There are many vegetables that you can grow at home, but one of the best for the summer months is of course the cucumber. Perfect in salads and sandwiches, cucumbers have been one of home growers favorite vegetables for many years. So it’s no doubt you’re wondering, how many cucumbers per plant should you get?
How many cucumbers per plant you get depends highly on its surrounding environment. If you can provide your cucumber plant with the best environment to grow in, then you should see maximum yield. However, if you cannot provide your cucumber plant with all the nutrients, and sunlight it needs, then you will see much less cucumber yield per plant.
So Just How Many Cucumbers Per Plant Should You Get?
The number of cucumbers you can expect from one plant can vary, but not too dramatically. On average you can expect 10-12 healthy cucumbers per plant, or up to 15 smaller sized cucumbers per plant, each harvest period, which lasts roughly 3 weeks.
Cucumber plants take anywhere between 50-70 days to fully mature from the planting stage, depending on their use and size. Cucumbers are best harvested in an immature state, as once they start to turn yellow, the vegetable becomes very sour and almost inedible.
The best way you can tell if a cucumber is ready to be harvested is by its flowering. Cucumber plants will flower 10 days before the vegetable is ripe, which makes the perfect indication for when you should harvest it. It’s just nature’s way of saying, I’m ready.
Cucumbers will develop at different speeds on a single plant, which means that some may mature quicker than others. This gives you great opportunities to harvest each individual cucumber at different times, meaning that you won’t be in such a rush to eat them (as you would if you harvested them all at the same time).
How Many Cucumbers Per Plant To Feed a Family?
As we have stated before, you should get roughly anywhere between 10-12 cucumbers per plant, or twice as much if grown vertically. So how many cucumbers per plant you need to feed a family really depends on the time of year, and how often you think you’re going to eat cucumbers.
We would roughly recommend that you need 1 full sized cucumber to feed a family of 4, if it is used for a salad dinner. This means that if you are eating salads 5 times a week, then one plant grown vertically will feed a family for about 1 month. If you want to provide cucumbers for your family for a longer period of time, then it’s recommended that you plant your cucumber plants 1 month apart at a time. Equally, if you aren’t eating as much cucumber as this, then you can increase the planting time to 6-7 weeks apart.
The best method for growing cucumbers for your family is the trellis method. This means that you can plant a cucumber plant every 6 weeks, and have 3 plants growing at any one time, giving you 4 months of cucumbers growing at any one time.
During the different seasons and temperatures, your cucumber plants may grow at different rates. You can not harvest cucumbers prematurely and they are not safe to eat, so please don’t be tempted to do so.
Do Cucumbers Need A Trellis?
A question that we have heard many times from home growers is, do cucumbers need a trellis? The simple fact is that cucumber plants do not need a trellis to grow healthy vegetables, and will produce anywhere between 10-12 cucumbers per plant.
But a better question to be asked is, why do cucumbers need a trellis?
Studies have shown amazing results in productivity with cucumber plants growing with a trellis. It’s been proven that using a trellis to grow the cucumber plant vertically can offer 2-3 times more cucumbers per plant. When the cucumber plant grows vertically, it produces larger leaves which creates bush like foliage. Growing the plant vertically means that it has more hours of sunlight throughout the day which improves photosynthesis, giving the plant more energy.
Usually when a cucumber plant is left to its own accord, it will only grow to half the size that it would if grown with a trellis. The simple fact being is that it doesn’t get as many sunlight hours growing on ground level, and are commonly shaded by other plants growing nearby.
Benefits of Growing Cucumbers on a Trellis?
There are a few benefits from growing cucumbers on a trellis which may persuade you to use this method (instead of the usual ground level growing method). It’s worth knowing that cucumbers grown on a trellis;
- Produces higher yield
- Are less likely to miss ripe cucumbers
- Is easier to prevent pests
- Takes up less space in your garden
- Saves your clothes getting dirty
Produces higher yield
Cucumber plants that are grown using a trellis can produce up to 2-3 times more vegetables than plants that are grown along ground level. This means that you won’t have to plant as many to produce the same yield quantities.
Less likely to miss ripe cucumbers
Growing cucumbers on a trellis makes them easier to see, meaning that you are much less likely to miss any ripe vegetables when it comes to harvesting. Cucumbers that are grown at ground level are sometimes missed, then become over ripe and taste bitter.
