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Cucumbers Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

Cucumber growing problems with solutions
Cucumber growing problems can be avoided if you give cucumbers the right conditions–warm, sunny weather and consistent water–and they will be one of your top producing garden crops.

Give cucumbers the right conditions–warm, sunny weather and consistent water–and they will be one of your top producing garden crops.

To keep ahead of cucumber problems, pests and diseases, here is a troubleshooting list of possible cucumber problems with brief control suggestions.

Cucumber Problems and Solutions:

Plants are eaten or cut off near soil level. Cutworms are gray grubs ½- to ¾-inch long that can be found curled under the soil. They chew stems, roots, and leaves. Place a 3-inch paper collar around the stem of the plant. Keep the garden free of weeds; sprinkle wood ash around base of plants.

Small plants turn yellow and break off. Southern corn rootworm is the larvae of the spotted cucumber beetle (See below). Cultivate the soil before planting to expose larvae and interrupt the insect’s life cycle.

Leaves curl under and become deformed and yellowish. Aphids are tiny, oval, and yellowish to greenish pear-shaped insects that colonize on the undersides of leaves. They leave behind sticky excrement called honeydew which can turn into a black sooty mold. Use insecticidal soap.

Leaves turn pale green, yellow, or brown; dusty silver webs on undersides of leaves and between vines. Spider mites suck plant juices causing stippling. Spray with water or use insecticidal soap or rotenone. Ladybugs and lacewings eat mites.

Leaves yellow; tiny white winged insects around plants. Whiteflies will congregate on the undersides of leaves and fly up when disturbed. Remove infested leaves and the whole plant if infestation is serious. Introduce beneficial insects into the garden.

Coarse white speckling or stippling on upper surface of leaves; leaves may brown. Leafhoppers are green, brown, or yellow bugs with wedge-shaped wings. They suck the juices from leaves and stems. Use floating row covers to exclude bugs; spray with insecticidal soap.

Trails and tunnels in leaves. The leafminer larvae tunnel inside leaves. Destroy infected leaves and cultivate the garden to destroy larvae and keep adult flies from laying eggs. Cover crops with floating row covers.

Water-soaked blotches on leaves–not enlarging past leaf veins; water-soaked spot can appear on fruits Angular leaf spot or bacterial spot is a waterborne bacterium which causes irregular geometric patterns on leaves. Spots may turn yellow and crisp. Avoid wetting foliage with irrigation. Prune off infected leaves and stems. Clean up garden. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Rotate crops up to 2 years.

Holes chewed in leaves, leaves skeletonized; runners and young fruit scarred. Spotted cucumber beetle is greenish, yellowish, ¼ inch (7mm) long with black spots and black head. Striped cucumber beetle has wide black stripes on wing covers. Hand pick; mulch around plants; plant resistant varieties; dust with wood ashes.

Leaves have yellow specks that turn brown, then black; vines wilt from point of attack. Squash bug is a flat, shield-shaped black or brownish bug with a triangle on its back; it sucks juices from plants. Trap adults beneath boards in spring, hand pick and destroy.

Round white powdery spots and coating on leaves. Powdery mildew is caused by fungal spores. Spores germinate on dry leaf surfaces when the humidity is high; spores do not germinate on wet leaves. Common in late summer or fall but does not result in loss of plant. Avoid water stress. Pick off infected leaves.

Irregular yellowish to brownish spots on upper leaf surfaces; grayish powder or mold on undersides. Downy mildew is caused by a fungus. Improve air circulation. Plant resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Keep garden free of plant debris.

Mottled, distorted leaves. Mosaic virus causes leaves to become thickened, brittle, easily broken from plant; plants are stunted and yields are poor. The virus is spread from plant to plant by aphids and leafhoppers. Remove diseased plants. Remove broadleaf weeds that serve as virus reservoir.

Knots, galls, or swollen beads on roots; plants wilt; poor yield. Nematodes are microscopic worm-like animals that live in the film of water that coats soil particles; some are pests, some are not. Root-knot nematodes feed in the roots and stunt plant growth. Most common in sandy soils. Rotate crops. Solarize the soil with clear plastic in mid-summer.

Plants wilt and die beginning with crown or older topmost leaves. Verticillium wilt is a soilborne fungus. Light brown streaks can be seen in stem split lengthwise. Rotate crops. Avoid soil previously planted in cucumbers and family members, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes.

Vines wilt suddenly and die starting with one or two leaves. Bacterial wilt clogs the circulatory system of plants. It is caused by bacteria that live in cucumber beetles and is seen often where the soil stays moist. Remove and destroy infected plants before the disease spreads. Control cucumber beetles with rotenone or sabadilla. Wash hands and clean tools with a bleach solution.

Plants are stunted and yellow; runners gradually die. Fusarium wilt is a fungal disease which infects plant vascular tissues. Fungal spores live in the soil and can be carried by cucumber beetles. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Remove and destroy infected plants. Fungicides are not effective

Water-soaked spots–sunken, brown or black–on fruit. Belly rot or bacterial spot or blight. Remove and destroy infected fruits. Remove all plants and plant debris at the end of the season. Promote good drainage adding organic materials to planting beds. Avoid over-head watering. Rotate crops. Stake or cage plants to keep fruit off ground.

Water-soaked or pale green spot on leaves that turn white; fruit cracks. Scab is caused by soilborne bacterium. Disease can be cosmetic. Plant resistant varieties. If scab occurs, change varieties next year. Sulfur may be worked into soil to make it slightly acid and reduce disease.

Early flowers don’t set fruit. A couple of possible reasons: (1) the first flowers to appear are male; female flower appear next. Fruit is produced by female flowers. Wait until female flowers appear and are pollinated. Plant all-female (gynoecious) cucumber hybrids–a few male plants will be added to the seed mix. (2) There may not be enough pollinators, mostly bees, to carry the pollen from male to female flowers. Pick off male flowers and dust the pollen into the female flowers.

Plants produce few fruits, mostly foliage. Plants are likely spaced too close together. Space plants at recommended distances, 8 to 12 inches apart. Plant spaced too close or too far apart yield fewer fruits as a result of poor pollination.

Plant fruit but then stop fruiting. Pick fruit as soon as it is the right size to use. This will allow the plant to put energy into additional fruit production. If you fail to pick mature fruit, the plant will quit producing.

Fruit tastes bitter. Uneven watering will cause plants to produce bitter compounds that affect taste. Uneven temperatures–swings of temperature by 20° or more–will do the same. Keep the soil evenly moist and mulch to conserve soil moisture. Grow varieties that do not turn bitter: Marketmore 70 is a bitter-free cucumber.

More tips: How to Grow Cucumbers.

 

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239 Comments

  1. My cucumber plants have plenty of beginning cucumbers, but when they get to be one or two inches long, they turn yellow and rot. Can you help me?
    Thanks,
    Joan Learner

  2. Most standard cucumbers produce male flowers first; the female flowers follow a few days later. The cucumber plant is dependent upon insects to visit the male and female flowers for full pollination. When female flowers–the ones with the tiny cucumber at the base of the flower–do not fully develop, the problem is lack of pollination. If the weather has been cool or cloudy or rainy, insects have likely not been active in your garden. You can wait for the weather to get better and the insects to get busy, or you can improve pollination by hand-pollinating. You can hand-pollinate by picking off the male flower, pull off the petals, and directly rub the pollen on the stigma of the female flower. Now, one more thing: there are cucumber varieties that are gyonecious–meaning they produce female flowers only. (Seed suppliers usually specify if a cucumber is gynoecious–so double check your variety.) Gynoecious cucumber varieties require a second variety (one that produces male flowers) to be planted nearby. If no male is planted close by the gynoecious cucumber–the female flower will not be pollinated.

    • Hi my cucumber plants are in a greenhouse in pots the leaves have got a crisps white edge and the leaves are dark green and mottled with yellow but have no bugs of any sort in the green house can you please help identify the problem thanks

      • If the temperature in the greenhouse is in the mid 70sF, then your plants are warm enough. The white edges may be the result of too little or root much water. Keep the soil just moist; do not overwater. Also do not add nitrogen fertilizer the soil.

