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Growing Cucumbers: A Quick and Easy Guide 

How Long Do Cucumber Seeds to Germinate

Adding cucumbers to any snack, salad, or dish always gives it a refreshing taste. If you’re a cucumber lover, did you know you can save a lot of money by growing them in your backyard?

In this article, we’ll let you in on everything you need to know about growing cucumber, from sprouting to planting them. 

How long do cucumber seeds take to germinate?

How long do cucumber seeds take to germinate
Image: Hunker

Cucumber seeds take between 3 and 10 days to germinate, depending on the temperature and other growing conditions. The ideal temperature for cucumber seed germination is between 65 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cucumber seeds also germinate faster with optimal soil temperature, air circulation and humidity. For instance, a humidity dome can keep the soil temperature at 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, increasing the chances of successful seed germination. 

Cucumber seeds also germinate faster with optimal soil temperature, air circulation and humidity
Image: Get Busy Gardening

Temperature is one of the crucial factors in determining the success and how fast cucumber seeds will germinate. Here’s a table summarizing the ideal temperatures for cucumber seed germination.

RangeTemperature (Fahrenheit)Temperature (Celsius)
Ideal60 to 9518 to 35

If soil temperatures are below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, seeds will fail to germinate. But in the rare case that they do, it can take up to 13 days or even two weeks for cucumber seeds to germinate.

On the other hand, under warmer soil temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, it will take 4 to 7 days for cucumber seeds to germinate. Finally, cucumber seeds can grow in just three days with soil temperatures between 85 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why should you germinate cucumber seeds early?

Why should you germinate cucumber seeds early
Image: Bustling Nest

Germinating cucumber seeds early helps extend their growing season, produces larger cucumbers and higher yields, and helps reduce the risk of pests and diseases.

By germinating cucumber seeds early, you can extend its growing season and harvest cucumbers for longer. This gardening technique is helpful in areas with a short growing season.

Cucumbers that are germinated early also grow larger because they have more time to grow and develop. Early germination leads to higher yields because they are more likely to produce female flowers, which produce fruits later.

Finally, germinating cucumber seeds early helps reduce the plant’s risk of pests and diseases because they are less likely to be exposed to pathogens that occur later in the season. 

How To Germinate Cucumber Seeds

How To Germinate Cucumber Seeds
Image: Fields to Feasts

Generally, cucumber seeds should be planted in the spring and after the soil has warmed to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a heat mat or cover the soil with a black plastic sheet to heat it to the ideal temperature. 

Here’s a table of the planting conditions for optimal cucumber seed germination. 

Temperature60  to 95 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 35 degrees Celsius)
MoistureSoil should be moist but not soggy.
LightSeeds should be planted in a warm, sunny spot.
SoilWell-drained soil is best.
Soil pHSoil pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5.

It’s best to start the germinating cucumber seeds about two weeks after the last frost date. Since cold and frost can hurt cucumbers, the weather needs to warm up before they can be planted safely. 

That said, germinating cucumber seeds indoors will give the plant a head start on the growing season. It will provide the cucumber plants plenty of time to grow and mature. 

They will be ready for transplanting when the soil has warmed up for the cucumber seedling. Now, let’s learn the step-by-step process of germinating cucumber seeds. 

DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
Duration5 days
Things You Need
Cucumber Seeds
Seedling Starter Kit
Starter Soil Mix

How To Do
1. Fill the containers with the starter soil mix.
Fill the container with seed starter mix or organic potting soil mix. Do not use garden soil because it drains poorly and may carry pathogens and diseases. 
Then, gently press the soil to remove air pockets.
2. Sow the cucumber seeds and water them lightly.
Use your finger to poke small holes about a quarter-inch deep for each seed. Place one seed in each hole, and sprinkle soil to cover the holes about a half-inch thick.
Gently firm the sprinkled soil mix. Water them lightly, and do not flood the container with water.
3. Place the seed container in a warm place.
Place a container in a warm, sunny area where it receives full sunlight. Make sure that the temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  
You can also place the container on top of a  seedling heating mat and maintain the ideal soil temperature of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Monitor the seeds daily.
Wait between 3 to 13 days for the cucumber seeds to germinate. Regularly monitor the soil moisture level and keep the planting mix moist but not soggy. 
Once you see the first sprout, keep the seedling at high sunlight exposure. 

How To Make Cucumber Seeds Germinate Faster

Cucumber seeds germinate faster when the soil is moist and well-aerated and the right humidity level is maintained in the container. Using new seeds and the chitting method also speeds up the cucumber seed germination process.

Read on to learn how these factors make cucumber seeds germinate faster.

1. Keep the soil moist.

Keep the soil moist.
Image: Garden Eco

Keeping the soil moist helps cucumber seeds sprout faster because water helps soften the seed coat, which allows the embryo to start growing. Water is an essential element in the germination process because it transports nutrients and oxygen to the embryo.

