Sunlight is vital for every plant, and cucumber plants are no exception. Many people are now interested in vegetable gardening. As a beginner, you might wonder how much cucumber plants should receive.
Cucumbers are sun-loving plants, and they prefer 6-8 hours of sun daily. Less than 6 hours of the sun leads to less harvest, poor quality, and small cucumbers. Give them at least 6 hours of sunlight for a good harvest. Little shade is suitable for areas with sweltering summers.
If you are searching for the sunlight requirements for cucumber plants, this is the right place. We will elaborate and highlight every detail about the cucumber’s sun requirements and how to adjust it when the light is too much or too little.
The importance of sunlight for cucumber plants
As sun-loving plants, the cucumbers should receive at least 6-8 hours of full sunlight daily.
Sunlight is vital to the plant’s overall growth and development.
Adequate sunlight will allow them to carry out photosynthesis, through which they make food properly.
Without enough sunlight, the plant will struggle to produce food.
Sunlight also helps the plant to grow and thrive to the fullest.
Proper exposure to sunlight will make your cucumber plants vigorous and fruitful.
Sufficient sunlight will regulate enough chlorophyll production, which absorbs energy during photosynthesis and makes plants green and healthy.
A healthy plant will remain strong during any issue and even fight against several diseases.
The optimal amount of sunlight for cucumber plants
The cucumbers need at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun daily for optimal growth and maximum yield.
Cucumbers are summer crops, and they enjoy full sunlight with warm temperatures.
Cucumbers grow best when they receive 8 to 10 hours of full sunlight along with 70°F to 75°F temperatures.
If your cucumber plants do not receive 8 to 10 hours of sunlight per day with warm temperatures, ensure they receive at least 6 hours of full sun daily.
Do not hesitate to let them bask in the full sun from morning to evening.
At least 6 hours kf sunlight is a must for their proper growth and development.
Cucumbers thrive and crave full sunlight to grow at their best and thrive for prolonged periods.
When the cucumbers receive sunlight for less than 6 hours, they will not produce as per your expectations.
When you plan to grow the cucumber plants with raised beds, place the beds in a sunny area of your garden that receives at least 8 hours of sunlight.
The effects of too much sunlight on cucumber plants
Cucumber plants are sun-loving and grow the best when they receive 8 hours of full sunlight daily with temperatures of 70 to 75°F.
But extreme heat and warm temperatures are unsuitable for even sun-loving plants, and the cucumber plants are no exception here.
Intense sunlight is not something that cucumber plants want.
Some adverse effects of intense sunlight exposure include the following:
- Harsh sunlight increases temperatures above 90°F will lead to sunburns, scorches, and wilted and withered leaves.
- Such a condition will dehydrate the soil faster than expected and become hard.
- If the soil dehydrates faster, the plant will suffer from underwatering.
- If the leaves of your plant are thin, the cucumbers will have sun damage.
- Excessive sunlight will also lead to premature ripening of the fruit. So, instead of plump cucumbers, you receive undersized or weak fruits.
Due to leaf loss, the plant’s fruits get exposed to direct sunlight and damage over time.
The reasons behind the leaf loss and exposure of the fruits to intense sunlight are:
- If your cucumber plants have diseases, it will damage maximum leaves. So, the fruits that stay protected from intense sunlight will get exposed to direct sunlight and damage.
- Some pests like beetles and aphids can attack the plants, destroy the leaves, and expose the fruits to excessive sunlight. As a result, the fruits get destroyed.
- When you do not prune your cucumber plants carefully, you mistakenly remove the maximum leaves from the top part of the plant. As a result, you expose the fruits to the direct sun and damage them.
How to protect the cucumber plants from excessive sunlight?
When the sunlight is too intense for the cucumber plants to handle, you must protect the plants from the excessive sunlight.
Here are some ways to protect cucumber plants from heat and intense sunlight:
Use an umbrella shade cloth
Place a shading cloth to provide some shade to the plants.
The cloth will protect the plants from the intense sun rays and lower the temperature to around 10°F.
When I first began growing cucumber plants, I lost some fruits due to the intense sunlight.
