Cucumber Varieties: 35 Different Types of Cucumber Cultivars

Are you considering planting some cucumbers in your garden, but can't decide which type to pick? There are many different types of cucumber to choose from, so finding the right cucumber variety can be tough to pick from! In this article, gardening expert Logan Hailey looks at 35 different cucumber varieties that you can plant in your home garden!

Cucumber Varieties

Crisp, hydrating, and refreshing, cucumbers are a summer treat in any garden. Contrary to the plain uniform cucumbers we find in grocery stores, there is a massive diversity of cucumber seeds for different uses.  

When it comes to our garden ecosystems (as well as our gut health), we all know that diversity is the key to resilience. Plant breeders are developing new varieties of garden vegetables all the time, and cucumbers are no different. Some varieties perform better under cooler conditions, while others may have been bred for higher yields or disease resistance. Best of all, different varieties of cukes offer a delicious diversity of flavors and textures to taste in the kitchen.  

From stubby short pickling cukes to long striped Armenians to smooth Persians and everywhere in between, your garden offers a blank canvas to experiment with a vast array of cucumber varieties. We’ve reviewed the top 35 unique cultivars of this juicy vegetable that you can grow at home. 

The Secret to Growing Great Cucumbers 

Growing Great Cukes
Choosing the right variety for your garden’s growing conditions is the secret to a successful cucumber crop.

What’s the secret to growing amazing cucumbers? Of course, you need healthy garden soil, reliable irrigation, and a quality organic cucumber fertilizer, but it really starts with selecting the right variety for your region and your kitchen!  

There are literally hundreds of cultivars of cucumbers grown around the world for particular culinary uses. They all have unique shapes, sizes, flavors, growing preferences, and adaptations to different regions. As you select the seeds to plant in your garden this season, remember to keep track of how each type performs and tastes. You’d be surprised how different each cultivar can be! It turns out not all cucumbers are created equal.  

Why Grow Cucumbers? 

Cucumbers are a tasty and refreshing garden snack right off the vine. You can also slice them on salads, roll them in sushi rolls, make a hydrating juice, ferment them in kimchi, or pickle them for storage.  

This juicy vegetable (which is technically a fruit) offers an array of health benefits and is easy to grow. Cucumber plants only need to be planted once to yield in abundance all summer long. It is also far cheaper to grow cucumbers than buy them in the store. Here are the main reasons I always grow cucumbers in the garden: 

Cucumbers are Incredibly Healthy for You 

Healthy Sliced Green Fruit
These refreshing fruits are filled with vitamins and are very hydrating.

Gardening is all about living a healthier life and connecting with nature, while also cutting down on grocery bills and building food resiliency. Cucumbers are one of the healthiest garden crops you can grow for your family.  

Even though they contain about 95% water, cucumbers are loaded with vitamins B, C, and K, as well as potassium, copper, and manganese. They have anti-inflammatory flavonoids that can help improve your memory and protect brain health. Cucumbers are also full of polyphenols that can boost your immune system and reduce your risk of cancer.  

Maybe we should switch to the saying “a cucumber a day keeps the doctor away”! But that could be pretty expensive if you’re buying all your cucumbers at the store or market, which brings me to the next point… 

Grow Your Own to Save Money 

Green Fruit Growing in a Garden
Growing your own edible plants can save money on your grocery bill.

Anyone who has grown a thriving garden knows that you can significantly cut down on grocery bills simply by tending your own veggies, fruits, and herbs. Cucumbers can cost anywhere from $1 to $3 per pound in a grocery store or at the farmer’s market. Conventional cukes are on the cheaper end but may have been grown with synthetic pesticides or fungicides.  

When it comes down to it, each cucumber you eat could cost $1 to $1.50. That adds up quickly if you are munching on cukes all summer long! I’ve found that a single cucumber plant can yield up to $90 worth of fresh cucumbers for my family, neighbors, and me to enjoy throughout the season. They are also easy to freeze, which can keep them fresh longer term.

Flavorful Meals and Easy Snacks 

Close Up of Pickling Fruit
There are a number of ways to prepare cucumbers in the kitchen.

