Whether you like to chop them up in your salad or roast them in the oven, learning how to grow hydroponic cucumbers will allow you to keep a steady supply of one of your favorite veggies!
Arm yourself with the proper information & the right supplies, and you’ll likely find that you don’t want to grow your favorite slicers or picklers any other way going forward!
We're going to share some of the best advice you will read on how to grow hydroponic cucumbers. We'll start by sharing some of the benefits of this approach to gardening, along with which varieties of cucumber work best in hydroponics.
Then, you'll discover how to choose the right system, what other supplies you need along the way, and how to actually bring this veggie from seed to harvest in a hydroponic setting.
You'll learn tips and tricks that will prove to be priceless once you get to growing. We've got a lot to cover, so let's dive in!
Can You Grow Cucumbers Hydroponically?
Although most people think of vegetables like lettuce and kale when it comes to growing plants hydroponically, even vining crops like cucumbers can be grown hydroponically. Here are some of the reasons why you might want to do this.
Basically, any plant with a root system (just about all of them) can benefit from the unique approach that is hydroponics. In fact, there are quite a few reasons you should consider making the switch to soilless growing.
What Are The Benefits Of Growing Cucumbers Hydroponically?
Growing cucumbers with hydroponics is a great way to improve your yields and maximize your growing environment if you have limited space.
Cucumbers do well in hydro, although you will want to follow a few steps to make sure they get the care they need.
If you grow in this setting, you’ll have healthier plants because you don’t have to worry about the weather conditions interfering with your harvest.
You can also grow if you live in a suburban or urban location, something that may not be possible with a traditional style of garden.
If you aren't already pretty familiar with this style of growing, we highly recommend you read our complete guide to hydroponic growing. After that, you'll have a better understanding of the difference between soil & hydro, along with what it takes to grow plants this way.
Are Hydroponic Cucumbers Healthy?
There is a common misconception that hydroponically grown vegetables are not as healthy as those grown in a traditional, soil-based environment.
That’s not the case! In fact, hydroponic cucumbers can be just as healthy, if not more so.
It all depends on the nutrient solution in which you grow your vegetables since the cucumbers will make their own nutrients as they grow.
Cucumbers are low in calories but contain all kinds of beneficial vitamins and minerals. They also contain a ton of water, making them good veggies to eat if you’re trying to stay hydrated!
What Varieties Of Cucumbers Should Be Grown Hydroponically?
You can grow just about any kind of cucumber hydroponically. Choose the best varieties for your system by considering which ones you’ll be most likely to eat.
If you want to eat fresh snacking cucumbers (or slice them up for salads), you'll want to grow varieties like Sugar Crunch, Ashley, Marketmore 76, or Straight Eight.
However, if making pickles is what you have in mind, choose a pickling variety of cucumber-like Boston Pickling, Burpee Pickler, Calypso, or Supremo.
Although you can certainly grow a vining type of cucumber in your hydroponic setup, you may find that bush types of cucumbers save space and are far more productive as an alternative.
How To Grow Hydroponic Cucumbers - Step By Step Guide
Ready to get started with learning how to grow hydroponic cucumbers? Follow these tips for maximum success - and maximum yields.
Start By Choosing The Best Hydroponic Cucumber Systems
When it comes to growing cucumbers hydroponically, you have a few different options for complete hydroponics systems.
They’re all easy to learn if you are a beginner and are relatively comparable in how much space will be required. Here is a brief overview of the two best options for this specific veggie.
Hydroponic Ebb & Flow Systems
Ebb and flow is an excellent type of system for growing cucumbers and is one of the most popular kinds of set-ups when it comes to hydroponics.
Ideal for new and intermediate hydroponic growers, these systems are easy to operate. The name of this kind of system truly explains it all.
In an ebb and flow system, a grow tray housing your plants will be regularly flooded at the root zone with nutrients and water before being drained back to a reservoir.
This happens four to six times each day, with the roots of the plants allowed to soak up nutrients for just 15 minutes or so at a time.
There are many different types and sizes of ebb and flow systems for you to choose from - deciding which one is right for you will likely depend on how much space you have available, how many plants you want to grow, and what your budget looks like.
You can find all kinds of systems, including those rated for just one or two plants as well as those that can handle dozens of individual plants, in Hydrobuilder’s extensive collection of ebb and flow systems.
Hydroponic DWC Systems
DWC, or deep water culture, is another simple hydroponic system that can be used by just about anyone for just about any plant.
In a DWC system, the roots of your plants will be suspended in a solution of nutrients and water. This solution is contained within a reservoir. The main difference between ebb and flow & DWC is that the nutrient solution is constantly in contact with your plants roots.
