If you are looking for a touch of the tropics in your cold, northern European garden then their is very little that can compete with having banana plants growing in your traditional borders. Of course you can purchase banana plants from you local garden center, but let's be honest neither availability or range are particularly strong in the UK. That being said they is a usually a good range of banana seeds available on the internet, mostly eBay although other sites are available. The trick is with the propagation of banana seeds itself, which once dealt with is as easy as any other plants that requires a heated propagator. If you didn't know before, banana seeds require different germinating temperatures at night and during the day, therefore you will need a programmable thermostatically controlled propagator for germinating banana seeds.

Of course you can go out and purchase a heated propagator from almost anywhere, and this will work although you may need to manually set the temperature each morning and each night for up to three months or so. This is obviously a bit of a faff. Typically banana seeds will need a night temperature of approximately 15 degrees Celsius and a daytime of between 25-35 degrees Celsius depending on the species. Therefore a programmable, thermostat which can run separate time periods at separate temperatures is a must. A simple home thermostat for your central heating is ideal! However, and ths is the clever bit, if the environment where you propagator is housed has an ambient temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius then all you need is a simple thermostat and a timer. Run the heater at your required temperature then turn it off so that it falls to the ambient temperature overnight. For northern Europe this effectively means that you a have two opportunities in the year where there is a three month period when overnight temperatures hover around 15 degrees Celsius - late spring and late autumn.

As you can see in the video the perhaps the biggest issue is maintaining the high day temperatures required which is why a purpose built propagator has been fabricated from polystyrene due to its fantastic insulation properties. Now depending on the size of the heat mats purchased, you may be able to obtain prefabricated polystyrene boxes from you local aquatic store. 

As with pretty much all seeds, light is required for germination so a glass top to you propagator is essential, one which is double glazed is preferred albeit pricey. If you need to supplement lighting remember that you will need a light with spectrum as near to day light as possible. These can be purchased on light or at your local pet shop.

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