You can use cucumbers in nearly every recipe for an extra punch of nutrition, texture, flavor, and hydration. They also make super easy snacks for kids or adults to enjoy on the go: 

  • Slice them with a piece of cheese or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast on top 
  • Spiralize them into cucumber noodles for a healthy pasta alternative 
  • Cut into sticks and dip them in hummus 
  • Dice them on top of eggs, sautes, rice, and salads 
  • Mix with balsamic, olive oil, and basil for a delicious cucumber salad 
  • Make quick pickles with dill and salt 

You can even use them for cucumber facials and natural spa day! Best of all, cucumbers are one of my favorite garden vegetables to eat straight off the vine. Cucumbers are so versatile and easy to prepare that they have become a staple in my garden.  

Cukes are Easy to Grow 

Easy to Grow Fruit on a Vine
Just about anyone can grow cucumbers in their own garden.

Like many Cucurbit-family crops, cucumbers are vigorous and easy to grow. They are closely related to pumpkins, melons, and squash, all of which produce big broad leaves that easily shade out weedy competition. Their vines can easily climb a trellis or cover a garden bed with abundant foliage, flowers, and fruit.  

With a heaping amount of compost and some simple soaker hose or drip irrigation, cucumbers are relatively self-sustaining throughout the summer. They take about 50 to 70 days to start producing fruits and yield up to 20 or 30 cucumbers per plant (depending on the variety). Overall, they are easy to grow and a joy to have in the garden.  

Plant Once, Harvest Continuously 

Person With Basket of Cukes
The more you harvest cucumbers, the more they grow!

Lastly, cucumbers are one of those lovely garden crops that you only need to plant once in the spring and harvest continuously. Cucumber plants will grow all summer long and are stimulated to produce more flowers every time you harvest. If you harvest often, your plants will keep cranking out more and more fruits.  

History of Cucumbers 

Person Holding Two Cukes
There are some cucumber varieties that have been around for hundreds of years.

Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are warm-weather annuals and cousins of pumpkins, squash, zucchini, and melons. Cucumbers are believed to have originated somewhere on the Indian subcontinent and were introduced to the Americas by early explorers. Indian farmers have cultivated cucumbers for at least 3,000 years.  

Cucumbers are now produced around the world with China leading in gherkin and pickling cucumber production, and Turkey leading in slicer cucumber production. But cucumbers can be grown much closer to home- they thrive in nearly every summer climate of the United States and yield abundantly in even the most humble backyard gardens. 

Many varieties of cucumbers date back hundreds or even thousands of years. ‘China Jade’ was bred in the Han dynasty all the way back in the year 216! More recently, varieties like ‘Painted Serpent’ go back to the 15th century and ‘Russian’ cucumbers were brought to the United States in the 1800s. Humans have obviously been munching on these crisp refreshing fruits for a long, long time. 

Best Cucumber Varieties

Just like breeding best-in-show poodles, plant breeders are constantly making crosses and selecting the best performers to breed new cucumber varieties. This type of traditional planting is not genetic modification (GMO) in any way. In fact, it actually comes from the ancient methods of saving seeds from the best plants year after year and selecting for favorable traits.

Basically, a plant breeder observes parent lines of cucumbers and takes the pollen from the ones she/he likes and uses it to pollinate female flowers that they think will yield the qualities they’re looking for. Over time, varieties are stabilized so that seeds dependably produce predictable plants and fruits.  

Certain varieties are bred for disease resistance, high yields, storability, or cold tolerance, while others are bred for a certain flavor, size, texture, or aesthetic. I’ve outlined some of the best cucumber varieties available on online seed catalogs to help you figure out which cultivar you want in your garden.  

5 Broad Types of Cucumbers: 

  1. Slicing Cucumbers: standard size, thick skin, common in grocery stores 
  1. Persian Cucumbers: shorter, smooth skin, juicy texture, mild flavor 
  1. English Cucumbers: longer, thin spineless skin, usually seedless 
  1. Pickling Cucumbers: small and short, bumpy skin, sometimes called “kirby” or “gherkin” cucumbers  
  1. Armenian Cucumbers: extra long and curled shape, ribbed crunchy texture, technically melons 

I’ve sprinkled in many varieties from each of these categories, but I’ve found it easier to search for the right variety by looking at what they are best for.  

Classic Cucumber Varieties 

Corinto 

Corinto
This variety has many qualities that make it excellent for an at-home garden.

