Cucumbers, also known as Cucumis Sativusar, are a part of the Cucurbit family. Cucumbers grow mainly during the summer months and are mostly supported with the help of a trellis. Growing a cucumber is not much of a hassle if you know how to take care of it. You can choose from a variety of cucumbers, depending on how much space you have in your garden.
Many fertilizers in the market can accentuate the growth of your cucumber. Using the right fertilizer is important because it will greatly impact how healthy your cucumber plant grows. When looking at the fertilizers, you need to check their NPK ratio. This is essential because every fertilizer has a different content ratio of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium.
The content ratio is what helps in the grown and health of the plant that you are growing. Depending on the plant that you are growing, the NPK ratio of the fertilizer would matter. Cucumbers look for acidic content in the soil where the pH level is between 6 and 6.5. You need a fertilizer that can help in maintaining this acidic balance in the soil.
When the cucumber plant grows, you need to start applying fertilizer to it. This is the time when the application will matter the most. If you have no idea what to opt for your cucumber plant, you can benefit from this guide. The article contains reviews about some of the best fertilizers that you can use for your cucumber plant.
Along with that, it also mentions some essential caring tips that you would require to grow a healthy cucumber plant. The guide has answered some of the most important questions that users often ask when growing the plant for the first time. Following the below-mentioned tips can guide you in growing a healthy and strong cucumber plant.
Caring For Your Cucumber
When Is The Right Time To Fertilize My Cucumber?
You can start fertilizing your cucumber when you see the blossoms first appearing in your plant. When you initially plant the cucumber, you would need to water it adequately. The appearance of blossoms gives you the indication that your plant needs proper fertilization to boost growth.
How Often Should The Cucumber Be Fertilized?
Your cucumber plant’s feeding pattern would depend on the growth stage and the fertilizer you have chosen. There are clear instructions given on the package of the fertilizer, which should be strictly followed. Generally, it is advisable to fertilize your plants every three months.
Keeping a well-maintained gap between each fertilization period gives the soil the chance to grab the nutrients and work its way into the roots. If you give fertilizer to your plants very frequently, then it could do more harm than good. Extra feeding will increase the nutrient quantity in the soil.
Too much of nutrients could suffocate the roots, thereby killing the plant slowly. You should also ensure that your plant receives water abundantly so that the nutrients can mix properly and reach the roots.
Which Fertilizer Will Be Best For My Cucumber?
The nutrient requirement for the proper growth of cucumber is high, but the nutrient kind will vary. Nitrogen is required in a very low amount, where Potassium and phosphorous are needed in high amounts by the plant. When using commercial fertilizers, you need to check the NPK ratio of the fertilizer you are buying.
The NPK ratio is shown in the form of 4-4-4 or 10-10-10, with the first number showing the percentage of Nitrogen, the second number of Phosphorus, and the third number of Potassium. This helps you understand which nutrient content is found more in the fertilizer. Try to choose a fertilizer that has a higher content of P and K than N.
The kind of soil that your cucumber is growing on will also decide which fertilizer would be best for you. Some soil lacks Nitrogen, and for that, you need a fertilizer with slightly higher Nitrogen content. However, the Nitrogen percentage should not be too high as it can damage the plant.
If you also want to use home-made fertilizer, then the best would be well-aged compost. This is a very natural form of fertilizer that would do wonders for your plant.
Is Well-Aged Compost Good for Cucumber?
Well-aged compost is one of the best kinds of fertilizer that you can use for cucumber. This compost contains a Nitrogen content of just 2%, and the release for this is very slow. It takes years for the compost to release the Nitrogen into the soil. One very interesting thing about well-aged compost is that it does not enhance its vegetative growth by reducing fruit growth.
Well-aged compost ensures proper nutrient reserves that can mix with the soil in the long term. You can apply this compost every year or even before you plant the seeds in the soil. This reduces the nutrient buildup in the soil and supplies only what is needed for your plant’s proper growth.