  3. Growing Cucumbers: For good cucumber production, make sure your crops gets 1 inch of water every week–that is a deep soaking. The critical watering period for cucumbers is during flowering and fruit development. Insufficient watering can result in small fruit. Cucumbers are heavy feeders so apply aged compost to the garden in spring and again in fall; give cucumbers a side-dressing of compost tea every 2 weeks during the growing season. Feeding and watering are very important when blossoms are setting, Small fruit can also be the result of insufficient pollination. Standard cucumbers produce male flowers first, then female–female flowers have a tiny cucumber at the base. If the fruit does not develop then the problem is lack of pollination. Insects usually take care of pollination, but you can improve pollination by hand-pollinating–gather pollen from the male flower with a swab and dab the female flower.

        • I am growing pickling cucumbers for the first time and my plants look very healthy and green although they are short and no flowers have bloomed. They have been planted since April. What could be the issue?

          • The plants need a nutrient boost; feed them a dilute solution of fish emulsion or seaweed kelp. Also, feed them magnesium to help with flowering; 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt (magnesium) mixed in a gallon of water. Alternatively, feed them Lily Miller Mor-Crop (which contains all of the above nutrients).

      • If your cucumber seedlings were transplanted into the garden they may need several days to acclimatize to outdoor temperatures. Place a row cover over plants at night to keep the warm, or cut out the bottom of a milk jug to create a mini-greenhouse to shelter the plants. Cucumbers will be very slow to grow when temps are below 65F.

  4. Cucumber Growing: For good cucumber production, make sure your crops gets 1 inch of water every week–that is a deep soaking. Cucumbers are 90 percent water. Moisture stress will quickly affect fruit formation. To keep soil moisture even and prevent soil drying run a soaker hose or drip irrigation along the line of plants. The critical watering period for cucumbers is during flowering and fruit development. Insufficient watering can result in small fruit. As well, cucumbers are heavy feeders so apply aged compost to the garden in spring and again in fall; give cucumbers a side-dressing of compost tea every 2 weeks during the growing season. Feeding and watering are very important when blossoms are setting,

  5. Check the variety of cucumber you are growing. There are several seedless cucumber hybrids. Most of these were developed for greenhouse or plastic tunnel growing–they do not require pollination. They include Bush Crop, Patio Pic, Pot Luck, and Spacemaster. For the tastiest cucumbers be sure that your crop is well watered, a good watering each week is required. And make sure you don’t miss any watering when cucumbers are flowering and developing fruit.

  6. Pale cucumber leaves turning yellow–especially the lower leaves–is a class description of cucumbers suffering from nitrogen deficiency. Solve this problem quickly by spraying plants with a dilute fish emulsion or other liquid fertilizer. This is called foliar feeding and it is perhaps the fastest way to get nitrogen into the plant (through leaf pores). As well side dress your cucumbers with aged compost. Sprinkle compost around the base of the plant at the drip line. Nitrogen is necessary for plant growth at all stages. Adding aged compost to your garden twice a year is a good soil feeding strategy; as well, add aged cow manure to the garden at least once a year either after harvest or in very early spring before planting. if you prefer to use a commercial fertilizer, choose a complete fertilizer–5-10-10 is a good food for cucumbers. Always follow label directions.

  7. There are a couple of things to take a look at: (1) Cucumbers are nearly 90 percent water. Make sure that your cucumbers are getting consistent, even watering. This mean that the soil should never dry out. Stick your finger in the soil down to about 4 inches; if it is dry, you need to water. As well, too much water can cause fruits to yellow. Make sure your soil is well-drained and compost rich. Compost and well-decomposed organic matter are well draining, but hold moisture, and are nutrient rich; (2) yellowing of fruit may be an indication of a mineral imbalance in your soil; a boron deficiency can cause yellowing of cucumber fruit. A soil test will answer this question. And again the addition of aged compost will boost the level of major and minor nutrients plants need.

  8. Underdeveloped and misshapen cucumbers are often the result of either insufficient water or poor pollination, or both. Make sure your cucumbers receive regular even water. Keep the soil moist, but not wet; do not allow it to dry out as the fruit develops. Cucumbers want to grow quickly and steadily–not in stops and starts. Most but not all garden cucumbers have both male and female flowers; pollen from the males must reach the females. If there are few insects to do the job or if the weather at flowering time was wet, the job might not have gotten done. To be sure pollination occurred, hand pollinate. Rub the a male flower on a female flower.

  9. Several of the developed cucumber have areas of skin removed, as though a razor shaved the spot. What is causing this and what must I do to eliminate the problem?

  10. My cucumbers appear very healthy. The leaves are green and I have many blossoms and small cucumbers on my plants. However
    the cucumbers get 1/2 inch to 1 inch long and start to rot.
    I have cut back some of the leaves for better air circulation and removed the spoiled cucumbers plus removeds some of the cucumbers growing in clumps.
    We live in SE Minn. and have had a cold beginning to our summer and early July had a lot of rain.
    Any suggestions?

  11. Standard variety cucumbers produce male flowers first and female flowers will follow. Pollination occurs when insects visit the male and then the female flower; if the insects do not do their work, you will not get fruit. Insects are not active in cloudy and cool weather. Hand pollination can solve the problem: shake the male flower over the female flower. (The female flower has a tiny cucumber at its base.) If you have a gynoecious variety of cucumber, the male and female flowers are on separate plants; make sure you have one of each.

  12. I suspect a vole or another varmint at work. A 1/4 inch mesh around the garden can exclude these critters; you will have to extend the barrier a foot below the soil level. Or you can use a snap trap baited with pieces of apple. Look for a vole or mole tunnel; this is the place to set your trap. While the foraging is good during the summer growing season, many critters will pass up baited traps for crops. You may have to go after them with traps when fall comes.

  13. Pickleworms may be at work in your cucumber patch. The pickleworm is the larvae of a night-flying moth. Adult moths and the pupae can hide in leaf litter and the soil, usually in very warm regions. But when warm weather comes, the moths migrate north. Young pickleworms feed on the tender growing tips of cucumber, summer squash, and muskmelon. After they feed on growing tips and flowers they tunnel inside the fruit–they will destroy and sour the fruit. Look for the young caterpillars in rolled leaves; you will see brown frass near the entrance holes on fruit. To combat pickleworm damage, plant earlier to get strong plants and fruit before pickleworms get started in late spring, use row covers to exclude moths from laying eggs on plants, check to see if caterpillars are on the plants–remove and destroy them, use insect traps to catch moths, keep the garden clean and clean up at the end of the growing season. Bacillus thuringiensis and spinosad sprays will kill the worms. All of this said, you may also have slug or snail damage; seek these pests out at night and destroy them.

  14. Cucumber fruit rot is commonly caused by bacterial infection–often related to too much water and poor air circulation. Make sure your soil is well drained by adding lots of aged compost and organic planting mix to the growing beds. Give vining plants plenty of room to grow. Keep vines and fruit off the ground; use supports to train vines up–trellis, netting, or poles. For fruits growing on the ground place a piece of wood or plastic underneath the fruit.

  15. My cucumber plants produced male flowers early on and then female flowers and one beautiful cucumber. However now there are lots of female flowers but no male flowers at all and no fruit. The vines are doing well. Is there any way to get the vines to produce male flowers to pollinate the females?
    Thanks
    Roxanne

    • Insects pollinate cucumber blossoms (unless you hand-pollinate); so there must be male flowers available for insects to visit first and transfer pollen to the female flowers. Check the type of cucumber you are growing; gynoecious cucumber varieties produce female flowers only. If the variety are growing is gynoecious, you must plant a second variety–one that produces male flowers. If the cucumber you are growing does produce both male and female flowers, but the males are dropping before pollination can take place, plant several of this variety staggering the planting dates by about 5 days. That way a male flower from the second planting will be blooming when the female flowers from the first planting are blooming; the work of pollinating insects will be easy. Finally, a third alternative is to plant a parthenocarpic variety that produces only female flowers but does not require pollination to fruit. To know which variety is which, check the seed packets or seed catalog to make sure you get the combination you need.

  16. This year, I have created some 8 by 8 above ground gardens. I filled these boxes with a 50/50 mix of Miracle Grow garden soil and organic Top soil, and mixed well. I planted a few rows or cucumbers, which grew very well last year in my normal ground. All cucumbers have sprouted, 2 weeks ago, and have not really grown. They remain as seedlings and the seed leaves have all begun to curl under and appear to be drying up. I keep the soil mix moist, and water a little every two to three days. Our day time temps have been in the high 70’s to mid 80’s with night time temps still going down in the 40’s and 50’s. I am beginning to think that they do not like the soil mix, but am unsure. Do you have any idea what the problem could be?

