7 Causes You Have Misshapen Cucumbers

Once you plant cucumbers in your backyard, you in all probability envision loading up your harvest basket with straight, uniform-looking cucumbers. However this isn’t all the time what occurs! Gardeners internationally have walked out into their cucumber patches to search out cucumbers with a spiral form, pinched finish, or in any other case misshapen look.

Whereas these funny-shaped cucumbers are suitable for eating, they’re not all the time what gardeners want. Slicing curvy cucumbers proves difficult, and cukes with pinched ends usually go hand-in-hand with a bitter style. Nevertheless, rising straight cucumbers is commonly simpler mentioned than executed!

Studying the causes of misshapen cucumbers is step one in understanding how one can develop straight fruits. I’ll cowl seven explanation why your cucumbers could look humorous and supply methods to treatment these causes.

Lack of Pollinators

A young cucumber fruit, yellow and fresh, nestled among lush green leaves on the vine.
Cucumber flowers depend upon bees to pollinate them.

Incomplete pollination is likely one of the commonest causes of misshapen cucumber, and an absence of pollinators is likely one of the principal causes of incomplete pollination. You could be questioning how a flower may be partially pollinated. In any case, doesn’t a bee simply go to a flower, accumulate pollen, and carry it to a different flower? In some circumstances, sure. However not on a regular basis!

Since cucumber flowers have giant, sticky pollen, wind pollination isn’t attainable. As an alternative, the crops depend on pollinators (primarily bees) to switch pollen from a male cucumber flower to a feminine flower. Every pollen grain types a single seed, so pollinators should switch a whole lot of pollen grains to the feminine flower to ensure that full pollination to happen. In truth, researchers have discovered that it takes about 9 bee visits per flower for full pollination to happen!

If solely two or 5 bees go to a cucumber flower, the cucumber fruit received’t totally develop. The result’s small, curled, or in any other case misshapen fruit. Incomplete pollination usually causes cucumbers which are full and normal-looking on one finish and a pointed knob on the opposite finish. And if flowers aren’t pollinated in any respect, the flowers received’t type fruit.

A great way to treatment an absence of pollinators is to plant flowering crops which are wealthy in nectar and pollen. These crops will attract bees and encourage them to go to your cucumber crops. Perennial flowers like bee balm, anise hyssop, and coneflower provide pollen and nectar over a number of months. For those who don’t need to add perennials, attempt including some annuals like calendula, candy alyssum, sunflowers, and basil.

You also needs to keep away from utilizing broad-spectrum pesticides that hurt bees and different pollinators. For those who use pesticides, select a product that impacts solely the goal pest and apply it within the early morning or night.

Excessive Temperatures

A green cucumber clinging to the vine; its irregular shape has caused it to grow in an unusual curl.
Excessive warmth reduces fruit high quality attributable to decreased pollinator exercise.

Whereas cucumbers are heat-loving crops, extraordinarily excessive temperatures can disrupt pollen manufacturing. Vegetation could cease producing pollen, produce pollen with decrease viability, or fail to launch pollen so it’s out there to pollinators. Even when loads of pollinators go to your flowers, correct pollination could not happen. 

Due to this fact, excessive temperatures usually result in decreased pollination charges. When pollinators fail to adequately pollinate the flowers, the ensuing fruits find yourself curved, curled, or in any other case distorted. Temperatures above 90°F (32°C) are scorching sufficient to trigger issues with pollen and, subsequently, pollination.

These excessive temperatures additionally encourage monoecious crops (these with each female and male flowers) to supply a better proportion of male flowers. Whereas this may increasingly enhance pollination charges, it usually decreases total harvest since solely feminine flowers can produce fruit.

Excessive temperatures additionally sluggish bee exercise, which decreases pollination charges. When unhealthy pollen is mixed with low pollinator exercise, it’s not stunning to see misshapen fruits.

So, what are you able to do about this? One possibility is to plant parthenocarpic cucumber varieties like ‘Telegraph Improved’ and ‘Hokus Gherkin.’ These crops will produce fruit with out pollination, so that you don’t have to fret about scorching climate disturbing fruit manufacturing. You may also take a break from cucumber manufacturing throughout the warmth of summer time if you happen to dwell in a heat rising zone.

Low Temperatures

A misshapen cucumber grows unevenly on the vine; its surface marred by bumps and bends.
Chilly temperatures hinder pollen manufacturing in crops.

/Since cucumbers choose heat temperatures, chilly temperatures also can result in issues with fruit growth. Heat climate is one issue that lets cucumber crops understand it’s time to type flowers as a substitute of recent vegetative development. If the temperature persistently drops beneath 60°F (16°C), the crops could by no means develop flowers.

Even when crops develop flowers, chilly temperatures inhibit pollen manufacturing, which limits profitable pollination. Colder temperatures additionally encourage crops to supply a bigger proportion of feminine flowers and restrict the variety of male flowers. This excessive ratio of feminine to male flowers additionally decreases the chances of profitable germination.

