-electric propagators are a lot cheaper than a heated propagator, but without the extra, regulated warmth and bottom heat that you get in a heated propagator, growth will be slower and less consistent.

Sounds like they're what you're after? Buy non-electric propagators from Waitrose, Thompson & Morgan, Crocus and Amazon.

How to use a heated propagator
  • Plant your seeds in damp compost, in the trays provided.
  • Place your propagator somewhere light and well-aired.
  • Switch on the propagator.
  • Keep an eye on your germinating plants. If excessive condensation forms on the inside of the lid, open the ventilating holes to regulate the temperature a little.

13 of the best heated propagators

Browse our selection of heated propagators, below:

Garland Fab 4 Electric Heated Propagator

Garland Fab 4 Electric Heated Propagator - BBC Gardeners' World
Garland Fab 4 Electric Heated Propagator

The Fab 4 propagator is a great entry-level propagator for new gardeners. It gives a first-time user ease and simplicity without compromising on quality. With four cells, it's great for growing a range of plants for the first time and easily keeping track of what’s what.

Price: £25.16

Buy Garland Fab 4 Electric Heated Propagator on Amazon


Garland Super7 Electric Heated Propagator

Garland Super7 Electric Heated Propagator - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Garland Super7 Electric Heated Propagator

This heated propagator from Garland is built for propagating in bulk and can grow seven different cells of plants at once. If you’re after a bumper harvest, this lengthy propagator can give a host of plants a head-start.

Price: £49.99

Buy Garland Super7 Electric Heated Propagator on Thompson & Morgan


Thompson and Morgan Heated Propagator with Air Valve

Thompson and Morgan Heated Propagator with Air Valve - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Thompson and Morgan Heated Propagator with Air Valve

This propagator can be used without trays, so if you have lots to grow - little tomato plants, or a mix of cuttings, for example - this propagator is fantastic for general use. Great for running lots of small scale projects at once.

Price: £27.99

Buy Thompson and Morgan Heated Propagator with Air Valve on Amazon


Harrod Horticultural Electric Starter Propagator

Electric Heated Propagator

If you’re keeping a close eye on your energy bill, this electric propagator from Harrod Horticultural is a good option, with the 10 watt heated base using only a sixth of the power of a normal lightbulb. The lid has an adjustable vent which lets you have control over the humidity levels in the propagator depending on what you’re growing.

Price: 21.95

Buy the Electric Starter Propagator at Harrod Horticulture


Selections Jumbo Windowsill Heated Plant Propagator

Jumbo Windowsill Heated Propagator
Jumbo Windowsill Heated Propagator

This heated propagator is designed to fit on a windowsill, and has a single deep tray that can either be filled directly with soil or pots, which is a useful feature when you’re growing your own. A thermostat control maintains heat at 21°C/70°F, while two vents in the clear lid regulate humidity.

Price: £32.99

Buy the Selections Jumbo Windowsill Heated Plant Propagator on Amazon


Stewart Thermostatic Heat and Grow Electric Propagator

This generously-sized propagator has plenty of space and its extra high, clear lid allows excessive moisture and warm air to be released via two vents. An inbuilt thermostat maintains temperatures between 18°C - 23°C (64°F-73°F).

Price: £42.95

Buy the Stewart Thermostatic Heat and Grow Electric Propagator from Keen Gardener


EarlyGrow Heated Electric Shatterproof 2-bay self-watering propagator

EarlyGrow Heated Electric Shatter Resistant Propagator

Simply plug in and use, this heated propagator produces a steady temperature ranging from 16°C - 21°C (60°F-82°F). Made in the UK with robust and durable shatterproof lids, it’s ideal for novice gardeners as it’s self-watering. The individual bays allow you to grow multiple seeds or cuttings simultaneously without fear of confusion.

Price: £44.95

Buy the EarlyGrow Heated Electric Shatterproof 2-bay Self-Watering Propagator from Amazon


Sankey 38cm Growarm 100 Propagator Kit

Sankey Growarm 100 Propagator Kit
Sankey Growarm 100 Propagator Kit

This model comes with 2x21cm seed trays to allow you to grow two types of seed at the same time, a capillary mat to retain water and keep soil moist, as well as an instruction booklet to get you started. The 8 watt heating element keeps the soil warm and is ideal for seeds that benefit from bottom heat.

Price: £25

Buy the Sankey 38cm Growarm 100 Propagator Kit from Amazon


Garland One Top Electric Propagator

Garland One Top Electric Propagator - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Garland One Top Electric Propagator

This small propagator is a great choice if you’re strapped for space, or just want to grow a few chillies on the windowsill. Using even less energy than it takes to power a light bulb, seedlings will benefit from the constant, extra warmth. The vent is a useful feature, which helps control humidity levels, and though its footprint is small, its clearance is 12cm, which is plenty of room for young plants to get started.

Price: £23.99

Buy the Garland One Top Electric Propagator from Robert Dyas


Garland Big 3 Automatic Temperature Control Electric Propagator

Garland Big 3 Automatic Temperature Control Electric Propagator - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Garland Big 3 Automatic Temperature Control Electric Propagator

For a truly bumper season’s growth, look no further than the Garland Big 3. This monster propagator holds three 37.5cm by 23cm trays at once, so you can give kale, tomatoes, sweet peas and chillies a head start at a balmy 19°C, all at the same time.

Price: £76.41

Buy the Garland Big 3 Automatic Temperature Control Electric Propagator from Amazon


Harrod Horticultural Large Propagator with Height Extender

Large Heated Propagator with Extender
Harrod Horticulture

This large propagator is perfect if you’re growing large plants of cuttings, and it can also be moved outside to allow seeds access to direct sunlight once the weather warms up a bit. Until we get there though there’s a heated mat which works at 15C above the ambient temperature to help plant germination and growth.

Price: £68.95

Buy the Large Propagator with Height Extender at Harrod Horticulture


What are heat mats?
    An alternative solution to providing seedlings and plants with some bottom warmth, heat mats provide the ideal warmth for a range of seeds, such as tomatoes, parsley, basil, cabbages and onions. Simply lay it out flat on a dry, even surface underneath a tray of seedlings or pots.
    However, without a cover, they’re unable to create humid conditions, which can be beneficial when seeds are germinating and the soil needs to stay moist. They’re great for storage, too, as they can simply be rolled up and put away until next year.

Riogoo Seedling Heat Mat and Thermostat

RIOGOO Seedling Heat Mat and Thermostat Controller
RIOGOO Seedling Heat Mat and Thermostat Controller

The thermostat sensor probe maintains a stable temperature between 20°C - 42°C (68°F-107°F), and features a digital keypad, which is easy to operate. It comes with a one year warranty.

Price: £33.99

Buy the Riogoo Seedling Heat Mat and Thermostat on Amazon


ROOT!IT Heat Mats

ROOT!T Mat
ROOT!T Heat Mat

Provide bottom heat to seed trays and pots to help speed up germination and cuttings to take root. Hard-wearing and easy to use, this mat can be wiped-clean and rolled up after use. It with a 1.8m power cable in three sizes - small, medium and large.

Price: from £36.99

Buy ROOT!IT Heat Mats on Suttons

In need of further inspiration? Browse more heated propagators and heat mats on Crocus, Thompson & Morgan, Two Wests & Elliot, Keen Gardener and Suttons.


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This Product Guide was last updated in January 2023. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.

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