Make the most of limited garden space and bring your harvest to your porch or patio by growing cucumbers in pots. Container gardening is an easy and less labor-intensive alternative to traditional backyard gardening. Still, it takes a little bit of know-how to yield a plentiful harvest of tender, green, delectable fruits.
Check out our tips on growing cucumbers in pots and containers to cultivate a lush container garden this season.
Growing Cucumbers In Pots & Containers
Can you grow cucumbers in a pot? Yes, you can but pot selection is paramount to the success of growing cucumbers in pots. Pots and planters come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, designs, and materials. You can find them made from wood, metal, plastic, stone, clay, and even fabric. While there are pros and cons to each pot’s composition, there are two main things to think about that will impact your growing success.
Size matters when growing cucumbers in pots. When growing plants in containers, root systems rely on you to provide them with the moisture and nutrients they need to grow. Cucumbers are heavy feeders and can grow quite large. They require plenty of space and room for roots to spread out. They also need room for supports to be added. Choose a large pot for growing cucumbers.
For best success, select a large pot with excellent drainage. Look for pots with holes in the bottom or drill some of your own. Some growing containers have plugs in the bottom, so you have the option of having holes or not.
If you have a pot made of stone or other solid substance where there are no holes, adding a couple of inches of gravel before adding soil can be helpful. A pot without holes will retain too much water, which will pool up in the pot, drowning the plant and leading to its demise.
Ideal Soil Composition & pH For Growing Cucumbers In Pots
When planting any high yielding vegetables in pots, it is vital to use a high-quality potting mix. Rich, healthy, well-draining soil keeps your plants well-fed and helps retain more moisture than poor quality soil. Cucumbers are a more alkaline fruit and thrive best in soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.0.
Planting Cucumbers in Containers
Seeds should be sown in groups of 2-3 seeds per pot and covered in 1 inch of soil. Transplant seedlings into pots, making sure that the soil is consistently warm. After planting, add a layer of mulch around the base of the plants. Mulch helps to regulate soil temperature and helps to retain essential moisture.
Planting Cucumbers In A Vertical Garden
Whether you have selected a bush or patio cucumber variety or a traditional vining type, you will need a trellis or climbing structures to support the cucumber plant. A trellis, teepee, or obelisk can be used and secured inside the pot or at the container’s rear and provides a space for the cucumber plants to climb vertically. Planting cucumbers in a vertical garden is a space saver and keeps tender veggies off the ground and free and clear of pests and disease.
Cucumber Light and Temperature Requirements
Cucumbers thrive in warm conditions. Ensure that your area’s temperature is mild before planting and that pots are placed in a sunny location that receives a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Full sun is best for these prolific growing vegetables.
Watering Cucumbers In Pots
Water potted cucumbers regularly, using great care not to overwater them. Potted vegetables need to be watered twice a day unless there is ample rain in the forecast. If you are temporarily unable to make this commitment to watering, consider calling on a friend, or adding a watering timer or a garden watering globe to your pot, so your plants stay hydrated and healthy. You might also consider placing a tray of water underneath your pot to promote self-watering from the roots up.
If you have chosen a robust potting mix for your cucumber plants, you’ve already given them their best start. But cucumber plants grow vigorously, and they may need a little bit of a boost to reach their full potential when grown in pots. Sprinkle some organic fertilizer into the soil to feed your potted cucumber plants as they get bigger. They are heavy feeders with shallow roots and may need supplementation as they grow and produce fruit.
Cucumber Plant Pests and Diseases
Cucumber plants set in pots are elevated from the ground and are traditionally planted with healthy soil. Healthy soil usually translates into healthy plants, which is the best way to combat pests and disease.
If pests do start chomping on your plants, they are likely to be cucumber beetles and squash bugs. Combat cucumber beetles by spritzing leaves and fruits with neem oil and keeping a keen eye for the yellow-orange eggs they lay on leaves’ undersides. Remove those eggs when you spy them. Squash bugs can be picked off of leaves and fruits and dropped into a jar of soapy water.
Cucumber plants are also susceptible to powdery mildew on their leaves. It is essential to catch and remove diseased leaves early and dispose of them completely. Spores travel through the air, and the white and spotty fungus can spread quickly to the rest of the plant as well as other crops. Powdery mildew can be prevented by spacing plants adequately so that they have proper airflow. If it is already present, mix a couple of teaspoons of dish soap with a gallon of water and spritz the leaves of the plant. This should be enough to make an unpleasant environment for this fungus to grow.
Do Cucumbers Self Pollinate?
Cucumbers produce both male and female flowers making them self pollinating plants, but when cucumbers are grown in pots away from traditional backyard gardens, it doesn’t hurt to add some companion plants in the vicinity to draw beneficial pollinators to the plant.
When To Pick Cucumbers
Even in pots, cucumbers are high-producers, so it is essential to check vines and bushes daily so that you can pick the fast-growing fruits regularly. A keen eye is necessary when harvesting cucumbers, as most fruit varieties match the green hue of their vines and can be challenging to spy amid a healthy plant’s foliage.
Be prepared to pick these veggies early and often. Look for long slender fruits that are 6-8 inches long hanging from support trellises above their host pots. Plan to pick cucumbers early in the morning when the plant vines are cool and damp with dew. When harvesting cucumbers, use a sharp knife or clippers to separate them from the vine. Twisting the stems can cause tearing of the vines and cause subsequent damage to the plant.
There are also patio and bush varieties that can help cucumbers grow more manageably on patios, decks, and balconies. Try out some of these favorite container varieties and enjoy a healthy harvest of cucumbers only a few steps away from your door.
- ‘Salad Bush‘ is a disease-resistant, bush variety of cucumbers that grow great in containers. It produces crisp fruits with smooth and dark green skin.
- ‘Pickle Bush‘ is an excellent pickling variety that produces tasty average-sized fruits that bring on the crunch. You’ll need to harvest this variety of cumber regularly, as it boasts an impressive yield.
- ‘Spacemaster‘ is a popular variety of cucumbers for containers and small garden spaces. It produces large yields of cucumbers with smooth, dark green, and sweet flesh.
- ‘Bush Champion‘ is a popular slicing cucumber that grows on a compact, bushy plant and has a long production season. This variety works well in backyard gardens and containers.
- ‘White Wonder‘ cucumbers will add some variety to your harvest. This cultivar produces white cucumbers on compact vines that pack a crunch and a fresh flavor.