Planting cucumbers yourself - this is how you master it in an exemplary manner

Planting cucumbers yourself - this is how you master it in an exemplary manner

the essentials in brief

  • Cucumbers can be grown outdoors as well as in pots or in the greenhouse
  • In all cases, cucumbers need a climbing aid, e.g. welded wire mesh, plant sticks or chain link fences
  • Cucumbers can be preferred at home from April, but are only allowed outside in mid-May
  • The cucumber is one of the strong eaters and should be planted in nutrient-rich soil and fertilized at regular intervals

Planting cucumbers in the greenhouse

Before you devote yourself to the planting, please mount the chosen climbing aid. This prevents you from having to enter a freshly planted greenhouse bed later. How to properly plant cucumbers in the greenhouse:

  1. Enrich the soil with ripe compost, manure or bark humus
  2. Dig plant pits 40 cm apart (row spacing 120-140 cm)
  3. Soak growing pots (€ 14.90 at Amazon *) in water until no more air bubbles rise
  4. Pull the pot off the root ball
  5. Put the cucumber plant in the middle, press the soil and water
  6. Connect the shoots to the climbing aid
  7. Mulching with clippings of grass, nettle leaves or straw

also read

  • Pull cucumbers yourself - this is the best way to do it
  • Cucumber climbing support - buy or make yourself?
  • Grow cucumbers yourself in the garden and harvest abundantly

How deep you plant depends on the cucumber plant in question. Conventional species and varieties should be planted a little deeper so that additional roots form for optimized stability. Plant grafted cucumbers so deep that the thickened grafting point is above the ground.

cucumber plants

Locations beyond the greenhouse

Home-grown crunchy cucumbers are within easy reach even for hobby gardeners without a greenhouse. Thanks to space-saving mini cucumbers, balcony gardeners can harvest aromatic fruits from their deck chairs. The following overview demonstrates the wide range of suitable locations beyond greenhouses and greenhouses:

  • Balcony / terrace: pot, traffic light or large flower box
  • Outdoor: bed, raised bed, pail

When growing cucumbers in the open air, the view is directed to all sun-kissed, wind-protected locations. In the cottage garden, this can also be a wooden fence facing south, which the tendrils will green in no time. In a near-natural garden, there is nothing to be said against not planting roses on an arch, but simply converting it into a growing area for cucumbers. Just let your imagination run wild.


If you are planting cucumbers yourself, soil fatigue is a big issue. The following maxim applies: useful plants from one botanical family must not be grown one after the other. In the bed, raised bed and greenhouse, only a three-year break in cultivation guarantees that the lovingly grown cucumber plants will thrive in abundance and not falter. Alternatively, dig the depleted soil two spades deep and fill the pit with fresh garden soil.

Outdoor planting - step-by-step instructions

If you plant cucumbers outdoors, modified specifications must be taken into account compared to the greenhouse. After the ice saints in mid-May at the earliest, it will be warm enough outside that young plants do not suffer a cold shock. If in doubt, measure the floor temperature, because the signals are only green from 15 degrees Celsius. How to proceed professionally step by step:

  1. Dig, rake, weed and incorporate organic fertilizer
  2. Install climbing aids if provided
  3. Measure and mark a row spacing of 100 cm
  4. Dig plant pits within a row at a distance of 30 to 35 cm
  5. Pot the root ball soaked in water and plant in the middle
  6. Plant unprocessed cucumbers deeper, otherwise leave the processing point above the ground
  7. Press the soil on with both hands and water
  8. Mulching with nettle or comfrey leaves, compost, leaves or straw

Even pre-grown or pre-purchased cucumber plants should undergo a hardening phase in advance. For this purpose, from the beginning of May in the morning you carry the floral young people to a warm, sheltered and partially shaded place outside. The plants linger behind glass on cool nights.

cucumber plants

Not in the planter without drainage

Balcony gardeners always plant cucumbers in tubs and balcony boxes with drainage to protect against waterlogging. Before you pour the organic substrate into the planter, cover the bottom with potsherds, grit (€ 12.80 at Amazon *) or expanded clay balls. So that no crumbs of earth get stuck in the inorganic material, a water and air permeable fleece separates the drainage and the substrate.

