The latest news, events and tips from our team

How to grow Tomatoes

How to grow

If you have a green house or conservatory especially with heat then you can start your crop off earlier otherwise you will need to wait u til the weather warms up. For outdoors crops try gardeners delight or moneymaker or a hanging basket variety like tumbler.

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Everyone knows about tomato grow bags and they are absolutely fine but I like to use a large pot filled with good quality multipurpose compost and add some controlled release fertiliser. For the cordon varieties you will need to tie a piece of string to something above and below the plant so it is tight and then twist it round the stem as it grows. Pinch out side shoots as the plant grows up. For the Bush and hanging varieties you don’t need to do this.

Water regularly and liquid feed with tomato fertiliser once you see flowers forming. Start picking once they ripen and change colour, don’t worry if you have a glut later in the summer, tomatoes freeze well! 

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Common problems

Irregular watering can cause :

Blossom end rot, a dark patch at the base of the fruit

Blossom drop where the flower buds fall off

Dry set when the fruits stop growing when very small

Splitting fruit 

Too much strong sunlight can cause:

Green back, leaving ripe fruit with a hard green patch

Blotches, scalds or spots

Use fleece to shade the plants 


Look out for green and white fly because both can spread viruses. Spray your vines with a recommended insecticide as soon as you notice pests. Organic gardeners might prefer to plant marigolds nearby which attract beneficial insects that eat pests.

Leaf problems

Curling leaves. May be caused by aphids sucking the sap from them, but if there's no sign of insects the most likely culprit is cold night-time temperatures (more noticeable in early summer). If this is the case, it's nothing to worry about. 

Leaf yellowing starting on older leaves and moving upwards. The problem could be a magnesium deficiency which is easy to remedy with a special magnesium feed.

Click here  to watch a video on growing tomatoes from our seed supplier Thompson and Morgan

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Growing Potatoes

Planting Potatoes in containers 

Growing potatoes in containers is really easy and the perfect solution if you want to grow your own potatoes but have limited space. There is much less chance of pests and diseases by growing in a container
What you need
Potato bag or container
Multipurpose or vegetable compost
Seed potatoes 3/5depending on size of container 
Potato fertiliser 
How to do it
Fill the container up with the compost
Plunge the potatoes 12cm into the compost and cover 
Top dress with the fertiliser
Water in well
Place in a bright frost free place and water when the compost dries out
be grown in pots 
First and second early varieties particularly benefit from chitting which is the process of producing shoots before  planting, This will  produce faster growth and heavier crops. Place the potatoes in egg boxes with the most “eyes”facing upwards. place in a bright frost free place and  Plant when the shoots are about 2.5cm tall. 
Extra info
Smaller Early new potatoes take 10 weeks from planting to cropping, second early 13 weeks and large main crop varieties for baking take 15 -20 weeks. Main crop are better suited to growing in the ground but can also be planted in containers 
First and second early varieties can be harvested when the plants begin to flower. Have a dig unde the compost to make sure they are big enough. With Main crops wait until 2 weeks after the leaves have withered . 
Lay out to dry then store in hessian or paper bags in a dark cool place 
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Jobs for January

Jobs for January  

Although it’s a quieter month in the gardening calendar there is still lots you can be getting on with  in January to get ahead of the game!
Our gardens were a life saver last spring and I’m sure many people will agree their garden has never looked so good as in 2020. Let’s get our gardens ready this year and enjoy being outdoors again!
Planting - we have never had such a superb selection of outdoor plants as we do now and as long as the ground isn’t frozen you can plant happily now! Choose from amazing Hellebores in flower, skimmias, camellias, pieris, rhododendrons and many more!
Tidying - if your garden is anything like mine here will be lots of soggy leaves and stems around the place and there’s nothing better on a mild winters  day than sprucing up your borders! Remove and bin hellebore leaves damaged with dark blotches. Dig over borders and remove the roots of any perennial weeds. Move dormant plants that are in the wrong place to more suitable sites
Pruning- Winter prune apples and  pears and  remove any diseased, damaged or crossing branches. Prune gooseberries and redcurrants cutting sideshoots back to three buds from their base. Roses and wisteria will also benefit from a winter pruning .
Sowing - Start sowing hardy annuals and sweet peas and take cuttings of perennials such as phlox and anemones. There is a huge choice  of veg and flower seeds available now so plan your borders now and get ready for spring.
Birds- continue feeding the birds with seeds and high energy snacks. Start putting up bird houses before the nesting season starts. Clean all your bird feeders.
Tools- Clean and sharpen your tools, including hoes, secateurs, lawnmowers and shears, and spray metal tools with oil. Spring clean your shed and greenhouse ready for the coming season.
Houseplants - Bring life to your indoor spaces! We have an amazing selection of stunning houseplants in all varieties and sizes to suit every room in your home. Choose from our beautiful pots and stands to complete the picture. Don’t forget the positive effects houseplants make to your mental  well-being and boy do 
We need this at the moment! 
The days are getting longer and the weather will start to improve soon allowing us to get on with all those gardening projects. Let’s stay positive and enjoy our outdoor and indoor spaces. 
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Easter gardens, bursting with colour

Easter is just around the corner, and whether you plan to celebrate it with an outdoor Easter egg hunt for the kids, or you’re looking forward to enjoying the long bank holiday weekend relaxing in the spring sunshine, now is the time to get your garden in shape.

