One of the easiest and most effective things you can do to make your cucumbers grow better and become more productive is to water them correctly. You can either water your cucumbers from the top or you can water them from the bottom by pouring water into the plate underneath the container. I highly recommend watering from the bottom and I will explain why in this article.
It is better to water potted cucumbers from the bottom than from the top. Bottom watering promotes root growth by encouraging the roots to grow and stretch to reach as much water as possible. This results in a larger and stronger root system, which ultimately leads to a larger and more productive plant.
Keep reading as I explain why exactly bottom watering causes the roots to grow more than otherwise and how that makes the plant grow larger and become more productive overall. I also explain what you should do if bottom watering is not an option for you. This could, for example, be because you grow cucumbers in the ground or because the pots you use don’t have drainage holes.
Why Watering Cucumbers From the Bottom Is Better (3 Reasons)
There is generally nothing wrong with watering cucumbers from the top by just pouring water onto the soil, so don’t worry if you have been doing that until now. There are, however, some huge advantages to bottom watering that you should know about.
Larger and stronger roots
The primary reason why it is better to water cucumbers from the bottom than from the top is that it causes the roots to grow slightly more, as they need to stretch to reach the water. The larger roots allow the plant to obtain more water and nutrients, which leads to a larger, faster-growing, and more productive plant.
The roots will, of course, also grow if you water your cucumbers from the top, but since the water comes to them without them having to stretch to reach it, they won’t grow quite as much.
You have to keep in mind that your cucumbers can become rootbound if you grow them in a pot. This essentially just means that the roots run out of room to grow. When that happens, the plant will grow slower and slower and eventually stop growing entirely.
There are other potential reasons why that can happen though, so if your cucumber plants have stopped growing, I encourage you to check out the article on this link. In it, I cover some possible explanations as well as how to solve the problem.
Reduced risk of overwatering
When you water your cucumbers from the bottom, there is a lower risk of overwatering them than when you water them from the top.
The primary reason is that the larger root system, which I mentioned above, enables the plant to obtain and utilize more water, which means that it can take more before it gets too much.
A good trick to reduce the risk of overwatering further when watering cucumbers from the bottom is to fill up the plate about halfway and then wait. Once the water has been soaked up into the pot, you can fill the plate up halfway again. Repeat this a few times until the water is no longer soaked up into the soil or until the top of the soil feels moist.
Sure, it takes longer but there are also a lot of benefits to doing it this way as I explain in this article.
Cucumbers grow best in soil that is consistently moist and never completely dry or soggy. Watering as I explained here is a good way to keep the soil consistently moist. The right type of soil makes it a lot easier to keep it consistently moist, so I recommend reading the article on this link where I explain how to make the best soil mix for cucumbers as well as how to improve your soil and test if it is good enough.
Reduced risk of pests and diseases
Another excellent advantage of watering cucumbers from the top compared to from the bottom is that it reduces the risk of several problems. Primarily because the top of the soil doesn’t get too wet or soggy.
This is because various pests and diseases are more likely to seek out your soil and plant when the top of the soil is wet and damp. This is often because the insects want to find a suitable place to lay their eggs and trust me, that can be a pain to get rid of.
When you bottom water your cucumbers, the top of the soil should get moist, but ideally never wet and soggy, which means that the risk of pests and diseases is lower.
What to Do if You Can’t Bottom Water Your Cucumbers
There are several potential reasons why bottom watering isn’t an option for you. Maybe you aren’t growing your cucumbers in pots but instead directly in the ground or perhaps the pots you use don’t have drainage holes.
Regardless of why bottom watering isn’t an option for you, I have some tips that I recommend you follow when you water your cucumbers that can make the roots grow more and reduce the risk of some common problems.
Don’t worry if bottom watering isn’t an option for you because top watering is perfectly fine too. As you can see in this photo, I’ve been growing cucumbers directly in the ground in my greenhouse, which means that bottom watering wasn’t an option, and as you can see, those plants are thriving.
Here are two tips I recommend that you follow, though.
Avoid getting water on the leaves
Of course, water will get on your cucumber plant’s leaves at some point when it rains and that is not a big deal, but try to avoid getting water on them when you water your plants. The reason is that it can reduce the leaves’ ability to absorb sunlight as well as cause mold or other problems in rare cases.
A sign that something is wrong is that some of the leaves turn yellow. If there are yellow (or yellowing) leaves on your cucumber plant, I recommend that you read the article on this link where I explain what to do about it.
The easiest way to avoid getting water on the leaves is to pour it slowly just above the ground. If you pour from too high up, the water (and soil) can splash onto some of the leaves.
Pour water on the soil around the plant
Sure, you should pour some water directly underneath your cucumber plants, but I recommend that you also pour some water just around them. The reason is that it can encourage the roots to grow and spread a bit more than they would otherwise.
This is the same principle as with bottom watering where the larger root system can obtain more water and nutrients overall, which ultimately leads to larger, faster-growing plants that produce more fruit. Bottom watering makes this easier, but when it is not an option, this trick is a good alternative.