If you have grown cucumbers before, you might have had the experience of curled fruits. For many, getting deformed cucumbers might be a disappointment, especially when you waited the entire winter to get the fruits of your efforts. While cucumber fruit curl (also known as “Crooking”) is not a rare condition, you may want to work to prevent this from happening. If you are looking to answer the question, ‘Why are my cucumbers curling?’ you’ve landed in the right place.
The truth is that there might be many reasons why your cucumbers are coming out misshaped. Here, you’ll find crucial information to understand the cause of the distortion and some tips on how to reverse that.
Why are my cucumbers curling?
Pollination is one of the most common causes of cucumber curl. Regardless of how many pollinators your garden might attract, the process might never succeed without the proper conditions.
Indeed, pollination requires semi-humid and warm conditions. In regions that are too dry or where there might be prolonged rain, pollination might go wrong.
If you suspect that’s your case, you can consider hand-pollinating your fruits. However, if the weather conditions of your area do not support adequate growth, you might still have to deal with cucumber curl.
On the other hand, incorrect pollination might be the symptom of a bigger problem. While some pests can harm plants, many insects are crucial for adequate growth.
Low insect activity may interrupt pollination and result in deformed fruits. Make sure you include flowers nearby your cucumber plants to attract a vast range of pollinators into your garden.
Not Satisfying Your Cucumbers’ Requirements for Growth
These vegetables have specific requirements. If you don’t meet them, you might be causing their fruits to come out curled. Keep the soil moist and ensure the temperature doesn’t drop below 50F.
If you notice crooked fruits, you can try adding four inches of organic mulch and increase watering to your plants. If that doesn’t work, the cause might be different.
Also, while cucumbers thrive in warm conditions, the temperature cannot get too hot, as they might keep pollinators away and cause deformation in the fruits. Check if your region is suitable for growing cucumbers before planting them.
Cucumbers require nutrient-rich soil. They fall in the category of “heavy feeders,” which means you most probably will have to fertilize them regularly. Every two to three weeks, depending on your plant’s health, is more than enough.
However, remember not to over-fertilize them, as this can also cause deformed cucumbers. Always follow the package’s directions to prevent causing more harm than good to your plants.
If your cucumber plant is mature, you must feed it with fewer nutrients. Also, don’t forget to water your plants regularly: moisture stress can cause deformation too.
If you know you are giving your cucumbers all the nutrients and plenty of water to survive, the causes of their deformation might be others.
Cucumbers do great if you train them to grow up a fence or a trellis as it gives their vines more space to grow. Indeed, an obstruction may cause the fruits to deform.
Monitor your plants and train them to grow vertically. However, try to prevent them from climbing onto something else and leaning too far over, which can also cause curled cucumbers. If you don’t have a mesh structure, don’t worry. You can use an old latter, a sheet of hog paneling, or anything else you see fit.
The final reason you might get funny-shaped cucumbers is the presence of pests. As you may expect, some insects can interfere with the development of healthy fruits, resulting in damage to the cucumbers and irregular patterns in their growth.
Flies, mites, aphids, and scale attack cucumber plants and deprive them of essential nutrients that ensure healthy growth. You can get rid of them using homemade remedies such as neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Why are my cucumbers curling?: The Bottom Line
You should have no more doubts about why your cucumbers are curling. Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting deformed cucumbers: they are safe to eat and just as tasty as perfectly-shaped ones.
However, you can provide your plants with the conditions to support proper fruit development. And it is not even that hard.
Make sure you use the tips we included in this essential guide, and you won’t have issues in harvesting perfect cucumbers.
Related Article: Can You Eat A Yellow Cucumber?