So, How Much Water Do Cucumbers Need?

Cucumbers are a popular and versatile vegetable, and also one that is a regular fixture in home gardens around the country.

cucumbers on trellises
cucumbers growing on trellises

Whether they’re being sliced up for salads and sandwiches, or popped into a brine to make delicious pickles, cucumbers that have a lot going for them. However, they are notoriously fiddly when it comes to watering.

Some gardeners report that a little bit too much or a tad too little is all it takes to get stunted, bitter cukes. What’s the real story? How much water do cucumbers need?

Cucumbers need between 1 and 2 inches (2.5 and 5 centimeters) of water every week. They will need less water generally prior to blooming (1 inches), and more water after blooming (2 inches).

Every vegetable has its eccentricities, and concerning the cucumber it is how often it is watered, not so much the amount of water it gets.

If you can work hard or figure something out to ensure that your cucumbers stay in soil that is perfectly moist, not too dry or too wet, they will grow magnificently. But miss a watering or two or give them too much water and they will suffer.

The pressure is definitely on if you want some choice cucumbers, but I will give you some tips that will make the difference below…

What’s the Best Time to Water Cucumbers?

The best time to water cucumbers is in the morning, or alternately late in the afternoon after the worst heat of the day has passed.

Watering early or late will ensure that cucumbers get maximum benefit from the water, either preparing for the heat of the day or recovering from it, and this will also prevent a loss of water through evaporation before the plant is able to make use of it.

How Much Water Does Cucumbers Need Per Week?

Cucumbers are typically going to need between 1 and 2 inches of water weekly. How much they need is dependent on whether they have flowered or not.

If your cucumbers have not flowered, aim for 1 inch of water a week. If they have, shoot for 2 inches.

But, do keep in mind that you don’t want to water cucumbers from above as their foliage is highly vulnerable to diseases brought on by moisture.

Drip irrigation and soaker hoses are your best friend for keeping your cucumbers tip-top, but that means you’ll need to determine exactly how much water they’re getting using a flow controller or setting up one of your outlets over a rainfall gauge.

How Often Should You Water Cucumbers?

How often you water your cucumbers is also determined by their flowering. Prior to flowering, water them two to three times a week making sure that the soil stays damp.

But once they have flowered and the fruits are developing, they’re going to need a lot more water.

A good guideline is to double the amount of watering you are doing weekly assuming your plants are doing well: If you are watering them three times a week, start watering them six times a week, post flowering.

Do Cucumbers Like Wet Soil?

No! Cucumbers do not like soaking wet soil. They don’t like dry soil either, and neither do they like fairly moist soil. Cucumbers just like to be damp. Damp around the clock, all the time, always!

This is the number one factor that has contributed to cucumbers being labeled a fussy vegetable.

It’s difficult to describe exactly how much moisture they need in words, but your best friend for helping you nail this is a hygrometer, or moisture meter.

It will give you far more precise data than your finger ever could, and once you have a little bit of experience with cucumbers you’ll instinctively know when they’re at the right level of moisture.

I cannot stress this enough: you must do everything that you can to maintain soil moisture at a consistent level if you want an excellent crop.

More than getting too much water or not enough, fluctuating soil moisture levels are what cause problems more often with cucumbers.

Can Cucumbers Be Overwatered?

Yes, they certainly can. Cucumbers are extremely vulnerable to various issues and diseases brought on by overwatering.

It is very easy for beginning cucumber growers to do this fearing that their cukes might dry out in warmer weather.

What are Some Problems Associated with Overwatering Cucumbers?

Oh boy, there are many. Some of the most common and quickly occurring are the dropping or yellowing of leaves. Root rot is, as always, another major concern and one that seems to strike cucumbers particularly hard.

Even if root rot does not set in, cucumbers also show a curious tendency to suffer from structural collapse from being waterlogged.

It’s like the whole plant turns almost gelatinous, toppling over and invariably resulting in the loss of fruit.

Also, be on the lookout for signs of fungal disease. This is a perennial problem for all sorts of plants that get too much water or get water on their foliage, but once again cucumbers prove to be quite susceptible.

How Will You Know if Cucumbers Aren’t Getting Enough Water?

To make matters even more confusing, cucumbers will show the same symptoms of overwatering when they aren’t getting enough water, specifically dropping leaves, yellowing leaves and wilting or shriveling.

This is another classic mistake that beginning cucumber growers make. Having overwatered their cucumbers a little bit and seeing the leaves start to yellow and drop, they suspect too little water and give the cucumbers more, finishing them off.

Don’t make this blunder yourself: if you see your cucumbers starting to struggle, remain calm and test the soil for moisture.

This is a great time to use your moisture meter for an accurate reading, but lacking this device, use your finger. If the first inch or two of soil feels very dry, give them more water.

How Often Should You Water Cucumbers in Pots?

If you were growing cucumbers and pots or other containers, follow the same advice and watering schedules that you would for ones planted in the ground or climbing up a trellis.

There are a couple of extra things to keep in mind, though: first, remember that container-planted vegetables tend to dry out more quickly in all circumstances, especially if they are indoors, and this means that the tempo of your regular waterings to maintain that just-right level of soil moisture might need to be increased.

Second, you must ensure that your containers drain properly or else you can inadvertently kill your plants via swamping them. Double-check all drain holes, and leave space for water to drain out of the bottom.

If you can afford them, consider using containers that are naturally breathable to give you better control over soil moisture, such as ones made of unglazed clay.

Leave a Comment