The compost will also provide your soil with Potassium, micronutrients, and phosphorous. It also keeps weeds away from your plant, leading to a proper intake of nutrients from the soil.
Can Cucumbers Be Grown In Containers?
Cucumbers can be grown in containers depending on the variety of the plant. Bush cucumbers are the ones that are generally grown in containers. When choosing to grow your cucumber plant in a container, you should opt for a bigger size. This would allow your plant to breathe and spread out.
If the container is too small, then the plant will not grow to its right size. This may also lead to damage and finally death of the plant. You also need to see that the container you choose can hold a good amount of potting soil. This helps in retaining water for a long time, which will be beneficial for your plant.
Cucumbers need moisture persistently; that is why a too small amount of soil will hold less water, drying out the plant. You also need to ensure that the container you are choosing can be moved around. Cucumber plants need about eight hours of sunlight.
If you do not want to keep them out at all times, you need a portable container. This makes it easy to move your container to direct sunlight each day and move it inside to the designated area once the sunsets. Check the soil’s temperature and the kind of fertilizer that is good for your container grown cucumber.
Top Picks for Best Fertilizer for Cucumbers
1. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Tomato, Fruits and Vegetables Plant Food (10-5-15)
When choosing the best fertilizer for cucumbers, Miracle-Gro is a brand that will always make the list. They make some of the best plant foods, with each product particular designed to enhance the growth of different plants. The Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Tomato, Fruits, and Vegetables Plant Food is perfect for your cucumber.
It has an NPK ratio of 10-5-15 where the Nitrogen content is 10%, Phosphorous content is 5%, and Potassium content is 15%. This is a slow-release fertilizer that can do wonders for your cucumber growth. Available in the form of granules, you do not need to mix the plant food in water or soil. It can be directly scattered onto the plants.
There are micronutrients present in the fertilizer that is quite essential for your plant. There is nothing but natural ingredients present in the plant food. No trace of harmful chemicals will be found in the fertilizer. With correct application, your plants will receive the necessary nutrients that will boost their growth effectively.
- Application process is very easy
- Formula contains micronutrients
- Only made from natural ingredients
- Calcium present that helps in promoting stronger cell walls
- Container is not durable
- Wrongful application may reduce the effectiveness of the fertilizer
2. Jobe’s Organics 9026 Fertilizer (2-5-3)
Jobe’s is a very good brand when it comes to choosing the best fertilizer for cucumbers. Used for many different plants and vegetables, this fertilizer has an NPK ratio of 2-5-3. This means that the percentage of Nitrogen is 2, Phosphorous is 5, and Potassium is 3. The phosphorous content is the highest, whereas Nitrogen content is the lowest in this mixture.
You will find the fertilizer in granular form. The best thing is that this fertilizer can be used as an insoluble and a water-soluble mixture. This organic fertilizer does not contain any harmful chemicals and is available in different pack sizes. Depending on the area of your land or cucumber growth, you can choose the most suitable pack.
The fertilizer is fast-acting, and you will see the results in a few days. Besides the three main nutrients, you will also find 7% calcium, 1.4% sulfur, and 0.5% magnesium in the fertilizer, which results in a productive harvest. It also has Jobe’s Biozome that is a mixture of Archaea, fungi, and bacteria for enhanced plant growth.
- Organic fertilizer without any toxic chemicals
- Does not pollute the soil
- Application is very easy
- Releases strong manure-like odor
- Wrong application may kill plants
3. Dr. Earth Premium Gold All Purpose Fertilizer (4-4-4)
The Dr. Earth Premium Gold All Purpose Fertilizer stands true to its name. It supplies some essential nutrients to your plants that would bring a huge change to their growth. The NPK ratio of the fertilizer is 4-4-4. This means that the key nutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium are available in equal percentages in the fertilizer.
Apart from these three nutrients, certain micronutrients are present in the fertilizer. These micronutrients are manganese, hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, zinc, boron, chloride, molybdenum, copper, and iron. Each nutrient present in the fertilizer is necessary for strengthening the roots of the plant.
