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CULT: germination & heat mats

Hello Folks,

Searching around on the net, there seems to be several sorts of these
things.  Some have a built in temp running a constant 70-75F.  Others (more
expensive) come with a thermostat (usually separate) where the temp can be
set from around 40-75F.  With iris seeds, would it likely be a benefit to
have those that give the control over the temp?  Many years ago in my more
transient days I had a heating cable for annual and perennial seeds.  It was
quite effective in getting superior germination compared to seeds not
exposed to the bottom heat.  I haven't used such a device on trying to push
an iris seed into germination.  The observations on watching them germinate
naturally (or unnaturally on some experiments) haven't helped me determine
what might be best for them.  They have provided some germination over a
pretty wide temp change - from near freezing to above 80F.  My weather is
too inconsistent to give me much help on establishing anything like an
optimum - either as a constant or as an alternating cool/warm period.  I
have observed that those that have germinated late in the spring under the
more constant warmer temps have also had the highest mortality rate.  That
has been true even when I've held back on lining them out 'til they have at
last appeared to be in the same stage of growth as earlier sprouting
seedlings.  Not sure why that has been so.

In something of the mood to buy myself a Christmas present so any
experiences, thoughts or observations would be welcome.  Knowing that iris
seeds may be just stubborn no matter what I do.

Donald Eaves
Texas Zone 7b, USA - freezing here but without any precipitation and 7-8F
warmer than the predicted low.

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