    Thanks,

    Kevin Gumm

    • The still chilly nighttime temperatures are “burning” the leaves of your seedlings. Protect the seedlings until the nighttime temperatures average in the 60s. You can cut the bottom out of a half-gallon milk jug and place it over each seedling, creating a mini-greenhouse to warm the air around the seedlings. Or you can place a plastic tunnel over the bed: use arcs of PVC and then cover the 4 mil plastic sheeting. Once temperatures warm, your cucumbers will start to grow.

    • There are several possible causes of tomato leaves curling and turning yellow: heavy rain or strong sun can cause leaves to curl and yellow–these are causes of least concern; you can still use the fruit. Lack of nutrients can cause the symptoms you describe; side dress your plants with a tomato plant fertilizer–high in phosphorus. The worse case scenario is bacterial or fungal diseases such as Fusarium wilt or Verticillium wilt. Plants suffering from bacterial or fungal diseases are best uprooted and discarded. You will want to rotate your tomato plants out of these planting beds for 4 years. Add well rotted compost to the planting beds before planting again. Take the leaves to a local garden center or to a master gardener help desk and get a second opinion.

    • Just to cover the bases: there are cucumbers that are yellow at maturity, ‘Blonde’ is a yellow cucumber variety and also the ‘Lemon’ cucumber. Assuming you do not have a yellow-fruited cucumber, be sure that your plants are getting sufficient water; the soil should not dry out–it should stay evenly moist. Cucumbers are more than 90 percent water, so dry soil and hot days will leave maturing cucumbers yellow. Make sure that as soon as your fruits reach maturity they are picked; cucumbers past maturity will turn from green to yellow as they prepare to fall from the vine. In addition to keeping the soil evenly moist, sidedress your plants with well-rotted compost to make sure they are getting all of the nitrogen and other nutrients they need.

    • Sounds like the start of powdery mildew. It’s best to remove and destroy (seal in a plastic bag) the infected parts of the plant. Powdery mildew is a fungal disease–the spores float through the air land on plant parts and begin to multiply. If the disease is in the early stage make a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 quart of water and spray on the plant and fruit. Avoid overhead watering of your plants and make sure plenty of air and sunlight circulate around the plants.

  17. Our Cucumber Plant processes several vesions of cucumbers. When we produce slices during the winter months we are seeing slices that have cuts in them afwter they are cut. What could be causing this? Could the cucumber be to dry? Just looking for some avenues to pursue.

  18. I hope you can help me. We used to be able to grow great cuc’s years ago, but now when we plant seed or plants, they grow for a couple of weeks and are looking healthy and then one by one start drying up and dying. They are getting plenty of water. Please help.

    • You may have a fungus in your soil such as Verticillium. This can cause plant to wilt and die by blocking the vascular system. Refrain from planting your cucumbers in the same spot for 3 to 4 years. Re-charge and re-new the soil by adding aged compost regularly–at least twice a year. Look for plant varieties that are verticillium resistant.

    • If whole leaves are dropping, I would first check watering. Make sure the soil is staying moist. Water deeply whenever the top few inches of soil are dry. It doesn’t sound like a bacterial blight or wilt which can cause a vine to wilt suddenly. If you suspect insects at work, spray leaves with a strong stream of water to dislodge them. Feed your vines with a compost tea booster for general health.

    • Cucumber seed will germinate in 5 to 7 days at 68F (20C); seedlings will emerge in another 6 to 7 days; you can cut these times in half at 77F (25C).

  19. Growing some lovely Marketmore cukes, and we’ve had a decent harvest, but now all of the plants seem to be wilting and dying. Is that normal, or might there be something else at work? I definitely had a small population of cucumber beetles early on, so maybe bacterial wilt? Thanks! Suzanne

    • Cucumber wilting and die back so early in the season would lead me to suspect bacterial wilt, verticillium wilt, or gummy stem blight. Cut into a wilted stem; if a thick ooze appears, the problem is bacterial wilt for which there is not cure. Take these plants out of the garden and dispose of them. Verticillium wilt usually starts with the wilting of older leaves first. Fight this wilt with beneficial soil fungi present in compost and compost tea–and keep the garden clean. Gummy stem blight can cause vines to collapse and often follows an aphid or cucumber beetle infestation; choose pest resistant varieties for next year.

  20. I am a first time cucumber grower. I have Hana variety growing in a green house. Have watered every day. Initially produced lovely cucumber. But since picking the last one a week ago, none of the other cucumbers have matured. The are all about an in long and thin as a pencil (or thinner). They all have yellow flowers on the end. Some of the leave of the plant have some holes in them, but not the majority. The rest of the plant is healthy looking. Any advice? They are growing with tomato plants and courgette plants nearby, in same soil. Both tomatoes and courgettes are doing great.

    • Remove male flowers from cucumbers growing in a greenhouse; leave only the females which have a slight bulge at the stem end. The small holes in the leaves might be a sign of flea beetles at work.

  21. This is my first year growing cucumbers (or anything else for that matter). My cuke plants were attacked pretty badly by cucumber beetles and bacterial wilt, but they managed to produce 2 decent cucumbers. Are these safe for human consumption? Or do the plant diseases affect humans or the taste of the fruit?

    • Any disease or insect attack on a vegetable will stress the plant and effect its flavor somewhat. Next season you can exclude cucumber beetles by covering your plants with a light poly plant blanket. Make sure your garden is cleaned of all plant debris this fall–get all diseased and insect-attacked plants out of the garden. Insects and diseases can overwinter in the garden if debris is not removed.

    • Gynoecious cucumber varieties produce female flowers only. Gynoecious varieties require the planting of a second variety that produce male flowers. Parthenocarpic cucumber varieties also produce only female flowers. Check which varieties you are growing.

    • If there are no blossoms–none–then do a soil test. I suspect your soil may be high in nitrogen (for green growth) and low in phosphorus (for root, flower, and fruit growth). Add an organic fertilizer high in phosphorus to your soil; try a ratio such as 5-10-10.

  22. my cucumber plants flowering and even show little cuc on each plants, but the size of plants looks still small and leaves size are 3 inches wide. I do not think that this tiny plants have enough power to support grow the big cuke. Pleas advice

    • Check the variety or cultivar of the cucumber you are growing; you may be growing a cultivar that grows small.
      If not, make sure the plant is getting plenty of nutrients; spread aged compost around the base of each plant and water it in or water with compost tea. If you use a commercial organic fertilizer look for a ratio of 5-10-10 or similar.

      • Do not let cucumbers linger on the vine. Harvest them small and they will be crunchy. Slicers should be harvested at about 6 inches long; harvest picklers at 3 to 4 inches long. Cucumbers mature quickly so check them every day as they get close to harvestable size. Store cucumbers in plastic wrap in the refrigerator; use them within a few days of harvest.

    • There are many reasons cucumbers do not bloom: temperatures too cold, below 55F; temperatures too hot, above 85F; too much soil moisture; soil too dry; too much nitrogen in the soil; soil lacking phosphorus and potassium. If the temperatures are too warm–several days greater than 85F and very warm at night, you must simply wait for the temperatures to fall. The one thing you can do is moderate the amount of nitrogen in the soil–and add phosphorus and potassium. Avoid fertilizers with nitrogen greater than 5 percent of the total–a complete fertilizer of 5-10-10 would be optimal. Add plenty of aged compost to your planting bed–store-bought planting mix will work. Sidedress the compost around your plants now and then water the compost in. Here’s a quick fix–mix two tablespoons of Epsom salts into a gallon of water and water each plant with a pint of this solution.

    • Can you tell me what variety of cucumber you are growing? Some wild cucumbers have orange seeds; some African cucumbers have orange seeds; and, finally, the bitter melon which looks a lot like a cucumber, but is not, has orange seeds. Is it possible your cucumber is one of these, or is it possible that your domestic cucumber might have crossed with a nearby plant? How many days out from planting did you harvest the fruit?–could the fruit have been a week or more past maturity and have begun to decline towards rot? If the fruit had progressed toward desiccation, the seeds could turn from white to yellow and perhaps orange.

