There is nothing like showing love to your cucumber plant. Providing water, sunlight, good soil, and best fertilizers. And then you notice baby cucumbers dying on vine!!! Why is this happening despite you having provided everything? Most likely you have an issue with pollination.
Pollination is a necessary process in your case of cucumber planting. You will not get the results you want until you know why this process is not happening, and how to solve it afterward. This is why I have prepared this topic with additional benefits on how to prevent baby cucumbers from dying on vine in the future. Let’s go:
Table of Contents
1 Why do some baby cucumbers die on vine and others do not?
To explain this issue hear this story. Katy (a young mother who admires gardening). Love to wake up in the morning and drink her hot coffee in her backyard sitting around all the plants that have already grown in the past.
Happy and proud with her astonishing work, she turned her head from right to left with a big smile on her red cheeks. And then, she noticed something that was far from her cucumber plant, she said “hum, this looks unusual, I will go and see what it is”.
Once she arrived at the site, she saw some baby cucumbers dying on the vine, not all of them, but quite many of the little cucumbers had died.
Katy, as she noticed that, she didn’t panic, she didn’t do anything irrational. She grabbed her phone and started to write these questions, and then answer them afterward.
Did I water it enough? Yes.
Did I provide fertilizer? Yes.
Is the sunlight direct all day long? Yes?
No pests and diseases? None.
Oh, then Katy realized that this is due to pollination. “Baby cucumbers dying on vine because the female flowers of cucumbers have not been pollinated from male flowers”, Katy said.
Once Katy figured out the issue, she knew that pollinators are just few in the site, that’s why there are only few baby cucumbers that have survived and others not.
The question is, is it too late for baby cucumbers on vine to save them? Let’s find out…..
2 Is it too late to save dying baby cucumbers on vine?
Once you notice the dying baby cucumbers on the vine, there is nothing you can do on your behalf because it is already dead. The good news is that you can save other baby cucumbers on the vine before they die.
First thing you should do is to harvest all the dying baby cucumbers on the vine. This is an important step, by doing so, you are eliminating all wasted energy from your cucumber plant, as these dead baby cucumbers will not produce any fruit, once you eliminate them, all the energy will be directed to re-produce other baby cucumbers on vine.
Katy, as a sophisticated grower. She immediately started to collect those dying baby cucumbers from the vine because she knew that this action would provoke and encourage cucumber plants to produce more of these baby cucumbers.
Now, for Katy, it is time to go to the next step which is……
3 how to solve the issue of baby cucumbers dying on vine:
Now that we know the reason behind baby cucumbers dying on vine, which is pollination. It is time to solve the issue. you must grasp this information first…
What is pollination?
Pollination is the process of transferring what is inside male flower’s buds to the inside of a female flower’s buds. This usually takes its place naturally by pollinators such as bees and beneficial insects.
Therefore, in order for the pollination process to happen, there must be pollinators around your plant, which leads us to the second necessary thing….
Pollinators can come to your plant naturally from your behalf, or you can attract them by growing the plants they like. In other words, there should be companion plants like sunflowers, lavenders, cosmos, borage, or other vegetables like carrots and peas.
By providing those attracting plants near to your cucumbers, you are more likely to solve this issue of baby cucumbers on vine.
The second solution to solve this issue is to pollinate your baby cucumbers by hand.
To do so, follow these steps:
- Grab the male flower (it does not contain an ovary behind it, you will find a couple or three flowers together, that’s your sign you have the right one). it’s ok if you cut it.
- Take male flower to the female flower (the one that has an ovary behind it, female flowers always grow alone). After that gently make a contact between the two flowers in which you put what is inside male flower into the inside of the female flower. If you find it hard, you can use a small brush to transfer the pollen of male flower to the female flower.
- Put a colored sticker to the one you have finished pollinating it to identify which ones are left.
- Repeat the process until you finish pollinating all your baby cucumbers on vine.
More importantly, you will see the result of your hand pollinating in a matter of 3 to 5 days. As you will notice that your baby cucumbers on the vine are starting to grow, you should do a daily inspection of your cucumber plant just in case to make sure you have done it right (I’m sure you’ll do it perfectly).
Katy, in the meanwhile, has already begun to pollinate the baby cucumbers on vine because she is aware of the process and she has done it multiple times, grabbing male flowers and taking them to pollinate female flowers. Once she finished, she cleaned up the planting site and went to her seat to think about how to make sure to prevent this from happening again….
4 how to prevent baby cucumber dying on vine in the future:
When you solve the issue of baby cucumbers dying on vine you will feel with great satisfaction, knowing that your actions have made a change in the result of producing fruits. Yet, what will be more beneficial to you is to make sure this issue does not occur at all in the future.
In the other side, here’s what Katy did with her previous experience in practice, and what you should do too:
- Grow plants that do not do anything wrong when planting except attracting pollinators such as bees, in this case it could be sunflowers, lavenders, cosmos, borage, Goldenrod, Zinnia, Foxglove and many more…
- Use trellis in order to allow baby cucumbers to be easy to find for pollinators. In many cases, your garden may contain a lot of bees but they cannot find your baby cucumbers on the vine just because they are hidden under crowded leaves. This issue can be solved if you use trellis and make sure all your baby cucumbers are seen.
- Grow your cucumber plant in a ground site which will allow pollinators not to find too hard to come, very high places such as balconies and windows could be another reason why there are less pollinators and bees around your plant, so it is best to avoid this unless you are willing to pollinate by hand every each time.
- Make sure to fertilize with the type that contains a good amount of phosphorus (the middle number in NPK), this element will be very helpful because it will help your plant to produce the flowers in the first place, so make sure to not skip this step.
Given these points, you will be more likely to have plenty of pollinators around your cucumber and other plants altogether. Providing such beneficial insects and plants will be very helpful in the short and long run for sure.
In summary, the reason behind baby cucumbers dying on vine is because the pollination process didn’t happen, which negatively affects cucumber fruit production. You may notice just some of baby cucumbers has died and others not, and that’s due to the dying ones are not pollinated in contrast on living ones that are for sure have been pollinated.
Additionally, you must remove all the dying baby cucumbers on vine to provoke the plant to produce other baby cucumbers. Once they occur, you can help them by either hand pollinating them or grow plants that attract pollinators and let it happen naturally.
Furthermore, to prevent baby cucumbers from dying on vine in the future you should grow pollinator’s attract plants such as sunflowers, use trellis, provide phosphorus, and make sure to grow the plant in the ground site.
Moreover, if you would like to know more about cucumbers and what they like, take a look at other topics. I’m certain that you will find something to consume right away. Happy gardening.