Propane heaters

Crazy for Crotons

Well-Known Member
Can anyone recommend a portable propane heater that would heat 400 sq feet or less? I've seen some that thread onto the top of a regular gas grill propane tank and others that blow heat. With temps in the low/mid 90's everyday, it's hard to even think about freezing temps but winter is unfortunately never far away.


Esteemed Member
Ray, I bought the tall stand up type 2 yrs ago at hd for $69 on black Friday. They don't hold up well stored outside. I think I can get 1 to 2 more years out of it. Did not help much. Where are u using this?


Active Member
I've been using tank top propane heaters in my greenhouses for years with good results...
These heaters are the best source of emergency heat in my opinion: top propane heater

I use the single burner version, usually 40 bucks or maybe half that on sale at the end of the season.
For 400 sq.ft. you would probably want more than one burner - separate burners each on their own tank will give more flexibility plus the tank will last a lot longer with only one burner on it.
I used to keep two 15,000 BTU heaters in my 200 sq.ft. greenhouse, and currently use one heater in each of my 120 sq.ft. greenhouses.


I only run the heaters when temps are forecast below freezing, and mostly use the Low setting (9000 BTU) except for really hard freezes.
On the low setting one 5 gal tank will last about four nights (48 hours), though different brands of heaters will vary a bit on their fuel consumption.
I highly recommend using an oscillating fan in the heated area to mix the air and get a much better distribution of warm air throughout the heated area, assuming the area is enclosed.
Besides heating the air, these heaters also produce infra-red heat...
These heaters will produce a lot of water vapor which actually helps to keep spider mites down in the winter months.
I've never had any ill effects on the plants from the heaters, though this year will be my first time over-wintering crotons in the greenhouse - been all cacti and succulents up til now...



Active Member
Freezing wind is tough to deal with...
If you can cover the plants with plastic over bamboo hoops to keep the plastic from touching the plants, and then seal the plastic to the ground with pins/rocks/bricks etc, you can trap the ground heat rising from the soil and usually keep the plants from freezing. The ground here in south Louisiana probably never goes below 60 F about a foot deep in the soil - that's a lot of BTU's down there, and as everyone knows, heat rises...
I've overwintered tropicals for years with this method through freezes as low as 18-20 F.

A product I've gotten years of use out of are these cheap two-sided drop cloths from Home Depot:
One side is thin plastic, the other side is felt...
I use the felt side down on the plants - these cloths work great in light feezes with no wind simply draped over the plants.
For harder freezes or windy conditions I add a layer of thin plastic sealed to the ground.

Crazy for Crotons

Well-Known Member
I lay down large potted plants in big groups and throw heavy comforters and blankets over them. A large 15' X 30' frost cloth is thrown above that creating an insulating layer. If it really gets cold, I run strings of Christmas lights underneath and that seems to be just enough. Stores still sell non-LED type lights that generate more heat than one would think.

Central Floridave

Active Member
Don't forget a BBQ gas grill can be used as a makeshift heat source. Just make sure it is on low and doesn't have any gristle that could catch on fire.

Another tip, if you see a bad freeze coming, then take cuttings. If the croton die, at least you have the cuttings to start again.