The right type of cucumber for every location - an overview

The first step on the way to a lush cucumber harvest is a well-considered choice of varieties. A general distinction is made between free-range cucumbers and greenhouse cucumbers. Robust species with a firm shell, often covered with warts or spines, thrive in the bed. For more demanding lettuce or snake cucumbers, controlled greenhouse conditions are mandatory. These varieties delight with their smooth skin, large fruits and a mild taste. If you can't decide, choose a species that is equally impressive in the field and in the greenhouse. The following table gives an insight into the selection options:

Glasshousespecial featuresOutdoorsspecial featuresGreenhouse and open fieldspecial features
Helenaevery blossom is fruitful, mild tastediamondno powdery mildew, smooth, dark green pickled cucumbersSolverdeseedless, bitter-free, up to 20 cm long
Eiffelbitter-free, long cucumber, purely feminineIznikMini cucumbers, 10 cm long, for tubs and balconiesExcelsiorparticularly aromatic, tastes fresh and pickled
Euphyaresistant, slender fruits up to 35 cm longSeedcellperfect cucumber for beginnersPicolinoSmooth-skinned snack cucumbers, ideal for pots and balconies
Loustikhigh yield, 40 cm long, 400-600 g in weightGreen Fingersmixed flowering, robust, sweet fruitJurassicOriginal cucumber, crunchy, 40 cm long, up to 500 g in weight
Karimcrunchy, 20 cm long, each flower a fruitDelfs # 1early variety, 20 cm long, thick-fleshedDorningergreen-yellow bowl, 40 cm long

Growing in the garden for no cucumber species is a home game. The distribution areas of popular Cucumis species from the pumpkin family extend over tropical and subtropical regions. The qualification as a free-range cucumber does not imply that it is a hardy variety. Given a temperature minimum of 8 degrees Celsius, all cucumber plants perish in frost.


Modern varieties are self-fertile

In many places, growing space is limited in the bed and on the balcony. This is a headache for hobby gardeners, because historical and well-tried cucumber plants are not self-fertile. Only when a male and female variety thrive side by side do female flowers turn into crunchy cucumbers. Ingenious breeders have succeeded in creating modern cucumber varieties that only have female flowers and reliably fruit without pollination. When purchasing seeds or young plants, pay attention to this attribute so that all plants bring you juicy cucumbers.

How does the preculture succeed?

cucumber plants

Do you want to accompany your cucumbers from seed to productive plant? In April, the time window for sowing and growing on the windowsill opens. In a bright location, the ideal germination temperature is 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. In airy, loose coconut soil and under constantly warm and humid conditions, the seeds are transformed into vital young plants. How to properly sow cucumber seeds:

  1. Soak seeds in chamomile tea or milk for 24 hours
  2. Fill pots (from 8 cm diameter) with seed soil up to half the height
  3. Press 2 to 3 seeds per pot into the soil, sieve over thinly and pour on
  4. Put on cling film or put on a transparent hood
  5. place bright and warm at at least 20 degrees Celsius
  6. remove cover after germination
  7. Keep slightly moist and do not fertilize until mid-May

Those who do not like sowing by hand will receive ready-made young plants in garden centers and weekly markets from mid-May. Of course, you can also order pre-grown cucumber plants online. Specialists offer many delicious, easy-care varieties as refined cucumbers. Practice has shown that refined plant material gives you more yield thanks to the natural resistance of the rootstock to diseases.


When is the best time to plant?