‘Corinto’ is the earliest and most productive slicer variety grown on organic farms around the country. It is a dependable and vigorous hybrid with parthenocarpic fruits, which means it doesn’t need pollinators to produce cucumbers (this was developed through traditional organic non-GMO plant breeding to make these cucumbers suitable for greenhouse production).  

‘Corinto’ has some resistance to powdery mildew and cucumber viruses. The skins of these cucumbers are spineless and thick enough to be roughly handled, but not as thick as grocery store varieties. The fruits have a mild flavor, small seeds, and will produce in spite of weather stress from heat or cold. 

Longfellow Slicing Cucumber

This open-pollinated variety was bred in 1927 in Cambridge, NY. It produces white-spined classic cucumbers that are 8-9” long and 2” wide with prize-winning flavor. The skin is crunchy, but never tough. The flesh is juicy and melty with small seeds and very few bitter “duds”. ‘Longfellow’ is prized by northeastern farmers for its reliability, steady vigor, and high yields in the garden. Takes 70 days to mature and tolerates slightly cooler springs.  

Marketmore 76

Marketmore 76
The Marketmore variety is another popular option of cucumber for gardeners.

This is a very popular open-pollinated garden variety that produces long, slender, deep green fruits. It starts producing later in the spring but goes longer than other varieties in late summer. The slightly spiny skin is still thin enough to enjoy, plus they are seedless! ‘Marketmore’ is resistant to most cucurbit diseases and grows excellently under cover or outside.  

Excelsior

Green Excelsior
these bright green, bumpy fruits have a delightful flavor.

Classic, blocky fruits that grow 4-5” long. ‘Excelsior’ has American-style spines, a dark green color, and excellent flavor. This cucumber is vigorous and consistent throughout the season. It is resistant to scab and target spot, as well as cucumber mosaic virus and powdery mildew.   

Katrina

This thin-skinned Persian style cuke is seedless, smooth, uniform, and high-yielding. ‘Katrina’ is specially adapted to southern climates because it produces fruit even under heat stress. The fruits are best harvested between 5.5-6.5” long. They are resistant to major cucumber diseases and parthenocarpic (can fruit without pollination).  

Super Zagross

This organic smooth-skinned slicer is super mild and completely free of the bitterness that is often found in American slicing cucumbers. It is not an early yielder, but it sustains fruits later into the season as long as you continuously harvest the cukes. It takes 54 days to mature and can be planted in successions 2 weeks apart for months of juicy refreshing cukes.  

Cucumbers for Cold Climates 

Cucumbers are warm-weather crops that are very sensitive to frost. Regions with short seasons and colder temperatures tend to benefit from early varieties (short number of days to maturity) and/or cold-tolerant cultivars.  

When growing in a cold climate, it is best to start cucumber seeds indoors or wait until soil temperatures are warmer than 60°F to direct seed in the garden. Cold-tolerant cucumbers still need plenty of warmth and sunlight to mature and should not be exposed to nights below 50°F without protection. If nights are extra cold in your area, consider investing in a small greenhouse or utilizing a floating row cover to help insulate your cucumber plants.  

Socrates

Another flavorful and seedless garden superstar, ‘Socrates’ is a Persian cucumber bred for colder conditions from 50 to 82°F. They produce all-female flowers for an abundance of fruits that are 7-8” long, dark green, sweet-flavored, and thin-skinned. This variety is very disease-resistant and vigorous. 

Wisconsin

This crisp and sweet variety was developed at the University of Wisconsin in 1959. It produces large masses of fruit that are one of the best varieties for pickling. It matures in just 55 days and performs even better outdoors than it does in a greenhouse. The plants yield throughout the growing season and tolerate down to about 55°F.  

Bushy

Bushy Cucumber
This organic bush cucumber is accustomed to the cold and is a good option for small gardens.

This organic bush cucumber is perfect for small spaces and cold climates because it is quick maturing (only 45-50 days) and only takes up 2-3 square feet of space. ‘Bushy’ originated in Russia where its short vines (about 5 long) and vigorous growth were perfect for gardeners to grow in Moscow. The cucumbers are great for fresh eating as well as pickling, and they grow extremely quickly. 

Russian

The Russian pickling cucumber has smooth green skin and sweet crisp flesh. It takes just 50-55 days to mature and has been saved as an heirloom since the late 1800s. It was first brought to America by German settlers who cultivated it in South Dakota, a testament to its cold tolerance and resilience.  