Easier to prevent pests
Pests will commonly only eat vegetables and leaves that are grown on ground level. Climbing a plant can be hard work for many pests which will deter them away from eating your cucumbers.
Take up less space in your garden
Commonly a cucumber plant will spread itself out over the ground, hoping to get as much sunlight as possible. They can grow up to 6 feet in any direction, so you’ll need a large space for just one plant. Growing your cucumbers on a trellis means that your plant grows vertically, reducing the need for ground space.
Clothes don’t get as dirty
When it comes to harvesting your cucumbers, you won’t have to spend any time on your hands and knees, rummaging through foliage on the ground. You can simply do this standing up, keeping yourself cleaner in the process.
How To Grow Cucumbers On A Trellis?
Stage 1 – The Set Up
The first stage of growing cucumbers on a trellis is the set up stage. First of all you will need to find a suitable place to build your trellis, whether this be on a patch of soil in your garden, or a pot. You will need roughly a distance of 2 feet long, and 2 feet wide (2 x 2 feet in diameter for a pot).
Using a 5-foot tall bamboo stake, hammer this into the ground, or the inside edges of your pot at least 1 foot deep to ensure stability. Then mark out where the second bamboo stake needs to be placed, 1 foot away from the first. Once the position of this stake has been finalized, hammer the second stake into the ground.
You should now have 3 bamboo stakes hammered roughly 1 foot deep and 1 foot away from each other, in a triangle shape. Make sure you locate the trellis away from any other vegetables you may have growing in your garden, as you don’t want to block their sunlight once the cucumber plant has grown to full size.
Stage 2 – Apply Chicken Wire
The second stage to building your trellis is to attach chicken wire between the three bamboo stakes, which will be used to tie the plant’s vines too.
You can buy pre-tied chicken wire, which we would recommend buying as this makes the process a lot easier. The chicken wire should look like a little square of wire, no more than 3 x 3 inches in sizes.
You will need to run the chicken wire between all three of the bamboo stakes, from bottom to top. Using a staple gun, you can staple every couple of inches up the bamboo stakes to ensure there is no slack in the chicken wire.
Stage 3 – Planting the cucumber plant
Once you have your trellis setup completed, you will then need to plant your cucumber plants. Plant them in the middle of the trellis triangle to give it the initial space to grow.
This means that by now you should have a triangle trellis built, with the cucumber plant buried under the soil, in the centre.
At this stage you can add your balanced fertilizer in with the soil, to enhance growth. Also remember that cucumber plants need to be watered regularly every week. This should be increased as the surrounding temperature rises too. Watering a cucumber plant 3-4 times a week in warmer weather is sufficient.
Stage 4 – Attach the vines to the trellis
Once the cucumber plants are big enough, you can start to gently tie them to the trellis using any garden string you can purchase. You should continue to tie the plant in a vertical position every couple of inches.
You should avoid tying the vines too tightly, as they will need space to grow still. The first ties should be fairly loose as this will be the thickest part of the plant once fully grown.
Stage 5 – Relocate the new vines
Once you have about 3 or 4 ties onto the bottom of the trellis per plant, you wont need to continue tying the plant. The cucumber plant will naturally begin to intertwine itself around the chicken wire, however you may need to help it sometimes, by feeding the vines in and around the chicken wire. Allow the leaves to grow on the outside of the trellis to increase sunlight hours.
Stage 6 – Untie the plant completely
The final stage of growing cucumbers on a trellis is to completely remove the ties holding the stems to the chicken wire. Once the plant has begun to intertwine itself around the chicken wire, you can take off the ties.
From this stage in the process your cucumber plant will be able to hold itself up, clinging onto the trellis for support, growing around the chicken wire naturally.
Stage 7 – Wait
Now all you have to do is wait.
About 50-70 days after planting your cucumber plants, they should be ready to harvest. If you realize the plant’s have flowered, then from this point in time you can start counting down the 10 days to harvest. We would recommend that if you lose count, cut one cucumber vegetable off the plant and give it a taste. Premature cucumbers will taste better than over mature cucumbers. So if they taste good, harvest the rest to avoid over ripening and bitterness.
How Tall Do Cucumber Plants Grow?
