Growing Armenian cucumbers is a great way to ensure a steady supply of cucumbers in the heat of the summer.

This is great news for us desert dwellers who want cucumbers all summer long. First cultivated in Armenia in the 15th century, Armenian cucumbers (also called yard-long cucumbers) are actually not cucumbers at all – they are a ribbed variety of musk melon that tastes similar to a cucumber and looks like a cucumber inside. They are also high in vitamins A, C, and K, and potassium. Have I convinced you to try growing Armenian cucumbers? 

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5 tips for growing Armenian cucumbers in the Garden:

5 Tips for growing Armenian Cucumbers in the Garden. With the high temperatures of summer, most cucumbers are a fond memory except for Armenian cucumbers (which are still going strong).#gardening #armeniancucumbers #howtogarden #cucumbers #howtogrow #heatlovingveggies #arizonagardening #growinginthegarden

1. Armenian cucumbers thrive in hot summers

Heat tolerance is their number one attribute; high temperatures do not stress these plants. Before planting, prepare soil by amending with compost. When it is warm outside (consistent days above 65 ℉, and 80℉ is even better) plant 2-3 seeds ½ to 1 inch deep about 1 foot apart. When seeds are 3-4 inches tall, thin to 1 plant every foot. Although they are very heat tolerant, they require even and consistent watering to prevent them from becoming bitter.

Armenian cucumbers are one of only a handful of vegetables that can be planted through the beginning of July in the low desert.

Watch the video to the end and you will see the fruits of cross-pollination between an Armenian cucumber and a Chimayo melon. I didn’t realize the seeds I saved the previous year had cross-pollinated and those were the result. 

2. Give Armenian cucumbers room to grow in the garden

Armenian cucumbers love to vine and can easily take over a garden; monitor plants for signs of infestations and disease to catch it early.

  • Do not overcrowd plants – crowded plants are more susceptible to pests and diseases such as powdery mildew and squash bugs.
  • Rotate where you plant Armenian cucumbers – do not plant in the same area as you previously planted other melons, squash or cucumbers.
  • Corn is a good companion plant for Armenian cucumbers, and they may climb the corn as they would a trellis.
  • Armenian cucumbers are best grown on some sort of trellis to keep them off the ground. Trellised fruits will grow straighter.
5 Tips for growing Armenian Cucumbers in the Garden. With the high temperatures of summer, most cucumbers are a fond memory except for Armenian cucumbers (which are still going strong).#gardening #armeniancucumbers #howtogarden #cucumbers #howtogrow #heatlovingveggies #growinginthegarden

3. It’s all about the flowers

Armenian cucumbers have both male and female flowers. Male flowers will appear first and will continue to bloom; about 2 weeks later the first female flowers will appear. Both types of flowers are yellow. Male flowers will bloom and hopefully “bee” visited by a pollinator to pass the pollen onto the female flower, then wither and fall off. Female flowers are bulbous, will bloom, and if pollinated will develop into fruit. Blooms are numerous, and hand-pollination is usually not necessary. Encourage bees by planting oregano, basil, and other flowering plants nearby.

4. Pick Armenian cucumbers young and often

5 Tips for growing Armenian Cucumbers in the Garden. With the high temperatures of summer, most cucumbers are a fond memory except for Armenian cucumbers (which are still going strong).#gardening #armeniancucumbers #howtogarden #cucumbers #howtogrow #heatlovingveggies #growinginthegarden

Although fruits can grow to 3 feet long in a hurry, they are best picked between 12-18 inches long and 2 ½ inches in diameter.

  • Pick fruit early in the day and immerse in cold water to lengthen storage time.
  • Cut off fruit from vine; pulling can damage vine.
  • Leaving fruit on the vine too long signals to the plant to slow or stop production.
  • Larger fruit have larger more noticeable seeds. Larger fruit taste less like a cucumber and more like a watermelon rind.
5 Tips for growing Armenian Cucumbers in the Garden. With the high temperatures of summer, most cucumbers are a fond memory except for Armenian cucumbers (which are still going strong).#gardening #armeniancucumbers #howtogarden #cucumbers #howtogrow #heatlovingveggies #growinginthegarden

5. Enjoy the harvest of Armenian cucumbers from your garden.

A few plants will give you almost more Armenian cucumbers than you can use. Here are a few ways to enjoy them:

  • No need to peel; skin on young Armenian cucumbers is thin and edible.
  • Use as you would cucumbers in salad, dips, sushi, or sandwiches.
  • Armenian cucumbers are delicious pickled.  
  • Try grilling them in vegetable kabobs or puréeing in smoothies.
  • Excellent with pork, fish, mint, oregano, dill, yogurt, and feta cheese.
5 Tips for growing Armenian Cucumbers in the Garden. With the high temperatures of summer, most cucumbers are a fond memory except for Armenian cucumbers (which are still going strong).#gardening #armeniancucumbers #howtogarden #cucumbers #howtogrow #heatlovingveggies #growinginthegarden

Looking for more information on growing cucumbers in Arizona? This article will tell you what you need to know. 

