Growing cucumbers on a trellis is easy, looks awesome, and has tons of great benefits. In this article, I’ll show you how to grow cucumbers vertically, give you techniques for training the vines, and tips for choosing the right type of support for them.
I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely hooked on vertical gardening! I grow as many of my vegetables vertically as I can, and cucumbers are no exception.
I started growing cucumbers on a trellis in my garden several years ago, and I’ve never looked back. It’s super easy to train the vines, and a great way to get healthy, highly productive, and beautiful crops.
Here’s what you’ll find in this guide to growing cucumbers vertically. You can either click the links to skip to each section, or simply continue reading to learn it all…
Do Cucumber Plants Need Support?
Growing cucumbers vertically sounds great and all… but do they really need a trellis to climb on? Well, technically the answer is no. But, let me tell you a little story…
When I first started gardening, I always let mine just sprawl along the ground. Since I was a newbie gardener, I didn’t know there was any other option.
The problem with this method is that, once the plants start to get really large, they take up a lot of space. And, when left to sprawl naturally, they can quickly take over the garden!
I’d always plant them in a long row, and then train the vines to grow into each other. I tried my best to keep them within their row.
This worked pretty well, but by the end of the summer, I could barely reach some of the fruits, or walk on that side of the garden because the row became so wide.
Plus it was very difficult to harvest my crop because they were hidden under all that foliage, and it became super frustrating for me.
Then one year I decided to try growing cucumbers on a trellis like I have always done with my beans. And let me tell you, that was the best gardening decision I ever made!
So, should you trellis your cucumbers? Well, if I haven’t convinced you yet then keep reading…
Growing Cucumbers On A Trellis
If you’ve never tried growing cucumbers on a trellis, you’re missing out! Not only does it save you tons of space in the garden, there are lots of wonderful benefits too.
But before I go on and on about how awesome it is, let’s talk about the different varieties. Because not all types will climb a trellis.
Best Cucumbers To Grow Vertically
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of cucumber plants: bush and vining. The vining varieties are climbing plants, and the bush types are not.
So, if you want to try growing cucumbers on a trellis, you need to make sure you buy the climbers, and not the bush types.
Benefits Of Growing Cucumbers Vertically
Ok, now that we know the best types of trellis cucumbers, I can tell you about all of the awesomeness that comes with growing them vertically.
Not only does it look cool, but there are lots of benefits of growing cucumbers on a trellis too…
- More space – When you train the vines to go up, rather than allowing them to sprawl on the ground like I used to, it frees up tons of space in your garden. Plus you’ll have room other shorter crops underneath.
- Prevents disease – When they’re on the ground, the soil splashes up on the leaves. This can cause major problems with soil borne diseases and fungus. Keeping them off the ground slows down the spread of disease so the plants stay much healthier.
- Better airflow – Growing cucumbers vertically also allows better airflow so the leaves will dry out faster, which will help to prevent or slow the spread of fungal diseases as well.
- Protected from pests – Getting those yummy fruits up off the ground will keep them out of reach of many pests that could easily eat them. Plus, they won’t rot like they can when they’re just sitting on the ground.
- Easier to harvest – Trellising cucumbers also makes them easier to harvest. You won’t have to bend down and hunt for them. They hang down from the vine, making them much easier to see.
- Gorgeous crops – Since gravity pulls them down, your crops will always be straight and beautiful. They’re also cleaner, and won’t have an ugly yellow spot on them (which happens when they lay on the ground).
Vertical Supports For Climbing Cucumbers
You can use any type of support to grow cucumbers vertically. But there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re choosing the perfect support…
- Height – The vines can get really long, so think about the height of the trellis. Make sure it’s tall enough so they have plenty of space, but not so tall that you can’t easily reach the top at harvest time. Something that’s 4-6′ tall is perfect.
- Strength – The vertical structure you choose for trellising cucumbers also needs to be strong enough to support their weight. The vines are pretty lightweight, but they can quickly become very heavy once the fruits mature.
- Airflow – Make sure the support you choose is open enough so the vines aren’t kept in a tight cluster. They need plenty of airflow to prevent fungus and disease. Plus, when they are crammed together, it’s much more difficult to harvest.
Cucumber Trellis Ideas
When it comes to trellis ideas there are tons of options, so get creative with it. You can use any kind of vertical support, but it’s always fun to find new ideas.
To make harvesting much easier, try using an a-frame so that your crops will hang down. Beautiful!
If you’d rather make your own, check out my arched cucumber trellis design plans. It’s an easy DIY project.
Using Chicken Wire For Trellising Cucumbers
If you use chicken wire or a similar type of material that has small holes, you’ll need to keep an eye on it.
Baby cucumbers can easily poke through the holes in the fencing, and get stuck when they get larger.
So, check on them every few days. If any of them start poking through the fencing, be sure to move them out before they become stuck.
Don’t worry. If you do find one wedged in, you can still pick it. Take a sharp knife and cut the cucumber open to remove it from the fencing. No biggy, you’ll just have to eat that one right away.
Caring For Cucumbers On A Trellis
By now you might be wondering “how do cucumbers climb?”. I mean, do they grow on vines or what? Well, kinda…
They climbing types actually have vining tendrils, which are basically side shoots that come out of the main stem. These tendrils will reach out and grab onto anything they touch.
Oh, and don’t worry about giving them any extra support. Cucumbers growing on a trellis won’t get too heavy and rip off the vine. The vines are plenty strong enough to support the full weight of the mature fruit.
How To Trellis Cucumbers
Vining cucumbers will attach to a trellis, but they aren’t always great climbers on their own. Sometimes they need your help to find the support they’re supposed to be climbing.
Gravity is working against us, and the vines tend to prefer to sprawl along the ground. Other times, they can start climbing on nearby plants instead of their dedicated vertical support.
So, you’ll need to check on them regularly, and train any unruly vines to grab onto the support when they start going rogue.
How To Train Cucumber Vines
Don’t worry, training cucumbers to grow on a trellis isn’t hard. Simply straighten the vines, and attach them to their support.
They don’t always need to be tied up though. Many times you can gently wrap or weave the stems into the trellis, and the tendrils will eventually grab it on their own.
Just be sure to tie them on very loosely. Otherwise they can strangle the vines as they get thicker. Learn more about training vines here.
Growing cucumbers on a trellis is easy, and there are lots of great benefits. Not only will trellising cucumbers save a ton of space in your garden, your plants will be healthier, prettier, and harvesting will be a snap too!
Do you want to learn even more about growing vegetables vertically? My brand new book would be perfect for you! Vertical Vegetables: Simple Projects That Deliver More Yield In Less Space has all the information you need in order to get started. Plus it has design and care tips, detailed plant lists, and nearly two dozen step-by-step projects that you can build for your garden. Order your copy today!
Learn more about my new Vertical Vegetables book here.
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More Posts About Vertical Gardening
- How To Trellis Peas In Your Garden
- How To Grow Squash Vertically
- How To Trellis Grapes In Your Home Garden
- The Amazing Benefits Of Vertical Gardening
Share your tips for growing cucumbers on a trellis in the comments section below!