Cucumber plant spacing for high yields in gardens and pots
Cucumbers are among the most popular crops for home gardeners. They’re easy to grow and just a handful of vines can provide enough cucumbers for fresh eating from mid-summer through late fall. But proper cucumber plant spacing can mean the difference between healthy, productive plants and disease ridden, low yielding ones. Let’s take a look at how far apart to plant cucumbers based on your growing technique and the method you use to plant them.
Why properly spacing cucumber plants matters
Before we dive into the details on proper plant spacing for cucumbers, let’s take a look at why giving each plant enough room to grow is so important.
Reason 1: Disease suppression
Cucumbers are susceptible to a number of plant diseases, several of which are fungal in nature, including powdery and downy mildews, and botrytis. Fungal diseases like these thrive in humid conditions, and the closer your plants are spaced, the lower the air circulation is around them. Planting cucumber plants too closely can lead to a higher risk of disease. By following good cucumber plant spacing guidelines, you’ll reduce disease prevalence.
Reason 2: Higher yields
While you might think you’ll have higher yields by growing more plants in a smaller amount of space, the opposite is true. Plants growing in the same space compete for resources like water, nutrients, and sunlight. Proper spacing gives each plant plenty of room to “breathe” and reach its full growth potential.
Reason 3: Make the best use of your space
Proper cucumber plant spacing can also enable you to make the best use of your space, especially if you grow the vines up a trellis, fence, arch, or other structure. Vertical growing means you can cultivate more plants in a smaller area of the garden because the vines primarily take up vertical space, not horizontal space like vines left to ramble on the ground.
Cucumber spacing requirements based on growing method
Now that you know a few of the reasons why knowing how far apart to plant cucumbers matters, let’s take a look at the best spacing guidelines. I’ve separated these guidelines into two sections based on whether you’re growing the vines on ground-level or vertically. Both sets of guidelines also depend on how you plan to plant your cucumbers: by sowing seeds directly into the garden or by planting transplants.
The best cucumber plant spacing for ground-level growing
Cucumbers in this category are planted directly into the soil – or into the soil of raised beds – and left to ramble on the ground. Practice the following guidelines to know how closely to space cucumber plants grown in this manner based on whether you’re starting from:
Seed sown directly into the garden, or
B. From transplants planted into the garden