Armour

A spiny pickle variety, ‘Armour’ is highly productive and yields before any other picklers. It was developed in Europe for 3-4” long fruits on disease-resistant, cold-tolerant plants. Armour excels in greenhouses as well as outdoors in the garden and it is parthenocarpic, so it doesn’t need bee pollination during chillier early summer when insects may not be out. It only takes 47 days to mature! 

Best Pickling Cucumber Cultivars 

Not all pickles are created equal! Pickling varieties come in a range of sizes and flavors, some of them with dual-function for slicing and some that taste horrible if you let them get too big. In my opinion, the best picklers are harvested tiny so you don’t have to slice them when you go to make pickles for winter preservation. Some varieties are even dual-function as slicers and picklers, so if you miss the small size harvest window you can still enjoy them. 

H-19 Little Leaf 

A short blocky variety, these cukes are great for fresh eating or pickling. They are resistant to many diseases and very tolerant of weather or water stress. The skin is slightly spiney with a bright emerald green color. The vines are compact and multi-branching with half-sized leaves, making them ideal for smaller gardens. 

Chicago Pickling Cucumber 

Chicago Pickling Fruit
The Chicago Pickler is one of the more popular pickling varieties of cucumber.

Originally bred for Chicago markets in 1888, this cucumber has been the go-to pickler for many generations of midwestern gardeners and homesteaders. It has thin skins with black spines and can be harvested up to 7” in length without sacrificing quality. It is disease-resistant super prolific, yielding in just 55 days. 

National Pickling Cucumber

This is the most widely used pickling cucumber in America, hence its claim as the “national” pickler. Prolific plants grow 3-4’ long vines and about 12” in height without a trellis. They will climb 4-6’ on a trellis. The fruits are dark green with black spine and can be harvested 5-6” long as slicers or 2-3” in size for delicious gherkins. 

Adam Gherkin

One of the best European pickler varieties, these gherkins have high yields and uniform fruits. The skin has tiny spikes and crisp texture. They grow great in greenhouses or outdoors, with some resistance to cucumber mosaic virus, powdery mildew, and scab. These are the true ‘cornichon’ style European picklers that preserve excellently.  

Quirk

Dutch Quirk
The Quirk cucumber has a distinct coloring to it that makes it stand out.

These adorable attention-grabbing mini cucumbers are perfect for snacking and pickling. They have bright green and gleaming white ombre skins with tasty crisp flesh. The short-vined vigorous plants resist beetle damage and powdery mildew. If trellising, it is recommended to avoid pruning to a single leader because this variety yields best with multiple leading vines. 

Jackson Supreme 

A blocky pickling cucumber with white spines and lots of disease resistance, this variety is flavorful and resilient in the garden. The fruits are best when harvested at 3-5”, but require a male pollinizer plant (seeds included in the packet). Because ‘Jackson Supreme’ is gynoecious, it won’t produce male flowers on its own, so it is important to plant the entire seed packet to get the male plants in your garden. 

Unique Varieties of Cucumbers 

If you’re bored of the same old green cukes, you’ve come to the right place! These cucumbers are super fun to grow with children or culinary connoisseurs who like to try new things. From round lemon-like cucumbers to long striped curly cukes to tiny bite-sized cucumbers that look like watermelons, there is an incredible diversity of artisanal cucumbers out there for you to try. 

Chelsea Prize

An elegant, long, slender European cucumber with thin skin and bitter-free fruits. This award-winning cucumber is crisp and sweet with very few seeds. Very high yielding and self-pollinating. 

Striped Armenian 

Armenian Striped
These unique cucumbers have a distinct but delicious flavor.

With fuzzy skin and long curly fruits, Armenians are unique cucumbers with amazing flavor. The skin is slightly ribbed and alternates dark green and yellow stripes. These are not technically cucumbers (more closely related to melons), but we threw them in anyway because of their common name and delicious flavor.  

Mexican Sour Gherkin

Mexican Sour Gherkin
These tiny fruits have an acidic flavor similar to citrus.

This specialty cucumber produces adorable 1” long fruits that look similar to miniature watermelons and taste like cucumbers, but with a tangy citrus vibe. You can eat them fresh or pickled and wow guests with a finger-food appetizer- no cutting necessary, just pop ‘em in your mouth like a cherry tomato!  

