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Why Are My Cucumbers Round?

Puzzled why your cucumbers grow in odd shapes? Understand the main reasons why your cucumbers grow round, bulbous, curled, or curvy.

By
Sean Stratton | Updated January 19, 2023
Cocumber Plant

Ball-shaped or round cucumbers can be a result of uneven pollination, nutrition deficiency, improper watering, diseases, pests, or other environmental effects.

Important Read: Fertilizers to Grow Healthy Cucumbers

1. Lack of Nutrients

To have a bountiful harvest, proper nutrition is one of the critical factors. If you want to enjoy large and tasty cucumbers, you need to ensure proper nutrients. However, a lack of nutrients can do the exact opposite. If your cucumbers don’t get enough nutrients, chances are, they will turn round.

2. Lack of Water and Drainage

When it comes to growing cucumbers successfully, proper watering is another important key that you should take into consideration. If you want to have a bucketful of healthy cucumbers, you need a lot of water. If your cucumbers lack water during the growing season, they can end up being unwanted ball-shaped cucumbers.

While proper watering helps, pooled water can damage vegetables. So, besides scheduled and proper watering, make sure to implement a proper drainage system for your cucumbers.

3. Hampered Pollination

If your cucumber plants live under extreme heat, proper pollination may be hampered, which can cause your young cucumbers to develop into unusual-shaped cucumbers.

4. Diseases

Finally, if the plant is infested by cucumber aster yellows or mosaic viruses, the size of the cucumbers can be impacted.

These can be the possible cause why you are not seeing your cucumbers as expected. So, if you want healthy-looking, mouth-watering cucumbers in your salad bowl, you should take proper measures before planting cucumbers in the upcoming season.

Why Cucumbers Grow Bulbous

Your cucumbers may look deformed due to moisture stress, so you need to ensure enough water in the growing season.

And another reason could be fertilizers. If you notice weird bulbous cucumbers, you should recheck the fertilization record that you maintained throughout the growing season. Lack of fertilizer can cause misshaped cucumbers.

Remember, fertilizing help when applied in the right amount and right manner. Sometimes excessive fertilizer can damage your crops too. So, if you see oddly shaped cucumbers in your garden, you might need to stop fertilizing. The sad thing is, if the cucumbers are already deformed, there is not much you can do.

Why Cucumbers Grow Curled

Below is the list of possible reasons behind curled cucumbers. Take a look:

Problems in Growing Environment

When your cucumber fruits are developing, you need to ensure their special needs. If you want straight cucumbers, you need to ensure them an evenly moist soil and the temperature should be above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.56 °C).

When your plants are producing their first batch of fruits, and you notice they are misshapen, you can add up to ten centimeters of organic mulch to the garden bed. Plus, make sure to water your plants if you notice the top two and a half centimeters of soil under the mulch is dry.

Uneven Pollination

Uneven cucumber pollination is one of the big reasons why your cucumbers are growing curled. You may think that there are a lot of pollinators around your garden, still, your cucumber plants may not have proper pollination. This is because proper pollination requires the right weather conditions.

Pollen work effectively when the weather remains warm, semi-humid. Too much rainfall or too much dryness and heat hamper proper pollination. As a result, the ovaries may not be properly pollinated and ultimately leading to curled cucumbers.

Physical Barriers

You may notice some curled new cucumbers sprawling on the soil. Physical barriers such as the ground itself can deform your young cucumbers. So, you can allow them to climb on a fence or a trellis so that physical barriers do not impact their growth, and they grow straight, naturally.

Why Cucumbers Won’t Grow Straight

Who wouldn’t love to take a bite from a straight, tasty cucumber? While store-bought cucumbers may be in quite the perfect shape, growing straight cucumbers in your backyard garden can be a little bit difficult. There are some reasons why your cucumbers are not growing straight. Check them out below.

Effects of Environment

You may notice cucumbers grown in greenhouses look way straight and juicy. This is because they ensure a proper growing environment for their cucumbers. But achieving the same environment in your backyard garden is almost impossible. Too cold or too hot weather can affect the growth of your fruits. Plus, if you don’t water the plants properly, your cucumbers can be damaged.

Uneven Pollination

Another reason why your cucumbers aren’t growing straight can be poor pollination. If pollination doesn’t take place accurately, chances are, your cucumbers will look deformed.

Nutritional Imbalance

If your cucumbers don’t get the right amount of nutrients, the fruits may not develop properly. For example, if your cucumbers lack phosphorus and potassium, the plants can produce misshapen cucumbers. And if nutrients like nitrogen are too much, it can affect your harvest.

Physical Barriers

Physical barriers like ground can deform your young cucumbers. So, allow your cucumber plants to climb on a fence so that physical barriers do not impact the growth of your fruits.

Why Cucumbers Get Round and Yellow

We have already discussed some possible reasons why your cucumbers turn round. But why the cucumbers are turning yellow? Again, there can be several reasons behind this. Your cucumbers can turn yellow due to a lack of nutrients, lack of water, poor pollination, etc. Plus, some plant diseases can damage the natural green color of your cucumbers.

Why Cucumbers Grow Round and Fat

One of the most common reasons why your cucumbers are growing round and fat instead of straight and pulp is the lack of pollination. Other environmental elements like water, sunlight, and nutrients in the soil can also impact the growth of your cucumbers. Plus, imbalanced fertilizer application can affect the natural growth of your fruits.

Why Cucumbers Get Big on One End

If your cucumbers are big on one end or fat on one end; more like a bulb, the temperature can be the reason behind it. And like most other common cucumber misshaping problems, improper pollination, underwatering or overwatering, improper fertilization, diseases, etc. can also be among the guilty party.

Here is a guide:

Are Deformed Cucumbers OK to Eat?

Yes, they are okay to eat. Though you may not be that much interested after seeing their shape, they still taste fine. Looks don’t impact the taste of the cucumbers unless they are infested with disease, pests, or completely rotten inside. However, the cucumber slices on your salad might not be as attractive as those slices from healthy-looking cucumbers.

Can You Eat Round Cucumbers?

Why not? Of course, you can eat round cucumbers. They are like every other normal cucumber, but they just couldn’t catch up with their siblings!

If the cucumber has no issues except the size, the taste will not vary from the fully grown straight cucumbers. If the cucumbers are healthy; not affected by pests or diseases, you can prepare your salad with round cucumbers without any hesitation.

Final Thoughts

Cucumbers contain a lot of water and can help keep you hydrated on a hot sunny day. If you can’t gain weight, eating cucumbers with dates can help you gain weight. And there are more health benefits of cucumbers that may make new gardeners plant cucumbers in their backyard garden.

However, common problems like round, funny-shaped cucumbers can ruin the fun of your salad. In this article, we have discussed some common reasons why your cucumbers grow in balls. So, avoid those mistakes so that you can grow straight, juicy green cucumbers in the upcoming season.

Written by Sean Stratton

Sean Stratton

Hi, I'm Sean, the senior editor here at Fertilizer Pick. I grew up on a farm in North Carolina and have grown fruits, vegetables, and trees since childhood. While I no longer live on a farm today, I still enjoy spending time on my garden and sharing my knowledge with friends and fellow garden enthusiasts.