What To Do If Cucumber Plants Main Shoot Gets Broken?

One or two cucumber plants ensure the supply of salad or pickling cucumbers over the summer. But what if the main shoot of the cucumber breaks off? Can the cucumber still be saved?

  • growth is similar for all varieties of cucumbers
  • the cucumber plant is usually grown with only one main shoot
  • side shoots are cut off
  • if the main shoot breaks off, a side shoot can be grown as a substitute
  • other possibilities are less successful

Cucumber growth


Cucumber plant climbs, regardless of whether it is grown outdoors or in a greenhouse. In order for it to grow optimally, provide it with a trellis. However, even then, the side shoots must be cut off after the first flowering, so that the plant does not grow too much.

Once it has grown up about 60 cm, all side shoots below it are also removed, because otherwise forming fruits would lie on the ground. Due to these growth characteristics cucumber plant is always grown with only one main shoot.

Gurken im Gewächshaus mit einem Haupttrieb

When the main shoot breaks off


There are many reasons why a cucumber shoot is broken off. Sometimes it is carelessness or too much wind. Animals can also be responsible. When the damage is noticed, it is important to act quickly. The chances of success are best when the cucumber shoot is fresh and not completely broken off. In this case, you can try to carefully straighten the shoot until it is straight again and secure the damaged area with a clamp, jute tape or something similar. However, this must be done really slowly and carefully so that the stem does not break completely and the “bandage” holds well.

Note: Once the damaged area is securely wrapped, it is best to additionally fix it to the trellis.

Pulling up a side shoot


The simplest measure when a cucumber shoot breaks off is to grow a new side shoot. You do not have to do much for this. If you have not yet broken off or cut off any side shoots, you can choose one of them, remove the rest. It makes sense to choose one of the shoots that have grown far up the broken off place. This cucumber shoot is now tied to the trellis in place of the main shoot.

Note: Take special care of the cucumber in the next period, so that it grows quickly and vigorously.

Seitentrieb der Gurkenpflanze ziehen

Grafting cucumber plant


In some circumstances, you can save the cucumber plant by grafting it. To do this, you will need a suitable rootstock. This can be a pumpkin plant or another vigorous cucumber plant. Pumpkin plants are preferred because they are hardier. The best way to graft is to use a young plant as a rootstock that has not grown much further, except for the cotyledons. However, an attempt can also be made with an older plant.

  1. Smooth the broken cucumber shoot at the breaking edge and then make an oblique cut from below. If the cucumber shoot has already dried up a bit, cut it back to fresh green. Also, remove all, already formed cucumbers or flowers, they would cost the plant too much strength.
  2. Cut the rootstock below the lowest leaves or cotyledons at an angle as well, but from top to bottom.
  3. Insert both shoots into each other and secure with a clamp or wrap with other suitable material. The two plant shoots should touch each other as much as possible.
  4. Place the plant in a warm place, water well and fertilize sufficiently. Make sure that the plant does not get too much sun, it could dry out and would be unsalvageable.
  5. That the cucumber shoot has grown, can be seen by a new sprout. Leaves and new shoots are formed.
  6. Cut the old shoots of the rootstock above the grafting point, so that only the cucumber plant continues to grow.
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Frequently asked questions


How long does it take to grow a new cucumber shoot?


If side shoots have been broken out regularly, it may take a few weeks for a new vigorous cucumber shoot to grow.

Do all cucumbers grow the same way?


There are cucumber varieties where the side shoots are not removed. With these, it is not so bad if the main shoot breaks off.

How can the broken shoot be saved?


The cucumber shoot can be placed in water, perhaps it will form roots. But this happens rather rarely. Especially if the broken piece was already hanging cucumbers, the chance of success is low.

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