Cucumber plants grow the most cucumbers when kept in full sun but that doesn’t meant that they cannot grow in partial shade. As long as they receive an average of 6 hours of sunlight each day, you will be able to grow cucumbers.
There are few plants that even survive full sun exposure. For many, the heat intensity is too strong causing them to burn, dry up and wilt.
The cucumber however, manages to stay cool in very warm temperatures. But even these sun-loving plants have their limit.
Read on to learn how to grow cucumbers in full sun and what you can do when the only spot you have left is in partial shade.
Do Cucumbers Need Full Sun to Grow?
Cucumbers love lots and lots of sun, ideally 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. However, this is not possible for all plant growers.
Do not fret, a cucumber plant that grows in partial shade can still survive. The main difference is that you will likely get a smaller yield and the cucumbers themselves won’t grow as large.
If you are growing cucumbers for fun on a balcony then this might not be an issue. Cucumber plants grow as vines and can take up a lot of space so limiting the plant size might not be a bad thing.
So, to keep the answer short;
Cucumbers do not need full sun to grow but they do prefer full sun conditions.
When growing cucumbers in a vegetable garden you want to make sure they are grown on a north-south axis to get maximum sunlight for the highest yield. For cucumber plants on balconies or kitchen windows, it is good to know that partial shade doesn’t make the plant a lost cause.
How to Grow Cucumbers in Full Sun
If given the space to grow, the vines of a cucumber plant will go on and on. You can even create a beautifully green pergola using just a few cucumber plants.
Want to know how to give your cucumber plants as much sun as possible? Here are some tips for growing cucumbers in full sun.
- Line Up North to South
Whether growing cucumbers on trelisses or on the ground, they will get the most sunlight when organized into a row running from north to south. This way, each part of the plant gets a fair share of sunlight.
- Grow Vertically
They’ll never grow so tall that they can reach the sun but the higher they grow, the more sunlight they will catch. This is also a good solution for yards with a lot of taller vegetation that might block the sunlight.
- Place in Bright Window Sills
Most people choose to grow herbs by their kitchen window but is this truly the brightest window in your home? Pick a south-facing window if you are growing your cucumbers in a container indoors.
- Set Up Shade
When temperatures go above 85°F, the leaves might start to wilt and the cucumbers’ growth might be stunted. If you live in a very hot environment, it is a good idea to set up a shade cloth over your cucumber plants.
- Wait Until Late Spring
Cucumbers are very sensitive to frost so don’t rush to plant seedlings in early spring. Wait until May to move indoor started cucumbers outdoors so that they can benefit from the most sun and warmth.
How to Grow Cucumbers in Partial Shade
Really want to grow cucumbers but can’t find a spot that gets full sun during the day? Follow these tips to give your cucumber plant the best chance of surviving partial shade.
- Grow on a Trellis or Basket
This was already mentioned as a good way to grow cucumbers but it also works as a solution to partial shade. A hanging basket that can go over the window sill is also a good idea for those that don’t have a garden or balcony.
- Use a 50:50 Soil/Compost Ratio
If cucumber plants don’t get enough sun you have to make up for it with nutrients. Use a 1:1 ratio of soil to compost to provide it with plenty of plant food and resources to grow.
- Provide Adequate Water
Cucumbers have very shallow roots so they need soil that stays moist at all times, especially when grown indoors where the air tends to be drier. Always check the top soil layer of cucumber plants in containers and make sure the top inch stays moist.
- Keep the Room Warm
Cucumbers don’t do well in temperatures below 55°F so don’t leave them in a cold room. Keep them as close as possible to a window but make sure the room temperature stays between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Watch Out for Powdery Mildew
One of the main problems of cucumbers not getting enough sun is the build up of powdery mildew. Occasionally spray the leaves with water and trim off any leaves that show early signs of the white dust.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Many Hours of Sun Do Cucumbers Need?
Cucumbers need at least 5 hours of direct sunlight per day but they grow best when receiving 6-8 hours of sunlight. They prefer morning sun but the number of sunlight hours is what is most important.
Do Cucumbers Prefer Sun or Shade?
Cucumbers prefer full sun. They need the sunlight to grow fat large juicy cucumbers which is why cucumbers grown in shade are often smaller and taste bitter.
How Much Shade Does a Cucumber Need?
The only time cucumbers need shade is when temperatures consistently go above 85°F. In that case, set up a shading cloth to protect the leaves from burning in the sun’s heat.
Cucumber plants definitely prefer full sun conditions but it is still possible to grow them in partial shade. However, this may affect how many cucumbers grow, their size and their taste.
Whenever possible, grow cucumbers in full sun or a place where they get around 6-8 hours of sunlight every day. Those are their ideal growing conditions.