Skip to main content

Cucumbers are one of the most popular garden vegetables. And growing cucumbers from seed is a rewarding experience that can be done all year long. For this article, we’ll talk about how to grow English cucumber from seed, and some common questions people have.

After planting the cucumber seeds, keep moist for 7-10 days. Cucumbers prefer full sun. Space plants 6 inches apart, allowing at 12-18 inches between rows of plants. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. About 8-12 weeks after planting the cucumber seeds, they are ready to harvest.

In this article, we’ll cover how to grow English cucumbers, questions about growing English cucumbers from seed, the best varieties of English cucumbers to grow, and other common questions.

How to grow seedless English cucumbers

How To Grow Seedless English Cucumbers

Growing English cucumbers is pretty straightforward.

Like tomatoes, they’re a popular garden vegetable, since they’re easy to grow, and produce lots of fruits until the first hard frost.

How to grow English cucumber from seed:

  1. Plant the seeds in late March or early April, or when the soil temperature reaches 55-60 degrees F.
  2. Keep the plants watered and moist, and remove weeds from around them daily.
  3. The cucumber plants will start to grow their true leaves after 3-4 weeks, which is a sign that they’re well-established in your soil. Continue watering until the leaves are fully developed and open up. Pay attention to the plant’s progress by noting differences in color: dark green is a sign of a healthy plant.
  4. After 8 weeks since planting, you can expect to see blooming begin. Flowering typically occurs around 40 days after planting, but there’s no way to definitively predict it, since this process is heavily controlled by weather & soil nutrients.
  5. The blossoms are where the cucumbers grow. If you have too many flowers, you can picked some off to help the plant focus on growing the cucumbers. This is called “thinning.”
  6. Cucumber fruits should be picked when they are a medium green color. You can also bite into them to check for ripeness.

How to grow English cucumbers from scraps

How To Grow English Cucumbers From Scratch

/instruct [explain how to grow English cucumbers from scraps]

To grow a cucumber from scraps, you’ll need to cut a cucumber in two.

Obviously, some of the scraps will need to have seeds–otherwise, the cucumber scraps won’t grow on their own.

However, keep in mind that since cucumbers (and zucchini) are harvested before their seeds are fully mature, you might get very low (or no) germination of the seeds.

However, you can still try. Here’s how:

  1. Put one half of the peeled cucumber in water and the other half of the peeled cucumber into a container with soils mixed with manure.
  2. Next, pour some water on top of the half that is sitting on top of soil. Place it in direct sunlight and let it sit for 3-4 days. When the seeds germinate and roots are developed on one side, start transferring all parts to soil mixture at once.

How to grow English cucumbers in a pot

How To Grow English Cucumbers In A Pot

Growing an English cucumber in a pot or container is a bit different than planting it in the ground.

You’ll need something to put the cucumbers into so that they can grow upright, like a deep pot or shallow clay planter.

The size of the pot depend on how much space you have available. However, keep in mind that cucumbers get very long and viney as they grow.

So, if you put them in a pot that’s too small, the plant can get top-heavy and fall over easily.

Also, in a small container, the roots won’t be able to get enough nutrients.

So, choose a pot or container that’s about 2-5 gallons in size–about 12-18 inches deep and wide. Fill your containers with potting mix and place them where you want them to grow until they are ready for planting.

Keep in mind that potting mix is usually better than garden soil for containers & pots. That’s because potting soil usually has perlite and vermiculite for better drainage.

How long do English cucumbers grow

How Long Do English Cucumbers Grow

Depending on the variety, English cucumbers can usually be harvested in about 55 to 70 days after the seeds germinate.

This is, however, dependent on various factors such as the climate and other factors.

Generally speaking, the cucumber plants grow between 2 to 8 inches a day during the first month.

English cucumber plants are fast growing, vine-like climbing plant. If left to their own devices, they can climb a support structure more than 10 to 15 feet high and almost as wide.

Very low and very high temperatures–for instance, lower than 55 F or higher than 90 F, will dramatically decrease pollination. Fruits that do form can often be distorted when they mature.

So, generally cucumbers are only grown until the first hard frost in the fall.

Can you grow English cucumbers on a trellis

Can You Grow English Cucumbers On A Trellis

The short answer is yes, English cucumbers can indeed be grown on a trellis.

However they need to be tied up with string so they don’t grow all over the place.

It’s usually better to start growing the cucumbers in pots at first and then transfer them to the ground once they’re larger.

It’s not always easy to find a trellis system that is tall enough for English cucumbers.

The vines are fast growers and tend to get very heavy, so they may need more support than other types of cucumber.

For example, a thick netting (such as tomato netting) can be draped over the trellis for extra support or you can tie them directly onto the trellis with twine or thin wire.

Most people will recommend making sure that there is at least 6 inches of clearance between your plants and other plants around them so that they can grow upward and out freely.

