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What are Some Tips for Growing Cucumbers?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 16, 2024
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Cucumbers are edible vegetables popular throughout the world for their crisp texture and taste, and their wide range of uses. From salads to pickles, from digestive aids to beauty products, cucumbers are a truly versatile vegetable. Growing cucumbers is not difficult, and they are suited to a variety of climates. With a little bit of know-how, most people can grow them at home.

Originating in India, it should come as no surprise that cucumbers enjoy heat — and plenty of it. If the average temperature in a location is around 70°F (21°C) then it is an ideal range. People who want to grow cucumbers somewhere colder might still be able to make it work, it will just take a bit more planning.

In most situations, gardeners will want to plant the vines where they’ll get plenty of direct sun. The only exception to this would be if they are growing cucumbers somewhere that gets very hot and has a lot humidity. In this case, it is best to try growing the cucumbers somewhere where they’ll still get plenty of direct sun, but where they’ll have some shade during the hottest afternoon hours to keep them from drying out.

Growing cucumbers also requires a bit of space, as they won’t flourish if they’re too tightly packed together. Gardeners should give them plenty of room and use trellises for them to grow vertically if they don’t have a lot of horizontal space. Planting cucumbers in smaller containers rather than beds or open ground is also possible — and in areas that don’t get hot enough, they can be grown indoors. When growing cucumbers in containers, gardeners will probably want to pursue a dwarf variety so that they’ll still have room to stretch out.

Gardeners who live somewhere with a frosting season will want to make sure you wait until a bit after the last frost of the year before they plant. Even a single light frost can ruin these gentle plants, so planting at the end of spring, or even the beginning of summer, is ideal. If temperatures still get very cold at night, gardeners may want to use some sort of frost protection to make sure the plants survive.

While cucumbers are quite picky about their temperature constraints, they are fairly easy when it comes to soil conditions. Growing cucumbers can be done in any soil with a reasonable pH — in the 6.0 to 7.0 range — that has good drainage. Gardeners will want to compost the soil before they plant, and may want to add some organic fertilizers and root supplements to help protect the plants against disease or garden pests. They should take care to wait until after the first flowers have appeared before fertilizes, and to maximize the yield of the plant, gardeners should make sure not to over fertilize.

When fruits do finally appear, gardeners should make sure to harvest them before they get overripe. Cucumbers that stay on the vine for too long will become bitter and full of hard seeds. People need to pay close attention to their plants once they start fruiting, as they will ripen very quickly and need to be picked. After only a couple of short months, the cucumbers will be ready to enjoy. Although they do require some upkeep and attention, it is relatively easy to grow cucumbers, and it can be an incredibly rewarding activity.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon359586 — On Dec 18, 2013

Let me just answer a question that's been repeated. When your cucumber grows to about 1/2 an inch and then turns yellow and die, it most probably means that the flower hasn't even been fertilized yet. This also means that those cucumbers that you see aren't cucumbers at all, but just the ovary of the female plant. That's the easiest way to tell the difference between male and female plants. To fertilize the ovary and avoid it turning yellow and dying, simply pick (off the plant) any male flower, carefully peel the petals, and rub the inside (that contains pollen) onto the inside of the female flower. Do this any time new female flowers bloom, and it guarantees cucumbers!

By amypollick — On Jul 08, 2013

@anon341114: Not sure what it might have been, but try putting blood meal around your plants. Not bone meal -- blood meal. It's a good natural fertilizer, and the varmints seem to leave it alone. After something ate all but one of my zinnias and started on my lantana, I put down blood meal all around them, and they've been untouched since. It stinks to high heaven, but oh man, does it work!

By anon341114 — On Jul 08, 2013

Something took our two two or three feet tall plants. It happened in the daytime. The plants had bunch of flowers and small cucumbers. It was cut flush to the floor. Any ideas what kind of animal could do this?

By anon316408 — On Jan 28, 2013

my cucumber plants are loaded with lot of flowers but when the cucumbers get 1/2 inches they turn yellow and die.

By anon316380 — On Jan 28, 2013

My cucumber plants are beautiful but the blooms dried up. Why? Please help me.

By anon273538 — On Jun 07, 2012

What type of fertilizer do I use on my cucumbers and when?

By anon140869 — On Jan 08, 2011

can you replant cucumber plants in the same spot the year after in a vegetable garden?

By anon98209 — On Jul 22, 2010

my cucumber plant is growing like crazy, full of flowers and starting to get cucumbers, we are worried it is taking up too much space and is starting to invade on other plants. We starting putting in polls and things to help it start growing vertically. Is it bad to try and aid the plant back into growing vertically if it is already so spread on the ground?