The ‘Mexican Sour’ isn’t the highest yielder but it is a novelty in the garden. Best grown trellised and harvested regularly, as the cukes get seedy if they get any larger than 1”. They are open-pollinated and take 67 days to mature. 

Lemon Cucumbers 

Lemon Cucumber
The only cucumber with yellow skin, the lemon cucumber is rightfully named.

These unique specialty cukes are round and yellow like a lemon, with a sweet and crisp flavor that is very popular amongst chefs. They never get bitter and taste amazing straight out of the garden. Fruits are best harvested around 3” and will produce heavy yields under the right conditions. The plants are open-pollinated, take 68 days to mature, and resist drought as well as fungal diseases.  

Painted Serpent

Snake Melon
The curled and long shape of the Painted Serpent has earned it the nickname Snake Melon.

This Armenian-style cucumber is sometimes called “Snake Melon” because of its long striped, curled shape. The variety has some interesting history: it was brought to Italy in the 15th century and has remained a coveted heirloom ever since.

Though it is technically a melon, its flavor is like an excellent cucumber without any bitterness or spines. The skin is slightly fuzzy and tender for fresh eating or a solid addition to stir-fries that will hold up to cooking.  

The plants are prolific producers in sandy or loamy soils and tolerate some drought. It is best to harvest fruits at around 8-18” in length (they will grow up to 30” long but may get harder and less flavorful if harvested too large). ‘Painted Serpent’ is open-pollinated and may cross with other melons in the garden which could yield an intriguing breeding experiment.  

Richmond Green Apple

If you haven’t noticed, there is a bit of a theme of heirloom cucumbers with fruit-like appearances. This rare open-pollinated Australian variety is beautiful lime green and round like a large lemon or an apple. The flavor is mild, sweet, and juicy. It takes 70 days to mature and produces moderate yields.  

Silver Slicer 

Silver Slicer
These cucumbers have a buttery flavor and crunchy texture.

Apparently, as one of the best eating cucumbers of all, this pale yellow-to-white crisp crunchy cucumber was developed at Cornell University. The fruits are 7-8” long and slim with creamy white tender skin. They are never bitter or watery and have a buttery crunchy flavor. The plants produce heavy sets of cukes through and into late September, with moderate resistance to powdery mildew. 

Itachi

This super unique white Asian type will stand out in the garden and on your plates! The plants are highly productive and high-yielding. It produces sweet, crispy, bitter-free cucumbers that are about 9-11” long and have very small seed cavities. Because it holds up well to cooking, ‘Itachi’ is perfect for stir-fries. Keep in mind that the fruit needs to be shaded under the plant canopy to avoid sunlight that may cause more greenish-colored cucumber skins. 

China Jade

With stunning gemstone-colored flesh and an amazingly delicious sweet flavor, ‘China Jade’ is the best snacking cucumber around. This heirloom was brought from western China during the Han dynasty in 216. It was bred for a sweet, nutty gourmet flavor and long, slender thin-skinned fruits that refresh you all season long. In traditional Chinese medicine, these cucumbers are used to soothe heat stress and even heat-induced bouts of anger! A must-have in the garden, ‘China Jade’ prefers full sun but will tolerate some afternoon shade during hot summers. 

Dragon’s Egg

Dragon's Egg Cucumber
These cucumbers are round in shape and small in size.

A cucumber that looks like a big egg? Yep! This variety is cream-colored, mild, bitter-free, and sweet. It sets massive yields and is very unique for kids or cucumber lovers. This heirloom originated in Croatia and was brought to the U.S. by a German seed collector who sent it to Baker Creek Seeds. The variety takes 55-65 days to mature and thrives in temperatures between 70 and 90°F. 

Poona Kheera

This sweet and mild Indian variety comes from the city of Poonah, India. It is commonly sold by street vendors as a salad or juice to help beat the intense heat. The creamy light green fruits mature to yellow and handsome brown as they ripen. The plants are very hardy and disease resistant, producing heavy early yields in about 60 days.  

Disease-Resistant Varieties 

If you live in an extra moist or humid climate with a lot of summer rains, you may have noticed that cucurbit-family crops (especially cucumbers) tend to succumb to molds and mildews of all types. They just really dislike having wet leaves or moist, low air flow conditions where they cannot compete with fungal pressure.  

