Cucumber Spacing: How Far Apart Should You Plant Cucumbers?

Not sure how much space your cucumbers need when planted in the garden? These popular vegetables perform best when they aren't crowded. Luckily, there are plenty of options to provide additional space. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen shares exactly how much space your cucumbers need wh en planted in the garden.

Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are a favorite summer garden vegetable. Productive vines can yield many cool, crunchy, and juicy cucumbers to enjoy throughout the summer. But there are many varieties of cucumber and many different ways to grow a cucumber. So, how do you know how far apart you should space your plants?

There are both bush and climbing or vining varieties of cucumbers. If growing a climbing variety, you can save a lot of space if you provide an adequate trellis for your plants to grow on. Trellises allow you to plant more cucumbers in a small plot. Cucumber vines grow up to about 5 or 6 feet, and you will need a fair amount of space for each plant.

As long as you have a sunny location, you can grow at least one cucumber plant. If you have a larger garden, you can grow cucumbers in rows, hills, or mounds. In a smaller garden, cucumbers are a welcome addition to a raised bed or square-foot garden space. Even if you don’t have an established garden, you can grow a cucumber plant in a container.

Let’s now dig into the crunchy world of cucumbers and go into more detail about these great garden plants. In particular, how much space should you leave between your cucumbers, and what are their ideal growing conditions?


The Short Answer

Cucumber spacing depends on the plant variety and the gardening style. Growing cucumbers on a trellis provides an opportunity for you to grow plants closer together.

Allow about 1 foot of space between each trellis-grown cucumber plant. If you prefer to allow your vining cucumber plants to sprawl on the ground, leave at least 3 feet of space between each plant. Dwarf bush varieties can be planted 1 to 2 feet apart.

The Long Answer

Close-up of growing young cucumber seedlings on a raised bed in a greenhouse. Seedlings are planted in two rows at the same distance from each other. The seedlings are small, have two oval smooth leaves and two medium, wide, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges.
Cucumber spacing varies based on plant variety and gardening style.

Cucumbers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They all require some space to grow during their later growth stages. But how much space do you really need? The answer depends on the variety of cucumber you plant, as well as your gardening style.

The minimum space required between plants is 1 foot for a smaller variety or trellis-grown plant, and the maximum can be up to 6 feet between larger vines grown in rows.

Choosing Your Planting Site

Close-up of a gardener planting a cucumber seedling in a garden. The seedling has a hairy stem with broad, heart-shaped, green leaves with serrated edges. The gardener is dressed in a checkered white shirt and a brown apron.
Cucumbers need warm temperatures, full sun, and fertile, well-drained soil with ample organic matter.

Cucumbers are a warm-season crop and are very sensitive to the cold. Don’t worry about planting cucumbers in the garden until well after the last frost date when the air and soil temperatures have reliably warmed to at least 70 degrees.

Once the weather is warm enough, you should have a planting site ready. Remember that cucumbers need warm temperatures, plenty of sunlight, and rich, moist soil.


Cucumbers thrive in warm weather. The ideal temperature range for an actively growing cucumber plant is 75°F and 85°F.


Choose a location with full sun, ideally with a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. 8+ hours is fine too!


Cucumbers like soil that is neutral to slightly acidic, with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. Soil should be fertile with ample organic matter. It should also be well-drained because plants will not do well in soggy, wet soil.


Cucumbers like moist, but not soggy, soil. They should receive at least 1 inch of rain or supplemental irrigation per week. If your plants don’t get adequate rainfall to keep the soil fairly moist, you can do some supplemental watering.


Cucumbers do well with mulch around their base. Use straw, composted leaf mulch, or any other organic mulch. This will help keep the soil moist and will help prevent cucumber fruits from coming into direct contact with the ground. Mulch may also help protect against some pests and diseases.


A trellis will keep your plants off the ground, and this method of vertical gardening will also allow you to grow more plants within a given area. Trellises can be simple homemade structures, such as bamboo poles tied together with twine or a section of wire fencing, or a fancy metal contraption with decorative and ornamental appeal.


Cucumbers need a healthy dose of nutrition to grow their best. You can apply a generous layer of home compost at planting time and again after the blooms begin to appear. You can also apply a general vegetable-gardening fertilizer shortly after the plants begin to bloom and again a few weeks later. If using a commercial fertilizer product, be sure to carefully follow the instructions on the package for the best results.

Sowing Seeds

Close-up of a young cucumber seedling in the garden. The seedling has a pair of oval smooth leaves and one rounded shape, wide, with serrated edges.
Choose a cucumber variety based on your preferences for size, shape, and color.

Cucumbers come in two basic varieties: vining and bush. The vining variety is the most common and grows best using a trellis. These vigorous vines can grow to be about 6 feet long. Bush varieties are more compact, growing to only 1 to 2 feet long, and are ideal for growing in containers and small spaces.

