Trellising and Pruning Cucumbers: Complete Guide

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:19 pm

In many occasions, the success of a good production is based on knowing how to direct and prune the plants well. Therefore, today we are going to learn how to train and prune cucumbers in the garden or greenhouse, two key techniques to have a good harvest.

Trellising and Pruning Cucumbers: Complete Guide

Trellising and pruning cucumbers

Trellising and Pruning Cucumbers: Complete Guide

This article will be divided into two parts. In the first part we will see what plant training is and how to train a cucumber plant and, in the second part, we will see how to perform a good pruning and its benefits in the productive yield of the plant.

What is plant staking

Trellising cucumber plants consists of using sticks, canes, ropes or other materials to keep the plant in an upright position so that it grows upwards, erect and does not lie flat on the ground.

This technique can be done in pots, open-air gardens or greenhouses. In each case, and depending on each crop, we will use the methods that are best suited.

Trellising and Pruning Cucumbers: Complete Guide
French type cucumber

Materials needed for trellising

The good thing about training and pruning cucumbers is that it is not necessary to use too much material. Here is a list of the main materials used for staking plants:

  • Sticks
  • Poles
  • Stakes
  • Canes
  • Netting
  • Ropes
  • Wires

In the example of cucumber staking shown below, we simply need a rope, a pair of scissors or a knife to cut the rope, a metal hitch like the one you can see in the picture and a metal rod to hook it to the top.

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Trellising and Pruning Cucumbers: Complete Guide
Rope and metal hitch for cucumber staking

Benefits of trellising vegetables

Here is a list of the main benefits of staking plants:

  • Better use of the space in the vegetable garden, greenhouse or pots.
  • Increased plant production.
  • Greater comfort at the time of harvesting by operators or machinery.
  • Reduced risk of pests and diseases by allowing greater aeration of the plant (allows products not to be in contact with the soil).
  • Better use of light.
  • Greater aesthetic appeal.

How to stake a cucumber plant step by step

Now that we know what plant staking consists of, let’s look at a specific case: the staking of a cucumber plant.

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

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

Trellising and Pruning Cucumbers: Complete Guide

Trellising a cucumber plant in a greenhouse with rope

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. For me, the staking of all these cucumber plants cost me a few aches and pains the days after… But it was worth it!

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Trellising and Pruning Cucumbers: Complete Guide

Trellising cucumbers in greenhouses.

If the staking 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 already saw how to prune a tomato step by step, so this time it is our turn to learn how to do it with cucumbers. Despite being different crops, the benefits to the plant are common:

  • An attempt is made to direct the plant’s resources to cucumber production.
  • Greater plant vigor and an increase in cucumber size.
  • Decreased risk of pests and diseases (like trellising, improved aeration of the plant).
  • Light reaches the plant more easily.
  • Reduces fruit deformations when they are trapped between the leaves.

Eliminate small cucumbers

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

Besides, these pickles are always a good snack at any time of the day, I love them!

Trellising and Pruning Cucumbers: Complete Guide

How to prune a cucumber plant

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

Locate the main stem (stem that follows the vertical of the tutor) 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, in this way, the growth upwards. In the secondary stems where we have more than 2 leaves we will cut (also known by the verb “despuntar”) the secondary stem from the second leaf.

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Finally we must take into account two simple tips. The first is not to prune when the plants are wet, as there is a greater risk of introducing a disease. Also, as a second tip, pruning shears must be clean, otherwise disease transmission is more likely.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts. Jones James