Herbal plants

Caring for cucumber plants

Cucumbers are one of the most popular vegetables of all. What could be more obvious than growing the fruit vegetables yourself. It can be cultivated in a greenhouse, in the garden, in a raised bed or in a planter on the balcony. The warmth-loving plants can be planted outdoors from mid-May. Strong young plants are suitable for this, which you have cultivated yourself from seed or purchased plant material. Learn how to care for cucumber plants in this post.

Things worth knowing Location Cultivation Planting Care Watering FertilizingIn tubsTypes of pests & diseases FAQ

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Things to know about cucumbers

Botanical name: Cucumis sativus
Other names: Vespergurge, cucumber, snake cucumber, gherkin, field cucumber, snack cucumber, mini cucumber, cornichons, peeling cucumber
Use: salad, fresh consumption, pickles, pickling cucumbers
Origin: India Cultivation period
: April-October
Fruit colour: dark green
Harvest: June to October
Special features: In addition to the conventional plants grown from seeds, there are so-called grafts. These are more resistant to fungal diseases, grow faster and the yield is higher.

In which location do cucumbers feel most comfortable?

Cucumbers need a sunny, warm and sheltered spot outdoors. Cultivation in a foil house or greenhouse is also possible, whereby air exchange and even watering should be guaranteed. In climatically unfavorable regions (a lot of precipitation or cool temperatures), sheltered cultivation is preferable to outdoor cultivation. When growing cucumbers, make sure that the soil is humus and loose. Soils that tend to compact or locations that are shaded for a long time are not suitable. On light soils, you should apply well-rotted compost before planting or work with sufficient potting soil. A pH of 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal. Waterlogging will not be tolerated. When cultivating in pots and tubs, you should make sure

Fact: Cucumbers initially grow on the ground, with a trellis the annual plants become climbing artists. Especially cucumbers and cucumbers develop splendidly with climbing aids. On the ground, pickles develop shoots that are up to 4 meters long.

How is the cultivation of cucumbers?

In addition to buying young plants, growing them yourself is an option for culture in your own garden. Direct sowing in the bed is only common with pickles. As a so-called pre -culture, you should sow cucumbers in the house as early as March. To do this, sow the seeds in a seed tray or in individual pots, the latter has the advantage that pricking out is not necessary. Cultivation from seeds to plants takes 8 to 10 weeks depending on site conditions. Since cucumbers are sensitive to frostearly sowing or planting out is not recommended. As with many other plants, outdoor cultivation should only take place after the ice saints.

How do I plant my cucumbers in the garden?

Cucumbers love warmth and can be planted directly outdoors from the end of May. Earlier planting is possible, but should be done in a greenhouse or protected with a polytunnel until mid-May. At constant temperatures below 10 °C, growth stops. The optimal temperature for growth is between 18 and 24 °C. The presence of nutrients is important for growth and fruit set . Therefore, a dose of organic garden fertilizer is recommended at the start. In addition, the humus content of the soil can be improved with tomato and vegetable soil.

Planting cucumbers:

  • Water the plants thoroughly.
  • Dig a planting hole 20 cm deep and 20 cm in diameter .
  • Repot the young plant and place it in the prepared planting hole.
  • Put high-quality potting soil between the root ball and the planting hole and press the soil down.
  • Sprinkle Kölle’s Beste vegetable and berry fertilizer on the surface. Alternatively, you can use Kölle organic garden fertilizer.
  • Pour thoroughly to achieve the so-called ground contact.
  • To protect against evaporation, you can cover the soil around the vegetable plant with a layer of mulch. Another option is to place the cucumber plants in so-called mulch film. This has the advantage that the soil stays moist better, the heat allows the fruit vegetables to grow better and weed growth is prevented. Pro tip : Plant at least 30-40cm apart between plants. If the planting is too dense, the foliage dries poorly and the risk of fungal diseases increases.

How do I properly care for my cucumbers?

At the optimal location, the cucumber plants can be cared for without much effort. It is important that the soil is always evenly moist, that sufficient nutrients are available and that the temperatures do not drop below 15 degrees Celsius at night. If the conditions are right, the fruit vegetable develops into stately plants within a few weeks. You should provide strings, spiral rods or a trellis for snack cucumbers and snake cucumbers. Sometimes the pumpkin plant (Cucurbitaceae) climbs by itself, sometimes you should give it some guidance. A cut is not necessary. Regular use of Kölle Organic Plant Treatment is recommended to strengthen the plants. The biological agent strengthens the plant’s own immune system in a natural way and reduces the infestation of pests and fungal diseases. Knowledge Fact: In cold years, like zucchini, pumpkin or eggplant, it is difficult to harvest fruit in open ground. Therefore, cultivation in a polytunnel in climatically unfavorable regions is recommended. Cultivation in pots and thus close to house walls is also advantageous. Caring for cucumber plants is not difficult, only the weather should be right.