When you can start planting cucumbers depends on the cultivation and the chosen location. The following overview summarizes all important dates:

  • Sow window sill : from the beginning of April
  • Direct sowing : beginning / middle of May to beginning of July
  • planting in a heated greenhouse : from early / mid-March (unheated from mid / late April)
  • plant outside : mid-May to early July

In the temperature-controlled greenhouse, the time window for direct sowing opens as early as March. For snake cucumbers, this has the particular advantage of an extra long growth period until harvest is ready. On the other hand, sowing and growing on the windowsill should start at the beginning of April at the earliest. Otherwise, the young cucumbers will be far too large for successful planting in beds and raised beds.


Direct sowing is a risky undertaking

Cucumbers do not tolerate frost. Rather, the tropical plants breathe their life out in cold temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius. In the stage of sowing and growing, even slight fluctuations in temperature put the plants in dire straits. No-till sowing in gardens north of the Alps is therefore associated with a high risk of failure. Anyone looking for a challenge as a gardener sows small-fruited free-range cucumbers or resistant pickles directly into the sunny bed from the end of April / beginning of May. A jar that is placed over it buffers significant fluctuations in outside temperatures.

How much light and heat are required?

Cucumbers are sun worshipers with a penchant for moist heat. For outdoor cucumbers, choose a location that is sheltered from the wind in a fully sunny place with a soil temperature of more than 15 degrees Celsius. Mini cucumbers thrive in the pot on the south-facing balcony with many hours of sunshine and pleasant temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius. Large-fruited snake cucumbers are dependent on a significantly longer vegetation period than robust varieties outdoors. Only in combination with tropical and warm framework conditions in the greenhouse do discerning cucumbers meet the high expectations. Nevertheless, shading from midday is strongly recommended in southern regions in order to mitigate the blazing sun.

What should the earth be like?

Cucumber plants are among the heavy eaters. Choose a location with humus rich, nutrient-rich soil in the bed and greenhouse. Before planting, work ripe compost, well-seasoned horse manure or bark humus into the soil. The high nutrient requirement makes cucumbers in raised beds the ideal candidates for initial planting. Please use organic, nutritious vegetable soil without peat in the pot and bucket. The substrate should be loose and well-drained and yet have a reliable water holding capacity. A pH value of 6.5 to 7 perfectly rounds off the optimal soil quality outside and under glass.

Support is mandatory

Trellises are the gardener's secret weapon in the cucumber patch. Fungal diseases and pests have bad cards if the long shoots grow airily upwards. Ripening fruits dangle at a safe distance from the ground, which effectively prevents rot. Furthermore, the vertical cultivation area enables a higher yield of crispy cucumbers. Last but not least, hard-working hobby gardeners really appreciate the back-friendly harvest. The following climbing aids have proven themselves well in beds, greenhouses and pots:

  • Narrow bars and rods with a rough surface
  • Spiral-shaped plant stick (known from tomato cultivation)
  • Vertical welded wire mesh or comparable lattice framework
  • Wire mesh stretched between wooden posts
  • Bamboo sticks tied together to form a tipi

In the greenhouse, ropes act as simple climbing aids that are attached to the ceiling. In the large bucket, trellises, pyramids or obelisk made of wooden sticks with a diameter of 20 mm offer the tendrils a climbing opportunity. Instead of using a self-made climbing aid, it is worth taking a look at the wide range in specialist gardeners, hardware stores and online shops. The figure below gives an insight into the various variants.

Trellis ideas for cucumbers

Planting cucumbers in mixed culture - tips & tricks

Mixed culture is highly valued in private kitchen gardens. Home gardeners with a weakness for growing cucumbers ask themselves: what can you plant next to cucumbers? Which plants make themselves unpopular as bed neighbors? The following table sheds light on the darkness:

good neighborsbad neighbors
basilPotatoes (wilted mushrooms)
leekSunflowers (casting shadows)
saladSweet corn (casting shadows)

The good neighborhood is over when other cucurbits colonize cucumbers. Members of the same family of plants are not friendly to one another. Therefore, avoid planting pumpkin, melon or zucchini next to cucumbers.