When the soil is too dry, the seed coat may be too hard for the embryo to break through and delay germination or even prevent it from happening. Conversely, when the soil is too wet, the seeds may rot or become susceptible to fungal diseases.

The ideal soil moisture level for cucumber seed germination is about 60 to 70% of field capacity or when the soil is moist but not soggy. 

You can quickly check the soil moisture level by sticking your finger into the soil. If the soil is moist to touch, it is at the ideal moisture level, but if it’s dry to touch, you need to water the container, preferably using a handy spray bottle. 

2. Maintain the right humidity level.

Maintain the right humidity level.
Image: Hunker

Maintaining the proper humidity level also helps speed up cucumber seed germination by preventing the seeds from drying. 

When the seeds are dry, they cannot germinate, and these seeds also get moisture from the air. So, the higher the humidity, the more water vapor is in the air.

Cucumber seeds’ ideal humidity level is at least 60% to germinate. If it’s too low, the seeds will dry out and fail to germinate. 

On the other hand, if the humidity level is too high, it can lead to damping off where mold or other pathogens infect the seeds or seedlings.

To maintain the proper humidity level, you can use a humidity dome since it traps moisture in the air and soil so that seeds have the ideal environment to germinate properly.  

3. Keep the soil well-aerated.

Keep the soil well-aerated.
Image: Growing Organic

Keeping the soil well-aerated helps cucumber seeds germinate because it allows for better oxygen exchange. Oxygen is another essential element in germination because the embryo uses it to break down the seed coat and start growing.

If the soil is not well-aerated, the oxygen levels are low and can delay germination or even prevent it from happening altogether. This usually occurs when the soil is too wet, and there’s too little air circulation, which can even cause death for the seeds.

To prevent your cucumber seeds from suffocating, always use a loose, well-draining soil mix so there’s ample space between soil particles for air and water. You can also add organic matter to improve soil drainage and aeration. 

4. Use new seeds.

Use new seeds.
Image: Love to Know

Using new seeds helps speed up germination because they are more viable and capable of germinating and growing into healthy plants than old seeds. 

Generally, cucumber seeds have a lifespan of 3 years, and their germination rate decreases rapidly past this lifespan.  

As seeds age, their viability decreases because the seed coat becomes harder and less permeable to water. As a result, the embryo inside the seed weakens and takes longer to germinate or not germinate at all.

You can check the viability of seeds by placing a few seeds on a moist paper towel and storing them in a sealed plastic bag. Place the bag in a warm place, and if the seeds germinate within 3 to 10 days, they are viable.

5. Chitting Method

Chitting Method
Image: Swallowtail Garden Seeds

The chitting method is an effective way to help cucumber seeds germinate faster. It involves soaking the seeds in water and placing them in a warm, moist environment to encourage sprouting.

It softens the seed coat and allows the embryo to start growing. Cucumber typically sprouts within 2 to 5 days from chitting, and small, white roots emerge from the seed. 

Here are steps on how to do the chitting method on cucumber seeds.

DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
Duration24 hours for preparation3 to 5 days for germination
Things You Need

Cucumber seeds
Paper towel or damp cloth
Plastic bag

How To Do
1. Soak the cucumber seeds in water for 24 hours.
2. Place the seeds on a moist paper towel or in a damp cloth. Then, roll up the paper towel or cloth loosely.
3. Place the rolled-up paper towel or cloth in a plastic bag or container.
4. Seal the plastic bag and place the plastic bag or container in a warm place, such as on top of the refrigerator or a heating pad.
5. Check the seeds daily. Once the seeds sprout, they’re ready to be planted.

Tips on Growing Cucumber Plants After Germination

After successful seed germination, here are our tried and tested tips on caring for cucumber plants. Read on to learn about them.

1. Choose the right time to plant.

Choose the right time to plant.
Image: Gardener’s Supply Company

The right time to plant cucumber seeds after germination depends on the climate, the cucumber variety, and other factors.

If your garden is in a warm climate area, you can plant cucumber seeds outdoors in the fall. On the other hand, if you want to start cucumber seeds indoors, you can do so four to 6 weeks before the last frost date to give them a head start on the growing season.

Once the cucumber seeds have germinated, you can go outdoors in the spring or as soon as the soil temperature is warm enough to at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also plant them after the last frost date or the danger of frost has passed.

Cucumber plants grow best in warm temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You can expect cucumber seedlings to emerge around 5 to 6 weeks after planting.  

2. Plant at the suitable space and depth.

Plant at the suitable space and depth.
Image: Savvy Gardening

Cucumber seeds should be planted at a depth of 1/2 inch to 1 inch and 2 to 3 inches apart to give the seedlings enough room to grow. If you plant the seeds too shallowly, they may dry out or be eaten by pests. 