  23. Our cukes grow lush and green to maturity, set fruit and almost immediately the leaves start turning yellow and the whole row starts dying off. We were only able to harvest one or two pickings. the same thing happened in the spring. We did notice the tiny whiteflys this fall. Using the mittleider method, Nitrogen, flys or a combination of both???? Thank you

    • Cucumber leaves turning yellow followed by plant failure could be a bacterial disease or fungal disease. Given that you have had crop failure twice in the same year–it is likely a disease that is soil borne. A bacterial disease such bacterial wilt or angular leaf spot–leaves turn yellow–is difficult to stop once plants are infected. Harvest fruits when young then pull up the plants and dispose of them. Irrigate only at the base of the plant; make sure the soil is well drained by adding plenty of aged compost. Rotating cucumber/squash family plants out of that part of the garden for 2 years should break the disease cycle. Anthracnose is a fungal disease that also can cause leaves to turn yellow. Again, do not water overhead; add plenty of compost to the planting bed; plant disease resistant varieties; rotate cucumber family crops out of that part of the garden for 2 years.

    • Cucumber leaves that appear yellow white and then turn brittle–there may be a few causes: (1) if it is late in the season where you garden, this may be simply a sign of the plant winding down and aging; (2) if the weather is hot and dry or windy, the leaves may be suffering from the loss of moisture–plant out of the wind and keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season; (3) if the leaves are spotting yellow and then turning brown, a a bacterial blight or other disease may be attacking the plant–remove the infected leaves and be sure there is plenty of air circulation around the plants, improve soil drainage so that plants do not sit in wet soil–moist soil is good, but not wet.

  24. My cucumber plant is growing really well and it had set about 6 fruit that were also developing very quickly. However, over the course of 3 nights all of my fruit was eaten. None of my leaves have been touched, there is no slimy residue left from snails or slugs and there are no sign of caterpillars. I don’t know what else to look out for that would be able to eat a couple of inches of fruit in one night without disturbing the rest of the plant at all. Any ideas of what it might be and what I can do about it?

    • Many critters–mammals and birds and insects–might find your baby cucumbers tasty. Since your crop was eaten at night mice, rats, rabbits, raccoons, or a vole might have stopped by. You can exclude large and small pests by covering your crop with a lightweight spun poly plant blanket–do this once you know the flowers have been pollinated. As well you can place traps in the garden to see what you might catch.

      • We have the same problem in the UK. We are in the middle of a very hot dry summer. Our cucumbers are in a greenhouse. We have seen an insect similar to a bee or wasp carry off a bit of cucumber longer than its body. Leaves untouched just the fruit. We think it is now trying out the immature tomatoes growing beside it.. Can you help identify the cause

        • The wasp or insect may be attracted to the moisture in the fruit. Place saucers of water in and outside the greenhouse to give insects and birds water to drink during the hot spell. You can also add a few tablespoons of sugar to give them nutrients–but this also may attract pest wasps.

  25. I have about 10 small cucumber fruits with yellow flowers but they all seem to die after growing about 2cm. Can anyone tell me what I can do to prevent this?
    I thought i might have to pollinate them but there are no make flowers… what do I do?

    • The first 10 to 20 flowers that appear on most heirloom and traditional cucumbers are male (there are some newer varieties that produce only female flowers or a greater proportion of female flowers). Usually for every one female flower there are 10 to 20 male flowers. Only a pollinated female flower will produce fruit. The female cucumber flower will have a very small fruit at the end of the flower–the male won’t. These newer varieties tend to bear fruit earlier, with a more concentrated set and better yields overall. Try growing one of these varieties: Diva, Saladmore, Pick a Bushel, or Marketmore. Apart from variety problems–keep in mind that flowers often fall off when battered by rain or exposed to cold nights.

  26. I have a Lebanese cucumber plant which was bearing small baby cucumbers. All of a sudden, the cucumbers became yellow and now the whole plant has become yellow and has sagged down with brown leaves.
    Can you help me?

    • There are several possible problems plaguing your cucumber plant–angular leaf spot, anthracnose, bacterial wilt, Verticillium wilt; all of these are likely to result in the death of the plant. Some of these are fungal diseases, some bacterial. Remove disease plants from the garden. Make sure your soil is compost rich–and thus well draining. Exclude pests from the garden by covering plants with row covers once fruit has set. Choose disease-resistant varieties to sow.

  27. i had great sucess 2 years ago growing cucumbers,bt last year ,and again this year the plants have dies off in two weeks of planting,Could it be the compost i used ? its just a good quality compost . would appriciate any advise please.

    • There are several possible reasons your cucumbers failed: (1) temperatures too hot or too cold at planting time; cucumbers are best started when temperatures are in the 70sF; (2) too much nitrogen in the soil can burn roots; aged compost is unlikely to cause plant failure; however, you may want to check the source of the compost to be sure no pesticides or herbicides were used on the material that was composted; (3) too much or too little soil moisture can result in crop failure–make sure the soil stays evenly moist, not too wet, never dry.

    • Small cucumber fruits can be the result of incomplete pollination or moisture stress. Hand-pollinating–rubbing the male flower against the female flower will solve the pollination problem; even watering–making sure the soil does not totally dry out should solve the moisture stress problem. When fruit is developing it is important that moisture uptake not be interrupted.

      • My cucumber plant is budding alot. And recently started to put out small cucumbers rite after the bud. Dies it becomes wilted and has a yellow -whitish look.
        Need advice of what is happening to my cucumber plant (can anyone please give me a little knowledge on this.( this is my first time growing ) HELP…. please and thank u

        • The small cucumbers behind the buds are unfertile female fruits; male flowers appear on the plant first, followed by the females. Allow the all flowers to remain on the plants so that bees and other pollinators visit both flowers. To hand pollinate, pull a male flower and rub it on the female flower.

  28. My cucumber are not growing at all. They do flower. But as soon as they come out as beginning cucucmbers they start to turn black and dry

    • No or insufficient pollination can cause flowers and unpollinated fruits to wither and fall. Plant pollinator-attracting plants around the garden–zinnias, marjoram, lavender, asters are good choices.

    • Check your watering; soft cucumber fruits are likely taking up too much moisture. Allow the soil to nearly dry between waterings; protect planting beds from heavy rainfall by placing plastic sheeting across the beds.

  29. I live in Maine. Trying to grow cucumbers from 2 inch plants. I have 3. I do not know anything about them, type, Bush or vine, no clue on any information other than they are cucumbers. I was going to put one each in its own 5 gal bucket. There is no place outside to plant them.

    • Your cucumbers should grow just fine in a 5 gallon container. Make sure the container is well drained and that the soil does not become too wet. Set the plants in full sun. You can put a tomato cage around each plant for support.

  30. My cumcumbers came up from seed – got about 6 inches tall and quit growing. I watered as required and weather has been OK. Anybody ever experience this/

  31. I planted some seeds a couple of months ago. But I don’t remember what it was. It could be cucumber, water melon or pumpkin. How can I tell? I did take a picture of the leafs. But I don’t k ow how to post it on here.

    • If you visit the pages for each of those crops here, you will find photos of seedlings that may be helpful. Look up each crop in the Topic Index.

    • If the plants are very young, the white stems may be sunburned. If the plants are older, the white stems may indicate a fungal disease such as powdery mildew. If you suspect fungus, spray the stem (and leaves if necessary) with 1 part baking soda to 9 parts water. The baking soda is anti fungal.

    • Mushy cucumbers can be caused by over-watering or uneven watering. Keep the soil just moist so that the uptake of water is even, not in gulps. Too much water can leave plant cells soggy. As well, make sure your plants are getting calcium and magnesium which help build strong cell walls. Look for a complete organic fertilizer with calcium and magnesium added.

    • The best way to become conversant in the many varieties of cucumbers and the days to harvest for each is to visit several websites of seed companies. A few with extensive offerings of cucumbers are Johnny’s Select Seeds, Burpee Seeds, Stover Seeds, Baker Seeds, Seeds of Change, Territorial Seeds.

    • If you disturbed only a runner, the plant will not die. If you accidentally severe a runner you can bury the end and the runner may re-root a small percentage of the time.

