How to Grow and Care for Squirting Cucumber

Squirting cucumbers are an unusual and fun type of cucumber to grow in the garden. Unlike regular cucumbers, they grow small 3-4 inch fruits that are best harvested when young and tender. When ripe, the fruits quite literally “squirt” a gelatinous liquid and seeds when lightly squeezed, giving this vegetable its descriptive name.

With some simple tips on growing, caring for, and harvesting squirting cucumbers properly, you can have a productive and amusing crop in your vegetable garden. Here’s everything you need to know about successfully raising these unique cucumber plants.

Selecting the Right Squirting Cucumber Variety

There are a few different varieties of squirting cucumber to choose from. Look for ones that are suited to growing in your specific hardiness zone and climate. Some top varieties to consider include:

  • Miniature White – A prolific cucumber that produces loads of petite 2-3 inch fruits. It has smooth white skin when ripe. An heirloom type with excellent disease resistance.
  • Indian Snake – A versatile vining variety that sets longer curved fruits around 4 inches. Will keep producing until frost.
  • Taiwan – A hybrid Taiwanese variety adapted to hot and humid conditions. Sets slim 10-12 inch tender fruits.
  • Japanese Climbing – A vigorous climber that produces slim 8-10 inch cucumbers. Does well on a trellis or fence.

Choose disease-resistant varieties if possible, as cucumbers can be prone to powdery mildew, downy mildew, mosaic virus, and other issues in some regions. Miniature White and Taiwan have good disease tolerance.

When and How to Plant

Squirting cucumbers grow best when seeded directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. They prefer warm weather around 70°F.

In most regions, aim to plant squirting cucumber seeds 1-2 weeks after your last expected frost date for spring. This is usually sometime in mid to late May for most of the country. In warmer southern zones with longer growing seasons, you may be able to plant a bit earlier in April.

Start Seeds Indoors

You can also get a head start by sowing seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before your last frost. Use peat pots or other biodegradable containers. Harden off the seedlings and transplant them out after frost danger has passed.

Where to Plant

Choose a sunny location with fertile, well-draining soil. Squirting cucumbers need at least 6-8 hours of full sun daily.

Amend the garden soil with compost or rotted manure before planting to enrich it with organic matter. This improves the soil’s moisture retention and nutrient content.

Planting Squirting Cucumber Seeds

Direct sow seeds 1 inch deep and 4-6 inches apart in rows spaced 2-3 feet apart. Plant 3-4 seeds together in groups, and thin to the 1-2 strongest seedlings per cluster after they emerge.

You can also sow seeds in hills spaced 2-3 feet apart, with 4-6 seeds per hill. Thin to 2-3 of the best seedlings.

Support for Vining Varieties

Some squirting cucumber varieties are compact bush types, while others are vigorous climbers. Provide trellising or fencing for support if growing vining kinds. A sturdy trellis, fence, or cage allows air circulation and prevents fruits from sitting on the ground.

Train the vines to climb up the support structure right from the start. Gently tie and weave them onto the trellis as they grow using soft plant ties or twine.

Squirting Cucumber Care

Caring for squirting cucumbers involves providing adequate water, protecting plants from pests, and supplying any needed nutrients. With proper growing conditions, they are generally easy to raise.


Consistent moisture is key for healthy growth and good yields. Cucumbers have shallow root systems and require 1-2 inches of water per week from rain or irrigation.

Use a mulch around plants to help retain soil moisture and reduce watering needs. Organic mulches like shredded leaves, straw, or wood chips work well.

Water whenever the top few inches of soil become dry. Avoid water stress and drought conditions. Soak the soil deeply, not just surface watering. Use drip irrigation, soaker hoses, or hand watering with a wand attachment to avoid wetting the plant’s leaves and spreading disease.


Apply a balanced vegetable fertilizer or compost tea 1-2 times during the growing season to nourish plants. This encourages vigorous vines and productive fruit set.

Avoid over-fertilizing, which leads to more foliage growth rather than fruit production with cucumbers. Excess nitrogen also makes the vines more susceptible to disease.

Pests and Disease Prevention

Scout plants frequently for signs of common cucumber pests like squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and aphids. Catch problems early and remove insects by hand or use organic sprays like neem oil or insecticidal soap when needed.

