Cucumbers are a staple of most gardens but if you’re new to them, you might not be aware of how they grow. Find out more about whether cucumbers need to climb and if so, how to help support them.
Do cucumbers need to climb? There are two kinds of cucumbers: bush plants and vine plants. Vining cucumbers can grow along the ground but will spread out and take up a lot of space. If you have the time, create a trellis from a chain link fence, tomato cages, or string to support your plants.
Should I let my cucumbers climb?
Cucumbers will naturally want to climb. The plants have tiny tendrils that will look to hold onto something, be it a wire, string, or trellis.
However, some gardeners either forget to add a climbing apparatus for their cucumbers or simply don’t want to. In this case, the cucumbers will climb along the ground and spread out this way.
Is it better to grow cucumbers vertically or horizontally?
Generally, it’s better to grow cucumbers vertically, meaning upwards, instead of horizontally, meaning along the ground. However, you can still have success with either method.
Pros of Growing Cucumber Vertically
Depending on the variety, you most likely won’t have to peel the skin off cucumbers. Instead, you can simply eat them whole.
While you will still want to clean your cucumbers, no matter where they are growing, having them grow vertically will ensure they are a lot cleaner than if left to grow horizontally.
Growing vertically means a quick wash is all you need to prepare your crop. In contrast, you will have to soak and possibly scrub your cucumbers to get off any dirt or mud.
Better air circulation
As cucumbers grow vertically, they have more space around them. This improved air circulation means there is less opportunity for diseases and rot to take place.
Most diseases are transferred from insects or other plants. The less touching there is, the less disease.
You can also expect rot to set in with cucumbers on the ground, especially if they are inundated with heavy rainfall. As the water penetrates into the cucumbers, it can lead to rot, which will ruin the whole vegetable.
Not everyone has the luxury of a massive garden. Vertical gardening can allow you to have everything you want without having to take over your entire yard.
By training your cucumbers up, you can have more space for other crops. It also allows for an extra element so your garden has more depth to it.
Pros of Growing Cucumber Horizontally
Easier for children
Cucumbers are one of those vegetables that most children love. The easier access kids have to vegetables, the more likely they are to try them.
Some cucumber vines can grow quite tall, making them out of reach for children. While adults shouldn’t have a hard time picking cucumbers from a trellis, if you have children and want to involve them in the gardening process, you may want to consider letting your cucumbers grow horizontally.
Depending on how many cucumber plants you want and where they will be, it can take a lot of effort to build the appropriate climbing apparatus. Even placing string and poles for them can take a bit of effort.
Furthermore, you need to have these structures in place before your cucumbers start to grow or else you can risk breaking them as you move them into position. Sometimes our busy lives get in the way of gardening, and that’s okay.
What happens if you don’t trellis cucumbers?
If you don’t have a trellis or other apparatus for your cucumbers in place, there’s nothing to worry about. The plant will still grow and will still produce.
The cucumber plant will simply grow across the ground, looking for places to attach itself to, such as in crevices and around stones. Your plant will still blossom and produce cucumbers.
What can cucumbers grow on?
Chain link fence
If you have a chain link fence around your property, consider growing cucumbers around it. The small wires are perfect for cucumber tendrils; just make sure they grow on your side of the fence or you have a way to access the other side.
Large tomato cages can definitely be used to help support cucumber plants. Simply place the cage in the ground after planting so that the cucumbers will latch on to it right away.
All you need for a string trellis is a few bamboo poles and some string. Tie the string across the top of the poles and then tie more pieces so they hang down to the soil. Tighten everything up so it’s strong and supportive.
If you have some extra funds and want to jazz up your garden, you can consider purchasing an arch trellis. Place this between two raised garden beds or over a path for a stunning vertical display.
A wooden lattice will provide space for your cucumbers to grow and will look good in any garden. You can leave it on its own or you can prop it against a fence if you are short on space.
Do all cucumbers grow like vines?
If, after reading this, you’re worried about how to grow cucumbers, there is a simpler method. Just plant bush cucumbers.
There are many varieties of cucumbers that grow in a bush rather than on a vine. They are easier to grow and can be planted in a container which frees up space in your garden.
Simply read the instructions on your seed package or seedling pouch to see what type of cucumber you have. Look for bush varieties and you won’t have to worry as much about growing them.
While bush varieties of cucumbers don’t need to climb, vertical varieties do. You can choose from different types of trellises to support your cucumbers although if you choose to let them grow horizontally, they will still survive.