Disease-resistant varieties could save your garden from an overtake of powdery mildew or other pathogens. This also is important for anyone with allergies or asthma because the spores from pathogens on cucumber leaves can cause fits of sneezing and trouble breathing. 

Unagi

These glossy spineless cukes have a crisp texture and tiny seed cavities for the best eating experience. Each fruit is about 9-11” long and stays delicious even when allowed to reach 14” in size. The flavor is incredible and the plants yield prolifically. Best of all, ‘Unagi’ is extremely disease-resistant to cucumber mosaic virus, powdery mildew, and target spot. It will thrive all summer long and hold its own against overly humid or wet weather when other cucumbers may succumb to mildew and blights. 

Poniente

This extra long European cuke has exceptional disease resistance and really high yields. They are completely bitter-free and grow 12-13” straight fruits, best when trellised. The skin is deep green, thin, and beautifully ribbed.  

General Lee

This F1 hybrid slicer is ultra vigorous and bred for high yields and performance in northern climates. It is a classic slicer variety that has dark-green straight, uniform fruits. They should be harvested around 8” long and will keep on cranking with great flavor even in the peak heat of summer. It is resistant to scab, powdery mildew, mosaic virus, and downy mildew.  

Lagos Slicing Cucumber 

Lagos Slicing
These cucumbers are excellent for slicing.

With incredible resistance to cucumber mosaic virus, scab, powdery mildew, and other common cuke diseases, ‘Lagos’ excels in a variety of garden settings whether in a greenhouse, trellis, or vining along the ground.

With only 45 days to mature, this vigorous hybrid is one of the earliest cucumbers in the garden and yields all the way until fall. The cukes are 8-9” long, deep dark green, and crisp with a sweet flavor. Because it is parthenocarpic, it will still set fruit on rainy and cold days when the bees aren’t out.  

Manny

With resistance to powdery mildew and cucumber vein yellows virus, this F1 hybrid is a great performer in wet gardens. It is extremely vigorous and doesn’t require fertilization for early yields. The fruits are consistent all season long even under climatic stress. The fruits are best at 5-7” in size and have a tender neutral taste. 

Green Finger

‘Green Finger’ blows away all the rest in field trials. Not only is it high-yielding, durable, and super delicious, but it is highly resistant to powdery mildew, papaya ringspot virus, and watermelon mosaic virus. It was bred at Cornell University for consistent yields of delicious 6-8” dark green fruits. Plants take about 60 days to mature. Best grown near flowering plants for maximum fruit set.  

Kalunga F1

‘Kalunga’ cucumber plants are compact and strong with early maturing fruit. They produce lightly ribbed, extra long (12-13”), non-bitter green cucumbers that have crisp, golden flesh and keep for a long time in the refrigerator. They are widely adapted to different growing seasons and highly resistant to scab and target leaf spot, with some resistance to powdery mildew.  

Picking the Right Varieties

Growing Gherkin in a Garden
You will have to decide which cucumber variety is best for you and your garden.

The “best” cucumber variety is obviously quite subjective, as everyone has different tastes and different gardens. To find the best varieties for your garden, ask yourself which of the following is most important for your garden cukes: 

  • Is flavor the most important? Choose a classic variety.
  • Is novelty and fun for kids the most important? Choose a unique variety.
  • Do you want the highest yields from a small space? Choose a bush variety.
  • Do you have asthma or allergies? Choose a disease-resistant variety.
  • Do you live in a cold climate? Choose cold-tolerant or fast-maturing varieties.
  • Is yield the most important? Choose F1 hybrids.
  • Do you want to save seeds from your cucumbers? Choose open-pollinated varieties.
  • Are there not many pollinators in your garden? Choose parthenocarpic varieties or plant pollinator habitat.

Open Pollinated vs. Hybrid Cucumbers

There are different options when it comes to cucumbers, and how they are grown. There are open-pollinated choices, but also hybrid options that are less well known. Let’s take a look at the differences.

To Save Seeds, Grow Open Pollenated 

Open Pollinated Variety
These cucumbers can cross-pollinate each other.

If you want to save seeds for planting next year, it is important to choose open-pollinated (OP) cucumber varieties. This means that these cucumber varieties can openly cross-pollinate each other. You can save the seeds from your cucumber plants and replant them in the garden to grow true-to-type cuke plants.  