Then I arranged a shading cloth and made a shade for my plants; they are all fine now.
I use these shading clothes during the most challenging summer days.
I also use it for many of my flowering plants and other vegetables.
The type of cloth fabric depends on how much shade you want to provide to the plants.
Whatever cloth type you use, make sure not to block the sunlight and shade your plants thoroughly. That will give rise to other issues.
Looking for gardening supplies? We have tested 100's of products before recommending them to you guys. Check out our best pick below:
|Raised Garden Bed Kit
|Check On Amazon
|XLUX Soil Moisture Meter, Plant Water Monitor, Soil Hygrometer Sensor for Gardening, Farming, Indoor and Outdoor Plants, No Batteries Required
|82 Pcs Garden Tools Set and Extra Succulent Tools Set
|Check On Amazon
|Joeys Garden Expandable Garden Hose with 8 Function Hose Nozzle, Lightweight Anti-Kink Flexible Garden Hoses, Extra Strength Fabric with Double Latex Core, (50 FT, Black)
|Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler
|Check On Amazon
|Sunnyglade Plant Stakes
|Check On Amazon
|Organic Cold Pressed Neem Seed Oil
|Check On Amazon
|Mighty Mint Gallon :-Insect and Pest Control Peppermint Oil
|Check On Amazon
|Scotts DiseaseEx Lawn Fungicide
|Check On Amazon
|Jacks Classic 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer
|Check On Amazon
|30,000 Seeds Pollinator Attracting Wildflower Mixture
|Check On Amazon
|Survival Vegetable Seeds Garden Kit-Over 16,000 Seeds
|Check On Amazon
Build a shady structure.
You can make a DIY shade structure, for example, a pergola or an arbor, for your cucumber plants to protect them from the intense sunlight.
Some of my friends have a pergola to protect outdoor potted plants from the intense sunlight.
It will be enough to give your cucumber plants adequate shade from the intense sunlight, especially during the summer afternoons.
Also, keep an eye on the behavior of the cucumber plants and their growth patterns.
If the growth becomes erratic, you have shaded the plant too much.
When you are pruning the cucumber plants, do it carefully.
Avoid removing excessive leaves from the top part.
They work as a shelter for the fruits to protect them from the intense sunlight.
Whenever I prune my cucumber plants, I aim for the lower leaves.
Removing the lower leaves also prevents the plant from spreading diseases on the soil during the rainy season.
Plant disease-free varieties
Planting pest and disease-resistant varieties will save your plant from excessive damage.
These plants can remain healthy, have a robust root system to find water even during dry and sunny weather, and have many healthy leaves to protect the fruits from excessive sunlight.
Mulch the plants
Mulching can help in retaining the moisture in the soil.
Excessive exposure to sunlight can dehydrate the plant faster, evaporate the moisture, and harden the soil.
Adding mulch to the soil will reduce moisture evaporation.
As a result, the cucumber plants will have enough moisture to fight and stay strong when exposed to harsh sunlight.
For mulch, I use compost. You can also use dried leaves, straws, or shredded newspaper.
I apply 1 inch of thick mulch. It saves the plants from the adverse effects of prolonged sunlight exposure.
Water the plants regularly.
Watering plants is one of the standard methods to protect them from the negative impacts of intense sunlight.
Watering the plant will give the fruits and the root system enough moisture to stay strong and fight the harsh sun, especially during the summers.
Water the soil and avoid overhead watering. Provide at least 1-2 inches of water per week.
The watering routine can differ based on various factors. So, I do not follow any routine.
I frequently check the moisture and poke my finger into the soil’s top 1 inch.
Whenever I feel the soil is dry, I immediately water the plant.
I thoroughly water the plant early in the morning to keep it hydrated throughout the day.
The effects of too little sun on cucumber plants
Cucumber plants are sun-loving plants that grow best when they receive 8 to 10 hours.
If not 8 to 10 hours, they must receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.
In the garden, the cucumber plants rarely face problems with the sunlight.
They suffer when there is a lot of shade or trees and barriers around your garden.
