Cucumbers grow best in full sun and warm temperatures between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, they get 6 hours of sunlight every day.
The phrase cool as a cucumber doesn’t really apply to growing cucumber plants. Its growing season is in late spring and summer and it is one of the plants that is very sensitive to dropping temperatures.
Despite their love for warm weather, there is such a thing as too much sun. Cucumbers can wilt in the sun if it gets too hot, even for them.
How many hours of sun do cucumbers need? Find out everything you need to know about just how much sun cucumbers need, what to do in shady conditions and how to rescue overheated cucumbers.
Should Cucumber Plants Be in Full Sun?
Whether you are growing cucumbers in a container or outside in your home vegetable garden, the best spot for cucumbers is in full sun. Direct sunlight helps them to grow into large juicy fruit.
What does full sun mean in this case? When growing or keeping plants, full sunlight means the sun’s rays are unobstructed and the plant sits in a bright spot for at least 6-8 hours each day.
There should not be a tree, leafy bushes or another structure that blocks the sun’s rays. Although cucumbers plants can still grow in partial shade, they will grow differently.
Can Cucumbers Grow in the Shade?
If the brightest spot you have on your balcony or in your yard is still in partial shade, you might still be able to grow cucumber plants. Just keep in mind that you will probably get fewer fruit and more leaves.
Like most plants, cucumber plants grow towards the light. Cucumbers plant leaves left in partial shade are often larger and reaching for the point of entry of the sunlight.
This is because they need to get as much sunlight as possible to grow the fruit. Even then, you will get fewer cucumbers and often also smaller cucumbers.
Can Cucumbers Get Too Much Sun?
Cucumbers are true sun-loving plants but a cucumber plant wilting is not a good sign. In this case, it is not so much the sunlight itself but the heat that comes with it.
Ideal temperatures for cucumber plants is between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. You might already know that cucumber plants struggle when temperatures drop below 50°F but they don’t fare much better in temperatures above 90°F.
Such high temperatures can cause the leaves to wilt and burn at the edges. More importantly, it dehydrates the soil and the cucumbers need that water to grow their fruit.
These plants have very shallow roots which means that they get their water from the top layers of soil. If you’re growing cucumbers in a container, make sure that the top inch of soil stays moist at all times.
On extra hot days, it is a good idea to check your cucumber plants and give them more water if necessary. This should help them to survive the higher temperatures.
How Do You Protect a Cucumber Plant from Heat?
If simply watering isn’t enough, or worse, if you risk overwatering them, you need another solution to protect cucumber plants from heat. The easiest answer is to provide them with some shade.
If the cucumber plants grow close to the ground, you can set up a few stakes and hang a cloth over them. Do the same if you are growing them from vertical vines but create a triangle with the cloth, like the sun shade of a window.
Those growing in containers can just be moved to a shadier spot, inside or outside of the house. You can put them back in their original place when the temperatures are not as high.
How to Find the Right Growing Spot for Cucumber Plants
Cucumber plants are a vine and this can work to your advantage when growing them. One of the best ways to grow cucumber plants is on a trellis so they can grow upwards, closer to the sun.
Growing at a greater height can also take away some of the sunlight obstructions. Plus, it looks beautiful in your garden.
Another good tip is planting cucumbers in a row running from north to south. This gives them maximum sunlight hours throughout the day.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Still have a few unanswered questions about cucumber plant care in the sun? You might find your answer among the following commonly asked questions.
Do Cucumbers Like Morning or Afternoon Sun?
Morning sun is better for cucumbers because it is not as hot as afternoon sun and so prevents wilting from too much heat. However, it is more important that the cucumber gets plenty hours of direct sunlight.
Why Are My Cucumbers Wilting in the Sun?
A wilting cucumber plant might be a sign of too much heat. Wilting leaves can also happen to cucumber plants that have recently moved from indoor starting to the outdoors. In both cases, make sure to provide them with plenty of water, trim off the wilted leaves and provide shade if the sun gets too hot.
How Hot Can Cucumbers Plants Tolerate?
If given enough water and some relief in the shade, cucumber plants can tolerate temperatures of up to 90°F. Even with temperatures as high as 95°F, cucumber plants can survive but their growth will be stunted i.e. fewer and smaller cucumbers.
Expect the most cucumbers when the plant gets 6-8 hours of bright sunlight every day with temperatures between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. When a cucumber plant gets too little sun or gets too hot, it won’t grow as many fruit and the leaves will start to wilt.
These are not shade-loving plants so do your best to give them the sunshine that they crave.