  32. My cucumber plants started out really healthy and grew quickly. Now, however, the leaves have developed small yellow spots and the cucumberst are all about an inch and turning yellow too. I have a raised garden bed and we filled it with organic compost and organic top soil. I also have organic wood mulch at the base of the plant. There doesn’t seem to be aphid activity (that I can see) and they get plenty of water. Any idea what is happening?

    • If the yellow spots on the cucumber leaves are very small, it may be a sign of insects feeding–perhaps flea beetles. Use an insecticidal soap. If no pests are present, the spots may be the start of a fungal disease such as blight–use a fungicide to get ahead of the disease, or the spots may indicate a bacterial disease for which there is no cure. If you suspect disease, remove the infected plants.

  33. My cucumber plants look like the roots are coming to the surface and the leaves are falling to the floor. Not sure what I should do. Should i put more compost in the garden and cover the roots? Thank you!

    • Yes, add aged compost around your cucumber plants to make sure the roots are well covered. You can gently pack the compost around the base of the plant covering exposed roots. Be careful not to bury the stem.

  34. My plants are growing well fruit are forming but now the main vine has started to go grey about 2 inches from the soil and about 2cm in depth. Can I save them.

    • Your cucumber plants may have fusarium crown and foot rot or wilt. The lesions you describe can occur about 6 to 8 weeks after sowing. Leaves may turn yellow and stems and roots may rot–you may seed a pinkish-orange mass of fungal spores on the stem. Infection can result from water or wind borne fungal spores entering the garden or it may travel on diseased plant debris and can infect the soil. Infected plants are best removed from the garden to avoid the spread of the disease. After harvest of remaining plants, be sure to clean the garden of all plant debris so that fungal spores do not overwinter in your garden. Add plenty of aged-compost to your garden to keep the soil healthy and well drained.

    • Fungal and bacterial diseases can cause cucumber leaves to yellow. These diseases can be spread by insects by water and by wind. If your entire crop is infected and you see die-back all about, remove the plants from the garden and dispose of them. Plant disease-resistant seed next season.

  35. After producing 8 perfect cucumbers, my Sweet Success plant is only producing female flowers, which are not opening and the cucumber is turning yellow and dying. I thought it could be pollination problems, but Sweet Success is parthenogenic. The plant is otherwise very healthy looking and at the top of the 6 foot trellis already.

    • If your cucumber plant continues to look perfectly healthy and has been producing fruit, the sudden turn may be environmental: (1) temperatures very hot–greater than 90F; (2) temperatures chilly; (3) interruption in the uptake of water or nutrients–keep the soil evenly moist and side dress the plants with aged compost; (4) rainy weather or overcast skies. If the problem is weather related, simply wait.

  36. cucumbers formed after pollination . Grown to about 3/4 of inch,just under diameter of pencil. stopped growing as no increase in size of 1week

    • There are a few reasons cucumber fruits start to grow then stall: (1) incomplete pollination; (2) weather too warm–above 90F (growth will resume when temperatures moderate): (3) soil that has dried out–keep the soil evenly moist during fruit development; (4) rainy weather or overcast weather; (5) weather too chilly–below 65F. Hand pollinating the female fruits–rub the male flower against the female flower, will resolve insufficient pollination. Keep the soil evenly moist and side dress your plants with aged compost.

  37. Hi, my cucumber plant was beautiful!!! Blooms were gorgeous growing up my deer netting (great for my garden, even caught a large snake) today, the stem about two inches from the dirt has shriveled and the plant is dying!! What would cause that? I wanted to cry!!!

    • Is it possible a critter took a bite out of the stem–once the water capillary system is broken there is little you can do to reverse the damage. If there is no sign of critter damage, the plant may have fallen victim of a bacterial or viral disease that has attacked the capillary system–you would likely see some sign of rotting along the stem if this is the case. Again there is little you can do to reverse course. Planting just a plant or two more than you actually need is insurance against crop failure.

  38. One leaf of my cucumber plant had white veins within the leaf and one small white spot. It does not appear to be powdery mildew but perhaps.. I’m at a loss as to what may be happening

    • If you see no sign of fungal development–white patches enlarging on the leaves, then the white veins may be a sign of a nutritional deficiency. An all-purpose organic plant food may help–check to make sure the fertilizer includes calcium and magnesium. But the white veins may also be a sign of early onset of cucumber mosaic virus for which there is no cure except to plant resistant varieties.

    • There are a few reasons cucumbers may turn white: (1) a fungal disease called powdery mildew. Powdery mildew commonly occurs when the humidity is high and air circulation is poor. Water at the base of the plant–not leaves; thin plants so that there is good air circulation among the plants; (2) fruit can blanch or turn white when the fruit does not get enough sun or there is too much leaf cover; make sure fruit is exposed to light; (3) lack of nutrients can cause cucumbers to become pale or whiten–give the plant an even fertilizer low in nitrogen; (4) too much or too little water can cause fruit to turn white; (5) sunburn can cause fruit to have white patches.

      • Sorry I could not figure out how to post a question so I am piggy backing off this one as it is close to the problem I am having. I am using a self watering auto fertilizing “Growbox”. I have 6 pickling cucumber plants that are designed for patio “container” growing. This has been my best performing plant and it has produced a dozen or so awesome tasting cukes. There were a lot of flowers and they started producing more tiny fruits Over the last few days however I have noticed many of the tiny cukes rot away. Yellow then grey / black. There is some indication of insects – squiggly trails through the leaves And I have dusted them for this. Basically it was growing like crazy with 100’s of blooms and now they are starting to die off. What did I do wrong Help please!

        • Insects may have attacked your cucumber blossoms–you can spread diatomaceous earth around the plants to stop crawling insects or spray the plants with insecticidal soap if you actually see the pests. Very hot or unusually cool weather or nights can cause blossoms to fail, also too much or too little water can cause blossoms to drop (always water at the base of the plants; do not water the flowers or leaves). And too much nitrogen in the soil can cause blossom drop.

    • Pick some male flowers and rub them against the female flowers (flowers with small fruit at end of blossom). Fruit will follow pollination. You can also plant plants that bees love to help you out–lavender, zinnias.

    • Small cucumber fruit that dies is likely caused by insufficient pollination–make sure pollinators are visiting the garden. As well, environmental stress can cause fruit to fail to grow–too much or too little water, weather too hot or too cold, too much nitrogen in the soil.

  39. I planted cucumbers in late May 2016, I have very healthy plants however there are no blossoms and as a result nothing is produced. I also have tomatoes, peppers etc planted in the same area and they have blossomed and produced ‘fruit”

    • The two main reasons that cucumbers plants do not flower are (1) temperatures are too hot or too cold; summer heat above 90F can stress plants and delay flower formation–you must simply wait until temperatures moderate; (2) lush, healthy plant do not bloom because of too much nitrogen fertilizer. Decrease the use of fertilizers with nitrogen and water plants thoroughly to wash excess nitrogen from the soil. Nutritional balance can be corrected but it may take more time than you have left in this growing season. On the off-season, add lots of aged compost or planting mix to the soil.

  40. my cucumbers where growing great and then started to yellow then dry up each leaf i cut them off but as fast i get it of more dies back and it speed to all of my 8 cucumbers
    how to stop it i am watering well .

    • There are several causes of cucumber leaves during yellow: (1) insufficient moisture or inconsistent moisture; if the soil dried out between waterings the plant may have started to die back; (2) failure to pick fruit often; if fruits get too large and seedy, the plant may end its life cycle; (4) overwatering; (5) fungal, bacterial, or viral diseases–improve drainage in the planting beds. You may not be able to reverse the yellowing; keep the soil just moist and harvest fruits as they get big enough to eat.

  41. I’m growing a cucumber plant in my glasshouse for the first time. Its growing well and producing fruit, dark green cucumbers, about 18cm long and about 5cm wide. The earlier cucumbers have turned yellow. Is that a watering issue or should I have cut them off earlier? Many thanks in advance.

    Kevin O’Connor

    • Cucumbers that go past ripe and maturity will turn yellow has the seed inside the fruit matures. You may want to harvest when the fruit reaches 15cm or 6 inches. It sounds as though most of the fruit is good–water to keep the soil just moist.

  42. I have planted long english cucumbers. The plantsare healthy and lots of cucumbers have set. The problem is the sets are not growing. They are about 2″ long and very prickly. The cucumber is a dark green where it attaches to the stem. Ive grown these for years and have never had this problem or even heard of it.