Planting cucumbers and tomatoes together - this is how it works

cucumber plants

In the list of recommended plant neighbors for cucumbers, you will look in vain for tomatoes - and for good reason. The requirements for location and maintenance are too different. The warm and humid conditions for cucumbers are pure poison for tomatoes.

With a clever trick you can still socialize both fruit vegetables under glass. To do this, divide the greenhouse into two climate zones with the help of a partition.

Tips on care and harvest

Nutrient deficiency and drought stress cause cucumbers to taste bitter. The leaves turn yellow in the wet soil. Balanced fertilization and regular watering prevent the culinary dilemma. Tipping the scales is harvesting at the optimal time. Cucumber enthusiasts do not put their hands on their laps after planting, but instead devote themselves to these important care measures until harvest:

  • Fertilizing in the bed and greenhouse : from June every 2 weeks fertilize with compost, horn shavings (€ 6.39 on Amazon *) or nettle manure
  • Fertilizing in the pot : apply organic liquid fertilizer weekly between fruit set and harvest
  • Watering : in the early morning if it is dry, water with lukewarm water
  • Mulching : Regularly refresh a thin layer of straw, lawn clippings or compost
  • Harvest time : from June in the greenhouse, from July outdoors
  • Harvesting : cut ripe cucumbers with a sharp knife and do not tear off

How often you water depends on various factors such as location and weather. You can avoid all imponderables around the water supply with a short finger test. Press your index finger or thumb an inch into the soil. If no moisture can be felt in this area, rinse with stale water.


Various pathogens get onto the leaves of cucumber plants through spray water. This path of transmission remains closed to diseases and pests if you remove the lower leaves to a height of 30 centimeters. When and how to cut cucumber plants, you can read here.

frequently asked Questions

Numerous withered, dry leaves are worrying about my cucumbers, even though I water regularly. What to do?

If drought stress can be ruled out as the cause, withered, dried-up leaves indicate a common plant disease. The infestation with Fusarium oxysporum, a dreaded soil fungus, is called cucumber wilt. The pathogens enter the cucumber plant via the soil and clog the supply lines. Remove the affected plants from the bed and replace the soil over a large area.

How far apart should you plant cucumbers?

Ideally, you should plant early young plants at a distance of 40 centimeters within the row. A planting distance of 140 to 170 centimeters between the rows has proven itself in practice. Shorter distances are not recommended. If cucumber plants come into close contact, diseases and pests are inevitable.

What does the lunar calendar say about planting cucumbers?

The doctrine of gardening according to the lunar calendar says that for cucumbers as a fruit vegetable a fruiting day is more suitable for sowing than a leaf day. So that seedlings take root quickly, note a root day as an appointment to prick out the plants. If you plant young plants with strong root balls from May onwards, a fruit day comes into focus. Consult a well-kept online lunar calendar to find the right dates.

Do cucumber plants grow in sun or shade?

Cucumber plants are native to sun-drenched regions from Africa, India, Southeast Asia to India. In order for the tropical cucurbits to develop vitally and productively in the Central European climate, they should be able to enjoy at least 6 hours of sunshine a day at temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius. Some leaves may sprout in the shade. However, you will look in vain for blossoms or even crunchy cucumbers.

Cucumber plant has yellow leaves - what to do?

If yellow leaves cling to a cucumber plant in abundance, there is an urgent need for action. The leaves are responsible for the vital task of being the control center for the supply of the desired fruit. They should be lush green and juicy instead of bright and yellow. The most common cause of the damage is a lack of nutrients. Between fruit set and harvest, cucumber plants in the field and in the greenhouse should be provided with compost and horn shavings every one to two weeks. You can compensate for an acute deficit with nettle manure or an organic liquid fertilizer.


Like most cucurbits, cucumber plants benefit from the occasional pruning. The focus is on majestic cucumbers and cucumbers in the greenhouse. To ensure that the plant energy flows into selected, voluminous fruits, excess flowers are snapped off with the fingers. For free-range cucumbers and mini cucumbers, the effort is not worthwhile.