Like all the other fertilizers on the list, this is also organic plant food. Your cucumber plant would receive no damage from using this fertilizer. However, you should always follow the fertilizer’s instructions to make sure that it does not harm your plant’s health.
- Presence of essential macro and micronutrients
- TruBiotic formula
- OMRI certified
- Lack of toxic chemicals
4. Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Raised Bed Plant Nutrition Granules (9-2-7)
The Miracle-Gro Performance Organics raised bed plant food is another very well-known product of the Miracle-Gro brand. Formulated especially for raised bed plants, this will be a great addition to your gardening experience. If you are looking for a very effective organic solution for your cucumber plant, this would be a perfect choice.
The raised bed fertilizer makes sure that the needed nutrients reach the roots of your plant. It boosts not only the vegetative growth but also the flower growth of your cucumber plant. The NPK ratio of this fertilizer is 9-2-7. This means that the nitrogen content is more in the food than that of phosphorous and Potassium.
You can use the fertilizer for Nitrogen hungry soil as too much nitrogen content can harm the plant. This is a quick-acting fertilizer that can show you the changes within a very short time. The nutrients are released instantly into the soil and the boosting starts very easily.
The application process of the fertilizer is also very easy. It is in granular form and can be applied directly without disturbing the roots. You do not need to mix the granules into the soil.
- Instant results
- OMRI listed
- Rich in nutrients
- 100% organic
- May be expensive as compared to other fertilizers
5. Burpee Organic Tomato and Vegetable Granular Plant Food (3-6-4)
Another organic fertilizer that you can use for your cucumber plant is the Burpee Organic Tomato and Vegetable granular plant food. This is a very affordable fertilizer that can provide you with very good results. Professional garden caretakers often recommend the fertilizer for its exceptional work.
The fertilizer contains 3% Nitrogen, 6% Phosphorous, and 4% Potassium, making it NPK ratio 3-6-4. Here the amount of Nitrogen is the least and Phosphorous the most. This fertilizer acts as a quick-release formula for nutrient hungry plants and slow-release formula for extended application.
The fertilizer is listed in OMRI, which makes it highly safe for plant use. It has some beneficial microbes and a lack of toxic chemicals, making it safe to be used even on harvest day. A proper application will not harm your plant and only result in your cucumber plant’s amazing growth.
The fertilizer is available in granular form that can be applied directly to the plant. Just water your cucumber after the fertilizer has been applied so that it mixes well with the soil. Follow the application instruction for better results.
- Organic plant food
- Application is very easy
- No presence of toxic chemicals
- Granules may take some time to mix in the soil
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I Use Eggshells for My Cucumber?
Yes, eggshells can be used for your cucumber plant. Eggshells are a good source of calcium, which is essential for the healthy growth of your plant. Made from calcium carbonate, using eggshells will provide your plant with the much-needed minerals. However, a whole eggshell would not do the job.
You need to grind the eggshells in your grinder and make them into a fine powder. Apply this powder to the soil, and slowly this will be released into the soil. It takes a lot of time for the eggshells to get absorbed by the soil and into the roots. Tilling helps the eggshells to reach the roots properly.
A great thing about eggshells is that they keep slugs away. Slugs are very much attracted to cucumbers and eat them away if proper care is not taken. Eggshells will not only supply necessary minerals to your plants but also keep them safe from slugs. When applied alongside fertilizers, you can see the change that your plant would go through.
2. Should The Leaves Be Removed From The Cucumber Plant?
Removing the healthy part of a plant is ever recommended since that can affect the growth. Some people state that removing the leaves from cucumber plants can lead to a reduction in disease. Furthermore, it also makes it easy for the pollinators to find flowers. Removing leaves is also said to increase the airflow in the plant.
Despite these benefits, it is said not to remove more than one leaf from your cucumber plant at one time. Moreover, try not to pluck any healthy leaves from your cucumber plant. There are small leaves known as suckers that need pruning. Even these should not be done in extreme numbers. Suckers are important for the plant as they support the growth of female flowers.