The temperature is thankfully starting to rise so you can finally start to add a burst of colour to your outside space by planting out a variety of bedding plants in pots and containers and dotting them about your patio and doorsteps. Keep it simple by opting for just one colour, or create a riot of colour by mixing, matching and contrasting.

Whatever your preference, here are our top three bedding plants to add a splash of seasonal colour to your garden this Easter.

  • Senetti: This fabulous plant boasts large, daisy-like flowers so it’s perfect for creating a big impact, plus it’s available in a wide range of vibrant colours.

  • Ranunculus: This plant comes in a great selection of colours – from bold, cheerful shades to soft, muted, romantic tones – with gorgeous tissue paper-like blooms for an eye-catching effect.

  • Primrose: Take your pick from singles with pretty bi-colours and white edges, or stunning doubles with frilly petals – we grow many different colours and types of primroses here at Pentland Plants.

Each of these plants is homegrown right here at the Pentland Plants Nursery – the largest bedding plant nursery in Scotland. Whichever you choose, you can be confident it’s been grown and cared for to the highest standards. To help them last that little bit longer we asked Susie, one of our Garden Centre Supervisors, for her top tips for caring for your new additions to the garden. Here is what she advises…

Caring for your Spring bedding plants

  1. Ensure your pot has drainage holes in the bottom as otherwise the plants will rot if they’re left standing in water.
  2. Place pieces of broken pot over the drainage holes to prevent them from getting blocked up with silt.
  3. Next, fill up the pots with good quality compost.
  4. Remember to water them regularly, particularly as the weather starts to warm up.
  5. Keep on top of deadheading to ensure they flower again.

To make things a little easier, we can plant up your pots and containers for you – just ask any member of the team about our instore personalised planting service.  Or keep an eye on our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages for more great ways to add a burst of colour to your garden this Easter and beyond.

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From Holland, with love

Here at Pentland Plants, we’re home to the largest bedding plant nursery in Scotland. In fact, we’ve built up quite a reputation for ourselves and we’re known across the UK for our extensive range of high-quality plants. But did you know we also travel throughout the UK and even further afield to bring you the very best trees, shrubs and perennials? For example, this week saw Carolyn and her father David take a trip to Holland to hand-select a range of plants and we’re excited to reveal what they’ve returned home with…

Carolyn and David have been visiting Boskoop – home to the largest green market in Europe – for many years, and have made the trip a across several times each year to stock up as the seasons change. For them, it’s a great way to see the latest range of plants from hundreds of European growers and it enables them to compare and choose the best quality and value.

Hand-selecting the very best

Commenting ahead of her latest trip, Carolyn explained, “It’s so important that we get to see the stock first-hand before we buy so we can be confident that every plant will be perfect when they arrive here at Pentland Plants later that week.”

“We love seeing well grown plants in great condition, well pruned, well fed and at the peak of perfection. Whether it’s flowers or foliage, we always find something new!” added David.

Highlights from Holland

Each of the following plants has been carefully chosen to flourish in our Scottish climate and there really is something to suit any garden. Take your pick from stunning flowering shrubs for spring and summer blooms, shrubs with fabulous foliage and texture, climbers and wall shrubs for all aspects, and perennials that will pop up and add an extra splash of colour to your outdoor space.

  • Ceanothus
  • Clematis
  • Hydrangea
  • Magnolia
  • Paeonia
  • Viburnum
  • Honeysuckle
  • Allium
  • Rhododendron
  • Deciduous Azalea
  • Acer

Caring for your new additions to the garden

Each of the plants listed above can be planted now. Simply prepare the soil with compost or soil conditioner, plus a handful of bonemeal, and water in well.

Most of these plants will be available to purchase instore from Saturday 7th March in the afternoon, ideal if you’re itching to get out into the garden this weekend.

The Rhododendron, Deciduous Azalea and Acer, however, will be available from Wednesday 11th March but we promise they will be worth the wait!

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Pentland Plants Garden Centre
Pentland Mains
EH20 9QG

0131 440 0895 

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Closed: Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year's Day

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