How to Stake and Prune Cucumbers: Complete Guide with Photos

Hello to all agrohuerters! On many occasions, the success of a good production is based on knowing how to direct and prune the plants well. For this reason, today we are going to learn how to trellise and prune cucumbers in the garden or greenhouse, two key techniques to have a good harvest.

Trellising and pruning cucumbers

I am going to divide this article into two parts. In the first part we will see what plant trellising is and how to trellise a cucumber plant and, in the second part, we will see how to carry out a good pruning and its benefits in the productive performance of the plant.


What is plant trellising

The trellising of cucumber plants consists of the use of sticks, reeds, ropes or other materials in order to keep the plant in a vertical position so that it grows upwards, upright and does not remain lying on the ground.

This technique can be done in pots, outdoor gardens or greenhouses. In each one of the cases, and depending on each crop, we will use the methods that best adapt.

French-type cucumber (Source: Bejo)

Materials needed for trellising

The good thing about trellising and pruning cucumbers is that you don’t have to use too much material. Here is a list of the main materials used in plant trellising:

  • Sticks
  • rods
  • stakes
  • White hair
  • Tights
  • strings
  • wires

In the example of the cucumber trellising that I show you below, we will simply need a rope, scissors or a knife to cut the rope, a metal hook like the one you can see in the photo and a metal rod where to hook it from above.

Rope and metal hook to support the cucumbers

Benefits of trellising vegetables

Here is a list of the main benefits that plant trellising brings us:

  • Better use of the space of the orchard, greenhouse or flower pots.
  • Increased plant production.
  • Greater comfort when harvesting by operators or machinery.
  • Reduction of the risk of pests and diseases by allowing greater aeration in the plant. (Allows products not to be in contact with the ground.)
  • Better use of light.
  • Increased aesthetic appeal.

How to stake a cucumber plant step by step

Once we know what plant trellising consists of, we are going to see a specific case: the trellising of a cucumber plant.

The first question that will come to your mind will be when we should start trellising cucumber plants. The ideal would be when the plant is about 50 cm, neither too big nor too small. If the trellising is done too early it is dangerous because the stem can break and if we do it late the stem will be fatter and less flexible.

Secondly, we need to hook the rope to our metal rod at the top of the greenhouse, then make a (not very strong) knot in the stem and wrap the rest of the main stem around the rope. In this way the plant will be as I show you in the following photo:

Staking with rope a cucumber plant in a greenhouse

And finally, this would be the final result. The truth is that it is a joy once you finish and see all the plants forming a nice corridor. The trellising of all these cucumber plants cost me a few stiffness the days after… But it was worth it!

Cucumber staking in the greenhouse.

If the trellising has been good, the next step (pruning the cucumber plants) will be even easier and faster.


Benefits of a good pruning

Some time ago we saw how to prune a tomato step by step, so this time we have to learn how to do it with cucumbers. Despite being different crops, the benefits in the plant are common:

  • Attempts are made to direct the resources of the plant to the production of cucumbers.
  • Greater vigor of the plant and an increase in the size of the cucumbers.
  • Reduces the risk of pests and diseases. (Like the trellising, it improves the aeration of the plant).
  • Light reaches the plant more easily.
  • Reduces the deformations of the fruits when they are trapped between the leaves.

Remove small cucumbers

When our cucumber plants are small, pollination sometimes takes place too soon and the first cucumbers begin to grow. It is best to pull off these small cucumbers or gherkins to allow the plant to use its resources to grow upwards. If the plant is very small and we let the cucumbers get fat, it will not have the necessary energy to continue growing.

In addition, these pickles are always a good appetizer at any time of the day. I love them!

How to prune a cucumber plant

Pruning cucumber plants is usually done in May or June. It is very simple, we simply have to perform the following steps:

  • Locate the main stem (stem that follows the vertical of the stake) and observe the secondary stems.
  • We must observe the secondary stems and not let them have more than 2 or 3 leaves to continue directing the growth upwards. In the secondary stems where we have more than 2 leaves, we will cut (also known by the verb «to emerge») the secondary stem from the second leaf.

Finally, we must take into account two simple tips. The first consists of not pruning when the plants are wet, since there is a greater risk of introducing a disease. In addition, as a second piece of advice, the pruning shears must be clean since, on the contrary, the transmission of diseases will be more likely.


This is all for today agrohuerters. I hope you liked the article on how to trellise and prune cucumbers and that it will be useful for your orchards or greenhouses. Remember that you can tell us your experiences, techniques or tips in the comments. This way we will all learn a little more.

Have a nice day

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