Cucumber plants will mostly be deprived of sunlight when they are grown indoors.
Too little sunlight will harm the cucumber plants:
- Without enough sunlight, the plants may grow fine, but the quality and quantity of the fruits will reduce to a great extent.
- The cucumbers will grow small and less plump.
- Under partial sunlight or shade, the taste and texture of the cucumbers will not be up to the mark.
- The sunlight helps the plants to produce adequate chlorophyll. Without enough chlorophyll, the leaves will become yellow over time.
- Without enough sunlight, the plants will grow in an unstable pattern because they constantly try to reach out toward the sunlight’s direction.
How to prevent this?
- To avoid these issues, you must increase sun exposure on cucumber plants. For that:
- Find a spot in your garden that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun daily.
- Use raised beds to give your cucumber plants direct sunlight.
- You can grow vine cucumbers in the trellis. As they grow upwards, they reach the sunlight and absorb as much as they want.
- If you are growing them indoors, find a window facing south or west and place the plant near it.
- If needed, use Grow lights for the indoor cucumber plants.
How to determine the right amount of sunlight for cucumber plants? – Factors determining the right sunlight
When you are growing cucumber plants, know that these plants are incredibly sun-loving plants and grow best when they receive 8 to 10 hours of sunlight.
If not that much, at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily is crucial for the plant’s health.
Here is a guide that explains the outcome of the cucumber plants at different sun exposure lengths and helps you determine the right amount of sunlight for them:
- Sunlight less than 4 hours: The amount of sunlight is too little. Your plant will become leggy, and the quality and quantity of the fruits won’t be up to the mark.
- Sunlight for 4 to 5 hours: It is too little sunlight for the plants to provide enough fruits. You will receive a smaller and lesser amount of cucumbers.
- Sunlight for 6 to 7 hours: It is considered the minimum amount of sunlight for healthy plants and fruits.
- Sunlight for 8 to 10 hours: This sunlight will make your cucumber plants healthy and strong. The plants will be full of plumpy and tasty cucumbers.
- More than 10 to 12 hours of sunlight: It may become too intense for the plant. The more sun it receives, the better the plant grows. But if the sunlight is too harsh, it will lead to sunburns and defoliation. The sun exposure timing can increase or decrease based on various factors.
Factors determining the amount of sunlight the cucumber plants receive
Several factors determine the right amount of sunlight for the cucumber plants. Below are some common factors:
Plant growth stage
The cucumbers will need different hours of sunlight during their different growth stages.
Here is a guide to determining the right amount of sunlight for cucumbers at their different growth stages:
- The cucumber seeds will need full sunlight to germinate and develop into seedlings. But they won’t tolerate intense sunlight. Give them at least 6 hours of sunlight per day for optimal growth.
- The cucumber seedlings will need at least 8 hours of sunlight to grow enough for transplantation. Without enough sunlight, the seedlings will become leggy.
- When your cucumber seedlings are ready for the transplant, harden them so they are not affected by the sudden harsh sunlight. Slowly increase the timing, starting with 4 hours, 6 hours, and then 8. Make sure that the transplants receive at least 10 hours of sunlight. Additionally, try to protect them from the intense sunlight.
- Once your cucumber plants mature and are hard enough to beat the harsh outdoor sun, ensure they receive 10 to 12 hours of sunlight daily. It will encourage the plants to grow plumpy, bigger, and tastier fruits. Furthermore, you will also receive cucumber seeds for germination.
Although cucumbers have various varieties, shapes, and sizes, they all have more or less the exact requirements.
However, in some cases, different varieties may need different amounts of sunlight for optimal growth.
Based on the variety, you have to adjust the sunlight and give the varieties their sunlight needs.
The vining cucumbers, for instance, the English cucumbers, will need full sunlight, around 6 to 8 hours, for adequate growth and development.
In contrast, pickling cucumbers need only 5-6 hours of sunlight daily for proper growth.
Some cucumbers can be tolerant of partial sunlight or shade.
Though the sunlight hours will differ, there won’t be any considerable difference.
When growing cucumbers, consult a local nursery to give the plants sufficient sunlight for optimal growth.