Frequent pruning is discouraged as it delays harvest and also reduces the production of your plants. That is why experts advise not to remove leaves from your cucumber plant unless absolutely necessary.
3. Why Does My Cucumber Plant Have No Fruits But Many Flowers?
There are many reasons why your cucumber may have many flowers but no fruits. One of the reasons could be the absence of any female flowers. Cucumber plants are said to be monoecious. That means that you will find male as well as female flowers together on the plant. Male flowers do produce pollen; however, they do not produce fruits.
Female flowers are the ones that produce small fruits. They tend to come in singles, while male flowers are found in clusters. If your plant has only male flowers, it could be one main reason for the lack of fruits. This is not something you need to stress about since male flowers tend to appear earlier than female flowers.
Only after the male flowers have blossomed will you see female flowers growing on your plant. Some other reasons for the lack of fruit could be a reduction in pollination or unfavorable temperature that has stopped female flowers and fruits’ growth. Additionally, if your soil has excessive nitrogen content, flowers’ growth, especially female flowers, could reduce.
4. Should The Flowers Be Picked Off The Cucumber Plant?
Picking off male flowers from your cucumber plants is necessary once every week since they can turn your cucumbers bitter. Even if you are planting cucumber for the first time, you can easily differentiate between female and male flowers. Male flowers just have stalks, and female flowers have tiny fruits growing behind their petals.
Male flowers generally stay for a day and then fall off. However, every week you should form a schedule and pluck the male flowers you see on your plant. If the male flowers pollinate your cucumber’s female flowers, then the fruits grown will have a bitter and nasty taste. This is due to Cucurbitacin, which is a bitter element in the seeds.
This process needs to be only done for indoor cucumbers. For outdoor cucumbers, male flowers are not required to be plucked. If you have an outdoor cucumber plant, then the bitter taste could be because of many other reasons and not because of the male flowers.
5. What Happens When I Overwater My Cucumber Plant?
Overwatering any plant is not a good thing. Though many plants require abundant water, you must know when to stop watering them. Cucumber plants that are overwatered will have yellow leaves. This is the most common indication of having overwatered cucumber plants along with the rotting of roots.
When your cucumber plant roots stay submerged in water, they slowly get damaged and absorb the nutrients that contribute to their growth. This slowly damaged every part of your plant and could also kill them if not taken care of. You may see that the leaves of your cucumber plant have turned yellow and are falling off.
When you see this, you need to immediately drain the excess water that has been collected in the base of the plant. Check for a proper drainage system around the roots so that the water can be taken out. If the roots are over-exposed to standing water, then they could rot very quickly.
6. How High Can My Cucumber Climb?
The height of your cucumber plant will depend on the variety of the plant. Some varieties grow very high, about 7 feet, while others may not even be one foot in height. If you are growing the cucumber in any trellis, then knowing the height of your cucumber variety will help you install the trellis according to the same height.
While there are height variations of cucumber plants, they will only grow until the trellis’ height or any other support. In case they do not receive the needed support, they will crawl in the ground and spread on your lawn. Depending on the availability of space, you can opt for two different kinds of cucumbers.
Vine cucumbers can grow between the heights of 3 to 7 feet, depending on what variety you are choosing. On the other hand, bush cucumbers grow only about 2 feet and are best for growing containers.
Cucumbers are a tasty and healthy fruit that also has many other uses. Growing cucumbers in your house can be very beneficial. However, to grow any plant, you need to make sure that they are receiving proper care. Plants are like babies; they require tenderness and care for them to grow strong.
Using proper fertilization is one of the key components of plant growth. Unfertilized plants would not be able to grow the way you want. However, you cannot just choose the first fertilizer that you see. While choosing a fertilizer, you need to see if they are suitable for your plant and deliver the right nutrients.
The fertilizers mentioned in this guide are some of the best options for cucumber plants. There are also many other options in the market that you could opt for. No matter which fertilizer you choose, follow the application instructions properly to not overuse or underuse them.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.