How do I water my cucumbers properly?

When growing cucumbers, make sure you have an even water supply. Sufficient water is needed, especially in hot phases and with good growth. Water stress can result in the absence of flowers and/or fruit.

Basically, it is better to water sufficiently every other day than small amounts every day.

Water in the morning if possible and make sure that the water comes directly to the root area. Avoid getting the leaves wet as high heat can cause leaf damage. Watering in the evening hours can lead to powdery mildew.

How often you have to water depends largely on the soil conditions, rainfall and temperature. However, waterlogging should be avoided, as the plants react to this with root damage.

How do I fertilize my cucumbers properly?

Like all other pumpkin plants, cucumbers belong to the group of heavy consumers. If there is a lack of nutrients, growth is reduced and there are fewer flowers. It is optimal if you supply the fruit vegetables with fertilizer directly when planting. In addition, you can fertilize with Kölle organic garden fertilizer or Kölle organic natural fertilizer at the beginning of July. Make sure that the soil is evenly moist after fertilizing. Refrain from using _Complete mineral fertilizers, this form of fertilizer is not necessary when growing vegetables in your own garden.

How do I plant cucumbers in a tub?

Cucumber plants are ideal for cultivation in pots and can therefore be on the balcony or terrace from the end of May until autumn. The walls of the house store the heat rays of the sun and it is warmer here at night, which helps to get a good harvest of cucumbers. Use the largest possible containers with good quality soil. In order to avoid stagnant moisture, a drainage hole in the bucket is essential. With a drainage layer, you improve water drainage significantly. Trellises or strings are helpful for the vertical growth of the plant and to support the plant. The climbing plants can be cultivated better and the fruits hang freely. Make sure that the water supply is even when growing in tubs, always give the water directly to the plant and never over the leaf. You can water cucumbers in pots weekly with Kölle’s organic natural fertilizer. In addition to minerals and trace elements, the purely biological special fertilizer contains revitalizing humic substances that improve the metabolism of the plant. The result of regular fertilization is strong growth with excellent health and rich fruit set.

What types of cucumbers are there?

Breeding and selection have resulted in a large number of cucumber varieties. The variety of varieties is enormous. The individual variants differ mainly in terms of length, shape and color. In addition to the well-known green cucumbers, there are also yellow, white or brown-skinned types.

Mini snack cucumber

The small fruits of this snack vegetable are crunchy, have a smooth skin and are suitable for fresh consumption. They are usually eaten directly with the peel. Mini cucumbers usually weigh less than 70 g and under optimal conditions you can harvest fruit several times a week.


The classic, which is mainly grown in the Spreewald, is rarely found in the home garden today. The fruits weigh between 80 and 150 g and have a rough skin. The color varies from light green to yellow. From July to the end of August you can pick the gherkins regularly and put them in jars with herbs and spices. The fruit vegetables can easily be preserved as a vitamin-rich supply for the winter. A well-known variety is the ‘Vorgebirgstrauben’, the fast-growing and very robust gherkin brings high yields with an aromatic taste.

Cucumber/snake cucumber

This group with typical fruit and smooth, green skin weighs between 200 and 400 g. Depending on the variety, cucumbers should be grown in a greenhouse/polychrome house or outdoors. Hybrid varieties that bear large and bitter-free fruits are particularly valuable . When choosing varieties, pay attention to high resistance to diseases and information about where you can grow cucumbers.

Refined cucumbers

For some years there has been an increasing number of refined cucumbers for the hobby sector. These plants have been used commercially for some time. Above all, there are snack cucumbers and cucumbers as grafts. The advantages of grafted cucumbers are:

    • more resistant to soil-borne fungal diseases
    • stronger growth
    • higher yields

resistant to powdery mildew

The more sensitive cucumber variety is grafted onto a robust pumpkin rootstock, thus complementing the positive properties.

What pests and diseases can occur when growing cucumbers?