It’s also recommend planting English cucumbers approximately 2 feet apart from each other.

If you’re growing English cucumbers in a regular garden bed, you’ll have to make sure that they will have enough room to grow.

If they are planted too close together or if there are other plants growing next to them, the vines will split off and try to grow their way around the stems of the plants next door and they’ll end up crowding out your cucumbers.

How to grow English cucumbers vertically

How To Grow English Cucumbers Vertically

Growing English cucumbers vertically is quite easy as well, but they’ll require more attention because the vines tend to grow faster.

You’ll need a trellis system with plenty of support, and cucumbers should be planted about 2 feet apart from each other. Most people will recommend making sure that there is at least 6 inches of clearance between your plants and other plants around them so that they can grow upward and out freely. Eventually, you’ll have to tie them onto their trellis or netting system for extra support.

Growing English cucumbers vertically can be done in a variety of ways, but the most popular is to grow them up an arbor such as a tree or pole trellis.

The best way to attach cucumbers plants is to use string and tie the plant up near the top.

The string should be tied tight enough that it doesn’t come loose. You can use twine or you can tie the string on with wire. However, don’t tie them too tightly.

Remember, they want to grow freely so they can have sufficient strength to produce fruit.

You should also check out the best companion plants for cucumbers.

English cucumber plant height

English Cucumber Plant Height

English cucumber plants are a popular variety of cucumber that are grown commercially in many countries.

The plant is an annual and does not have a dormancy period which means that there is no rest time for the plant to grow after germination.

The flowers and fruit are small, about half the size of a zucchini.

English cucumber plants range from 4-6 feet tall with some reaching up to 10-15 feet in height.

The English cucumber plants are one of the larger varieties of cucumbers that are commercially produced.

There are a lot of different factors that can affect the height. The soil you plant them in, and whether they’re grown in containers or on ground will have an affect on how tall they grow.

Some other factors that affect the height is the amount of water they receive, as well as what type and fertilizers you use to help them grow.

Pruning English cucumbers

Pruning English Cucumbers

English cucumbers–like many cucumber varieties–can be pruned to encourage growth of more fruit.

In fact, research has shown that cucumber yield is directly proportional to leaf area.

So, the more leaves & leaf area you have, the more cucumbers you’ll get.

The vines will need to be kept tied up to support the plant vertically or on a trellis. Tying vines too tightly can result in fruits with distorted, misshapen shapes.

Pruning is a necessary step if you want your cucumbers to grow faster or more uniformly.

The fruits are harvested when they are ready, and they will drop or slip off the vine when you gently pull at them.

One thing to note is that some fruit may not be true to their name. If you see cucumber plants more like zucchini plants, that’s ok–the “English” part of the cultivar refers to the shape of the fruit rather than any restriction on growing in an English style garden.

How to prune English cucumbers

How To Prune English Cucumbers

Pruning English cucumbers can be done in a number of ways. Some people recommend removing the growing tip, while others prefer to thin the plant by removing some of the branches.

To prune English cucumbers, you can either use a sharp knife–or a pair of pruning shears.

Generally, you’ll have 1 main stem–which has no cucumbers growing on it for the first 24-27 inches–and several branches. Each branch should have 1 cucumber per leaf growing on it. Pinch or cut off additional leaves that are not paired with a cucumber fruit.

How to know when to harvest English cucumbers

How To Know When To Harvest English Cucumbers

You can find out when to harvest English cucumbers by observing the color and shape of the cucumbers.

When cucumber fruits are dark green in color and the fruit is still firm, it’s time to harvest. If the fruit starts turning yellow, you can slice it out of the plant. If it is wrinkled or soft, you have waited too long.

Usually, English cucumbers are ready to harvest roughly 50 days after germination. After the cucumber flower is fertilized, it takes roughly 13 days for the cucumber to mature.

You should also check out our complete article on how long does it take for a cucumber to grow.

Why are my English cucumbers bitter?

The bitter flavor in some cucumbers is caused by a chemical called cucurbitacin.

Cucurbitacin is usually concentrated in the leaves, stems, and roots of cucumber plants.

However, if the cucumber plant is under stress–for example, during hot, dry weather during the peak of summer–cucurbitacin sometimes spreads into the fruit.

That said, cucurbitacin is typically concentrated in the stem end of the cucumber fruit, and just beneath the skin.

So, you can eliminate most of the bitter taste by cutting off the stem end of the fruit, then peeling the cucumber.

Summing up

Growing English cucumbers does not have to be difficult at all–if you do a couple of things.

The most important thing is to make sure that you give them plenty of space, and don’t plant them too close together. English cucumbers are quite a large variety of cucumber, so they require a lot more attention than other types of cucumber plants. Don’t forget about pruning them and harvesting the right time either!

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.