By anon97282 — On Jul 19, 2010

Our first cucumbers I fixed for dinner guests last night were normal size and looked beautiful but when I fixed them with vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper (which is the way wwe like them) at least every 2 to 3 pieces in the bowl were extremely bitter. I've never had that problem before. Same place in garden and nothing changed from many years and we always have lots to give away. Any answers for me?

By anon90553 — On Jun 16, 2010

My cukes are growing to approx one inch then shriveling - could be that you don't have the proper nutrients in the soil. Try adding plant food that contains some calcium. Or you can prep your own calcium plant supplement from eggshells. Bone meal also contains calcium, but in a slow release form. I did this with my plants and eventually they did better.

By anon87284 — On May 29, 2010

I have planted my cucumber seeds, but nothing seems to be growing. What can I do?

By anon51774 — On Nov 09, 2009

My cucumber plant is beautiful and blooms beautifully, but there are no cucumbers. Help please!

By anon41659 — On Aug 16, 2009

I have the same problem with the little cucumbers dying - but I also have half of my mature cucumbers growing in orange! One plant will produce a perfectly normal healthy cucumber and a funny shaped orange one at the same time. Anybody have any idea why?

By anon39656 — On Aug 03, 2009

My cucumbers have yellow looking sap coming out of them and it looks like the plant is dying. psh

By anon39131 — On Jul 30, 2009

why do my english cucumbers curl. they are climbing on lattice, but still curling?

By anon38618 — On Jul 27, 2009

I planted cucumbers in May and getting loads of flowers but all 'males'. I didn't find a single female flower in three months.What could be the reasons? Please help!

By anon37928 — On Jul 22, 2009

my cucumber plants look great. They are nice and green, but there is not one flower bloom on them. Does anyone know what is wrong and how to force the flowers to start?

By jacokat — On Jul 21, 2009

I planted pickling cucumbers and they look great! they are nice a green and very healthy. the problem is that they have no flowers at all, not one bloom! What do I do about this? There about 12 plants out there with nothing on them.

By anon36460 — On Jul 12, 2009

I've had the problem of the female flowers not getting pollinated by bees. I tried hand pollinating with little success. So this year I tried growing Diva cucumbers. They are supposed to have ONLY female flowers and do not need to be pollinated at all. They are growing well. The plants look healthy. They have many tiny cucumbers that get to be about 1 1/2" and then dry up. Why is this happening?

By phlipback — On Jun 24, 2009

I have the same problem with my cukes. They are not getting pollinated because of the declining bee population. I've been told you might have to pollinate by hand or live without the cukes. I just tried to pollinate some today ill let you know if it works.

The male flowers just have the stem and the females have the little cuke. Take a q-tip and touch the middle of the male flower and then touch it to the middle of the female and repeat. Can't promise it works yet, but it's worth a try.

By carmella — On Jun 24, 2009

I'm having the same problem. Small cucs about 1" long turn yellow and shrivel up. The rest of the small plot is doing fantastic!


By spudman — On Jun 04, 2009

i have been having problems with my cuke plants from the time i transplant them from pot to garden. they just don't want to grow. i plant them in hills, but after a day or two or three, they just bend over and die..last year my plants grew to about 2' in length with probably 50 flowers on each plant. they each proceeded to die before harvesting on cuke. i've never seen a plant of that length with so many flowers....

By anon29142 — On Mar 27, 2009

Frequently tiny cucumbers dropping like that is because they have not gotten pollinated. The female flowers are the ones with the tiny cucumbers attached, male flowers are on a simple stem. Often there are many female flowers blooming, but no male flowers have matured yet for pollination to occur, or vice versa. If pollination does not occur the fruit will not develop and will simply drop off.

Gardener in SD

By motherteresa — On Jul 26, 2008

aww1963,lcm,Gemini133 - It is hard to know exactly what the problem is when young fruit withers, but here are a few possibilities. The most likely problem is with the roots, caused by poor soil preparation, over watering or poor drainage. Less likely but also possible is the use of fresh farm manure, drought or heavy pruning.

To solve the problem, remove damaged fruit and use foliar feed. Don't water as usual but keep the soil damp.

By Gemini133 — On Aug 16, 2007

I am having the same problem!

By lcm — On Jun 19, 2007

this is the exact problem that i am having (6/07, eugene, oregon).....anyone know what the deal is?

By aww1963 — On May 09, 2007

My cucumber plants look great and are loaded with flowers, when the cucumbers get about 1/2 inches long, they turn yellow and die.. Any idea what I can do?

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