Cucumbers are by far the most refreshing summer vegetable. You can pop them into some summer cocktail, pickle them with other flavors, or add to salad or sandwich. This is a versatile refreshing summer vegetable that every gardener needs to grow.
What’s more, cucumbers are easy to grow in pots or on the ground. Yes, you can grow cucumbers in containers and still enjoy a bumper harvest.
But where do cucumbers grow best? In containers or in the ground? Keep reading as we discuss further.
Where do cucumbers grow better?
Cucumbers are heavy feeders and require a nutrient-rich organic matter and a lightweight medium. So, whether grown in containers or in the ground, the medium and nutrients available are much more important factors to consider.
To know the best place to plant cucumbers, you first need to understand the growing stages of cucumbers. Before they are ready to harvest, cucumbers grow through several growing stages.
Cucumber growing stages
Like other plants, cucumbers go through different growth stages. Each stage is essential for the proper growth of the fruit. Here is a breakdown of cucumber growing stages.
Germination stage: This is the first stage where cucumber seeds produce their first shoots and roots. Germination takes 3-10 days depending on the temperatures. At temperatures above 80 degrees F, seeds germinate in 3 days. In cool temperatures, seeds take a long to germinate. Generally, seeds won’t germinate when temperatures are below 60 degrees F.
Seedling stage: This is the stage when the first mature leaves appear. The cucumber plants will then grow vines and more leaves.
Flowering and fruiting stage: The stage involves the plant producing both male and female flowers. Most plants with male flowers will bloom faster a few weeks before the female flowers. Once pollinated, the plants develop the cucumber fruit. During this stage, you need to water and fertilize the plant regularly.
Harvesting stage: Depending on the cucumber variety, most plants will be ready to harvest in 50 to 70 days. Make sure you harvest while the outer skin is still green. Harvest by snipping them off the vine to avoid tearing them.
Now that you know the cucumber growing stages, it becomes easier to decide the right place to grow them.
Growing cucumbers in containers
If you’re planning on growing cucumbers in containers, then you need to choose the right ones. Cucumbers feature extensive root systems. This means they require big pots.
You need pots of at least 5-7 gallons. The pots should hold a potting mix and feature good drainage.
Generally, bigger pots are recommended since they can hold more soil and water. Bigger pots are also less prone to tipping.
So ideally cucumbers can do well in large pots with a good potting mixture. You can choose pots with plastic, metal, or wooden materials. Make sure the pots feature drainage holes at the bottom.
The best soil for pot cucumbers
If you want the best harvest of cucumbers in containers, then you need to have the right soil mixture. Cucumbers want a lightweight medium with rich organic matter.
They are heavy feeders and require a lot of water throughout the growing season. You need to avoid heavy soil in containers as it does not drain well. Try to mix soil with compost in a 50-50 ratio.
When to plant cucumbers in pots
Cucumbers need a lot of sunshine throughout the growing stages. They are heat-loving plants that require temperatures above 60 degrees F. You can use pots to plant cucumbers indoors. This is usually 1-2 weeks before the last day of frost.
You don’t want to rush cucumbers into pots when temperatures are low. Cucumbers can be prone to frost damage.
How to grow cucumber in containers or on the ground
You can grow cucumbers in pots or in the ground. But the big question is whether to sow seeds directly or transplant seedlings.
Whether growing in pots or in the ground, it’s recommended that you sow seeds directly. Seeds should be pushed about half an inch into the soil.
Cucumbers don’t want roots to be disturbed. So it makes sense not to transplant them and instead sow seeds directly.
The soil needs to be watered and kept moist until the seeds germinate. In containers, you can sow about three seeds. Depending on the variety, remove all seedlings and leave one to grow.
Verdict: Growing cucumber in containers vs in the ground
Generally, cucumbers grow well if they can climb as opposed to spreading on the ground. If you’re growing in the ground, then provide wire trellis, fences, and tall cages for the cucumbers to climb. You also need to create mounds to ensure the root systems don’t suffer rots during wet seasons.
In pots, you need to have large pots to support the big root systems. Overall, cucumbers can do well in the ground and in pots as long as the right conditions are met.