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You may have seen or read that a lot of people use trellises for growing cucumbers. There are several reasons why people do that but what if you don’t have one or just prefer not to use one?
The best way to grow cucumbers without a trellis is to grow bush varieties since they grow like freestanding bushes. You can also grow vining varieties without a trellis by letting them sprawl on the ground, although there are several reasons to use a trellis for vining cucumbers.
I have written this post because there are a couple of things you should be aware of if you want to grow cucumbers without a trellis. I share four easy tips below that you can use to significantly increase your chance of getting lots of good cucumbers from your plants. After that, I have included a list of some cucumber varieties that can grow very well without a trellis.
4 Tips for Growing Lots of Cucumbers Without a Trellis
There are some advantages to growing your cucumbers on a trellis, but you can also easily grow them without one as long as you are aware of a few things.
1. Choose bush varieties that don’t need to climb
Cucumbers can either grow like vines or bushes. Bush varieties are ideal if you want to grow cucumbers without a trellis since they grow like freestanding bushes, whereas vining varieties generally grow better if they can climb.
I have included a list of 11 bush cucumber varieties later in this post.
Bush varieties are definitely a good choice but you can also grow vining cucumbers without a trellis. These next tips can help you with that.
2. Cucumber plants growing without a trellis need more space
It requires more space to grow cucumbers without a trellis than with one since they will sprawl on the ground and take up more and more space as they grow. That said, bush varieties don’t sprawl nearly as much as vining varieties.
Plant your cucumbers about 2-3 feet apart if you don’t use a trellis to make sure they have enough space.
It is very important that you give your plants enough space to let the air flow properly since poor airflow can create humid conditions which increase the risk of mold and other issues.
This is just one of many reasons why it is important to give your plants enough space. If you want to learn more about this, I recommend you read this post, where I cover 11 things that happen if plants don’t have enough space.
3. Look extra carefully for fruit when you harvest
One of the advantages of using a trellis for growing cucumbers is that it becomes much easier to see all the fruit since it is not covered as much by leaves.
This is more important than you might think because if you leave fruit on the plant for too long, the plant might stop producing altogether since it has finished its reproductive cycle, which ends with the production of seeds.
The first sign your cucumber plants show that they are about to start producing fruit is that they will start flowering. You can read what to do when that happens, why it happens, and a lot more on this link.
This should not stop you from growing cucumbers without a trellis if you want to, but keep in mind that it is only one of several advantages of using a trellis. That said, there are also some advantages to just letting your cucumbers grow on the ground. You can read more about that in this post.
4. Avoid splashing water and soil on the leaves
Try to avoid splashing water and soil on your cucumber plants and their leaves when you water them since getting water and soil on them can increase the risk of pests and diseases.
Look out for yellowing leaves since that can be an indication that the plant is under attack by pests or infected by a disease.
If you see yellowing leaves on your cucumber plants, you might be tempted to remove the leaves and sometimes that’s definitely also the right thing to do, but not always. I recommend reading the article on this link to learn when you should remove yellow cucumber leaves and when you shouldn’t.
You can easily avoid splashing water and soil on the leaves if you just water close to the ground, but it is something you have to be aware of. It can be easier to avoid splashing water and soil on the plants if they are climbing on a trellis.
Of course, things like soil type are also important when growing cucumbers, but since you need the same type of soil for growing cucumbers without a trellis as you do with one, I did not include it on this list. If you want to learn about the best type of soil for cucumbers, you can read this article.
If You Decide You Want to Use a Trellis for Your Cucumbers
If you are thinking that you might want to try using a trellis for growing your cucumbers, you have a couple of options.
You can choose the easy option and just buy a trellis or you can build one yourself.
Buying one is definitely an easy solution, but there are also a bunch of ways to build a good trellis for your cucumbers. For example, You can also just make some really simple trellises out of bamboo sticks like the one I made in the photo above.
I have written about some different types of trellises that work well for cucumbers in the article I linked above (here it is again), so check that out if you are curious.
One thing you have to keep in mind when you choose a trellis is that cucumber plants can very get tall, which can make it difficult to reach some of the fruit. If you want some tips on how to prevent cucumber plants from getting too tall, I recommend that you read this article.
11 Bush Cucumber Varieties That Don’t Need a Trellis
If you want to grow cucumbers without a trellis, choosing a bush variety can make things easier and much more successful than if you choose a vining variety.
The primary reason why bush varieties are easier to grow without a trellis than vining varieties is that the vining varieties are more exposed to pests and diseases since they are laying directly on the ground.
For that reason, I have found 11 bush cucumber varieties you can grow if you don’t want to use a trellis.
- Burpless Bush
- Bush Champion
- Bush Pickle
- Parks Whopper
- Pick a Bushel
- Salad Bush
These varieties are all worth looking into if you want to grow cucumbers without a trellis since they won’t spread out on the ground as much as vining varieties.