Cucumbers are a popular fruit to grow in the summer. They are filled with crisp and hydrating flesh that are perfect for the heat, giving gardeners plenty to harvest all year round. Cucumbers love warmer weather, leaving many to wonder about how they react to the cold. Can cucumbers grow in cold weather?
Most cucumbers do not grow well in cold weather. Cucumbers thrive in warmer temperatures, and are at risk for several issues when exposed to temperatures less than 55oF. While this may not cause frost, prolonged exposure to mild to lower temperatures can result in decay of fruits. This can damage leaves and stems and could possibly kills the plant altogether.
If you’re still wondering about optimal temperatures for cucumbers, you’ll find the answers below. On top of that, you’ll find tips to preventing frost and tips to prevents your cucumber crops from getting too cold.
Ideal Cucumber Temperature
he ideal temperature to grow cucumbers is between 65 and 75oF. When temperatures really start to heat up, they still do well, though they will need extra doses of water to keep hydrated. Cucumbers love heat. Not only do that want warmer atmospheric temperatures, but they also want warm soil temperatures too.
To maintain warmth, most gardeners will add mulch to cucumber crops, which include things like wood chips and pebbles. These help to seal in moisture while keeping the soil temperature high so both plants and roots are happy.
What Temperature Is Too Cold for Cucumbers?
If there is one temperature to avoid, it’s those that dip below 50oF. While this temperature may not cause plants to die, it could damage leaves and much more in the process, resulting in slower growth and possibly inedible fruits.
Dipping to 50oF for a short time won’t cause harm, though there are temperatures which are too cold for cucumbers. Temperatures that dip from 32oF and below will result in frost, which will kill cucumber plants. It’s for this reason that growers should choose their sowing time wisely, waiting until the chances of colder weather are reduced.
Can Cucumbers Survive Frost?
Weather is not predictable and can take a turn for the worst at any moment. Frost is defined as temperatures from 30oF and below. Frost often takes growers by surprise, resulting in reduced yield or death. While some crops can survive a frost, cucumbers are highly sensitive, often not making it through limited exposure.
Cucumbers are highly sensitive to the cold and do not react well in colder weather. It is because of this that it’s recommended to plant them in warmer months, holding off a few weeks if needed just to be on the safe side.
What Happens When Cucumbers Frost?
Cucumbers are made mostly of water, making them highly sensitive to the cold. When experiencing a frost, cucumbers can act in a number of ways, including:
- Stunted growth
- Damaged leaves and stems
- Lots of pitting
In some cases, cucumbers can survive a frost, though they may still have a ton of side effects. Growers can sometimes take precautions and help cucumbers survive a frost if they know it is coming.
Tips To Prevent Frost
Weather is unpredictable. These days, it’s even more difficult to predict what the weather will do, with weather patterns changing across the globe. Growers may not always be able to save plants but, there are a few ways they can reduce the damage to their cucumber plants if one comes their way.
Tip #1. Water Later
Many growers water their plants in the morning, giving them moisture before the sun comes out. This schedule is find for summer months, especially when temperatures start to heat up. However, when a frost is expected to come around, it’s best to water later.
Adding water to crops adds moisture, which can help protect plants from the cold. Because the soil is nice and moist, roots will be kept warm thanks to an insulating effect. If you suspect a freeze, water while it’s still warm, allowing your soil to heat up and adjust before the colder temperatures come rolling in.
Tip #2. Add Mulch
You can think of mulch like a cozy sweater for your plants, working to keep everything below ground nice and warm. Not only does it work to keep soils warm but also to retain moisture, making it an essential for most plants. Some common additions to use as mulch in your garden include:
- Fallen leaves and twigs
- Wood chips
If you’re expecting a rough freeze, aim for 4′ of mulch around your cucumber plants.
Tip #3. Cover Them Up
When we’re cold, we can just pop on a blanket and bundle up. You can do that for your plants too. Covering cucumber plants is a great way to prevent them from getting damaged due to a sudden frost. It’s simple to setup, easy to take off, and works well when combined with other insulating methods.
When adding a cover, you can use sheets, blankets, or specific plant covers on the market. Don’t just drape them over though, adding a few stakes here and there so you don’t damage the fruits or leaves in the process of keeping them warm.
Tip #4. Get Air Moving
Still air is much colder than air in motion. Getting the air next to your cucumber plants moving can protect them from frost and keep them warm. The only issue with this one is, how can you do it?
Some growers have used fans to keep air moving around, placing them near the top of the plant so air cold air circulates out and away and warm air dips lower to add warmer air where it’s needed the most.
Tip #5. Use A Cloche
Some cucumber plants might be a bit big for cloches. They are small plastic or glass structures made to protect smaller plants from colder temperatures. Even if your cucumber plants are much bigger, you could take the idea and use is as inspiration to find something that will fit your cucumber plants.
Think outside the box. Find a bucket, some tarp, or some things lying around the house.
What To Do After a Frost?
When your plants have been through a frost, the first thing you want to do is check them. Pay attention to the leaves and stems, seeing if you see signs of damage. You may notice that some have turned brown or black, while others may turn yellow and wilt over time.
Don’t get to pruning just yet, making sure that the chances of freezing are over beforehand. Some dead leaves and stems provide a bit of protection, so leave them on until summer has officially come.
Before You Go…
Cucumbers are sensitive to the cold, unable to grow when they experience frost. There are some ways you can protect your plant, though the best advice is to try and wait for the perfect time to plant. Weather is unpredictable, but summer will soon be where you are, making it the perfect time to plant your cucumber plants.
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
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