How to Prune Cucumber Plants
To prune your cucumber plants, simply remove the suckers shooting off the stems. Do this when your plants grow to 1–2 ft (0.30–0.61 m), then routinely prune them every 1-2 weeks. In addition, you can use gardening clips to train your plant up a trellis. Regular pruning produces more crops and yields healthier cucumbers. You can easily prune your cucumber plants!
Deciding When to Prune
Prune your cucumbers when they grow 1–2 ft (0.30–0.61 m) tall.For best results, prune your cucumber plants after they grow to a decent size. On average, you can prune them 3-5 weeks after they start to grow.
- If you prune a cucumber too early, it may not develop properly and the vine may get damaged.
- This ensures the plant can support cucumbers later in the growing season.
Prune your cucumbers every 1-2 weeks for best results.Regular pruning conserves your plants’ nutrients and keeps them disease-free. While you don’t have to prune them on a particular schedule, it is best to prune them at least 1-3 times a month.
- In particular, prune your plants when they develop suckers.
Remove damaged, diseased vines or flowers whenever you notice them.To keep your plant in optimal health, inspect your plants in between your regular prunings. If you find any brown or wilted areas, cut them off using pruning shears.
- Damaged areas will take away vital nutrients from the rest of your plant.
Removing the Suckers
Follow the main vine up the plant to find the suckers.Cucumber plants grow long, skinny vines early in their blooming season. The vine runs down the center of the plant. Locate your main vines so you can find the suckers, which grow laterally off the main vines.
Get rid of 4-6 suckers growing from the bottom of the cucumber plant.Suckers are the small lateral stems that grow off the main vine. Either pinch them off with your fingers or cut them off with your pruning shears. Prune them away at the base of the stem, and make your cut at a 45-degree angle.
- To identify the sucker, look for the fuzzy, floral-like end coming off of the main plant stem.
- If you leave the suckers on the plant, you will have a smaller overall yield and may grow smaller cucumbers.
Cut off any damaged or unhealthy cucumbers using pruning shears.Get rid of any browning or rotting cucumbers as soon as you notice them. Make your cut where the cucumber grows from the main vine, and make your cut at a 45-degree angle.
- This keeps your plants healthy by distributing the nutrients to the growing cucumbers rather than the damaged ones.
Avoid removing the leaves or flowers of your plant.When pruning, only cut off the suckers. The stems of the cucumber grow leaves and flowers as part of its natural growing cycle. If you cut off the flowers, your plant will not grow cucumbers.
Training the Vines
Train your plants as soon as the flowers first appear if using a trellis.When you first see flowers, your plants are mature enough to begin training. Trellises are a good idea if you don’t have a ton of room in your garden or want to keep your plants off the ground.
- If you train your plants too early, their stems may grow unevenly.
Secure the main vine to the trellis with gardening clips.To train your plants to grow on a trellis, you have to attach the vines to it as they grow. Open up 1 gardening clip, place it around the vine of your plant, and clip the vine to the trellis. Attach another clip about 4–6 in (10–15 cm) above the first clip.
- Growing cucumbers on vines saves space in your garden and keeps them off the ground, which minimizes diseases.
Continue adding clips as your cucumber vines grow.When you first train your cucumber plant, you may only use 1-3 clips to hold the main vine in place. As the vines continue to grow, add more clips to reinforce the structure and keep the vines vertical.
Remove any lateral suckers you notice as you clip up your vine.Lateral suckers grow off the main vine in between the flowering shoots. As you clip up your vine, keep an eye out for any sprouting suckers. Then, use your pruning shears to snip them off.
Avoid trimming away the thin, vine-line tendrils.Your cucumber plant will also grow thin, light green shoots that help the vines grasp onto a surface and grow vertically. These tendrils grow immediately next to the suckers. When pruning, keep these tendrils in place so your plant has extra support.
- If you accidentally cut off the tendrils, you may need to use extra clips to support your main vine on the trellis.
Things You’ll Need
- You can toss your clippings into a 5 US gal (19,000 mL) bucket to make it easier to clean up as you go.
- Cucumber plants are ready for harvest around 48-68 days.
- Once you harvest your first cucumbers, the amount of future pruning drops down significantly.
- 1 cucumber plant can grow about 7-10 cucumbers.
- If you don't have pruning shears, you can use your fingers to pinch off the suckers instead.
- Avoid over-pruning your cucumber plants. If you cut off too much of your cucumber plant, it may not withstand the weight of the cucumbers.
- Avoid bending the vines when you clip the plant to a trellis. This can break or crush the blossoms, causing them to wilt and die.
Video: How to Prune Your Cucumber Plant
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