Do Cucumber Plants Climb? Tips On Making Your Cucumbers Climb

It’s worth every gardener having a go at growing cucumbers in their garden – for a number of reasons. For one, they’re delicious, with a crisp and fresh taste that’ll brighten up your salads.

Secondly, they’re one of the earliest summer vegetables. Finally, they make great use of vertical space! 

Do Cucumber Plants Climb? Tips On Making Your Cucumbers Climb

With that being said, although cucumbers are known as a climbing vine, a lot of gardeners are confused when they see the opposite – with the cucumbers flopping on the ground instead.

So what’s going on?

Well, cucumbers are definitely climbing vines, but they’ll need assistance from you in order to get them to climb properly.

This is especially true in the early days of growing. So, how can you train your cucumbers to climb? 

We’ve got the answers for you! In our handy guide below, we’ve got all the information you need about climbing cucumbers and how to get these vegetables to climb properly.

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert gardener, these tips will help improve your cucumbers, and it’s a skill that you can even extend to other types of climbing vegetables. Read on!

Do Cucumber Plants Climb?

As we touched on in the introduction, cucumbers can indeed climb. However, they will need a bit of assistance from you in helping them climb.

This will only be needed initially though, because after a certain point the vegetable will be able to continue by itself.

But how do cucumber plants climb in the first place?

Well, when a cucumber plant is growing, you’ll find that its long and thin tendrils will gradually wrap around objects that they touch against.

This allows the cucumber plant to climb, in a sense, although perhaps it’s more accurate to describe it as “supporting itself upright”. 

However, if the cucumber plant isn’t coming into contact with anything, then the tendrils aren’t going to have anything to wrap around.

This means that it won’t be able to “climb”, and that won’t help the cucumber in its growth. 

As a result, you can help encourage the climbing process by weaving the plants across your trellis whenever they begin to fall away from it.

After this early intervention, though, they’ll soon be able to continue by themselves. 

What Does A Cucumber Climb On?

When it comes to the ideal surfaces for your cucumber to climb on, there are certain surfaces that you should use and certain surfaces you should avoid. 

Ideal Surfaces

For your cucumber to have the best growth it can, you’ll want to plant it by structures that have vertical, horizontal, or diagonal interesting parts.

As you can imagine, this means that a trellis is a fantastic choice, but there are alternatives. For example, an arbor is a good pick, or a metal fence or cattle panels. 

Additionally, you could use something more makeshift. For example, you could tie some poles into the shape of a teepee.

On the other hand, you could have an overhead horizontal bar with strings coming down from it, or plant some stakes with twine tied between each of them.

Surfaces To Avoid

At the same time, there are plenty of surfaces for you to avoid, because the cucumber plant will struggle to climb them properly.

For example, you could plant a tall stake for the plant to climb, but it would struggle to adequately wrap its tendrils around it by itself.

As a result, you’d need to tie the cucumber plant up as it climbs the stake.

Some gardeners also decide to use other plants as the objects for the cucumber plant to climb.

Since the plant’s tendrils will grab onto anything it comes into contact with, that means it could technically wrap around another plant, using that to assist its climbing.

However, this is a bad idea. Why? Well, you might be using a disease-prone plant for it (tomatoes are a common example).

Since the cucumber plant will limit the air flow to the tomatoes, it’ll make it even for its diseases to spread over to the cucumber, ruining your cucumber plant.

Do Cucumber Plants Climb? Tips On Making Your Cucumbers Climb

Do Cucumber Plants Have To Climb Vertically?

When you picture a cucumber plant climbing, you’re probably imagining it going vertically, climbing upwards up an object like a trellis or a metal fence.

However, does it have to be upwards? You might not always have the room for a cucumber plant to grow vertically, so is it essential?

Thankfully, no! You can train your cucumber plant to “climb” horizontally instead. For example, you might have a trellis that’s really wide but not very high.

This isn’t a problem at all, because you can weave the cucumber plant so that it starts climbing sideways instead.

How Can You Make Your Cucumber Plant Climb?

Once you have an ideal surface present for the cucumber plant to climb, it’s not going to be as simple as just leaving it to do its business.

No, instead you’ll need to still help the cucumber plant climb the object, at least in the beginning stages. In order to help your plant as best as possible, follow these tips:

1. Helping When The Plan Has Few Tendrils

When the cucumber plant is especially young, it won’t have a lot of tendrils. Without many tendrils, it’s going to doubly struggle to climb structures, because there are fewer tendrils to wind around the object.

As a result, you’ll need to step in and help the plant. Being very gentle, lift the cucumber plants and lean them against your trellis or structure, so that they at least have an easier time of trying to climb it.

2. Inspecting Regularly

Of course, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the cucumber plant during these early stages, ensuring that it doesn’t flop over or fall far from the trellis.

Inspect it often and gently reposition it against the trellis if it has fallen away.

3. Tying It To The Trellis

Additionally, you can always tie the stems of the cucumber plant to the trellis in order to keep it supported and climbing even more.

If you do this, be very gentle when tying the stems, because you don’t want to damage them.

4. Helping When It Has More Tendrils

Eventually, as the cucumber plant grows more, it’ll grow more tendrils. When it does this, it’s going to find it easier to climb, but you should still help it.

Make sure that you’re weaving the plant’s growing branches so that their tendrils are touching (or close to) the trellis. Similarly, you can still lean it near the trellis instead.

5. Helping Branches That Fall Off

Now that the cucumber plant is growing and growing, it’ll be managing to climb the trellis a lot better. It won’t need your help as much now – but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need any help at all!

You see, there might still be some cucumber branches that fall away from the trellis. In these cases, gently weave them back up the trellis, helping them get back to where they were.

Additionally, you can tie them to it if they need the added support.

When it comes to tying cucumber plant branches to the trellis, there are a few different things you can use – zip ties, string, and garden tape will all do the job!

How High Can A Cucumber Plant Climb?

Now that your cucumber plant is climbing better, you might wonder how high it may grow. The answer depends on the type of cucumber, as well as conditions. 

A regular vining cucumber could reach 6 feet, while a bush cucumber is more likely to reach about 2, 3 or 4 feet.

Meanwhile, high temperatures can also slow down their growth. 

Final Thoughts

Cucumber plants do climb, but they will need your help doing so to begin with. 

Amelia Haslehurt
Scroll to Top