The roots stay in the reservoir permanently, so it eliminates the need for a water pump that you will see in an ebb and flow system.
You’ll use an air pump and air stone to get oxygen to the plants’ roots instead. DWC systems offer a faster growing time and are often easier to use for beginners, since there are fewer moving parts.
However, you will need to stay on top of the water level and pH, since it’s easy to overfeed or underfeed your plants.
You can find all of the equipment you need for deep water culture systems, including complete systems (and kits that include both trays and stands) themselves here at Hydrobuilder. We offer fully customizable packages in a wide range of sizes!
How Do You Start Hydroponic Cucumbers?
In most cases, starting from seed is the best way to begin growing your hydroponic cucumbers.
Cucumber seeds germinate quickly and seedlings mature rapidly. You may also be able to clone plants with hydroponics or transplant them from dirt.
When germinating your seedlings, keep them between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit. They’ll take anywhere between three and ten days to germinate.
You can sow the seeds individually in four-inch blocks of stone, coco coir, or mineral wool. Once seedlings appear, you should fertilize them with a moderate-strength nutrient solution.
When these seedlings have at least three sets of mature leaves, they can be transplanted into a grow-out system.
Regardless of the method you choose to start your hydroponic cucumbers, you’ll be able to find all the supplies you need for cloning and seed starting at Hydrobuilder.
How Much Light Do Hydroponic Cucumbers Need?
Cucumbers need lots of light and warmth in order to produce fruits - they are, after all, the quintessential summer crop!
They grow best in temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees during the day and a little bit cooler by about ten degrees at night.
The more light you can provide your cucumber plants, the better. Cucumbers need at least 12-14 hours of light each day. And since you aren't able to use the sun, you'll need to invest in some grow lights.
Since cucumbers need so much light during the day, LEDs can help reduce your overall energy expenditures while also giving the cucumbers the light they need for a boost in growth.
Feeding Your Hydroponic Cucumbers
When you are growing cucumbers in any setting, but especially hydroponically, it’s important to remember that they are heavy feeders.
You can use a diluted hydroponic solution when you first propagate your plants, but as they get older, you’ll want to increase your frequency and strength.
Start out with a hydroponic nutrient solution geared toward vegetative growth (usually one high in nitrogen) and use more potassium and phosphorus (usually a solution designed for fruit and flower production) as the plants mature.
Keep your pH around 5.0 to 6.0 and swap your nutrients solution every two to three weeks. Our complete guide explaining the relationship between nutrients & pH is a must-read if you are new to gardening and fertilizing!
Maintaining The Growing Environment
When growing cucumbers hydroponically, you won’t have too many diseases or pests to worry about. The most common (and most problematic) disease is powdery mildew.
This can be addressed by reducing the level of humidity in your growing setup.
Keep an eye out for pests like aphids, thrips, and whiteflies - these can, fortunately, all be easily prevented and controlled with Hydrobuidler’s specially-targeted insecticides.
Harvesting Your Cucumbers In Hydroponics
Ready to harvest? You can start picking cucumbers when they are about 12-14 inches long (although some pickling cucumbers may be ready for harvest when they’re less than half this size). The skin will be thick and hard to penetrate with a thumbnail.
Most varieties of cucumbers take around 50 to 70 days to reach maturity. To harvest, simply snip the individual fruits about a quarter of an inch above the vine. Don’t tug on the cucumber, as this can damage the plant.
Additional Tips For Growing Cucumbers Hydroponically
One other thing to keep in mind when growing cucumbers indoors is that you will need to hand pollinate them.
You can use a Q-tip or tiny paintbrush to rub the male flower and then transfer the pollen to the flower to help speed up pollination.
Spacing is very important when it comes to growing hydroponic cucumbers. Space individual plants by about 2-6 feet, depending on the variety.
If you don’t space them out when you plant, don’t panic. You can prune or train them later on.
Bush varieties need to be further apart, since they’re more difficult to train, while vining varieties can be planted with less space between them since they can be positioned away from each other as the vines develop.
Final Thoughts On How To Grow Hydroponic Cucumbers From Home
Ready to start growing cucumbers hydroponically? It’s easy to do when you have all the right equipment.
Sure, you can piece together a DIY hydroponic setup with materials you buy here and there, but why would you do that when you can shop for everything you need at Hydrobuilder?
We not only offer everything you need for both indoor and outdoor growing, but we have some of the lowest prices and best customer service around, too.
Now that you know how to grow hydroponic cucumbers - and where you can buy all of the best equipment - there’s nothing stopping you. Get your seeds and start growing today!