Cucumbers

How to grow cucumbers

Find out how to grow cucumbers with the help of our handy Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow
Sow

Do not Sow in January

Do Sow in February

Do Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do Sow in May

Do Sow in June

Do not Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do not Sow in September

Do not Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December

Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Harvest
Harvest

Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do not Harvest in March

Do not Harvest in April

Do not Harvest in May

Do not Harvest in June

Do Harvest in July

Do Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do not Harvest in October

Do not Harvest in November

Do not Harvest in December

  • Average Yield

    Multiple fruits on one plant

  • Spacing

    60cm apart

Home grown cucumbers taste sweet and delicious, so it’s worth trying to grown your own crop.

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They make the perfect summer vegetable, added to salads, or soft and alcoholic drinks, for the perfect accompaniment to dining al fresco. Choose from indoor or outdoor varieties of cucumber depending on whether you have a greenhouse.

Discover how to grow your own cucumbers in this grow guide.

Choose from indoor or outdoor varieties of cucumber depending on whether you have a greenhouse.

Sowing cucumber seeds
Sowing cucumber seeds

Sowing cucumber seeds

Fill small 5cm pots with compost and sow two cucumber seeds per pot and water. The seeds need heat to germinate – at least 20°C – so in a greenhouse, heated propagator or on a sunny windowsill. Alternatively, wait until later in the season and sow in pots or directly into warm soil outdoors.

See our step-by-step guide to sowing cucumber seed.

Misting cucumbers in a greenhouse
Misting cucumbers in a greenhouse

How to look after cucumbers

Cucumbers need plenty of heat. If you have a greenhouse, this is ideal. Screen off a section with bubblewrap, if you can, to maximise the humidity which cucumbers love.

Don’t even think about growing cucumbers outdoors until it is warm. Seedlings can be planted out when they have two or three leaves. They should be watered regularly and mulched to retain moisture and keep the bed weed-free.

If you’re growing a variety with male flowers, look out for these – they have no small fruits behind the flower – and remove them. If female flowers are pollinated, the fruit will taste bitter and be full of seed.

All cucumbers indoors or outside need support for the trailing stems. Trellis, canes, or netting will work well and you can tie the stems in if necessary. Water regularly and once fruits start to appear, feed weekly with a high potash feed.

Watch Monty Don share his tips for growing cucumbers successfully.

Harvesting a small cucumber
Harvesting a small cucumber

Harvesting cucumbers

You should have cucumbers ready to pick on outdoor plants from midsummer to early autumn. Indoor cucumbers will be ready earlier. If you keep picking, you will encourage more cucumbers. Some longer cucumber varieties can be cut in half while still on the plant and left to form a callus, so they can be used later.

Storing

Cucumbers are generally best picked fresh and used immediately. They can be stored for a few days in the fridge. Smaller cucumbers can be pickled.

Preparation and uses

See some of the tasty recipes using cucumbers, from our friends at Olive Magazine.

cucumber-foliage-with-powdery-mildew-2
Cucumber foliage with powdery mildew

Cucumbers: problem solving

Cucumber mosaic virus is spread by aphids. It’s easily spotted as the leaves develop a distinctive yellow mosaic pattern. This disease will stunt the growth of your cucumber plants and affect flowering and fruiting. There’s no treatment, so the only course of action if you find signs of the disease, is to destroy any infected plants. You should also avoid touching other plants to stop the disease spreading.

Powdery mildew can appear on leaves as white powdery patches. These cause the leaves to become stunted and shrivel. It’s often caused by underwatering, although there are cultivars available that are more resistant.

Whitefly can prey on greenhouse-grown cucumbers. These tiny white insects affect the plants by sucking sap. The honeydew they produce causes the growth of black, sooty mould, affecting the healthy growth of the plant.

Red spider mite can affect greenhouse cucumbers in warmer weather. The treatment is to burn the affected leaves which look rusty. Biological controls are also available.

Protect young seedlings against slugs and snails.

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Organic tip

Prevent pests on greenhouse cucumbers by keeping humidity levels high. Mulching plants and paths with straw after watering can help to keep the atmosphere humid.

Cucumber 'Bella'
Cucumber ‘Bella’

Cucumber varieties to try

  • ‘Burpless Tasty Green’ – this popular, easy-to-grow ridged variety can be grown indoors or outside. Produces 25cm cucumbers with very high vitamin levels
  • ‘Bella’ – an all-female flower variety, producing long 35cm fruits. It can be grown in an unheated greenhouse and has a good tolerance to powdery mildew
  • ‘F1 Delistar’ – a new and unusual variety for the greenhouse, with thin, translucent skin, so no need to peel
  • ‘Mini Munch’ RHS AGM – this all-female flower variety produces very small but tasty 7cm fruits
  • ‘Petita’ – an all-female flowering variety producing lots of small cucumbers, this is one for the greenhouse