Fertilizing Cucumber Plants: How Often to Fertilize

Do you really need to fertilize your cucumber plant? Or what you’ve added in the soil while planting is enough?

Unlike houseplants, edible plants like cucumber and tomato are heavy feeders. More you fertilize more yields you can expect.

But, how often should I fertilize my cucumber plants is what many new gardener ask.

To have green large foliage and bounty harvest, you must fertilize cucumber plants regularly, by this I mean at-least once every two weeks. Look for 10-10-10 percentage of NPK. You can also use liquid fertilizer for cucumber plants of ratio 20-20-20.

Read on the article to know procedure in detail.

Fertilizing Cucumber Plants

Nitrogen percentage in the fertilizers helps the plant’s foliage to grow, while phosphorus and potassium helps in production of fruits.

I personally prefer organic fertilizer for my plants. However, you can also natural chemical free fertilizers available in the market.

Read: How Often to Water Cucumber Plants?

Why Should I Fertilize My Cucumber Plants?

As mentioned earlier, vegetable plants need nutrients rich soil so that they can produce nutrient rich fruits. These plants absorb nutrients from soil. However, due to previous crop your soil losses it’s nutritional value.

So, you must use either organic fertilizer or mineral fertilizer to boost nutrients in the soil.

Carefully examine this chain process:

  • Nutrients feed your garden soil
  • And soil feeds the plants
  • Fruits and leaves from these plants are used by people and animals

There are 17 nutrients in the nature that are essential for the growth of your plant. However, most gardeners and farmers use NPK fertilizers, as this is a combination of several nutrients. (Read more on this here)

Should I use organic fertilizer or mineral fertilizer?

As the soil needs NPK nutrients to support the plant growth, you must use fertilizers; without which your plant growth will be stunted.

According to Yara International, organic fertilizers have very low levels of nitrogen, while mineral fertilizers are packed with balanced amount of NPK levels.

Anyways, for your cucumber plant you can try organic compost and see for the change. If it doesn’t work to get good harvest, you can try mineral fertilizers that are free from heavy chemicals.

Must Read: How Long Does it Take for Cucumber to Grow?

When to Fertilizer Cucumber Plants?

You need to fertilize your plants when it starts having true leaves. In other words, your cucumber seedlings need to be fertilized after 2 weeks of planting.

Your plants don’t need full dose of fertilizers in the potting mix. Anyhow, you must use organic matter or dry compost while planting your cucumber seedlings.

For easy understanding, you must fertilize your cucumber plants at three different stages.

  1. While planting (no need of high does)
  2. During mulching around the plant
  3. Liquid fertilizer at 2 week interval, when the plant starts growing

These nutrients will help to boost the growth of seedlings.

Regardless, if your plants have fertilized in the starting mix or not; you must fertilize your cucumber plants with half or quarter strength liquid fertilizer (follow the directions on the label).

Also Read: What Not to Plant With Cucumbers?

Choosing Fertilizer for Cucumbers

Most gardening experts recommend using liquid fertilizers. This will help your plant to easily absorb the nutrients.

If you’re buying mineral fertilizer from the store, then check NPK value. Don’t worry about the value; just make sure the NPK ratio is represented.

Nitrogen helps in growing foliage of the plant, phosphorus is helpful for root system growth and potassium will be important for better yield.

How to: Fertilizing Your Cucumber Plants at 3 Different Stages

How should you fertilize your cucumber plants while planting, when mulching and when the plants starts growing.

#1 Fertilizing When Planting

Providing right of nutrients from the start will help the plant to grow healthy.

When planting or transplanting your cucumber seedling, add 50 percent of dry organic compost with the garden soil. This compost has right amount of nutrients needed for your young plant.

How much fertilize you must add to your soil?

If you’re growing cucumber in container, then you must mix equal parts of garden soil and cucumber. To improve drainage, you can also add vermiculite or sand to the potting mixture.

Instead of making your own potting soil, you can buy potting soil available in the market.

Fertilizing your vegetable garden by adding compost in the container will benefit your plant to absorb the slowly released nutrients.

This potting mixture mixed with compost will help to retain moisture and keep the cucumber plant hydrated.

Also Read: Are Cucumbers Self-Pollinating?

#2 Mulching

If you’ve planting your cucumber plant in the backyard, then mulching is essential to remove unnecessary weed growth. Apart from this mulching your plant base with hay will directly conserves the water.

It inhibits water evaporation and protects soil surface.

Now, the catch is to add organic fertilizers at the base of the plant and cover it with thin layer of soil. Then, mulch the surface of the soil with normal hay or dry bark.

If you’re using granular fertilizer, then make sure you follow the instructions on the label.