    • Environmental or physiological stress commonly causes cucumber fruits to stop growing. Temperatures too high or too low will cause fruit to stop developing. Too much or too little water can cause stress, and also too much nitrogen. Keep the soil evenly moist; do not use a high nitrogen fertilizers, and wait for temperatures to return to the 70sF.

  43. My cucumber leaves have black specs in and under the leaves. These black specs are ” ON” the leaves like they’ve been sprinkled with black pepper. I’ve found things for spots which are discolorations of the leaves but my leaves aren’t discolored. As I’ve said these black specs are all over the leaves and if you take a leaf and wipe it the specs will come off. Also in areas where blooms are trying to start and the area there is thick with blooms just starting, that area will be thick with this black stuff which causes that area to not produce anything. I’ve also noticed that ants really like this stuff.

    • The black specs are excrement from insects; the excrement is sugary and so the ants will farm insects to harvest the excrement for food. Sometimes called “honeydew”–you want to wash with a stream of water the undersides of leaves to clean the honeydew away–and the pest insects. As well, you should try to control the ant population with ant bait or poison.

        • Cucumbers and squash can be attacked by pickle worms. You can control pickle worms by spraying Bt or beneficial nematodes. Adult pickle worms lay eggs on the developing cucumber or squash blossoms in early summer. The eggs hatch in a few days and the larvae feed for two weeks first on the blossom, then by burrowing into the young fruit. To control an infestation, spray Bt or beneficial nematodes on affected plants in the early evening. Row covers can prevent some early season damage.

  44. My cucumbers are growing really well in my greenhouse but all of a sudden 2 of the young fruits look as if they have been eaten, only on the surface and mainly the green, by what I think might be a slug or snail. They are both dead but the biggest cucumber I had has now also been nibbled on. Any ideas please? I’ve grown them for several years now and this is a first for me.

    • A slug or snail could have caused damage to the cucumber fruit skin–so could mice, rats, voles, raccoons. Put out some mouse traps and place copper table around the base of the plant to repel snails and slugs.

  45. For the last two yrs my marketmore cukes have grown poorly. The cukes are misshapend and pale yellow. Some cukes are round balls and some are skinny little necks that have a round ball at the other end. What is the cause ? The plants are rotated yearly and well mulched. I use my own compost, no chemicals.

    • Check the watering; make sure the soil is kept just moist during root development so that the uptake of water (and the development of fruit) is even. Off and on watering–and also very hot then warm temps then cool nights can cause the soil to be wet then dry between waterings. Check soil moisture often. As well, use an organic low nitrogen fertilizer to be sure plants are not getting uneven does of nutrients.

  46. I’ve got massive apple cucumbers vines with humungous leaves almost 30 cm across but not a sign of one miserable little flower!

    The vines are like the ones in Jack In The Beanstalk and climb my fences, passionfruit vines, palm trees and keep me awake at night with all the growing noise – almost! What can I do as I guess I planted all males (3) from the packet! Grrrrrrr!

    • Large leafy cucumber plants and no flowers can be the result of too much nitrogen in the soil or weather too hot or cold stressing or moisture stress causing the plant not to flower. If you have enough warm days left in the season set out established seedlings or start from seed–be sure you have chosen a fruiting variety.

  47. I am not sure what is wrong with my cucumber plant the leaves have spots and they wilt, they grow a lot and flower well. What can I do to save them. They did the same last year and still produced some cucumbers
    I live in the Bahamas.

    • If your cucumber plants wilt at the end of the day, there may be insufficient soil moisture. Water early in the day. As well add aged compost to the planting beds; compost will help soil retain moisture. Spots on cucumber leaves may be caused by several fungal diseases–among them are angular leaf spot, anthracnose, downy mildew, and scab (mold). If the plants have spots or streaks on the stems as well, it is likely a fungal disease. Fungal diseases develop if plant leaves are consistently wet or wet at the end of the day; fungal spores land on leaves and grow. Usually the undersides of leaves will develop a mold as well. Remove infected leaves and dispose of them. Water at the base of plants–avoid wetting leaves. Thin plants or plant further apart so that air circulates around plants. If you find the stems of the plants begin to ooze dark streaks, that is a sign of bacterial wilt or verticillium wilt for which there is no cure; plant infected with these diseases will fully wilt and should be removed from the garden.

    • There are various ways to give cucumbers, tomatoes and other fruiting plants a boost of magnesium by using Epsom salt. Here are ways to apply Epsom salt to vegetable plants: (1) sprinkle a cup of Epsom salt across a 10′ x 10′ planting area and work it into the soil; (2) place one tablespoon or slightly less at the bottom of the hole you are going to transplant young plants in to and cover the salt lightly with soil, then set the transplant in to the hole and firm it in; (3) sprinkle one tablespoon or slightly less Epsom salt around the base of growing plants–the salt will be carried into the soil when you water; (4) dissolve one tablespoon or less of Epsom salt in a gallon of water and water the base of the plant.

    • For young plants its best to keep the soil just moist–avoid letting the soil go dry since young roots are shallow (also avoid drenching the soil as young plant can easily drown from overwatering). Temperature also greatly impacts young plants. Cucumbers are very tender and if night time temperatures have dipped below 60F the plants will suffer–and if temperatures stay low–in the 50sF or lower for more than a few hours — you can expect cucumber leaves to wither and turn brown.

    • There are a couple of reason cucumber seedlings die after planting: (1) the temperatures are too cold–less than 55F–at night or during the day; you have set them outside too soon; plant again when temperatures night and day temperatures are at least 55F, even better when temperatures average 70F or greater; (2) the soil is too wet; allow the soil nearly dry near the surface before watering; if it is rainy, protect the plants from rain by placing a plastic tunnel over them; (3) there is too much nitrogen in the soil; avoid planting where the soil is too rich in nitrogen; too much nitrogen can burn plant roots; avoid giving cucumbers a heavy nitrogen fertilizer; add aged compost to the planting bed for the best plant nutrition; if you use a commercial fertilizer, get an organic 5-10-10 fertilizer.

  48. I grew my cucumbers from seed. Planted out when they were a few inches high. They have been in the soil in the greenhouse since end of March as have my tomato plants. The tomatoes are growing well but the cucumbers have only grown a tiny amount in height. One is still only 4 inches high and already has two cucumbers growing on it. It seems like the roots are not growing????

    • The temperature where you are growing must be above 70F for your cucumber to flower and set fruit. Temperature will often inhibit growth–both air temperature and soil temperature. The optimal soil and air temperature for cucumbers is 70F; growth at temperatures lower will be very slow. Check soil moisture to be sure it is evenly moist–not wet and never dry. You can give your plant a boost with compost tea or half strength fish emulsion watering. If the leaves have not browned at the edges, the plant is in good shape. If the plant stays small and stunted you might suspect root knot nematodes working underground.

  49. Hi everybody I am Amir Abbas from University of Agriculture Faisalabad Pakistan and i am a research office. I have a cucumber trial in which I am facing a lot of issues regarding leaf minor, dumbell shaped cucumber and Powdery mildew like what you leap le suggest me for this if I want a good and healthy harvest able fruit..

    • Protect the cucumbers from fungal diseases such as powdery mildew by watering at the base of the plants, encourage air circulation, and spray the foliage with compost tea–which inhibits fungal spore growth. Leaf miners are insect larvae that feed on the inside of leaves. They may b the larvae of flies, moths, or beetles. Females lay the eggs on undersides of leave and the larvae burrow into the leaf to feed. You must control insects that lay eggs on the leaves; you can exclude them with a floating row cover. When you see leafminer tracks, remove the leaves and and crush them so that adults do not emerge. Deformed cucumber fruits are the result of water stress usually. Make sure the soil stays evenly moist during fruit development.

