Caring for cucumber plants is easy if you know what to expect. These plants go through different growth stages and have slightly different care needs at each stage. Let’s look at what to expect in terms of size, water, light, temperature, and more during the course of a cucumber plant’s life.
Cucumber Plant Growth Stages
For best results with cucumbers, you should know what to expect from your plants as they grow. Even though some cucumber varieties are determinate and some indeterminate, there is still a general pattern that most cucumbers follow. The cucumber plant growth stages include seedling, transplanting, flowering/setting fruit, and harvesting.
Observing the cucumber plant growth stages will help you determine the best time to transplant, how to handle your plants, and when to start harvesting. Knowing what size your cucumbers should be at each stage also helps you decide if they are ready for picking or not, which helps avoid any bitter-tasting cucumbers.
You can chit your cucumber seeds by laying them on a piece of damp paper towel. When your cucumber seeds first sprout, you’ll see little green shoots of grass-like plants. You can wait three to five days after the seeds germinate before transplanting them into the soil. Most people plant their cucumbers in a pot at this stage, rather than directly into the ground. This gives young shoots a chance to gather nutrients from the soil and energy from the sun and grow into little seedlings.
Once cucumber seeds have germinated, the seedlings need plenty of sunlight. They should be outside in the sun every day for at least eight hours. Cucumber plants prefer lots of light and warmth so they can grow quickly.
Young cucumber plants can be planted into your vegetable garden once they are a few inches high. At this stage, the plants need moist soil and should be provided with plenty of light. Young cucumber plants don’t need a lot of water, so try not to over-water them until they get larger. If your cucumber leaves turn white, here’s what to do.
Cucumbers prefer warmer temperatures when they are young – between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for seedlings. Once the plants are larger, cooler temperatures are better.
If you planted your seeds early enough, you should see flowers on your plant within 50 days. As soon as the cucumbers begin to flower, they need plenty of sunlight. You can continue to give them at least eight hours every day.
The flowers will eventually turn into cucumbers, and they need to stay on the plant until they’re large enough to pick and use in salads. This is typically just a few weeks after they begin flowering. If you notice that you’re getting many cucumber flowers but no actual cucumbers, try moving your plant to a warmer environment and watering it well. Cucumbers need lots of water, but be sure you don’t over-water them. Water the soil around the roots and not directly on top of the leaves or stems.
Once you see that most of the flowers on your plant have turned into small cucumbers, it’s time to start checking them for ripeness. They are ready to pick when they’re about six inches long and feel firm to the touch. Harvest the cucumbers every week or two to ensure they don’t get too large or start yellowing. You can also harvest the cucumbers that are bending over due to the weight of all the others.
Once you know what to look for when deciding when to pick your cucumbers, you can be sure that they are always fresh and delicious.
Cucumbers are one of the most popular fruits in North America. This unique and healthy fruit is low in calories high in fiber and vitamins. Many people consider cucumbers as a vegetable as its commonly eaten in salads, but their growth habit makes them a fruit.
Cucumbers can be easily grown in your home garden and require very little maintenance other than watering. With the right climate and basic care, you can grow an abundance of fruits that can be harvested throughout the year.
Related: Are Cucumbers Melons