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Cucumber Plants Growing Too Tall – What Causes It

As you attempt to grow fruits and vegetables for the first time, problems and questions usually arise. If you are new to cucumber gardening, you may wonder, are my cucumber plants growing too tall?

If your cucumber plants are over two feet tall, chances are you have some maintenance techniques to perform. Letting your cucumber plants get out of hand and be too tall can do more harm than good. Practice pruning them and ensure they are properly supported with stakes throughout the growing process. 

Continue reading to learn about cucumber plant support and pruning to ensure the best outcome in your garden. 

What’s The Maximum Height A Cucumber Plant Should Be?

Unless you have extremely long support stakes, your cucumber plants should remain in the 1-2 foot height. Any time they exceed their favorable height, they need to be pruned. Failing to prune will cause the plants to topple over and damage them.

If you decide to support your cucumber plants with tall stakes or a trellis, you may be able to exceed the 2 feet of height. Pruning will still be necessary, and of course, ensure you can reach the plants when harvesting time comes around.  

How To Prune A Cucumber Plant

  1. Pick the right time to prune your plants. Most gardeners find that their cucumbers are ready to be pruned around 3-5 weeks after planting. Your plants should be around 1-2 feet in height by that time. If your plant is pruned too early, it can cause permanent health damage. Assess and make sure it is ready.
  2. Locate the center vine of the plant. It should be the thickest. When pruning, the goal is to cut off excess smaller vines offshoots of the main vine. These are called suckers. The suckers will typically have an end with a furry-looking flower. Remove at least four and up to 6 suckers from the bottom of your cucumber plant. Either cut them with shears or pinch them off with your fingers. Try your best not to damage the main vine. 
  3. Remove any cucumbers that may be a lost cause. This can include rotted cucumbers along with brown or oddly discolored ones. Removing inedible cucumbers will allow the plant to provide nutrients to the healthy cucumbers to encourage growth. Also, be careful not to remove healthy flowers from your cucumber plants. The flowers are the start of a new cucumber, and removing them will lessen your harvest later on.
  4. Prune your plants as often as necessary. This may be every 1-3 weeks depending on growth and health. It’s essential to keep up on pruning and to add it to your normal gardening maintenance routine. 

Do Cucumber Plants Need Support As They Get Tall?

As cucumber plants grow tall, they need support from an outside source. Most gardeners find that a stake or a trellis works the best. You can use chicken wire from your local gardening or farming supply store.

Cucumbers need support to prevent them from toppling over and getting damaged. Cucumbers can grow to be quite large. Their heaviness will pull down the vines and can kill the plant if they aren’t properly staked or attached to a structure. 

Different Ways To Support Cucumber Plants

Trellis:

A trellis is a support mechanism usually made of wood or metal. It looks like a fence but has several support beams horizontally and vertically. It can also be referred to as a lattice. You can use a trellis to support your cucumber plants.

Place it in your garden bed and put it deep enough into the soil to stabilize it. As your cucumber plants grow alongside it, use a string or jute cord to gently tie the plants to it. Continue to prune when your plants get too tall or out of hand. 

Stakes:

Stakes are a great option for cucumber plant support but aren’t as reliable as a trellis because they have less surface area. You will need several stakes for larger plants. Place the stakes in between each of your cucumber plants.

Once again, as they begin to grow, tie them to the stakes and make sure they are secure. As your cucumbers grow up the stakes, still prune them regularly to prevent them from outgrowing the stakes and to keep them healthy. 

Chicken Wire:

Chicken wire is a cheap and easy way to support cucumber plants. You can cut a piece long enough to fit over your garden bed. Bend it into a half circle with one end in the ground on one side of your garden and the other on the opposite side. It should form a round roof over your cucumber plants.

You can train them to latch on to the chicken wire as they grow. Their limbs will typically curl around the wire, but using string or jute cord to tie them as they grow will guarantee they are attached properly. Once again, continue to prune your cucumbers if they are outgrowing the chicken wire. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s very easy to let your cucumbers grow too tall. One of the most critical steps to take with cucumber growing is giving them the proper support they need. You can use one of the three above ideas to give your cucumbers something to attach to and grow on.

After supporting them, you can tell when they need to be pruned. After reaching around two feet tall, your cucumber plants may outgrow their supports and need to be pruned. Follow the pruning steps at the beginning of this article to ensure your plants are getting too tall and damaged.

Pruning is an effective way to encourage healthy cucumber plants and reap a large harvest. No matter what, if your cucumber plants are getting too tall, don’t worry. There’s always a solution.