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Tips for Growing Cucumbers Hydroponically – Optimal Conditions

Cucumbers have been found to thrive when grown in hydroponic systems. They are commonly one of the plants which produce the highest yields. Here are some essential tips for optimal hydroponic cucumber crops.

Quick growing cucumbers need the right nutrient balance, warmth and moisture for optimal growth to occur. One of the most popular varieties of cucumber grown hydroponically is the seedless European cucumber.

Varieties of cucumber for hydroponic growing

There are various different types of cucumber such as burpless, spineless, bitter-free, parthenocarpic and gynoecious. There are also hybrid versions available which are popular due to their enhanced resistance to common diseases.

Cucumbers which are seedless (parthenocarpic) are the most popular variety for growing hydroponically. The majority of cucumbers grown hydroponically are of the burpless, bitter-free type.

Optimal growing conditions 

Cucumber seeds do best when planted in individual units of the chosen growing medium such as rockwool or coir. Germination is quick, with roots emerging within two to three days in ideal temperatures (27-28°C).

Because cucumbers grow in a vine-like manner, it’s best to string them up vertically. If there are space limitations vertically, a bush type cucumber should be chosen which can be cultivated in less space. Cucumbers require moderate to high levels of light and a temperature between 18-28°C for growing.

Nutrient solution

A regular vegetative mix should be used initially with a moderate EC (Electrical Conductivity) in the range 1.8-2.0 and a pH level of 5.8. Once the fruitlets appear, the formulation can be changed to stimulate fruiting; typically with higher potassium levels to ensure high quality fruit and this can be continued until harvesting time. The growth can be trained up vertically and then suspended from a suitable point to hang down. This allows for optimal use of space and also helps provide a CO2-rich environment to aid growth rate and eventual yield.

Humidity levels

The level of humidity in the growing environment is critical for optimal growth. Excessively high or low humidity can bring a range of problems such as fungal diseases, calcium transfer restrictions, cell collapse and mite infestation. It is important to ensure there is adequate air movement, enough to see visible foliage movement, which aids in photosynthesis and providing an adequate CO2 supply to the plants.

Potential problems

Crooking is a common problem cucumbers exhibit. This slight bending in the shape, as opposed to the ideal straight form, is a physiological disorder which occurs in the early phase of fruitlet formation. It can be caused by several factors such as leaves or stems obstructing fruit growth, damage inflicted by pests, incorrect or restrictive use of wiring or string supports, various environmental aspects including excessively low or high temperatures, over-watering, nutrient solution stagnation, and incorrect balance of specific nutrient components. Powdery mildew is also a common threat to crops but can be dealt with by using resistant cultivars.

Growing cumbers hydroponically is challenging but also extremely satisfying as the freshness and quality of the fruits are excellent when grown in optimal conditions. They grow rapidly and yields are impressive. With care and attention and the right HYDROPONIC SUPPLIES for supporting, training and pruning, as well as a correctly-balanced nutrient solution, the results can be very satisfying indeed.


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