Powdery and downy mildew are two fungal diseases to watch for in humid climates. Choose resistant varieties, allow for good garden airflow, and avoid wetting foliage when watering.

Use row covers early on to protect young plants from pests. Remove them when flowers appear so pollination can occur.


Prune off any dead, dying, or damaged growth as needed to keep plants healthy. For climbing varieties, pinch off secondary shoots that grow in the leaf axils to encourage vines to grow upward rather than outward.

Remove aging flowering stems that are no longer producing new fruits. This helps redirect the plant’s energy into developing cucumbers.


Like other cucumbers, squirting varieties need pollinators like bees to produce fruit from their small yellow flowers. Avoid spraying plants with pesticides during flowering, which harms beneficial pollinators.

You can also hand pollinate by gently using a small brush to transfer pollen between flowers. Do this in the morning when pollen is most viable.

Harvesting Squirting Cucumbers

One of the appealing things about growing squirting cucumbers is harvesting the curious fruits. Here are some tips for picking them at just the right time:

  • Begin checking for ripe fruits to harvest about 50-60 days after seeds were planted.
  • Pick squirting cucumbers when they are green, firm, and have reached their ideal small size – usually 2 to 4 inches long depending on variety.
  • Harvest every 2-3 days to encourage more production. Check plants daily.
  • Use scissors or pruning shears for a clean cut that won’t damage vines.
  • Handle fruits very gently to avoid premature squirting before eating.
  • Pick in the morning when the fruit is coolest and most firm.
  • Smaller cucumbers are more tender. Allowing them to grow too large makes them seedy.
  • Remove any overripe yellowing cucumbers to promote more fruit production.
  • Expect a productive harvest for 6-8 weeks. Pick all fruits before first fall frost.
  • Leave about 1/4″ of stem attached when picking for longer shelf life.

How to Make Them Squirt

Once picked, squirting cucumbers can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days.

To enjoy the fun squirting action, hold the cucumber gently in one hand and lightly press on the sides with the thumb and forefinger of your other hand. Apply even pressure all the way around.

Position it over a sink or bowl. Give a gentle squeeze and watch it squirt out juice, seeds, and pulp from the bottom tip!

Kids love harvesting and squirting these cucumbers. They make a fun garden activity and unique vegetable to grow every summer.

Storing the Harvest

Properly stored, fresh picked squirting cucumbers will last 5-7 days in the refrigerator.

  • Leave 1/4″ of the stem attached and handle gently.
  • Place unwashed cucumbers in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer.
  • Keep the temperature at around 45°F for best shelf life.
  • Rinse and dry just before eating.
  • For long term preservation, pickle or ferment squirting cucumbers.
  • Can also freeze prepared slices for later use in cooking.

How to Eat Squirting Cucumbers

These amusing fruits are edible and make a fun addition to summertime meals. They have a crisp texture and mild cucumber taste.

Squirting cucumbers are best eaten fresh, added to salads, pickled, or fermented into cucumber ketchup. Their high water content makes them useful for juicing as well.

The gel that squirts out has a neutral flavor and creamy consistency. It is edible and safe to consume.

Some ways to enjoy squirting cucumbers:

  • Slice thin and add to green or fruit salads
  • Pickle in vinegar
  • Ferment into cucumber ketchup condiment
  • Infuse in water or cocktails
  • Juice alone or with greens and fruits
  • Add to salsa, relish, chutney, or hot sauce
  • Stuff with herbed cream cheese
  • Skewer for grilling or oven roasting

Their mild taste complements a variety of seasonings and ingredients. Slice squirting cucumbers to release juices before marinating, grilling, or cooking.

These unique cucumbers can be eaten raw or cooked. Their firm texture holds up well when roasted or grilled. Just take care not to overcook them to mush.

Try using both the flesh and nutritious seeds in recipes. Scoop out the pulp and seeds for a DIY skin care face mask too.

Storing Cucumber Seeds

If you want to save seeds from open pollinated heirloom varieties, allow a few fruits to overly ripen to yellow. Scoop out the mature seeds and pulp, place in a glass of water, and let sit for 3 days.

Viably seeds will sink to the bottom, while non-viable ones float. Spread out the extracted seeds on paper to dry completely.