After placing the seed in the hole, cover it with additional soil, tamp it down gently to remove any air pockets, and water the seeds well after planting. Expect your cucumber to produce fruit within 6 to 8 weeks of planting.

If you’re planting cucumbers in rows, the rows should be 2 to 3 feet, so there will be enough space for watering, weeding, fertilizing, and harvesting.

3. Water cucumber plants consistently.

Water cucumber plants consistently.
Image: Farming Thing

Watering cucumber plants consistently because once the cucumber seeds have germinated, the seedlings will need regular watering to continue growing. Generally, you should water your cucumber plants every one to two days or more during hot days.

Cucumber plants are heavy drinkers. It’s best to water them in the morning so the leaves have time to dry off before nightfall and prevent becoming a breeding ground for fungal diseases.

To check if your cucumber plants need watering, insert your finger into the top inch of the soil. It’s time to water your cucumber plant if it’s dry to the touch. 

4. Fertilize cucumber plants.

Fertilize cucumber plants.
Image: This Is My Garden

Fertilizing cucumber plants is vital because it gives them the nutrients they need to grow and produce fruits. 

Cucumber plants are heavy feeders, so you’ll need to feed them regularly. You should maintain the soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5 when growing cucumbers for best results. 

Before adding fertilizer, make sure to conduct a soil test; otherwise, you may be over-fertilizing your plants, which can burn them. 

In spring or fall, you can improve the soil’s nutrient content by adding compost or a balanced fertilizer. 

5. Harden off cucumber seedlings.

Harden off cucumber seedlings.
Image: Kiwi Country Girl

Hardening off cucumber seedlings is crucial to growing a healthy and productive cucumber plant. 

It involves gradually exposing seedlings to the outdoors before planting them in the ground. The seedlings adapt to conditions outdoors, such as direct sunlight, strong winds, and cooler temperatures.

You can start the hardening process by placing them in a shaded area outdoors for a few hours each day. Then, gradually increase the time the seedlings spend outdoors the following day until they can be left outdoors for a full day.

The hardening-off process takes between 7 and 10 days. Then, the cucumber seedlings are ready to be planted outdoors.

6. Protect cucumber plants against pests.

Protect cucumber plants against pests.
Image: Old World Garden Farms

Cucumber plants are vulnerable to pests such as spotted cucumber beetles, aphids and squash vine borer. For instance, spotted cucumber beetles are small, yellow and black beetles that feed on the leaves and flowers of cucumber plants.

Aphids are soft-bodied insects that suck the sap from the plant, causing them to wilt and yellow, while squash vine borers are clear-winged moths that lay their eggs on the stems, which later burrow into the stems, causing the plants to wilt and die. 

You can use row covers, plant companion plants, or handpick pests from your garden to protect them from these pests. You can also use insecticidal soap, neem oil or biological controls like ladybugs and parasitic wasps to eliminate these pests.

7. Protect cucumber plants against diseases.

Protect cucumber plants against diseases.
Image: University of Maryland

Cucumber plants are also susceptible to plant diseases such as bacterial wilt, powdery mildew, scab, cucumber mosaic virus, anthracnose, and leaf spot. 

For instance, bacterial wilt is caused by the bacterium Erwinia tracheiphila. Symptoms of this disease are wilting of the leaves and soft and slimy stems.  

On the other hand, powdery mildew is a fungal disease caused by the fungus Podosphaera xanthii. It produces a white powdery substance on the leaves and stems, stunts the plant’s growth and reduces its yield.

Scab is another bacterial disease that causes raised, scabby lesions on the fruits and leaves of cucumber plants and reduces the quality of cucumber fruits come harvest time.

Finally, the cucumber mosaic virus is a deadly viral disease transmitted by aphids. Its symptoms include stunted growth, leaf distortion, and yellowing of the leaves. 

To protect cucumber plants from these diseases, we recommend using disease-resistant cucumber seeds and practicing crop rotation every year. You should also water your plants deeply and apply fungicide once you see any symptoms.

FAQs on How Long For Cucumber Seeds To Germinate

What do cucumber seeds look like?

Cucumber seeds are tiny, oval-shaped seeds that are typically green or yellow-brown in color.

How many cucumber seeds do you plant per hole?

You can plant 2 to 3 cucumber seeds per hole about half an inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart in the ground.

Do cucumbers need light to germinate?

Cucumber seeds do not need light to germinate. All they need is warmth and moisture to sprout.

How fast do cucumbers grow?

Cucumber plants grow so fast that they can produce fruit within 6 to 8 weeks after planting.

How long does it take to germinate cucumber seeds in a paper towel?

Cucumber seeds germinate within 3 to 5 days in a paper towel.

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