However, open-pollinated varieties could be problematic if you grow multiple varieties of OP cucumbers in the garden that end up crossing together, or it could result in some fun breeding projects! 

For More Vigor, Grow Hybrids 

Hybrid Fruit
If you want a high yield, plant a hybrid variety.

Hybrid cucumbers are bred from crossing two pure parental lines. The result is an F1 hybrid that has extra vigor and productivity. Contrary to some beliefs, hybridization is not GMO or “mutant” plants. Hybrids are simply a specific type of cross that create more prolific plants.  

The main caveat is that hybrid plants do not produce true-to-type seeds, so you can’t save seeds from these types and expect to get the same plant the following year. Those seeds would produce a huge diversity of “off-types” that may have strange growth habits or flavors. Hybrid seeds need to be re-crossed (if someone is maintaining the pure parent lines) or re-purchased from a seed company every year.   

Gynoecious vs. Parthenocarpic 

These big scientific words are actually quite simple to explain. Let’s take a look at what they mean, and what you can expect from each.

Gynoecious Means Mostly Female Flowers 

Gynoecious Fruit
These types of cucumbers produce more fruit.

Gynoecious cucumbers produce only female flowers in higher concentrations, which means more fruit and higher yields. By breeding for mostly female flowers, the plants are able to focus on growing cucumbers rather than a bunch of extra male flowers. Keep in mind that some gynoecious varieties need a male pollenizer plant nearby while others can set fruit without pollination. 

Parthenocarpic Means No Pollinator Needed 

Parthenocarpic Fruit
This type of cucumber is seedless, as they are self-pollinating.

And that brings us to parthenocarpic cucumbers! Parthenocarpic means that the cucumber does not need pollination from insects to produce fruit. They were initially bred for growing in greenhouses or high tunnels where it’s harder to bring in pollinators.  

Parthenocarpic fruits also have the benefit of being seedless as long as they are isolated from pollen-producing cucumber plants. These varieties are more expensive to produce and hence tend to be more pricey seeds. The main benefit is that you still get loads of cucumbers even if it is rainy and the bees aren’t out to pollinate.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the different types of cucumbers? 

There are 4 main types of cucumbers, including American slicers, Persians, pickling or “gherkin” cucumbers, and burpless or seedless cucumbers. Within each category there are hundreds of unique cultivars that have been bred for different purposes.

Which variety of cucumber is best? 

The best cucumber is a matter of preference and growing region, but the best all-around cucumber is typically regarded as coming between the ‘Corinto’ or ‘Katrina’.

What is the most popular cucumber to grow? 

The most popular cucumber type in the United States are burpless English cucumbers. They are spineless and almost seedless, with thin skins and mild flavor.

What are the sweetest cucumbers?  

‘Katrina’ Persona cucumbers and ‘Silver Slicer’ white cucumbers are among the sweetest of all cucumber varieties.

What is a burpless cucumber variety? 

Burpless cucumbers are spineless and have thinner skin than the spined, thick-skin varieties common in grocery stores.

What is the most disease-resistant cucumber? 

The most disease-resistant cucumber cultivar is ‘Lagos Slicing Cucumber’. Bred for incredible disease resistance, this variety can withstand powdery mildew, downy mildew, cucumber mosaic virus, and papaya ringspot virus.

Can I grow different varieties of cucumbers together? 

If you grow open-pollinated cucumbers in close proximity, they can cross with each other and create funky plants. However, if you grow unique varieties of cucumbers such as lemon cucumbers next to Armenians (which are technically a melon), they will not cross and will yield true-to-type.

How many varieties of cucumbers are there?  

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of varieties of cucumbers grown around the world. The diversity of cucumbers is astounding: short, fat, thin, long, yellow and round, curled and striped, sour, sweet, crisp, juicy, spined, and spineless, dark green, white, and just about everything in between!

To choose the best cucumber variety for your garden, consider how you want to use the cucumber in the kitchen, how much space you have in your garden, and what climate you live in.

Final Thoughts 

Now that you’ve been fully brought up to speed on the many different cucumber cultivars, it’s time to pick the right ones for your garden. As you can see, there are many different types of cucumber varieties to choose from, depending on your geographic location, climate, soil type, and other factors.

If you choose the right variety with the right growing conditions and the right cucumber fertilizer mixture, you’ll be very likely to have bountiful harvests for many years into the future.

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