Tips on Planting Cucumbers in Containers

Written by shelly mcrae
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Tips on Planting Cucumbers in Containers
Several varieties of cucumbers suit growing in containers. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

If you lack the space for a backyard garden and want to grow fresh vegetables, a container garden may work well. The cucumber is among the vegetables that grow well in pots and containers. Different varieties of cucumber are available commercially, both as seedlings and in seed packets, so you can choose which ones are right for your container garden.

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Cucumber plants varieties with a compact growing habit work well in containers. They still produce vines but have a bushier appearance, requiring shorter stakes. Both bush crop and salad bush produce 6-to-8 inch sized cucumbers. Fanfare, a hybrid cucumber plant, is also appropriate to container gardening, as are spacemaster, bush champion and picklebush.

Correct Container

Cucumber plants have large root systems that prefer depth over width. They prefer to grow downward rather that outward. Choose a container that is 16-to-20 inches deep to allow for strong root system development. A five-gallon container is an adequate size for cucumbers.

The potting mix in containers tends to dry out more quickly than soil in traditional gardens and cucumbers require a lot of water. Plastic or resin containers are less porous so the potting mix may retain moisture longer. These materials may increase the risk of root rot if moisture collects at the bottom and sides of the container.

A clay pot may need watering more often but it reduces the risk of root rot. Always use a container with drainage holes on the bottom. If the water can't drain the plant roots will essentially drown.

Potting Mix

Garden soil in a container will become heavy with water and overly compact and the cucumber plant will die. Use a light, porous mix for the container, such as a mix of peat moss, loose compost and sand. Commercially available potting mixes contain no soil, but rather organic materials that allow for oxygen to flow freely as well as promote drainage. Consider a bagged potting mix with a slow release fertiliser.


In a traditional garden, training a cucumber plant to climb a trellis saves space and keeps the cucumbers from sitting on top of damp soil. A large trellis, however, isn't suitable for your cucumber plant in a container. When you add the potting mix to the pot, insert three or four dowel rods around the edge of the pot. They should be long enough to sit securely in the container and extend high enough above the rim of the pot to support the final height of the variety of cucumber you selected. Wrap either twine or string around the outside of the stakes, leaving enough space to tend to the plant and harvest the fruit.

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