When choosing a variety of cucumber, you will not only be choosing between the size of the plant but the overall size, shape, and color of the fruits. All cucumbers will have the same basic growing requirements, so choose the variety that appeals to you most.

Cucumber seeds are viable for up to 5 years, so if you only want a couple of plants, it’s good to know that you don’t have to plant all your seeds in the first year.

Once you have your seeds, you can decide whether to start your plants indoors or outdoors. Starting plants indoors gives you a head start on the growing season, but starting seeds outdoors eliminates the hassle of finding space in your house to start and transplant the seedlings.

Indoor Seed Start Spacing

Close-up of young cucumber seedlings in black plastic pots on a sunny windowsill. Seedlings have vertical short stems, slightly hairy, and a pair of oval smooth leaves, and a pair of wide, rounded with serrated edges.
Start cucumber plants indoors by sowing seeds about three weeks before transplanting them outside.

To get a head start on the growing season, cucumber plants can be started indoors. Sow your seeds approximately three weeks before you want to transplant them outside.

You should plan to transplant them outside when the soil and air temperatures are consistently between 75°F and 85°F. So, for example, if you want to plant them outdoors in the last week of June, plan to sow them indoors during the first week of June.

Place 2 or 3 seeds per pot and press them 1 inch deep into the soil. Since cucumbers really like warmth, try to place them in a warm location or use a heating mat below your seed-starting pots to keep them warm, around 70°F, and get your plants off to a good start. If the seeds are too cool, they may not germinate, or germination rates will be very low.

Spacing During Transplant

Close-up of young cucumber seedlings in black plastic pots on a sunny windowsill. Seedlings have vertical short stems, slightly hairy, and a pair of oval smooth leaves, and a pair of wide, rounded with serrated edges.
Allow enough space for the plant to grow, regardless of the variety.

When you are ready to transplant the seedlings into your garden, prepare the planting site by loosening the soil and digging a hole the size of the seedling pot. Plant at least 3 feet of space between vining varieties grown without support.

Carefully remove your seedling from its pot and gently place it in the hole. Fill in the rest of the hole and pat the soil around your seedling, maintaining the same soil level as the potted plant. Then give it a thorough watering to help prevent transplant shock.

If you plan to grow your cucumbers on a trellis, plant the seedlings 12 inches apart from each other, each close to the trellis or fence that they can climb.

If you are growing them without a trellis in rows, hills, or mounds, space the plants from 3 to 6 feet apart. This will give the vines each plenty of room to sprawl around the ground. Larger varieties will need more space than smaller varieties.

At this time, you can also add a layer of mulch to help keep the soil moist and help provide a layer between your cucumbers and the soil.

Spacing For Direct Sowing Outdoors

Close-up of cucumber seeds in the soil in the garden. Seeds are small, tear-shaped, flat, white. The soil is loose, brown.
Direct sow cucumber seeds in the garden when temperatures reach 70°F.

Begin sowing seeds directly in the garden when the soil and air temperatures have warmed to at least 70° F. Continue sowing seeds every two weeks throughout the growing season if you’d like to succession plant. This will allow you to have a continuous harvest during the warmest months.

There are many ways to grow a cucumber plant, and the ideal seed spacing will vary. You might grow cucumbers in rows, allowing the plants to trail along the ground. For this, you need a larger spacing between plants to allow for the vines to spread. Plant a cluster of about three seeds, 1 inch deep, spaced every 3 to 6 feet along the row. Use the spacing recommended on your seed packet. When the seeds sprout, thin them to one seedling every 3 to 6 feet.

Rather than growing along flat rows, some prefer growing cucumbers in mounds or hills. The advantage of growing in mounds is that the soil warms faster and drains faster, which will help your cucumbers thrive.

Hills should be 4 to 6 inches high and spaced 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the size of your plants. Sow 3 to 4 seeds per mound, placed 1 inch deep. After the seedlings have sprouted and grown a few inches, thin them to 1 plant per mound.

If growing your cucumber vines on a trellis, plant them much closer together. Trellises can be useful for growing plants in containers and in raised beds but can also be used along garden rows.

For cucumbers growing on a trellis, sow clusters of 3 to 4 seeds 1 foot apart at the base of a trellis. After the seeds sprout, thin them to 1 seedling per foot. Plants will naturally try to climb up anything they touch, but you can help guide them if they start aiming in the wrong direction.

Final Thoughts

Cucumbers are a fun summer vegetable to grow. It can certainly be worth a try if you like eating cucumbers and have a sunny location to grow them. Feeling adventurous? Try a more unusual variety for something different from the usual store-bought cucumber.

Allow at least 1 foot of space between plants. Grow them on a trellis to conserve space and allow better access to your harvest.  If you are not using a trellis, allow 3 to 6 feet between plants. Cucumbers grow and mature fast, so you can enjoy your harvest quickly this season if your plants have enough room to grow!

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