How High Will Cucumbers Climb? (Plus How To Support Them)


If you plan to grow cucumbers on a trellis, you are probably wondering how high they will end up growing.  It is a good question, since the height of the trellis will depend on the height of the cucumbers.  I did some research to find out just how tall cucumbers will get.

So, how high will cucumbers climb?  Some cucumber varieties can grow as high as 6 to 7 feet tall, while other varieties will be less than one foot tall.  However, any cucumber can only grow as tall as the trellis or support that it uses to climb.  Without support, cucumbers will crawl along the ground, spreading out to take up a large space in your garden.

The height of a cucumber vine depends on the variety that you plant, so let’s start off by taking a look at some of the different varieties and their heights.  Then we’ll get into the options for supporting your cucumbers and the reasons why you should support them.

How High Will Cucumbers Climb?

Cucumbers can grow as high as 7 feet tall, or stay shorter than 1 foot, depending on the variety and whether they are climbing with a trellis or other support.

What Are The Types Of Cucumbers?

You can grow either vine or bush cucumbers, depending on your garden, the space available, and your preferences.

Vine Cucumbers

This is the default type of cucumber, unless otherwise indicated in a catalog or at a nursery or garden center.  Vine cucumbers will take up lots of space if they are allowed to crawl and sprawl across the ground.

cucumber seedling
Cucumbers start out small, but they can grow tall enough to require support.

However, if you support vine cucumbers with a stake or trellis, they can grow very tall and use garden space efficiently.  Some vine cucumbers can get as tall as 6 to 7 feet.

Some vine cucumber varieties include:

Bush Cucumbers

Bush cucumber plants take up very little space, needing only a few square feet per plant.  As a result, they are good for container gardening, since they won’t usually outgrow the boundaries of a 2 foot by 2 foot square container (or a 2-foot diameter round pot).

cucumber plant
Bush cucumber plants are ideal for pots and containers, or for indoor gardening.

You can also use grow bags for your cucumbers. For more information, check out my article on grow bags.

Some bush and semi-bush cucumber varieties include:

How To Support Cucumber Vines

Whether you plant bush or vine cucumbers, you can grow them more easily by providing support.  There are lots of ways to do this, but the most popular for cucumbers is probably a trellis.

Support Cucumber Vines With A Trellis

A trellis is one of the most popular ways to support cucumbers, and for good reason.  A well-placed trellis can improve the visual appeal of your garden, while also allowing your cucumbers to grow tall and take up less garden space.

You can buy a trellis or make your own from any number of materials, including wood, plastic, or metal.  An angled trellis allows your vines to grow to their full height without making it difficult for you to harvest the topmost cucumbers.

bamboo
Wood or bamboo is one material you can use to make a cucumber trellis.

As an added bonus, an angled trellis with cucumbers growing on top will provide natural shade to plants growing underneath.  If you like to grow shade-tolerant plants in your garden, they could be good companions to grow underneath a cucumber trellis.

You can even use a trellis in an A-frame shape, so that you can grow cucumbers up either side of the trellis.  With this setup, you can still plant shade-loving crops underneath the trellis, although you might need to recruit someone small and agile to harvest them!

One more cool option is an arch, or a curved trellis.  You can let cucumbers grow up both sides of the arch and meet at the top.  Then, you can easily pick cucumbers that hang down from the vines, and any that fall off will be easy to see on the ground.

For more information, check out my article on trellises.

Support Cucumber Vines With A Cage

Cages are popular for supporting tomatoes and peppers, but you can also use cages to support cucumbers.  One benefit of a cage is that you can feasibly use one as support for container or indoor cucumber plants.

With a large enough round cage, you might be able to get away with supporting two cucumbers.  You might even be able to support four cucumbers with a rectangular cage – one on each side.

A cage is a good way to support cucumbers as they grow.

One disadvantage of a cage is that they can make harvesting your cucumbers a little more difficult.  I always find it a bit of a pain to maneuver around cages, but perhaps I place them too close for comfort.

For more information, check out my article on tomato cages.

You will have to decide if the trade-off of using cages is worth it to you.  If not, you can try some of the other methods to support your cucumbers, such as along a fence.

