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How To Trellis Cucumbers: Control the Chaos With These 9 DIY Trellises

Sure, you could let your cucumbers sprawl on the ground, overflowing into neighboring beds and possibly choking out other crops. They’ll still make fruit, even if the fruit looks odd and rots more quickly. Or, you could trellis your cucumbers vertically and save a lot of space and headache at harvest time.

There are some really nice cucumber trellises on the market, but you don’t have to buy a trellis—it’s just as easy to make one yourself. Choose between an A-frame, arch, or lattice, or keep it minimal with T-posts and twine—it’s all up to you! There are a number of different ways to build a cucumber trellis, and your plants will love every one of them.

Keep reading to understand why trellising cucumbers is a clutch move, and sneak a peek at some of our favorite cucumber trellis ideas.

Why trellis cucumbers?

If you’ve never grown cucumbers on a trellis, your mind is about to be blown. Cucumbers thrive on trellises for more than a few reasons.

Saves space

The best reason to trellis cucumbers may be that it allows you to save space in the garden so you can grow more plants! Cucumbers, like squash and melons, are sprawling plants that can take over the garden if you aren’t careful. If space isn’t a concern, you don’t have to trellis cucumber plants—but you might have better yields if you do.

Increases sunlight

Like all fruiting plants, cucumbers need full sun to produce fruit—that‘s about eight hours of full sun. Growing cucumbers on a trellis will elevate vines above other plants in the garden, preventing the fruit from getting shaded out by other plants.

Makes harvesting easier

If you’ve ever dug through cucumber vines to find ripe fruit—and if you’ve ever realized that you missed one that’s not too big to eat—you know that harvesting cucumbers on the ground is a pain. Growing cucumbers on a trellis makes harvesting so much easier since the fruits will be closer to eye level and won’t be hidden by foliage. No more crawling around on hands and knees digging through cucumber vines! You’ll be able to see the fruit and pick it without hardly bending over.

Prevents disease and pests

Plants are more susceptible to disease and pest pressure when there isn’t good airflow between plants. Encouraging cucumber vines to grow vertically drastically improves airflow and reduces the risk of disease between plants.

Plus, elevating cucumber vines on a trellis helps keep the foliage dry, which is much healthier for the plants. Fungal and foliar diseases are sometimes transmitted between plants through backsplash or the splashing that occurs on plants as a result of irrigation or rain.

Cucumber plants that are happy and healthy are better able to fend off diseases and pests than plants that are under stress.

Symmetrical fruits (and more of them)

Cucumber fruit develops better when the vines are elevated, and the fruits are allowed to dangle down. Gravity will encourage long, slender fruits rather than misshapen ones.

Many growers who trellis cucumbers actually found that their yields increased. Perhaps part of the increase is due to fewer animals getting to the plants, but science does seem to prove that cucumber vines are more productive grown under ideal conditions that trellising provides.

Cucumbers that benefit from trellising

Technically, no cucumber needs to be trellised, but vining cucumbers certainly benefit from vertical growth.

Cucumbers are generally one of two types: bush or vining. Most of the cucumbers you love are probably vining types that produce four to six-foot vines. These cucumbers will continue to grow until the plants are killed by frost. Bush cucumbers, on the other hand, have a mounding rather than a vining growth habit, only reaching a couple of feet tall or wide.

This super-sweet, seedless cucumber performs at its best on a trellis. Reaches four to five feet in height and matures in 65 days.

These vigorous disease-resistant vines love to climb a trellis, and fast, maturing 63 days from planting. The extra-sweet 10-inch fruits have thin skin—the kind of peel you won’t mind biting into!

A 1924 heirloom made to climb a trellis. The four to six-inch symmetrical fruits mature in 52 days and are perfect for homemade pickles or fresh eating. 

This unique heirloom is a favorite among old and young alike. The round, yellow fruits look a lot like lemons, and we’d argue that they have a citrusy taste to them too. This variety matures in 65 days, but it’s definitely worth the wait. 

This productive, reliable variety is a staple in the market gardener and homesteader’s garden. This vining variety is especially well-suited to the North and Mid-Atlantic, maturing 65 days from planting. Trellis for straight, symmetrical fruit. 

How to install a simple cucumber trellis in 5 easy steps

Ideally, you’ll want to build the trellis before you plant cucumbers, but you can add the trellis after if you need to. It’s just more difficult to build a trellis around young transplants, and you have to be careful not to damage any plants or step in the bed. Some trellis designs can only be partially built before the plants go into the ground, and other parts will be added after.