With a good selection of varieties, the right site conditions and the best care for cucumber plants, they are robust and grow and fruit well. Malnourished or weakened plants are susceptible to diseases and pests. A constant, warm and humid climate is essential for the health of cucumber plants. Drought stress, extreme heat and cold nights increase susceptibility to fungal diseases. Preventive treatments with Kölle Organic Plant Treatment with Garlic have proven their worth. Start strengthening immediately after planting and do this weekly. The biological spray strengthens the cucumber’s own immune system and sustainably prevents the spread of fungal diseases and plant pests.


Aphids often infest shoot tips and flowers. Once you’ve identified the aphid infestation, it’s a good idea to shower the plants with a jet of water. Strengthen the plants with organic active agents and ensure optimal site conditions. These measures often help to prevent the aphids from spreading further.

Spider Mites/Red Spider

Spider mites spread quickly, especially in warm, dry weather. The cucumber leaves are mottled yellow on the upper side and gradually dry up. A fine web is visible on the underside of the leaf. The spider mites can only be seen with a magnifying glass. Especially in the greenhouse, combating the red spider with so-called beneficial insects is very successful. When growing cucumbers outdoors, it is important to change the conditions and strengthen the plants.

powdery mildew

Especially after a long period of drought, powdery mildew can attack in late summer. The surface of the leaves and stems is covered with white flour-like spots. Remove the affected parts of the plant, improve the conditions and use Organic Plant Treatment for strengthening. With a bit of luck, the fungal disease can be stopped. In the case of massive powdery mildew infestation, the leaves gradually die off and the plants cannot be saved. The susceptibility is strongly dependent on the variety, so it is important to select the varieties carefully.

Wrong mildew

Yellow spots appear on the upper side of the leaves, later turning completely brown. These leaf spots are sharply defined by the leaf veins and have an angular shape. A brownish to violet colored spore lawn is visible on the underside of the leaf. Especially in wet weather, the spread is rapid and can even lead to the death of the plants. Downy mildew occurs more frequently outdoors. Respond quickly to the first symptoms and strengthen the plants with Kölle Organic Plant Treatment. There are other bacterial leaf spot diseases. Important: Remove affected leaves immediately and dispose of them with household waste (not in the compost)!

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about cucumber growing

Do cucumber plants need pinching or pruning?

Above all, cucumbers that are grown on trellises can be used to the full. Unlike tomatoes, the side shoots no longer grow back. The goal of pinching cucumbers is to stimulate bud formation. Remove all buds, shoots and flowers that grow below 50 centimeters. Further trimming or cutting is not necessary. Once the cucumber plant has reached the trellis, you can remove the tip and thus stimulate the formation of side shoots.

When are cucumbers ready for harvest?

The harvest time varies depending on the variety. Basically, you should harvest regularly, because the yield drops sharply if individual large fruits are left on the plant. As soon as the tops round off, cucumbers are ripe. The earlier you pick the treats, the bigger the yield.

Why can cucumbers taste bitter?

All Cucurbitaceae contain the bitter substance cucurbitacin. Due to breeding, these ingredients are no longer contained in the commercially available varieties. Especially if you produce your own seeds, you may end up with plants whose fruits taste bitter. Please avoid growing from your own seed. Even so-called bitter-free varieties can taste bitter due to drought, excessive fertilization or other stress conditions. Don’t eat the bitter fruit. In addition to indigestion, it can lead to diarrhea and symptoms of poisoning.

Do cucumbers need to be pollinated?

Cucumbers have both male and female fruits on one plant. In warm and dry weather, the pollen is taken over by bees and bumblebees. In damp and cool weather, lower yields are the result, since pollination takes place only to a limited extent. When growing in a greenhouse, watch out for parthenocarpic varieties. These only form female flowers, from which seedless fruits form without any pollination.

When can cucumbers be harvested?

Harvesting time depends on the variety. The fruits can be harvested about 3 weeks after flowering.

The size guide is as follows:

      • small gherkins (cornichons): 4 to 6 centimeters
      • Pickles: 6 to 10 centimeters
      • Pickles: 8 to 12 centimeters
      • Cucumbers: 20 to 30 centimeters

Peeled cucumbers: as soon as the peel turns yellow

Mixed culture — what are good neighbors for cucumbers?

Leeks, onions, peas, beans, dill, fennel, beetroot, celery or chard are good partners for cucumbers. Tomatoes, potatoes and zucchini in the immediate vicinity are less suitable.