Chilly climate additionally usually limits bee exercise. If bees are hunkering down throughout chilly temperatures, there’s a decrease probability they’ll adequately pollinate cucumber flowers. This incomplete pollination could lead to curved or knobby fruits.

With this data in thoughts, keep away from planting cucumbers till nighttime temperatures are persistently above 60°F (16°C). These temperatures will restrict plant stress and guarantee pollinators are out and about.

Lack of Water

A cucumber grows amidst a tangled web of vines; its green skin adorned with tiny thorns.
An inconsistent water provide throughout cucumber fruit formation results in misshapen fruits.

I in all probability don’t must let you know that cucumbers consist nearly totally of water. If the crops don’t have entry to sufficient moisture, they turn into pressured, and the fruits turn into misshapen. 

Cucumbers require a average quantity of water throughout all seasons, however they want an additional excessive quantity on scorching and sunny days. When the climate is scorching, crops depend on a course of referred to as transpiration to chill themselves. You may consider transpiration because the plant equal of sweating; the crops lose water via their leaves, cooling themselves within the course of. This water loss is why crops require extra water throughout scorching climate.

If cucumber crops can’t entry a constant quantity of water as they type fruits, the fruits usually find yourself fats on one finish and thin on the opposite. This happens if the crops have an satisfactory quantity of water throughout the first half of fruit formation and never sufficient water throughout the second half of fruit growth.

A technique to ensure your cucumber crops obtain sufficient water is to arrange a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation provides water on to the bottom, limiting water loss via evaporation and conserving cucumber leaves dry. It additionally lets you simply arrange your irrigation on a timer, guaranteeing your crops get watered even if you’re away longer than anticipated. For the reason that quantity of water you must apply relies on rainfall, temperature, wind, and extra, make certain to regulate your watering schedule as needed.

Selection Choice

A close-up of a green cucumber with curled form and black thorns, crowned by a delicate white flower blossoming gracefully at its tip.
Rising ‘Marketmore’ cucumbers on a trellis promotes straight fruit.

Whereas many individuals think about straight slicing or pickling cucumbers once they think about these crunchy snacks, yow will discover a wide selection of cucumber varieties. A few of these cucumbers usually tend to produce curved cucumbers, and these oddly-shaped fruits are nothing to fret about. For instance, varieties like ‘Tasty Inexperienced’ and ‘Suyo Lengthy’ usually produce cucumbers which are curved or bigger on one aspect than the opposite.

If you wish to enhance your probabilities of ending up with straight cucumbers, select basic slicing varieties like ‘Marketmore’ and ‘Bristol.’ Rising any sort of cucumber plant on a trellis may also enhance the chances of straight fruit. Gravity will pull the cucumbers down and encourage the fruits to develop straight.

Presence of Pollinators

A misshapen cucumber clings to its vine, stretching out in a long, elegant curve.
Parthenocarpic cucumbers are greatest grown in pollinator-free environments like excessive tunnels.

Whereas most cucumber crops require pollinators with the intention to produce wholesome cucumbers, pollination can really trigger issues with some cucumbers. Parthenocarpic varieties produce fruits even when their flowers aren’t correctly pollinated. In truth, pollination may even trigger points with fruit manufacturing!

If the flowers of parthenocarpic cucumbers turn into pollinated, the fruits could also be small or funny-shaped. Due to this fact, parthenocarpic varieties are greatest grown in excessive tunnels, greenhouses, or different places free from pollinators.

You may also search for varieties which are each parthenocarpic and gynoecious. Gynoecious cucumbers comprise solely, or primarily, feminine flowers. When there are not any male flowers current, the feminine flowers stay unpollinated.

Bodily Damage

A close-up of a deformed cucumber with bumpy skin, growing alongside a green vine entwined on a blue fence.
Sure constraints throughout development could cause fruits to develop misshapen options.

As cucumbers develop, they readily adapt to their surrounding atmosphere. If a plant stem or piece of trellis wire stands in a cucumber’s approach, the cucumber will develop across the object moderately than cease rising. This usually ends in oddly formed cucumbers.

For instance, let’s say a tiny cucumber fruit begins rising between a wall and a taut piece of string used for trellising. Because the fruit grows, it’ll turn into constricted by the string and the wall. This will lead the fruit to develop a pointy indent the place the string was and/or a flat aspect the place it grew in opposition to the wall.

This explanation for misshapen fruits sometimes solely impacts a small quantity of cucumbers. So, if you happen to discover quite a lot of your cucumbers are misshapen, one thing else is more likely to blame.

Injury from pests like cucumber beetles also can trigger bodily harm. Nevertheless, these pests will trigger small chew marks on the cucumber’s pores and skin moderately than totally misshapen fruits.

Closing Ideas

The subsequent time you see a curvy or stubby cucumber, don’t panic! As an alternative, take into consideration what may have precipitated this odd look. Poor pollination is the most definitely trigger, however any of the elements listed above might be accountable.

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