The amount of sunlight for the cucumber plants is not different based on the season.
Cucumbers need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight for proper year-round growth and development.
When the summers are too harsh, reduce the sunlight’s intensity by using shade cloth or building a shade structure.
Since the summers are hot, ensure the cucumbers receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily, especially the morning sun.
And protect them from the afternoon sun using cloth shade.
During the winters, you need to bring the cucumbers inside as they won’t be able to tolerate temperatures below 50°F.
The sunlight’s intensity reduces to a great extent. During this time, find a spot indoors where the plants can get 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily for optimal growth.
Tips for providing the right amount of sunlight for cucumber plants
Providing cucumber plants with enough sunlight will benefit them in many ways.
With adequate sunlight, the cucumber plants will have larger flavorful fruits, more in quantity, and extend the growing season to some extent.
Here are some tips about how to provide enough sunlight to the cucumber plants:
- Grow them in the garden beds. It will allow the sunlight to reach the plants more directly and help them absorb the maximum light.
- Find a spot that can receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. It will allow the plants to absorb sufficient sunlight throughout the day.
- Choose a variety that can benefit the most from sunlight.
- Prune the cucumbers to maximize sunlight exposure. Also, remember not to prune too much of the top leaves as that will expose the fruits to direct sunlight and damage them.
- If you grow cucumbers in a row, plant them on a north-south axis, i.e., running from north to south.
- Grow cucumbers on a trellis. It will allow them to grow upwards and receive sufficient sunlight. I prefer the vine cucumbers in a trellis as they can beautifully grow vertically towards the sun without struggling for light.
How to increase sunlight exposure for cucumber plants grown indoors?
For houseplants, the natural sunlight entering through the windowsill is enough.
But edibles will need more light for adequate growth and development.
Cucumbers grown indoors won’t receive the sunlight the outdoor plants receive.
So, you have to increase the sunlight exposure or use supplementary lights like Grow lights or LEDs to provide the maximum light for the cucumber plants.
A combination of natural and artificial light can benefit all plants.
Besides the established plants, you can also use these lights for germinating the cucumber seeds.
When growing the cucumbers indoors, use the bush variety as they are ideal for indoors.
Indoors, place the plants close to a sunny window, for example, and a south or west-facing window.
Use high-pressure sodium lamps for the bush or vining cucumbers for supplementary lights.
For the mini cucumbers, use fluorescent lights.
The fluorescent lights provide a cool spectrum ideal for leaf growth and photosynthesis.
When you use artificial lights, maintain a proper balance.
Keep it on for 14 to 16 hours and maintain at least 8 to 10 hours of darkness.
Another option to increase sunlight exposure for indoor cucumbers is to place them on the balcony or your roof, where the sunlight reaches the most. However, it is not recommended in winter.
The optimal amount of sunlight the cucumber plants need is 6 to 8 hours. The plant can perform best when it receives 8 to 10 hours of sunlight, but 6 hours is the maximum limit. Below this, the plant will not produce enough fruits.
If the sunlight is too intense, along with high temperatures crossing 90°F, arrange a shading cloth or build a shade structure. Add mulch and increase watering to keep the plant hydrated. If the sunlight is insufficient, remove the barriers, like cutting branches of big trees blocking the sunlight. After planting, there is rarely anything you can do to increase sun exposure.
To prevent this problem, grow the cucumbers in trellis or garden beds, and plant them in rows on a north-south axis. If you are growing the cucumbers indoors, grow suitable indoor varieties, keep them near the south or west-facing windows, and supplement the natural light with artificial light.
Do cucumber plants like evening or morning sun?
This question has no exact answer because cucumbers enjoy sunlight at any time. Ensure they receive sunlight for 6 to 8 hours, anytime between 10 am and 4 pm. However, excessive sunlight won’t be good.
When to plant cucumbers?
Though the plant enjoys warm temperatures, it is best to wait until the soil temperature reaches 70°F. You can start the seeds indoors before you intend to transplant them outside. The ideal temperature for seed growth is 75 to 85°F.
Reference: Cucumber Wikipedia