Vertical Growing Techniques For Cucumbers

Cucumbers can sometimes be vigorous viners. When grown along the ground these vining plants will spread into a huge tangle from which it an be difficult to extricate the cucumbers when it comes time to harvest. There are bush cucumbers on the market today and these can be grown in smaller spaces and even in containers. But to really make the most of your space, it is a good idea to grow vining cucumbers but grow these upwards rather than outwards, on a trellis, fencing or specially made frame.

In most areas, these frames are usually located within a polytunnel or greenhouse, as cucumbers are heat-loving plants. If you do plan to grow cucumbers outside, choose your spot wisely and make sure that it is a sheltered and sunny spot.

Cucumbers in the Vertical

The frames you use to support your cucumber plants have a number of benefits and will be multi-purpose in both covered and open air growing spaces. They will benefit the cucumbers themselves by keeping them away from soil-borne pathogens and fungal wilts. Air will move more freely around the plants and in humid areas, cucumber plants will be able to dry out more quickly, which will also reduce the incidence of diseases caused by poor ventilation.

Vertical growing will also benefit you as a home grower. Not only will you free up more space for other crops, you will also make harvesting easier, as cucumbers will hang from the vertical frames in easy reach rather than being all tangled and hidden. Amending the soil, adding mulches and weeding will also be much easier when cucumbers are trained vertically rather than across the ground.


When choosing a site for your vertical cucumber garden, it is important to consider the fact that the frame, covered with mature cucumbers, will create a fair bit of shade. You might be able to use this shade to your advantage, using it to grow some salad crops, for example, which might otherwise bolt in the heat of the summer. Alternatively, you could place the frame in a location to the back of your garden, so it does not limit your sunny growing space.

Remember when planting cucumbers next to your frame that these should be on little hills, so as to avoid water pooling around the stem, which can rot. Water well throughout the season, especially as the flowers and then fruit form. If you encourage the plants towards the frame then they should send out their tendrils and climb on their own. It is important to note that you do not need to tie the cucumbers to the trellis or frame – using wire ties, twine and string could injure and actually kill your plants.