Are you looking to grow cucumbers but have no garden? Despite the sprawling vines, growing cucumbers in a container is a great alternative to consider. The key is to select a compact cucumber variety and train it up a trellis in the correct way. This way, cucumbers climb high, saving space and making the harvesting process a breeze.
Yes, you can grow cucumbers in a container. Growing cucumbers in containers/pots is a simple way to keep fertility and moisture under control. Cucumbers grown in a container usually have fewer problems with diseases and pests, plus a harvest is bountiful if you choose the right variety of cucumbers.
Find out how to grow cucumbers in a container and what you can do to ensure a rich harvest.
How to Grow Cucumbers in a Container (10 Step Guide)
Growing container cucumbers is as easy as growing traditional cucumbers in soil. Here’s your little guide to planting and growing cucumbers in pots:
1. Select the right types of cucumbers
Nowadays, there are so many types of cucumbers that it’s hard to make a choice. When it comes to growing container cucumbers though, it’s important to choose the right types. There are two major categories to consider like vining or bush.
Vining cucumbers are known for their excellent harvest. The plants are large and can grow up to 8 feet long. Vining cucumbers should be grown in large containers with enough space. Vining cucumbers require a trellis or any other type of support. Otherwise, your plant can end up wandering all over your indoor or outdoor garden.
Bush cucumbers have shorter vines and grow up 2 to 3 feet long. They don’t need a trellis and it makes them ideal for pots. You can support your plants with a tomato cage or cascade over the side of a hanging basket or container.
2. Consider the types of containers
While it doesn’t matter where to plant cucumbers – they’re more likely to grow anywhere – it’s still important to choose some great containers. The larger container, the better. If you’re ready to splurge on containers for your cucumbers, opt for self-watering varieties.
Self-watering planters are excellent for growing cucumbers as they ensure that your plants won’t dry out. Thanks to the built-in reservoir, these planters keep the moisture level under control, though you should also keep an eye on your plants.
3. Use a top-quality soil
Container cucumbers require top-quality soil for healthy growth. Unlike low-quality soil, top-quality soil keeps more moisture inside the container. The ordinary garden soil isn’t recommended for container cucumbers.
4. Choose cucumber seeds for container gardening
Select a compact variety of cucumbers if you have small containers or restricted space. In fact, any variety can successfully grow in a container but some of them do require lots of space, care, and effort. Some of the best cucumber seed choices for small-space gardening include Picolino F1, Saber F1, H-19 Little Leaf, National Pickling, and Paraiso F1 among the others.
Bush cucumber varieties include Salad Bush, Parisian Gherkin, Spacemaster. Vining cucumber varieties are Suyo Long, Picolino, Diva, and Lemon.
5. Sow the seeds
Now that you have your ideal containers, soil, and cucumber seeds, it’s time to start the sowing process. Sow 3 seeds in each container, pushing them about 1/2 inches deep. Be sure you water well and check the moisture level daily until the seeds begin germinating. Once those seeds grow well, you might need to leave a single plant, removing the others. In general, it depends on the size of the container and the cucumber variety.
When sowing cucumber seeds indoors, it’s critical to do it at the right time. It’s typically a month before you move them outdoors. When you sow the seeds indoors too early, cucumber plants can overgrow and flower and fruit unsuccessfully. Cucumbers planted too early indoors are hard to transplant and they might die once you plant them in the outdoor containers.
6. Pay attention to the soil moisture
Mastering a great watering sense is vital for your container cucumbers. Be sure you check the soil moisture with your finger on a daily basis – especially before watering. Water thoroughly the containers which are dry.
If the soil is wet, avoid watering until the soil is absolutely dry on top but slightly moist below the surface. Cucumber plants tend to use the most water during the day. This is the time when the plants are transpiring and photosynthesizing.
7. Feed your plants on a regular basis
Add granular fertilizer to the soil when planting the seeds and keep feeding your plants with liquid fertilizer during the whole growing season. This will ensure healthy growth and a rich harvest.
8. Provide support
Use a trellis to support the plant. Benefit from the vining habit of cucumbers by growing container cucumbers vertically. If you don’t have a trellis, you can use a tomato cage instead. Support is particularly crucial when your plant has many cucumbers.
9. Monitor for diseases and pests
Cucumbers are very easy to grow and they don’t have too many problems. However, pests can quickly destroy your plants. Early detection of any disease or pests can help you save the plant. Cucumbers are prone to diseases such as bacterial wilt and powdery mildew, as well as pests such as cucumber beetles, slugs, and aphids.
10. Enjoy fresh cucumbers
Cucumbers are better harvested when they are a bit immature. The size of each cucumber varies depending on the type of seeds you choose. Some cucumbers are ready to harvest when they’re only 2 inches in length while others are a foot long. Read the information on packaging to find out how your plants grow.
When picking cucumbers, avoid pulling or tugging them from the plants. There’s a risk your plant can be damaged. Use a pair of pruners or snips to clip the fruits from the vine while saving the plants.
Growing Container Cucumber FAQs
How many cucumber plants per container? Depending on the size of your container, you can plant 4 to 6 cucumber plants if a container is 20 inches wide. A 10-inch-wide pot will accommodate 2 to 3 plants.
What is the best container size for planting cucumber? Since cucumbers have relatively deep root systems, they require large containers with enough soil to support successful growth and great crops. Select a container that could contain at least 5 to 7 gallons of potting mix for every cucumber plant.
Choosing the right container ensures a bountiful harvest. Growing cucumbers in bigger containers is better as it tends to hold more water. However, large containers are heavy. If you plan to move your containers from one place to another, keep it in mind.
How do you grow cucumbers vertically? Vining types of cucumbers are recommended to grow vertically. Vertical gardening needs a trellis, including a ladder trellis, or a tomato cage. Use some garden twine to slightly tie the vine to the cage in order to get it started growing up the tomato cage. When it comes to a ladder trellis, you can either make or buy it.
Apart from saving space, growing cucumbers vertically increases sun exposure, prevents rot and fungal diseases, ensures less weeding, etc. It’s possible to grow cucumbers vertically in containers and in soil.
How long from seed to harvest? Cucumbers sprout very fast. The germination time varies from 3 to 10 days. However, you can speed up germination by keeping the soil in a container warm. If you’re going to grow indoors, opt for a heat mat. If you’re going to grow a container garden outside, choose a place full of sun.
Cucumbers are typically ready for harvest within 55 to 65 days from planting. Once cucumbers reach their mature sizes, harvest them to promote the growth of new flowers and cucumbers.
What’s the best soil for container cucumbers? A growing medium is needed for growing cucumbers in containers as their vines are extremely heavy feeders. The soil should be lightweight but loaded with organic matter. Mixing a top-quality potting mix with compost (50:50 ratio) is an ideal combo for container cucumbers. Before planting, you can also add slow-release organic fertilizer to the soil.
When to plant cucumbers in containers? Cucumbers love heat so you can plant them regardless of the season indoors where it’s extremely warm and enough light. If you’re planning to grow container cucumbers outdoors, the temperature of the soil should be at least 60 F (15 C). Avoid planting cucumbers right after the last spring frost – wait at least 1 to 2 weeks. Container cucumbers are prone to frost or cold damage.
Growing cucumbers in containers is a great idea and you can be in control of the whole process. Plus, you can always place your cucumber plants indoors in case the weather is too cold outdoors. Container cucumbers grow well in almost any space and you can harvest lots of cucumbers. Just ensure you grow your cucumbers correctly and follow the aforementioned tips.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.