  50. My cucumber plants looked fantastic when I put them in the ground almost 2 weeks ago but, we’ve had cool temperatures here in southern New England, and many days of rainy, drizzly conditions with very few peeks of sunshine… Right now, 90 percent of my cukes have bit the farm,,, the main stems of the plants are turning pruney like California Raisins right at soil level, and about 2 or 3 inches above the soil, then they flop over to the ground as the entire plant withers away. The spring rains are great but, I’m wondering if it’s too much of a good thing since, none of the plants show any signs of being chewed on by bugs or animals… Or maybe,,, there is something else going on, something I’m missing, or something I’m unaware of… In any case, I welcome any input or advice because, moving them, isn’t really an option since I’ve already used up all my available garden space and have no other place to put them…

    • Cool temperatures–below 65F–will leave cucumbers suffering if not terminally weak. The sustained rain, as well, would be rough on young seedlings. Start again with healthy seedlings or if the soil has warmed into the high 60sF, sow seed. Place floating row covers over the young plants or better yet put a tunnel frame in place and protect the young plants with row covers or light plastic sheeting until temperatures average in the high 60s to mid 70s–and nights are at least 60F on average.

    • Cucumber leaves white with green veins then brown: sunburn can cause the leaves to turn white and then brown; make sure the soil is staying evenly moist; never let the soil dry out; mulch with aged compost to retain soil moisture; many fungal diseases can also cause leaves to yellow, turn white, then brown: angular leaf spot, anthracnose, blights–alternaria leaf blight, gummy stem blight. Remove all infected leaves; water at the base of the plant–no overhead watering; feed the plants with aged compost or compost tea; if the plants wilt and die–remove the entire plant from the garden.

    • Allowing cucumbers to mature on the vine essentially signals to the plant that mature seed is now available to drop to the soil and reproduce. In other words the final goal of the plant has been achieved, that is future generations are assured. Harvest fruits before they mature that way the plant will keep producing fruits (and seeds). Give your plant a couple of weeks; it may flower again. But to hedge your bet, sow more seeds if you have another 60 to 100 days of frost-free weather.

    • There are a few possible causes of the white streaks you see on your cucumber fruits: (1) least damaging would be powdery mildew; the white trails or streaks can be rubbed off with your finger; this is a fungal disease that can be controlled by a horticultural oil or fungicide. More serious problems could be: (2) cucumber mosaic virus that is commonly spread by aphids; fruit shape is usually distorted as well; prevent spread of this disease by controlling aphids–use insecticidal soap or place reflective aluminum foil under plants to disorient insect pests; (3)Phytophthora blight, a fungal disease, the white streaks commonly turn to rot; spray plants and fruits with a fungicide and avoid planting cucumbers in the same location next season; (4) bacterial or fungal fruit rot; this is commonly caused by wet weather or overwatering; discard infected fruits; grow fruits on trellises and avoid contact with the soil.

  51. What kind of cucumber is that picture at the top. I have the same one but i dont know what kind it is. I think the labels were switched at the store… i bought a “slicing” cucumber but im beginning to think its actually a pickling cucumber… so idk if i am picking them too late or not. Also alot of my little baby cukes sprouts turned brown and shriveled into dry black crusty things that i have been trying to pick off

    • The cucumber in the photo is called Boston Pickling. Harvest pickling cucumbers when they are big enough to use. If they start to yellow at the end, they have been on the vine too long. There are a few reasons baby cukes turn brown: (1) insufficient pollination; (2) insufficient soil moisture; (3) air temperature was too hot or too chilly; (4) insect pests.

    • We may never know exactly what caused the leaf to grow out of the fruit; a good guess would be that at about the time just after flowering and pollination, when the young new fruit began to form, there was wet weather or the small flowers and fruits became wet and stuck to the leaf; the fruit then formed and developed around the leaf.

  52. Someone eats my cucumber’s leaves at night and leave only sticks and piles of 3-4 mm poos around. They don’t eat small cucumbers but my plant will die too soon for them to grown. I have photos of leaves and poos but don’t find an opportunity to upload it here.

    • In all likelihood a rodent–mice, rates, voles–are eating the cucumbers. Most mammal pests eat cucumbers–fruits and leaves–for the moisture. You can put an alternative source of water in the garden; that may slow the destruction of your crop. You can also place fine bird netting over the plants to frustrate the marauders. Repellants that contain garlic and pepper will also repel many pests.

  53. I have a problem with my cucumber plant. The crown is swollen and it is like as a big gall, but different from usual galls which are made by bacteria or fungi. The swollen area is not sort and is light brown inside.

  54. We always grow our cucumber plants from seeds planted directly into the garden. This year, the seeds have been slow germinating and are just now beginning to grow and the first leaves have just appeared. The leaves all have small white spots and some dry edges. It has been an unusually cool spring, nighttime temps around 3C and daytime temps around 15C. The soil may also now be nitrogen rich, as we have been trying to resolve a nitrogen deficiency for the last two years. I also wonder if it could be a fungal problem, though I have never seen that affect the first leaves on new seedlings before. Any ideas and suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Cover your young cucumber plants with a light floating row cover until the first flowers appear. Then you can continue to cover the plants at night but pull the cover back during the day to allow bees to visit the flowers. The white spots and edges can very well be cold burn. So protect the plants. Nitrogen burn can also cause leaves to pale and dry at the edges. If it is not feasible to replace the soil in the planting bed, dig extra-large holes in the bed and fill them with commercial organic planting mix; then plant your seeds or set out your transplants–almost as if you were planting in a container.

  55. sir, i sprouted cucumber seeds in paper towel. then i planted them in paperglasses with soil. it grows with more length. it does not have much strength. and it only has two leaves till now. what should i do?

    • Your cucumbers are leggy. That means they are stretching to get more light. If you are growing your cucumbers indoors, set the cups and plants in a bright window. Turn the plants every day so that they get light on all sides. Or you can place the plants under fluorescent light with the light just a few inches above the plants. When your cucumbers are about 4 inches tall transfer them to larger pots so that there is plenty of room for root growth. If you are growing the plants in pots and not the garden, you will eventually need a pot that is about 5 gallons large.

    • After harvest, the water in the cucumber will begin to evaporate; this will leave the cucumber wrinkled. Immediately after harvest wrap the cucumber in a damp paper towel and place it in the refrigerator crisper at temperatures between 50F and 60F. Use the cucumber or preserve them as soon after harvest as possible.

  56. Hello albert, thanks a lot for the write up.
    My cucumbers have started forming and are growing at a remarkable pace but the the bigger earlier leaves at the bottom (2-3 max) are turning slight yellow while the rest are dark green. What can be the cause

    • The lower leaves on the plant are the oldest leaves on the plant; it is natural that they will begin to fade before new growth higher up the plant. Once older leaves begin to yellow and fade there is no bringing them back (that’s the way of Nature). But you can give the rest of the plant a boost with a side dressing of compost tea or a dilute solution of fish emulsion.

    • Cucumber seedlings that turn yellow are commonly suffering from nitrogen deficiency. Treat the plants with a starter fertilizer or dilute fish emulsion solution to give them a boost. You can use a high nitrogen fertilizer but only in moderation; too much nitrogen will burn the roots. Seedlings that are 4 to 6 inches tall and have greened up can be fed with a 5-10-10 fertilizer.

  57. I am new to growing cucumbers. My plant is vining great and has many tiny cucumbers on it but they all have teeny black specks on the fruit and the fruit isn’t growing. What’s wrong?

    • If you suspect the specks are insects, spray them with insecticidal soap. If the specks are not insects, be sure the plant is getting 8 hours of sun each day and do not water the foliage or fruits; water at the base of the plant. Some bacterial diseases will be black; some fungal diseases can be black. The best way to ward off disease to plant in full sun with plenty of air circulation (do not crowd plants); water at the base the plant so that the foliage and fruit are dry by nightfall.

  58. I recently purchased a four pack of young plants at a local greenhouse. The leaves are beginning to yellow. These plants are about 5 inches tall, all have 2 smooth edged leaves and a few

    I’m brand new at planting vegetables. Is it normal for a young plants first leaves to yellow as their spiky replacements come in? These plants are still in their original packaging and are only 5 inches tall. I live in Wisconsin and it’s too soon to plant outside. Do you have any other advise for this rookie?

    • If the seed leaves (cotyledons) are turning yellow and falling away and being replaced by new leaves then there is nothing to worry about. If the plant’s regular leaves are turning yellow there are several possible reasons: (1) too much or too little soil moisture, (2) air temperature is too chilly, (3) too much nitrogen in the soil, (4) the plants are rootbound and need to be transplanted to a larger container.

  59. I planted my cucumbers in buckets about three weeks ago. In the past week, the leaves have started developing brown spots on top and started browning around the edges. The leaves are very brittle and the stems have white lines. What could this be?

