How Much Sun Do Cucumbers Need?

Many people are becoming interested in home vegetable gardening, and cucumbers are among the most common summer vegetable crops. But how much sun do cucumbers require?

Cucumbers require full sun. This means that 6 – 8 hours a day of full sun is considered optimal. If they don’t receive at least 6 hours daily, the quality and quantity of the cucumber yield will be decreased.

Cucumbers are generally easy to grow, and it can be really fun to watch them flower and produce their long fruits. They can be finicky about temperature and light conditions, though. 

Cucumbers are a warm weather crop that need warm soil and plenty of light to reach their maximum yield.

How Much Sun Do Cucumbers Need?

Some vegetables can thrive in part sun, but cucumbers aren’t one of them.

Cucumbers are sun-loving plants, and they must have at least 6 – 8 hours a day of full sunlight to thrive and to reach their maximum yield. They don’t grow well in a shady or partly shady environment.

Cucumbers are a summer crop, and they like it warm.

Generally, they’re happiest when it’s at least 65 degrees, and they crave warm sunlight. 

But what if you live in an apartment in a shady area?

You can grow in a greenhouse, or, if that’s not possible, grow indoors in a sunny window or with grow lights.

They are generally easy to grow, but it’s important that they get as much sunlight as they need. 

Cucumbers grown in the shade will produce very disappointing fruit.

Find out why your little cucumbers might be dying, & how to fix the problem.

Do Cucumbers Need Full Sun?

Perhaps you have a very small yard and don’t have much room for shade trees.

You want to start a garden, but you need plants that can tolerate full sun.

Can cucumbers tolerate very sunny conditions?

Cucumbers need full sun, which means that they grow best in a location that receives full sun all day, or for at least 6 – 8 hours per day. Cucumbers not only can tolerate full sun, but they, in fact, crave it. 

That means that, even in July, they crave that hot, pouding afternoon sun that wilts your hydrangea and causes your petunias to bolt. 

Try to choose the sunniest spot in the yard to plant your cucumbers and, if possible, plant your rows so that they run east to west to maximize sunlight.

Can Cucumbers Grow In The Shade?

Cucumbers can be fun to grow, but they can be a little finicky about how much sunlight they get. 

If you have a shady yard, you might want to consider growing other outdoor crops, but can you grow cucumbers in the shade?

Cucumbers won’t grow well in the shade. If they don’t receive at least 6 hours of full sun each day, the quality and quantity of the fruit will decrease. The fruit will be smaller and less plentiful.

The plant’s leaves may also appear yellow if it isn’t getting enough sun.

Don’t despair, though if you do have a shady yard, though.

Grow your shade-loving plants outside and consider growing cucumbers indoors.

They can be grown in a sunny location, such as in a window.

You can, however, use artificial light to maximize their light exposure.

See our complete guide to growing burpless bush cucumbers.

Can Cucumber Plants Get Too Much Sun?

Cucumbers are a sun-loving plant, but if you have intense sunlight all day long you may wonder if they are getting too much sun.

Cucumber plants can get too much sun, but only under certain conditions. First, the leaves can become sunburned when a young plant is transplanted outdoors. Secondly, the fruit can become sun-damaged if the plant has thin leaves.

First, if you start your young plants indoors, make sure that you harden them off gradually before you transplant them into the ground. 

This can be a concern when young cucumber plants are suddenly moved from a sheltered environment into an intensely sunny location.

When that happens, the young leaves will likely become sunburned, scorched, and withered.

Later in the season, too much sun can damage the fruit, but this generally happens when the plant’s leaves are thin because of damage, including disease or insects. 

This can cause the fruit to ripen prematurely, so, instead of the plump cucumbers you want, you’ll end up with undersized fruit because of diseases or pests.

A variety of diseases or pests can attack and damage your plants, but it’s possible to control most of them.

See how many cucumbers 1 plant can grow.

What Kind of Lighting Do Cucumbers Need?

Generally, we think of growing cucumbers outdoors in a sunny vegetable garden.

Certainly, they need plenty of light, but if you lack full sunlight in your yard, you do have some options.

So, what kind of lighting do the cucumbers need? They need full sun: at least 6 hours a day. They can also be grown in a sunny greenhouse or window, but you need a very sunny location or you’ll need grow lights.

It’s possible to grow cucumbers even if you live in an apartment. Position the plants in a sunny window or use grow lights. 

Windows with a south or west exposure are best. 

 Windows that face the east will really only receive the morning sun, and cucumbers need the strong, pounding afternoon sun to reach their maximum yield.

If you choose to use a greenhouse, plan carefully. You want to make sure that your greenhouse is in a sunny location. 

Greenhouses, like windows, usually receive the most sun when they face the south. 

If you don’t have either a sunny window or room for a greenhouse, don’t despair. 

They can be grown under grow lights, but you need to consider how long to leave the lights on. 

Generally, cucumbers will need at least 12 hours of artificial light per day.

Pollination is another issue with indoor cucumbers. 

Because you don’t have the bees to carry pollen from the male to the female, you’ll probably want to grow Parthenocarpic cucumbers. 

Sometimes called “self-pollinating,” these plants produce only female flowers , and these flowers will produce fruit.

Find out more about growing vegetables under grow lights.

Conclusion

Cucumbers are an excellent choice for any home gardener. 

They’re a very versatile vegetable that can be eaten in salads or sandwiches or prepared as a dip or as a creamy, cold soup. 

It’s also important to learn about the proper way to grow and care for cucumbers. 

Plants can actually get too much sun if they’re not transplanted properly or if insects or diseases attack them. 

These plants won’t produce a lot of cucumbers, and the ones that you do get will be disappointingly small.

Cucumbers can be grown indoors or in greenhouses if you don’t have a sunny yard. 

Place the greenhouse in a sunny location or, if you want to grow your cucumbers indoors, put them in a sunny window or use a grow light. 

So, you have a lot of options for growing. Now, you need to decide if you want pickling cucumbers or cucumbers for eating, and then start planting!

About the author

Greg Volente

Greg Volente holds a Naturalist Certificate from the Morton Arboretum, worked for The Nature Conservancy leading environmental education programs and doing natural areas restoration, and worked in the soil science research & testing lab at Michigan State University. Besides gardening, he's an avid wildflower enthusiast, and loves botanizing, hiking, and backpacking.

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