Support Cucumber Vines With A Fence

If the edges of your garden are along your property line, you can plant your cucumbers along the fence and allow them to climb it for support.  A chain-link fence is probably the best support for cucumbers as they grow.  Just make sure to harvest any cucumbers close to the fence before they get stuck between the chain links!

chain link fence
A chain link fence gives your cucumber plants something to climb as they grow.

If you have a wooden fence, you can try driving nails (or screwing eye hooks) into the fence.  Then, you can let the cucumber grab onto those with its tendrils as it climbs. 

Support Cucumber Vines With Stakes

Cucumbers might have a little more trouble climbing stakes, but you have a couple of options to help them out.  One option is to tie the cucumber vines to the stake at intervals as they grow, just like you would with tomatoes.

tomato stake
When using stakes to support plants, it may be more helpful to stretch twine between stakes and use the twine as support instead.

Another option is to stretch a length of twine between stakes, perhaps at heights of 2, 4 and 6 feet (depending on the cucumber variety).  This will give the cucumber’s tendrils something to grab onto as it grows taller throughout the season.

Why You Should Support Cucumber Vines

We’ve talked about how to support cucumber vines, but why should you do it?  Isn’t it ok to let cucumbers crawl across the ground, like they used to do for years without human interference?

Perhaps, but let’s look into some of the reasons that supporting cucumbers is a good thing.  Then, you can decide for yourself whether you want to support your cucumbers or let them roam free in the garden.

Supported Cucumbers Take Up Less Space In Your Garden

When you let cucumbers climb up a trellis, fence, or stake, they will grow vertically instead of horizontally.  This can be the difference between cucumbers taking up lots of space in all directions, or taking up a small amount of space in a neat row.

cucumber tendril
Supporting cucumber plants will allow you to grow them with less space in your garden.

If you have limited space in your garden, supporting your cucumbers is a great way to be more economical with the space available.  If you are growing in containers or indoors, it is a necessity to support your cucumbers, unless you want them creeping into your living space!

Supported Cucumbers Are Less Susceptible To Disease and Rot

When cucumbers grow along the ground, the entire plant is more likely to get wet and stay wet when it rains, when you water, or when there is dew on the grass.  This increases the chance of diseases and rot of the leaves, vines, and fruit.

cucumber harvest
When a cucumber uses its tendrils to climb, it can avoid rot and disease due to wet leaves and vines.

If you support your cucumber vines, they will no longer be on the ground, which makes it easier to water them, since you don’t have to worry about splashing the leaves.  Supporting your cucumbers also allows them to dry out faster after a rain, or if you need to use the sprinkler for watering.

Supported Cucumbers Are Easier To Treat For Pests

If your cucumbers are supported and climbing, it will be easier to see pests on the leaves, vines, and fruit.  It will also be easier to apply treatment or to pick off bugs if you decide to do it by hand.

Supported Cucumbers Are Easier to Water, Fertilize, and Harvest

When your cucumbers are planted in rows and supported as they grow, it is easier to walk through your garden to water, fertilize, and harvest them.

First of all, you don’t have to worry about stepping on leaves, vines, and cucumbers as you go through to pull weeds or water and fertilize your plants.

Second, harvesting is much easier since you can see cucumbers more easily, and you don’t have to bend over so much to pick them.

cucumbers
It is much easier to harvest cucumbers from vines that are supported and growing tall.

Overall, supporting cucumbers makes them much easier to grow and manage, and also increases your chances of success with this crop.

Conclusion

By now, you have a good idea of just how much variety there is in the height of cucumbers (1 foot to 7 feet tall!)  Hopefully, I have also convinced you that it is a good idea to support your cucumbers.

If so, it’s time to get out there and provide the proper support.  Just remember that it is easier to set up the supports before the cucumber starts growing.  Otherwise, you risk damaging the plant.

I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information.  If you have any questions or comments about supporting cucumbers, please leave a comment below.

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jonathon. I’m the gardening guy (not guru!) who is encouraging everyone to spend more time in the garden. I try to help solve common gardening problems so that you can get the best harvest every year!

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