    • Make sure there is good drainage through the bottom of the bucket; it is likely the roots are too wet or the soil is too dry. If the buckets are metal and the weather is hot, the soil may be heating up too much for the roots. Check the underside of leaves to be sure no insects such as spider mites are feeding on the leaves.

    • There are a few possible reasons for the split in the vine: (1) mechanical, human, or animal injury, (2) erratic water uptake–the soil went dry and heavy watering followed, (3) insect boring or eating the stem. If the split caused the water and nutrients capillaries to be severed; there is not repair; if they were not severed the plant may continue to live, but likely will not thrive. You can propagate a new plant by layering–at a leaf node peg down the vine and place soil on top; roots will form at the node in 10 to 14 days and you will have a new plant.

  60. Hi

    My cucumbers were growing well till we hit a severe heat wave for 3-4d after that the plant is not growing. I put in new soil, transplanted them also. They have yellowish bordered leaves with holes in leaves. It was producing good fruit and now has completely stopped. No flowers either..hope u can help. I can send pics

    • Cucumbers and other vegs will slip into a sort of dormancy when temps reach the mid 90sF. Simply wait for temps to moderate–to go back into the 80sF. If your plant survives the heat, they will begin growing again. If not, plant again. You can dust the leaves with a pesticide or diatomaceous earth to stop the chewing insect.

  61. Help! My cucumber leaves on the bottom part of my plant are turning yellow then brown and wilting. The top is still growing beautifully. I don’t know what to do.

    • Leaves at the bottom of the cucumber or any vegetables are the oldest leaves; they will naturally die before younger leaves. If there is a lack of sunlight reaching the lower leaves or lack of air circulation that could also hasten their end. If you have not fed the plant, give it a dilute solution of fish emulsion/half of what is recommended on the container; this will give it a boost.

  62. I planted my gherkin cucumber seeds into a pot and they have successfully grown. They are three feet tall. This past week and a half, the bottom leaves have lightened in between the veins and have wilted. Some of them have browned on the edges and wilted. But the top half of the plant is still dark green, with a slight wilt the closer to the soil. They are indoors in a bright windowsill and the weather hasn’t been too bad (mid-60s, mid-70s) daily. I’ve been self-pollinating them. I thought I was overwatering them when they first started wilting so I stopped that, but I don’t know what to do.

    • If you grow indoors or in containers, a moisture meter would be a good investment; it will help you know how moist the soil is. To water containers, set them in a saucer of water for 30 minutes and allow the soil to wick up moisture; then empty the saucer. The yellowing of the tissue between the veins can be a sign of too much water, poor drainage. Let the plant dry out then give it a feeding of fish emulsion at half the recommended application. Keep the plant where it can get plenty of light.

  63. My cucumber plant has grown well, flowered and carried fruit, too. I water daily and feed every other week with liquid food. Now, at the end of July, the leaves are all turnung a fuzzy looking black before they wilt. All fruit has shriveled.
    I recently removed yellowed, dried leaves with sharp shears.
    What happened and can I still save my plant?

    • The fuzzy black may be a fungal disease called gummy stem blight. You can spray the plants with a fungicide; this may slow the spread. It could also be a bacterial disease; there is no cure for bacterial diseases. Bacterial diseases spread through the water-conducting capillaries and plant death is almost certain. Try the fungicide. However, if the disease spreads remove the plant and place it in the trash then clean up any plant debris in the garden so that disease does not linger in the garden.

    • Your description sounds like a fungal disease called scab which causes scabby skin and oozing of cucumber fruit. Spray the plant with a fungicide to curb the infection; if the infection becomes serious remove the plant and clean all plant debris from the garden.

  64. My cucumber plants have plenty of beginning cucumbers, but they are only a centameter long but they turn yellow and and down flower? Can you help me?
    Thanks,
    Marina

  65. Hi All!
    This is my first time growing a Cucmber plant. I have one outdoors and two grlwing indoors. The outdoor one I’d say is a bit spindly because I have had to pinch some leaves off. They look like they were becoming cooked. White and paper like, crunchy. The plant is still producing flowers and even has some little cukes going. I noticed the spil was too moist and it created an abundance of lite gnats. I changed half of the soil and added new material and the day after noticed that there are some ants crawling around the sides of the pot and on the inside. The stalk itself isn’t infested but has 1 to 2 ants exploring it. I get I am an amateur but it is hard losing plants. I get attached easily haha. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Happy gardening everyone!

    • Ants near vegetable plants are often a sign that other insects such as aphids may be feeding on the plant; ants feed on the excrement of aphids. If the plant the soil is infested with ants, it’s best to place the plant in the trash and start anew.
      It is not uncommon for some plants to fail; there are many variables that add up to success.
      Going forward consider growing multiple plants of a crop; this will likely ensure success. Even the best growers encounter setbacks.

  66. My first year growing cucumbers. I have noticed that some of my mature fruits have a very tiny hole in the flesh with some strange white stuff just next to the hole. Any ideas? These are pickle type cucumbers

    • It is likely the hole was created by a boring or piercing insect. The white may be residue left by the insect or sap from inside the cucumber. Check the undersides of all leaves to see if there is any sign of insects or insect eggs. Spray with insecticidal soap or Sevin–both are organic pest controls.

  67. I have a diva cucumber seedling I bought at a farmers market 3 weeks ago…..it’s not growing! Leaves look fine but it is no bigger. My other cucumber plant (English cucumber) is growing fine. Can it be saved?

    • The seedling might have been started in a greenhouse and if you have now in the garden it might be acclimatizing to cool nights. Protect the seedling from wind and if it is cooler than 60F at night place a paper bag over it at night. Start feeding it a dilute solution of fish emulsion or kelp meal once a week until it gains strength.

  68. My cucumber plant (which is a burp less) leaves are turning yellow then brown and are crisp when turning brown and have white spots on the leaves! They also have small mushrooms growing in the top of soil! Stems, runners and top leaves are all green and healthy! I even have healthy looking blooms and cucumbers starting to produce on the top! Please help!

    • Your description sounds as though the plant is green and healthy at the top and has yellowing leaves below; it is natural for older leaves to yellow and fall away. Mushrooms are a fungus that feed on organic material in the soil; you may have bark chips or undecomposed matter in the soil. Remove the mushrooms as soon as they appear. Yellow and browning leaves may be natural aging; it also could be sunburn if the weather is hot. Feed the plants a dilute solution of fish emulsion every 10 days.

  69. We have been gardening in containers on our patio. rather than elsewhere on our large lot. This year we expanded and things were going very well. I was so happy that my first cucumber plant was filled with small cucumbers. Two of them matured and when I went out to pick the second one I realized all the little ones had disappeared. They were not on the ground and there was no sign of an animal. The vine looked untouched. If it was an animal, it was not a messy one. It also took some of our poblano peppers. We live in South Texas and we have plenty of critters, but none this neat. What could have taken the cucumbers and some poblano peppers off their plants without any destruction? We are stumped. Any suggestions?

  70. I live in NY. this is my first year growing Beit Alpha cucumbers. i started the plant indoors in early March. I transplanted them to my manure and composted garden in early May when we had some pretty warm weather.. The plants look very healthy, and, there are some tiny,tiny cucumbers on the vines.. There are also male flowers on the same plant, which confuses me since i thought they wer gynecious and parthenocarpic.. anyway, the plants and the cucumbers are not growing.. The same tinytiny cucumbers are still there with the flower attached and have not done anything in weeks.. I’ve been feeding them every 2 weeks or more. There’s no new growth, the tendrals, nor any part of the suckers are not growing.. I have 6 or so plants, and none of them are growing.. i have planted some American cucumber seeds as a backup and they’re just germinating now.. I don’t know what to do or why these Beit Alpha’s are not growing.. does anyone have any idea?

    • There are several reasons healthy plants slow their growth: temperatures greater than 86F (or cooler than 60F) can cause plants to slow growth and go into near dormancy–when temperatures moderate, growth will resume; insufficient water can slow the growth of thirsty cucumbers; cloudy weather can slow growth; compacted soil can slow root development and plant growth.

    • A cucumber that is spongy or rubbery is overripe and past the time it should be harvested. Check your planting date and the days to maturity. Pick cucumbers a few days before the days to maturity.