Now we know that cucumber plants can grow both vertically and horizontally along the ground, you’re probably wondering, how tall do cucumber plants grow?
Cucumber plants can grow in excess of 6 feet tall, when supported by a trellis. The plant itself has to be stern, with a solid core to be able to uphold the weight of the cucumbers growing from it. This is commonly why cucumber plants grow along the ground, because the weight of the cucumbers pull it down, therefore only allowing the plant to grow outwards, rather than upwards.
Using a trellis means you can support the weight of the cucumbers by tying the plant as it grows. This takes all the weighted stress off the stem, which can then continue to grow vertically.
However we would only recommend letting your cucumber plant grow to the height of yourself. Harvesting a plant which has grown taller than you can come tricky, and sometimes dangerous. Ideally you don’t want to be using a stepladder to harvest your cucumbers as the surrounding ground will be soft, and there’s always a risk of falling. We believe that managing your harvest from ground level is always the best option.
How Much Sun Do Cucumbers Need?
Sunlight is the most crucial factor in cucumber growth. Without the correct amount of sunlight, your cucumbers won’t grow healthy, or to the size that you’re expecting. But just how much sun do cucumbers need?
Cucumbers need a full day of direct sunlight. A full day of sunlight should be no less than a minimum of 6-8 hours each day. Any less than this and your cucumbers will struggle to grow.
For cucumbers to grow healthy they like to be surrounded by warmth, with plenty of sunlight. The only other factor that you need to consider is a suitable, fertilized soil which will help its growth. Other than that, with regular watering, there really isn’t much else you need to do.
How much sun do cucumbers need for the best results?
Cucumber plants are very delicate when it comes to sunlight hours. Not enough sun will prevent your cucumbers from growing to the size you expect, or produce the yield you expect either. However, too much sun and your plant will suffer from dehydration and premature ripening.
So there really is a fine line between the healthy amount of sun, and an unhealthy amount of sun.
For optimal cucumber growth rates you will need 8-10 hours of direct sunlight a day.
Yes we said that 6-8 hours of sunlight was the minimum, but this still doesn’t produce the best cucumbers. Cucumber plants that get 8-10 hours of sunlight a day produce the highest yields and the biggest vegetables.
Cucumbers grow quickly, and the more sun they get (without overdoing it) will help them to mature into healthy, great tasting vegetables which you will no doubt enjoy eating.
Can You Grow Cucumbers In Pots?
A very simple answer, but yes, cucumbers can be grown in pots.
Actually, cucumbers are generally grown best in pots. By using a pot you can fill it with the best fertilized soil, without having the worries of churning up your garden, mixing the fertilizer with your garden soil.
Growing cucumbers in pots makes it a lot easier to relocate them if you feel they are not getting the correct amount of sunlight hours. This is also beneficial if the weather changes, and a late frost is forecast in the coming days. You can simply move your cucumber plant indoors, close to a glass or or window so it can still get the sunlight it needs, whilst staying at an optimal temperature.
Choosing The Correct Fertilizer
Choosing a suitable fertilizer for your cucumber plant is crucial for the growth of your cucumber vegetables, and how many cucumbers you get per plant. We recommend that you use a balanced fertilizer such as 4-4-4 or 10-10-10.
Miracle Gro All Purpose Plant Food, is one of the best natural fertilizers on the market. Its equal balance in Potassium, Nitrogen and Phosphorus, gives the best results when growing cucumbers. Using this fertilizer you should get healthy, full sized cucumbers, when grown at home.
Pot size needed to grow cucumbers?
Cucumbers need a large pot with lots of fertilized soil to be able to produce healthy sized vegetables. To grow cucumbers in a pot, you will need a pot which is at least 5 gallons minimum, for the best possible growth. How many cucumbers per plant depends on the available space in which the plant can grow.
The bigger the pot, the better.
Typically cucumber roots grow up to 48 inches deep, which means you’ll need a suitably sized pot which can fulfill these needs. This may seem like a big pot (and it is), but this is a show piece for any garden. Once the cucumber plant starts to grow and flourish, it will bring life to any sized garden.
If your cucumber plant starts to over grow, then you can trim away some of the extended vines, but please be aware this may result in less cucumber yield. Alternatively, you can tie back the vines onto the trellis, but this may result in a slower growing process due to extra coverage of sunlight.