Many home gardeners love to grow cucumbers throughout the summer months. While looking at the varieties available, you may have noticed some of them being labeled as parthenocarpic cucumbers. More than likely, this has prompted you to ask, what are parthenocarpic cucumbers?
Parthenocarpic cucumbers are those varieties that are able to set fruit without pollination. In essence, they are seedless cucumbers and are often harvested when not fully mature. This makes them ideal for growing in greenhouses and tunnels where natural pollination is not possible.
Many commercial growers focus on growing parthenocarpic cucumbers because they often use grow tunnels and greenhouses for their cucumber crops. Parthenocarpic cucumbers are also sometimes referred to as “burpless.”
13 Best Parthenocarpic Cucumbers to Grow at Home
All parthenocarpic cucumber varieties are hybrids. They produce fruits that have no or very few seeds, and the few seeds that they may have are not fertile. For this reason, you can’t collect your own seeds from these varieties.
Therefore, you need to purchase these varieties as seedlings from your local garden center or purchase fresh seeds every year if you want to grow these varieties at home.
One thing to remember is that it’s best to grow parthenocarpic cucumbers inside greenhouses or polytunnels where they are not open to pollination from bees. These plants don’t produce their own pollen. However, they are still able to be pollinated by bees that collect pollen from other non-parthenocarpic cucumber varieties that may be growing nearby.
If parthenocarpic cucumbers are pollinated, the end result will be deformed fruit. The other solution is to only grow parthenocarpic cucumbers outside in your garden and avoid growing any non-parthenocarpic cucumbers at all.
Here’s a list of the most popular parthenocarpic cucumber varieties available for home gardeners.
|Cucumber Variety||Type of Cucumber||How Many Days to Maturity?||Average Size of Cucumber||Special Considerations|
|Chelsea Prize||English||60||12 to 15 inches|
|County Fair||Good for pickling||52||2 to 4 inches|
|Diva||English||58||6 to 8 inches|
|Excelsior||Good for pickling||50||4 to 5 inches|
|H-19 Little Leaf||Good for pickling||57||3 to 4 inches||A compact, bushy plant suitable for container growing|
|Iznik||Beit Alpha*||55||3 to 4 inches||A compact, bushy plant suitable for container growing|
|Katrina||Beit Alpha*||49||6 inches||Heat-tolerant|
|Minime||Persian||45||3 inches||Great as a snacking cucumber|
|Picolino||Beit Alpha*||70||4 to 5 inches|
|Socrates||Beit Alpha*||52||6 to 8 inches||Cold-tolerant|
|Sweet Success||English||54||12 inches|
|Tasty Jade||Japanese||55||12 inches|
* Beit Alpha cucumber is sweet and has very thin and tender skin that does not require peeling.
1. Chelsea Prize
This lovely slicing cucumber is thin-skinned and requires no peeling. It can produce fruit around 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) long. The large fruits are not bitter and are ideal for eating fresh in salads and sandwiches.
2. County Fair
This pickling cucumber variety has virtually no seeds and is not bitter. It’s also disease-resistant. For pickling, it should be picked when it reaches a length of 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm). You can also let the fruits continue to grow a little larger and use them for slicing.
This variety produces sweet, non-bitter fruit with a crisp texture. The fruits are ready for harvesting when they reach a length of 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm). This is also a great disease-resistant variety.
This is a disease-resistant variety that has a vigorous growth habit. It’s an excellent variety for pickling. It can be grown in a variety of different climates in summer and fall. It takes around 50 days for the fruit to mature. The fruit is of medium size at about 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm).
5. H-19 Little Leaf
This cucumber variety has a somewhat bushy growth habit, and the plant is quite compact with small leaves. It is one of the better varieties for pickling. The fruits are small at around 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm). This variety is perfect for growing in containers due to its compact size.
This is another variety that produces small fruit at around 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm). It can be eaten fresh but is also good for pickling. It’s also suitable for growing in containers due to its compact growth habit. The fruit has a smooth skin that doesn’t require peeling.
This is a sweet variety with a thin skin that doesn’t require peeling. The fruit is picked when it’s around 6 inches (15 cm) long. This is an excellent disease-resistant variety popular with southern growers.
This small cucumber variety has lovely smooth skin that doesn’t require peeling. It’s perfect for snacking because it only grows to around 3 inches (8 cm) long.
This slightly ribbed cucumber variety is disease-resistant and highly prolific. The fruits have very thin skins and don’t require peeling. They are ready to pick when they’re around 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm) long.
This particular variety is cold-tolerant, and it’s common for it to fruit well into the fall. It is another variety that has thin skin that doesn’t require peeling. The fruits are ready to be picked when they’re 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) long.
11. Sweet Success
This particular variety produces large fruits that can be up to 12 inches (30 cm) long. The skin is a lovely dark green color and doesn’t require peeling. This variety is particularly good for slicing into salads and on sandwiches.
12. Tasty Jade
This Japanese-type cucumber grows to around 12 inches (30 cm) long. The fruit has a smooth, thin skin that doesn’t require peeling. This variety is ideal for slicing and gives attractive uniform and seedless slices that are ideal for use as garnishes.
This is one of the largest varieties on our list, with fruits that can reach a length of 14 inches (35 cm). It’s another disease-resistant variety with slightly sweet fruit that has a thin skin and lacks bitterness. The fruit is slightly ribbed, making it great for salads or garnishes.
The Advantages of Growing Parthenocarpic Cucumbers
There are plenty of advantages to growing parthenocarpic cucumbers in your garden. Originally, these cucumbers were bred for commercial production, which often happened in greenhouses. They were also considered useful in areas or climates that had a limited amount of natural pollinators.
Here are some of the prime reasons that home gardeners now often grow only parthenocarpic cucumbers in their gardens:
- They don’t need to be pollinated.
- They contain very few, if any, seeds.
- The fruits mainly have smooth skins with no burs, so they don’t require peeling.
- You don’t have to worry about attracting pollinators to your garden or taking on the tedious task of manual pollination.
- The growing season can be extended because you can easily cover your plants with a polytunnel if an early frost is predicted.
- These cucumbers will guarantee an abundant harvest because they only produce female flowers. This is quite an important consideration because non-parthenocarpic cucumbers often produce more male than female flowers, so their yield is often much lower.
General Tips for Growing Parthenocarpic Cucumbers
As with growing any type of cucumber in your garden, these hybrid varieties need the right growing conditions to produce an abundance of fruit. Any environmental stresses that are not controlled will result in a lack of fruit. Therefore, you need to ensure that you give your cucumbers the right conditions to ensure a fruitful production.
Here are some tips:
- Protect your plants from high-temperature extremes. High temperatures can stress your plants and reduce fruit production. If you live in an area that has hot summers, you might want to protect your plants from the scorching midday and afternoon sun by providing some shade. Or choose one of the heat-tolerant varieties such as Katrina.
- Ensure your plants are well-watered. In essence, cucumbers have high water content. For this reason, they need plenty of soil moisture in order to produce an abundance of fruit. Make sure that you test the moisture in the soil quite regularly in the warmer months, and don’t let it dry out completely. Of course, you also want to ensure that the soil has good drainage because you don’t want your plants to become waterlogged either.
- Feed your plants regularly during the growing season. As well as adequate moisture, your parthenocarpic cucumbers also need plenty of good nutrition to produce a bumper harvest. For this, you want to select a fertilizer that has good levels of both phosphorus and potassium. A fertilizer that is designed for use on fruiting crops such as tomatoes should be perfect. Use this as per the recommendations and instructions on the pack.