Summer gardening in Arizona can be a challenge. This post gives you the information to be successful. 


25 comments on “Growing Armenian Cucumbers”

  1. I am jealous! I cannot get these to grow no matter what I do! I have a 4 inch one on right now, has been the same size for two weeks and the plant is dying. They get plenty of water and heat in very fertile soil.

    • Hmmm… Does it get enough sun? Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings, maybe it’s getting too much water. What zone are you in?

  2. I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley the only “cucumbers” we grew were Armenian. I now live in Arkansas. Can they be grown here?

    • Good question. Armenian cucumbers do best in hot climates. I would recommend asking local gardeners if they grow them. It can’t hurt to give them a try and see what happens.

  3. Hi i love your gardening. Encouraging me to do.I am growing Armenian cucumber this year. Please tell me what plant food I should feed it.

  4. We planted this plant in a large pot with compost and it is very healthy, but I am getting a lot of flowers but no fruit.. do I need to hand pollinate and if so how do I do this? Thanks for the help!

    • That’s great! Be patient – male flowers appear first, followed by the female blossoms (look like a small fruit) If you want to hand-pollinate, transfer pollen from the male blossom to the female blossom. Normally hand pollination is not necessary with Armenian cucumbers.

  5. How often do Armenian cucumbers need to be watered. I have a lot of flowers on mine and it looks like some are starting to grow but some are turning yellow then brown?

    • During the heat of the summer it can be watered daily – but it depends on the depth of your beds and how deeply you water. Aim to water to the depth of the root zone each time and then let the top inch or two dry out between waterings.
      As far as flowers, male flowers appear first, followed by female flowers which look like miniature fruit. If the female flowers are withering and not being pollinated you may want to try hand pollination. Remove a male flower, peel back the petals and gently pass pollen from the male flower to the female flower when both are in bloom. Hope this helps.

  6. As Armenian cucumbers are C. melo, their bitterness is much more related to genetics than to heat, though stress could occasionally be a cause of pushing bitter compounds from the stem into the fruit. The hotter it is the faster melons grow, including the Armenian cucumber. The upper leaves and stems love the heat, though the roots appreciate moist (not overly wet) soil. With any cucurbit, bitterness is less likely early in the morning – before photosynthesis pulls the sap up from the roots and main stem up into the rest of the plant.

    • Great to know, thanks. I’ve always heard it’s best to harvest in the morning, but it’s nice to know the science behind it. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Dear Angela,

    If you would like to try out an ancient Italian variety named the Striped Carosello Leccese, please let me know. Though it grows just like a regular Armenian it knocks the socks off any Armenian cucumber I know of in flavor, water content and texture. Send me a message if you are interested.


    • Be sure to rinse off any soap if you spray the leaves with soapy water. The soap can burn the leaves in the sun.

  8. We live in the Central Valley of California and grow these cucumbers every year. Our issue is harvesting, for some reason we don’t see all of them and all of a sudden we see a huge cucumber! Any tips for finding them? It’s like they camouflage!

    • Ha! Yes, they remind me of zucchini. Nothing one day and the next, they are huge. I’m a big fan of spending time in the garden each morning. That’s a good time to notice them and see what’s going on. I like to pick mine small, the taste is better and the seeds are smaller.

  9. I grew these in Iowa during a drought year and they were amazing! Huge fruits that were a conversation starter as well as tasty. They also made the best pickles ever-and it usually only took a couple cucumbers for a whole batch. I scraped out the mostly hollow & seed-filled centers and cut them into spears (probably let them grow to the watermelon rind stage as you’ve described). Came out crisp and wonderful.

    I saved seeds for the next year, but the 2nd year I realized they had cross-pollinated with loofas…very odd result, not as crisp, fuzzier, leaf shape was from the loofa not the cucumber. 🙂

    • Love hearing this. Thanks for the details about the pickles. I’d love the recipe if you are willing to share it. I’ve had several people ask me for an Armenian cucumber pickle recipe. I did the same thing with saving seeds. It crossed with a melon, from now on I always buy fresh seeds for Armenian cucumbers (or use seeds I bought previously). Thanks for commenting.

  10. What is causing my cucumbers to get fat and turn yellow? At the beginning they were growing longer, thinner and greener. Does it have anything to do with watering too much or too little?

    • It’s possible. Clip the yellow cucumbers from the vine and give the plant a good drink. Mulch plant well to help retain moisture. Feed it with a diluted fish emulsion fertilizer to give it a little boost.

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