Store seeds in a sealed, moisture-free container in a cool place. Properly saved seeds will remain viable for 4-5 years.

Common Problems When Growing Squirting Cucumbers

Poor Fruit Set

Insufficient pollination, low soil fertility, inconsistent watering, or extreme heat can cause flowers and small cucumbers to drop.

Misshapen Cucumbers

Inadequate pollination typically causes oddly shaped fruits. Ensure plants receive plenty of sunlight and beneficial insect activity during flowering.

Bitter Tasting Fruit

Bitterness is caused by cucurbitacins produced under stressful conditions like drought, high temps, or nutrient deficiencies. Keep plants consistently watered and fertilized. Pick fruits young. Over maturity also leads to bitterness.

Holes in Leaves or Damaged Vines

Cucumber beetles and slugs or snails can riddle leaves and vines with holes. Hand pick pests and use organic baits. Row covers early on protect plants.

Powdery White Coating on Leaves

Powdery mildew fungal disease. Improve garden airflow and foliage drying. Avoid wetting leaves when watering. Use resistant varieties.

Leaves Yellowing and Wilting

Various issues can cause this, including fungal wilt diseases, root rot, drought stress, or nutrient deficiency. Identify the cause and improve conditions.

Plants Stunted and Unproductive

Poor soil quality, inadequate fertilizer, heavy pest damage, diseases, or environmental stresses like extreme heat or cold can lead to poor growth and yield.

Rotting Fruit

Blossom end rot (dark leathery spot), bacterial wilt, fungal issues, or ripening damage after squirting can all cause rots. Maintain optimal growing conditions.

FAQ About Growing Squirting Cucumbers

Are squirting cucumbers the same as regular cucumbers?

Squirting cucumbers are actually botanically different than common garden cucumbers, although they belong to the same plant family Cucurbitaceae. They taste mildly similar to cucumbers but have a fun squirting action when ripe.

Where did squirting cucumbers originate?

Squirting cucumbers are native to southeast Asia and are grown extensively in India, China, and Taiwan for culinary use. They have been cultivated for centuries in these regions but are relatively new to gardens in America and Europe.

What causes squirting cucumbers to squirt?

The fruits contain a gelatinous substance that builds up pressure as the cucumber ripens. When gently pressed, the sides rupture and allow the juices, seeds, and pulp to be forcefully ejected out the blossom end.

Can you eat squirting cucumbers?

Yes, squirting cucumbers are edible and make a fun addition to salads, pickling recipes, fermented condiments, and even cocktails. Their mild flavor lends well to many dishes. Both the flesh and seeds can be eaten.

Why are my squirting cucumbers not squirting?

If fruits are not squirting, it is likely because you harvested them before fully ripening. Allow some cucumbers to size up a bit more on the vine before picking. Also be sure to handle them very gently after harvesting and wait 1-2 days before squirting.

What causes squirting cucumbers to be bitter?

Hot weather, drought conditions, poor soil fertility, over maturity, and other plant stresses can cause bitterness. Grow them in optimal conditions and harvest fruits when young and small. Bitterness intensifies as the fruits get larger.

Can you grow squirting cucumber vertically on a trellis?

Yes, squirting cucumbers are trailing vines that can be trained up structures. Some bushy varieties don’t require trellising, but most do better growing upwards. Install fencing, cages, or trellises in the garden when planting seeds.

When is the best time to plant squirting cucumbers?

Squirting cucumbers need consistently warm weather and should be planted 1-2 weeks after the last expected spring frost once soil has warmed up, around late May in most regions. In hot climates, some gardeners plant an early summer crop for fall harvest.


Growing squirting or exploding cucumbers is a fun and easy way to add something new and amusing to your vegetable plot! Now that you know how to successfully plant, care for, and harvest them, why not try adding some of these curious cukes in your garden this season?

The right variety, well nourished soil, consistent moisture, and proper harvesting timing are the keys to enjoying a bountiful crop of squirting cucumbers. Protect plants from pests while young. Then get ready for some entertaining summer snacking and cooking once they start ripening.

Squirting cucumbers are sure to add excitement to any garden and dinner table. Kids especially get a kick out of growing and squirting these delightfully wacky fruits.