How to Grow Cucumbers Vertically

Bumpy cucumbers growing on a plant
Growing At-A-Glance
Growing cucumbers vertically can save garden space and provide a better growing environment for the plants. Learn how to grow cucumbers vertically with these tips.

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Cucumbers are a home garden classic—they are easy to grow, are great for both fresh eating and pickling, and produce round upon round of vegetables to harvest. And there’s nothing quite as refreshing as a cool, crisp cucumber on a hot summer day in the garden. 

But cucumbers can also take up a ton of space—if given a chance, they will sprawl right up out of their bed and all throughout the garden. And our favorite solution to clearing up some garden space? Growing cucumbers vertically.

Where can I grow cucumbers?

You’ll want to plant cucumbers in full sun with rich soil. Cucumber plants grow long vines and abundant fruits, so they require a lot of nutrients in their soil—mix in aged manure or compost before planting. Apply a balanced foliar fertilizer every few weeks.

Growfully Protip

Be careful not to overapply nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen-rich fertilizer will give you big, lush plants…but very few cucumbers!

Plant cucumber seedlings or direct sow seeds out two weeks after the last frost date. A thick layer of mulch will help suppress weeds while also keeping the soil warm. If the temperatures will dip below 50°F, use a floating row cover to keep the plants warm and toasty. Make sure to remove the row cover when blooms start to appear—otherwise, the pollinators won’t be able to do their thing!

A patio snacker cucumber grows up a trellis in a pot

Can I grow cucumbers vertically?

You sure can, and doing so can really help maximize your garden space. If you have a strong trellis, you’ll only need about 18 inches of space per cucumber plant. 

A cucumber trellis should be at least four to five feet tall, and have webbing or netting for the tendrils of the cucumber vines to wrap onto. Make sure it is sturdy, as cucumber plants can get heavy as they start putting out fruit.

Protip: another space-saving option is to grow bush cucumbers. Look for cucumber varieties such as Patio Snacker, which stays much more compact and suitable for containers.

Why might I want to grow my cucumbers vertically?

  • As we mentioned above, cucumber plants on a trellis need far less space—the vines can climb upwards, rather than sprawling outwards.
  • Trellised plants will usually yield longer, straighter cucumbers.
  • It is easier for air to circulate through and around the plants, which cuts down on the risk of diseases such as powdery mildew or downy mildew.
  • When you grow cucumbers vertically, it can improve pollination rates.
  • You won’t miss any fruit—I can’t tell you how many times we’ve found monster cucumbers hiding under the big cucumber leaves that we should have picked earlier! Plus, when mature cucumbers are left on the vine, the plants will slow production.
  • It is easier to water the plants without getting all the vines wet, which improves disease resistance.

A growing cuke hangs down from its plant

How much space do cucumbers need to grow vertically?

Give each cucumber plant about 18 inches of space between plants if you want to grow them vertically. 

Do I need to tie up cucumbers in my vertical garden?

Put down the twine—there’s no need to tie cucumber plants to their trellis. The vines will do the climbing themselves, with the tendrils of the vines wrapping around the trellis. You might need to just prop the vines up against the trellis to encourage the tendrils.

What are some good cucumber trellis ideas?

Some of our favorite cucumber trellises include:

  • Planting cucumbers next to the garden fence, so the fence can play double-duty as a trellis. 
  • A tomato cage. Many of the store-bought options won’t be tall enough, but you can build your own with cattle panels or remesh, as we do in our tutorial here.
  • A handmade A-frame made of wood covered in chicken wire. This is one of the simplest DIY options. 
  • An arbor or archway. An arched trellis can curve just over the span of the bed, or the arches can span the space between two raised beds, giving you a beautiful, shaded walkway. 

Can you use a tomato cage for cucumbers?

We’ve found that most store-bought options are not tall enough to support most vine varieties of cucumbers, but if you build your own, you can make them taller!

Want more on growing cucumbers?

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Cassie is a Certified Master Gardener and the founder of Growfully. She's been gardening organically for over two decades, and she's so excited to answer all the questions you have about gardening!
Meet Cassie
Meet Your Guide

Hi! My name is Cassie.

I’m a Certified Master Gardener and founder of Growfully. I’ve been gardening organically for over two decades, and I’m so excited to answer all the questions you have about gardening!

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