  1. First, gather all the needed materials. This includes wood or bamboo stakes, twine, and scissors to cut it with. Be sure to wear gloves and use eye and ear protection. You might need a T-post pounder or a mallet for hammering in the stakes.
  2. Next, place stakes at either end of the cucumber bed. Secure the stakes in the ground with the pounder or mallet.
  3. Attach one end of the twine or to the top of one of the posts, and walk the twine to the post on the other end. Pull the twine tight and tie it to the post.
  4. Now, cut several pieces of twine about five feet in length. Attach the end of one piece of twine to the main line with a simple hitch. Let the other end of the twine dangle down. Repeat the process, attaching lines every eighteen inches or so.
  5. Plant a cucumber plant at each piece of vertical twine, and tie the twine to each cucumber plant with a loose knot.
  6. As the plants grow, twist the vines around the twine. After a certain point, the cucumbers will climb the twine naturally!

Trellising any plant takes more effort than letting the plants sprawl, but the results are worth it.

Regardless of which cucumber trellis you use, you’ll want to check up on the plants weekly, tying up any vines that have grown away from the trellis. This is also a great time to prune away dead foliage, damaged or rotting fruit, or any suckers.

9 trellis ideas for cucumbers and other vining plants

However you build your trellis, make sure that it’s five or six feet tall to accommodate fully-grown plants. Don’t build the trellis much higher; harvesting cucumbers will be more difficult. If your plants threaten to outgrow their trellis, simply train the vines back down or prune the vines back to control their upward growth.

One common and inexpensive cucumber trellis is plastic Hortonova netting. This kind of netting can be reused but is more often than not thrown away at the end of the season. There are several options that are less wasteful and just as effective.

1. Lattice

Wooden, plastic, or lattice made out of any other material makes a great trellis for cucumbers, especially plants grown in pots on a porch or deck, since the lattice looks nice and, when covered with cucumber vines, adds an element of privacy. Just be sure to secure the lattice with screws or zip ties so it doesn’t topple over under the weight!

2. Metal mesh

Sheets of metal mesh, steel mesh, or cattle panels make sturdy and simple trellises that can be reused from season to season.

3. A-frame

You can build A-frames in a few different ways depending on your budget and the materials you have on hand. Tobacco stakes or bamboo sticks can be secured together in the desired shape, or you can lean metal or wooden panels together and secure them. Just make sure that the main poles are secure and make sure that the cross supports are just as sturdy.

Place the finished structure so that the longest sides are facing east and west—this orientation will provide cucumber vines with the most sunlight as the sun moves from east to west across the horizon.

4. Arch

Similar to an A-frame but more decorative, arched trellises are great for long cucumber vines, as well as squash, peas, and beans. An arch can sit over a bench, over a path in the garden, or between two raised beds or garden rows. Arches aren’t the cheapest trellis you can buy, but they are strong enough to last for years, and they add elegance to any garden.

5. Twine and posts

Perhaps the simplest trellis of all can be done by stringing twine between two posts. Use T-posts, tobacco stakes, or bamboo as the end posts, and as the cucumbers grow, add another line every few inches. This method of trellising, called the Florida Weave, is commonly used for tomatoes, but it can be used to tie up cucumbers, squash, and peas as well.

Make a biodegradable netting by weaving different pieces of twine into a grid, and secure the grid on either end with posts. Since string has a tendency to stretch, you’re better off using new string each season rather than trying to reuse it.

6. Tipi

You can easily make a tipi-style trellis by lashing together a handful of tobacco stakes or bamboo sticks on one end and spreading the individual sticks apart into a tipi shape. Push the ends of the stakes into the ground, and that’s it!

7. Wire cage

You can use tomato cages for individual cucumber plants, but tomato cages aren’t as strong as some of these other supports. But if you only have a couple of plants, tomato cages make a sufficient trellis, especially for container-grown cucumbers.

8. Fence

To avoid any extra work, you could always plant your cucumbers along a fence. It might be difficult to tie plants to a wooden fence, but a chain link fence would be perfect.

9. Repurposed trellis

Do you have an old metal shelving unit or ladder that isn’t being used? Try it out in the garden! It will add character to the space, serve its purpose, and reduce waste in our landfills.

Trellising cucumbers is a great way to save garden space and increase productivity. By following the easy steps outlined in this post, you'll be able to install a trellis and train your cucumber vines to grow up in no time. Don't forget to regularly tie up any wayward vines to keep them growing in the right direction. And, if you're looking to add more trellised plants to your garden, squash, beans, tomatoes, and watermelon are all great options to consider.

Shop our cucumber seeds today—it’s not too late to start your dream garden this year!

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