How to Grow Cucumbers in Pots and Enjoy a Bountiful Harvest
Looking to grow cucumbers in a pot? Learn about the ideal location and conditions for successful cucumber growth in a container!
Botanical Name: Cucumis sativus
Growing cucumbers in pots is a great way to enjoy this delicious vegetable even if you have limited space. Not only does it save space, but growing cucumbers in pots also makes it easier to control the growing conditions and prevent pests and diseases. In this post, we’ll discuss how to grow cucumbers in pots, including the best type of pot to use, how to plant cucumbers, and tips for caring for your cucumber plants.
Choosing the Cucumber Type
Among the two cucumber types vining and bush it’s the bush cucumber types that are easily manageable in containers. These bush or dwarf cucumber cultivars grow only to about 3 feet tall and can easily be kept upright by staking. Vining cucumber plants produce more fruits than bush cucumbers but require more care as the vines can grow to 8 feet in length. Installing trellis for vining cucumber is an ideal practice for bountiful harvest, but you can also allow the vines to sprawl over the ground.
Cucumbers can be propagated through seeds or cuttings. Propagation from seeds is more common as the seeds are readily available with high success rate of germination. Ideal time to propagate cucumber is around two weeks after the last frost although you can start couple of weeks early indoors. Here are the steps for both methods:
- Propagating from Seeds:
- Soak cucumber seeds in water for 12-24 hours before planting to aid germination.
- Fill a seedling tray or small pots with a mixture of potting soil and compost.
- Plant 2-3 seeds in each pot or cell, and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the soil well and keep it moist, but not waterlogged.
- Place the tray or pots in a warm, bright location, and watch for sprouts to emerge in 7-14 days.
- Once the seedlings have a few true leaves, thin them out to one strong plant per pot.
- Propagating from Cuttings:
- Take a 4-6 inch cutting from a healthy, mature cucumber plant below the leaf node.
- Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone powder to encourage root growth.
- Fill a small pot with moist potting soil.
- Make a hole in the soil and insert the cutting.
- Firm the soil around the cutting, and water it well.
- Cover the pot with a plastic bag or dome to create a humid environment (greenhouse-like effect).
- Place the pot in a warm, bright location, and mist the cutting with water daily.
- After 2-3 weeks, check for roots by gently tugging on the stem. Once the cutting has rooted, remove the plastic cover and treat it like a regular cucumber plant.
Choosing the Container
When it comes to growing cucumbers in pots, it’s important to choose the right type of container. Cucumbers need a lot of space to grow, so you should choose a pot that is at least 12 inches deep and 18 inches wide. The wider the pot the more cucumber plants you can grow per pot. Use plastic, clay, or ceramic pots, as they retain moisture which aids cucumber growth. Make sure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom!
Choose a spot that receives 6-8 hours of direct sunlight for optimum growth. In tropical and sub-tropical regions provide some shade during the afternoon in summers. You can locate the pot in backyard, patio or even at well-it open balcony.
Avoid using garden soil as it’s heavy and becomes compact with time. You can use a potting mix that’s specifically designed for growing vegetables. Alternatively, add equal parts compost and potting soil with perlite and peat moss to make your own homemade potting mix. To sum it up potting soil must be well draining and rich in organic matter of optimum growth.
The soil should be kept consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Water the plants twice a week, and more frequently during hot weather. You’ll know its time to water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Make sure to water at the base not from the top!
Being a warm-weather plant cucumbers require temperatures to remain between 75 to 85 degrees F and won’t tolerate frost. Soil temperature should remain above 65 degrees F for successful germination.
Cucumber Plant Care in Pots
Trellising cucumber increases yields, prevents diseases, and makes harvesting easy. For bush cucumbers install simple support structures such as stakes or even tomato cage. Vining cucumbers require a large and sturdy support structure such as one formed by wire mesh and posts.
Check out, these 7 Reasons to Grow Cucumbers on a Trellis!
Cucumbers are heavy feeders, so you should fertilize them especially in the growing season. Go for a fertilizer with NPK ratio 1-1.5-3 as it’ll boost harvest. Fertilize once every couple of weeks and make sure to follow the instructions on the label so that you don’t overuse. You can also add a slow release granular fertilizer to the potting soil at the time of planting.
Pests and Diseases
Cucumbers are prone to several pests and diseases, including cucumber beetles, powdery mildew, and bacterial wilt. Spray neem oil or soap solution over the foliage to get rid of cucumber beetles and other common pests. Good air circulation is important to keep powdery mildew at bay. Use fungicide and cut back affected foliage, fruits, and stems to prevent further spread.
Harvest time of cucumber depending on the cultivar and usually lasts from midsummer to fall. Cut the cucumbers off the vine using a sharp knife or scissors, and avoid pulling as it can damage the vines. Overly mature cucumbers taste bitter so don’t wait too long for harvesting cucumbers. Harvest regularly to encourage new fruit production.