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fliffy_stitch

What kind of heater is best?

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Hi, can anyone give me some advice on heating my greenhouse over the winter? It's my first winter with a greenhouse and I would like to leave my collection of cacti and succulents in it over the winter rather than trying to fit them all back into the house...my collection seems to have gotten a good bit larger this year, somehow, so it will be a struggle to fit them all into the house, especially with the orchid collection having multiplied this year too. So if anyone can give any advice on what might be a good economical way of keeping the plants alive over the winter I'd appreciate it, thanks.

Chris.

Edited by fliffy_stitch

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If I were you I would use soil warming cable with a thermostat and cover the plants with bubble wrap . You don't need to heat all the greenhouse for cacti unless you are a big share holder in the gas and electricity companies .

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Have you insulated the greenhouse yet? If not I'd do that first using twin wall polycarbonate or bubble-wrap depending on the available budget, otherwise you'll be heating the sky. Have you thought what minimum temperature you will try to maintain? For cacti you're probably looking at about 5 - 8C although some will readily stand lower than this, but depending on what succulents you have you might need more than this. For Stapeliads you'll need a minimum of about 10C, others could be higher.

I use 3 double 5 foot tube heaters (80W per foot) running through plug in thermostats. I keep my cacti, Crassulas etc in the open on the staging with my Pings, Drosera etc whereas more tender succulents such as Stapeliads (Huernias, Stapelia, Duvalia etc) are in heated propagators in the staging, a few really delicate plants have taken up residence in a spare bedroom or lounge windowsill.

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Thanks for the replies, I think that electrical heaters aren't going to be what I would use, I haven't insulated it yet but i was going to use bubble wrap if I decide to keep the plants outside for the winter. I've taken all of the succulents inside now and left the cacti out for another while, it's only gone below 4 or 5 degrees one or two nights so far. Does anybody here use paraffin heaters and know if they are any good. I've read good and bad about them.

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I considered paraffin when I got my first greenhouse was put off after I heard one or two first hand nightmare stories where things had gone wrong and whole collections got covered in sooty residue. Perhaps somebody can recommend a good quality paraffin heater where this might not be such a worry.

Keeping your cacti cool whilst dormant during the winter will encourage flowering but you'll need to keep an eye on minimum temps for each genus.

Good luck whatever you decide.

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I would definately go for electric instead of parrafin. Parrafin probably doesnt work out any cheaper compared to an electrc heater with a good seperate thermostat (it will only come on when it needs to) and parrafin can be risky as mentioned above (you also need ventilation with either gas or parrafin).

Tubular heaters are good for small frost free areas, or for bigger the cheap fan heaters are ok. If you want reliability two cheap heaters with seperate thermostats are good, dont rely on the built in thermostats if you can afford it buy a good greenhouse thermostat. I use the biogreen thermo2 for several years and so far they've been 100% reliable and they remember the settings if there's a temporary power outage.

I found the plug in b&q type thermostats dont give good temperature control (they can read the wrong temperature at low temps).

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I found the plug in b&q type thermostats dont give good temperature control (they can read the wrong temperature at low temps).

I'd go along with this, I'm using 2 Timeguard ET05 at the moment with a double 5 foot tubular heater plugged into each. I found out the other night that one wasn't turning on at all and needed resetting, not a problem in early November, as my more sensitive plants are in heated propagators, but potentially a disaster in sub-zero conditions.

Manders, The biogreen Thermos are a bit pricey if you need more than one, can you run multiple heaters off them plugged into an extension lead? Subject to the 3Kw maximum load of course.

Edited by Gaz

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I'd go along with this, I'm using 2 Timeguard ET05 at the moment with a double 5 foot tubular heater plugged into each. I found out the other night that one wasn't turning on at all and needed resetting, not a problem in early November, as my more sensitive plants are in heated propagators, but potentially a disaster in sub-zero conditions.

Manders, The biogreen Thermos are a bit pricey if you need more than one, can you run multiple heaters off them plugged into an extension lead? Subject to the 3Kw maximum load of course.

Gaz, theres no reason why you cant run any number of heaters up to the 3kW max.

I noticed the price varies a lot for biogreens, about 50£ on the net at the moment but if you check in the spring they'll likely be cheaper in a sell off, or sometimes they can be had second hand on fleabay.

I had a similar probem with those ET05s, they just didnt seem to turn on quick enough or at all, especially when i was trying to keep just above freezing around 4C, same problem with an old hydor heating cable thermostat, anyway i was much happier after switching to the biogreen.

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