#3 Fertilizing when the plant is growing (Cucumber Seedlings)

When the seedlings reach few inches of height and produce true leaves, fertilize your plant with liquid fertilize after every 2 weeks.

Make sure the fertilizer you use have NPK representation on it.

If you’re using homemade fertilizers, then check this blog post on morningchores.com. Mix bone meal, sulfate potash and feather meal. These ingredients have decent amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Fertilizing Cucumbers in Containers/Pots

Cucumber plants in container must need utmost care. Right from choosing potting soil, choose well drained, fertile growing medium.

Apart from having drainage hole to the container, cucumber plants in pots need to be fertilized with liquid fertilizer after every 2 weeks.

If you’re using homemade organic fertilizer to the plant, note that fish and bone meal will have bad odor and keeping them indoors isn’t a good idea.

While transplanting your seedlings to container, see the container isn’t too small or too large. Too short will result in overwatering or root bound.

Adding vermiculite and compost to garden soil is essential when growing cucumbers in pot.

Over-Fertilized Cucumber Plant

Fertilizing your plants regularly results in good yield. This can be tempting to most gardeners and out of desire to increase the yield add more fertilizer by increasing the dose or frequency.

Either ways your plants will suffer. Below mentioned are signs that you’re over-fertilizing your plant.

  • You’ll notice yellow  and wilted leaves at lower plant leaves
  • Stunned growth
  • Dropping of leaves
  • Browning of leaf tips
  • Root rot
  • A layer of fertilizer is formed on surface of the soil

When you use too much fertilizer to your plant, the high concentration of these fertilizers makes it difficult to your plants to absorb water. Thus, resulting of water reverse, and you’ll notice burned leaves.

How to Revive:

Remove the excess water from the soil by watering your container plant rigorously. If there is a crust of fertilizer on the surface of the soil, then remove it. (Source)

Stop fertilizing for few weeks.

Supply your plant with adequate amount of water and sunlight.

Next time when you fertilize your plant, rethink about the amount of fertilizer you use.

Signs that your cucumber plant is not fertilized enough

If your cucumber plant is facing growing problems like yellow leaves, wilting foliage, stunted growth with zero or less yield then, probably your plant isn’t getting essential element to thrive.

Either you opted for wrong growing medium or the plant isn’t getting enough sunlight or you’re not supplying with enough fertilizers.

In case, you’re taking care of your cucumber plant in all aspects except for fertilizing. Then, cucumber plant will have small foliage with low yield.

How to Revive:

Start fertilizing your plant with liquid fertilizers after every two weeks. This will ensure that both leaves and root system gets enough nutrients.

Best Fertilizers for Cucumber Plants

You can get list of mineral fertilizers over the web. But, in-case you’re looking for homemade fertilizers you can try bone meal and feather meal.

Bone meal is used to stimulate flowering and boost growth of root development.

Rich in phosphorus, bone meal fertilizer will help to increase root structure of your cucumber plant. Check this video, on how to make your own bone meal fertilizer at home.

Check this article; are eggshells good for cucumber plant?

Liquid fertilizers are preferred method to fertilize your cucumber plants. Make sure, the fertilizer have NPK representation, 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 value of NPK is recommended.

You can also use well-aged compost for enriching your cucumber plants.

How to Get Enormous Supply for Cucumbers from your Garden?

Cucumbers are one of the common fruit or vegetable used in every household around the world.

Excellent thing is that you can grow cucumbers like crazy with few simple steps and taking care of few important aspects.

  1. Watering consistency
  2. Fertilizing regularly
  3. Harvesting

Cucumbers consists more than 90 percent of water in it. This means that your cucumber plant needs consistent water to thrive.

Cover the plant base with mulch to conserve water and avoid evaporation of water from surface of the soil.

After watering, fertilizing your plant is an essential aspect to grow healthy cucumber plant. In above paragraphs, I already mentioned when to and how often to fertilize your cucumber plants.

While planting add compost to potting soil and also feed the cucumber plant with liquid fertilizers after every 2 weeks. If you’re worried about rats in your garden, then use strong container to avoid uninvited guests (rats).

After fertilizing, third important thing is to pick cucumbers. More you harvest the cucumbers; the plant will produce more cucumbers.

When you harvest, cucumber plant spend its nutritional strength to produce more fruits. If you fail to pick cucumbers, the plant diverts its strength towards existing cucumber.


Fertilizing cucumber plants is an essential aspect of growing the plant. Without which you can’t expect surplus amount of cucumbers.

Ideal way is to feed your cucumber plant with liquid fertilizers after every 2 weeks.

Over-fertilization will result in stunted growth and under-fertilizing your plant will reduce the yield.

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