United States Edition


Cucumis sativus

Cucumber is part of the Cucumis genus and its scientific name is Cucumis sativus. The sativus part of this plant's botanical name means 'having been cultivated'.

The cucumber is a creeping vine that is usually grown on supporting frames (like trellis).

Great for pickling or in salads: there are two main types of Cucumber, Pickling and Slicing. Pickling cucumbers are often shorter than usual, thus making them ideal for preserving.

This variety typically blooms in the following colours:   Painter yellow. The mature flowers are of a single form. The leaves of this particular variety normally show as   Dark spring green colour. A type of flowering edible vegetable / fruit, it mainly grows as an annual plant - which means it typically only grows best for a single growing season. Normally reaching to a mature height of 11.7 inches (30.0 cm). Expect blooming to occur in late spring and harvesting to start by mid summer. Popular varieties of Cucumber with home gardeners are Lemon, Straight Eight, Burpless, Marketmore and National Pickling.

India is thought to be the country of origin for Cucumber.

This plant tends to need a moderate amount of maintenance, so ensuring that you are aware of the soil, sun, ph and water requirements for Cucumber is quite important to ensure you have a happy and healthy plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Cucumber have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Cucumber

  • Full Sun

    OR +
  • Partial Sun

  • High

Cucumbers require full sun as they are a sub-tropical plant. They will also need a lot of growing room, so if you are short of space, consider growing cucumbers vertically on a trellis. Dwarf varieties often do very well as a container plant.

Make sure your soil is well draining – cucumbers grow in most soil types. Mulch well around your cucumber plants in the summer to keep moisture levels up. Regular and consistent watering is required to ensure even growth and well formed fruit.

Cucumber plants will firstly grow male flowers, which will grow and then quickly fall off – this is normal! After this stage, both female and male flowers will start to grow and will start to pollinate.

Cucumber likes a position of full sun / partial sun and remember to water often. As a rough idea of the types of climates Cucumber does best in, check to see if your local area is within USDA Hardiness Zones 3 and 14. Cucumber requires a soil ph of 5.5 - 6.8 meaning it does best in weakly acidic soil. Keep in mind when planting that Cucumber is thought of as tender, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside.

See our list of companion Plants for Cucumber to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Cucumber from seed

Cucumbers can be planted directly in the garden or started indoors before your last frost date. If planting in the garden: either arrange your soil into small hills and plant 4 seeds per hill, or plant in rows.

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 11.7 inches (30.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.47 inches (1.2 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 16°C / 61°F to ensure good germination.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Cucumber about 14 days after your last frost date .

Transplanting Cucumber

Plant your cucumbers out when there is no chance of frost, as even a light frost can kill cucumber seedlings.Cucumbers are prone to bacterial wilt, before sowing the seeds ,sterilizing the soil using hot water and wood ash will improve soil ph and halt the growth of soil pathogens.(wood ash must be mixed thoroughly in soil)

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Cucumber is a tender plant.

Harvesting Cucumber

The medium sized fruit varieties are ideal for salads.
Pick fruit regularly to ensure that the vine keeps producing. Fruit left for too long on the vine will slow or stop production, although those fruit are the best for seed saving purposes.

Seed Saving Cucumber

Leave the fruit on the fine until it yellows. Do not let it rot. Cut cucumber in half and scrape out seeds. Rinse and air dry. Or ferment (the good seeds will sink), and then rinse and dry. 2

Seed viability is five years.

Common Cucumber problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Cucumber plants:

Powdery Mildew

Aphids are common during warm dry months.

  • Cucumber Mosaic Virus

    Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) was first found in Cucumbers, hence its name - however it is not limited to affecting only that plant. Mainly transmitted by Aphids and spread mechanically by humans. Can also be transmitted by seed. Can overwinter in roots of affected plants. Also known as: banana infectious, chlorosis virus, coleus mosaic virus cowpea banding mosaic virus, cowpea, ringspot virus, cucumber virus 1, lily ringspot virus, pea top necrosis virus, peanut yellow mosaic virus, southern celery mosaic virus, soybean stunt virus, spinach blight virus, tomato fern leaf virus, pea western ringspot virus

  • Powdery Mildew

    White powdery spot disease that affects a large variety of plants.

  • Aphids

    Also known as greenfly and blackfly, Aphids are a common sap-sucking garden pest.

Cucumber Etymology

The English word cucumber originated from Indian word “kachumbar”(कचुँबर).
The botanical epithet is from the Latin sativus meaning “cultivated”

Cucumber Folklore & Trivia

A cucumber is made up of 96% water. Bush cucumbers are great for small spaces and have abundant yields. Plant three to a hill and enjoy pickling size cukes for salad, snacking and pickles.

Other names for Cucumber

Garden cucumber, Common cucumber, Greenhouse cucumber, Pickling cucumber, Pipino, Katimon, Paris pickling cucumber, Sikkim cucumber, Beit alpha, Zucchini

Cucumis sativus L., Cucumis sativus var. sativus

Misspellings: cucmber, cukes, Cucmber, Cucumis sativas

Latest Cucumber Reviews

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Cucumber care instructions

How long does Cucumber take to grow?

These estimates for how long Cucumber takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

When should I plant Cucumber?

Our when to plant Cucumber estimates are relative to your last frost date. Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!


1 Plants For A Future

2 The New Seed-starters Handbook; Published 1988

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