5 Common Cucumber Diseases — How to Prevent Them

How to Combat Cucumber Diseases

Cucumbers are susceptible to different diseases: mostly fungal and viral infections. A few of the most common cucumber diseases include powdery mildew, bacterial wilt, cucumber beetles, cucumber mosaic, and downy mildew.

Fortunately, lots of these diseases can be treated . Take a peek at the article below to learn how to keep your cucumbers happy, healthy and tasty.

save your cucumbers

What Are Some common cucumber diseases?

1. Powdery Mildew

It is one of the most common diseases in cucumbers. Powdery mildew shows signs of white powdery substance encompassing the whole leaves of the plant. Usually, it begins in little spots then scatters throughout the leaves.

This fungal disease may cause poor growth of the fruits specifically if the infection is severe. The leaves of the cucumber begin to wither and then fall off prematurely. Overhead watering and poor air circulation can contribute to such problem.

At the first sign of the disease, the use of fungicidal sprays can help. In order to avoid wetting leaves, use underground or surface watering method.

To keep the infection at bay, plant cucumbers in full sun. If your plants are already infected with powdery mildew, spraying with neem oil can prevent the disease from spreading. Just remember not to spray in the heat of the day.

Here’s a great video explaining how to treat powdery mildew.​

2. Bacterial Wilt

Bacterial wilt can cause the plants to wilt and then die fast. You will know if the disease is present in the plant when a white substance will stick to your finger the moment you pull it away.

The bacteria that are causing the disease invade the plant’s vascular tissues, which leads to a rapid wilt of the plant. The sticky substance produced by the bacterial wilt organism plugs the tissues, preventing the transport of water.

As the disease progresses, it begins with a single leaf then the entire plant. In order to control the infection, destroy any affected plants. It is also best to implement the right insecticide program to control bacterial wilt and prevent it from occurring.

Here’s an awesome video explaining how to spot bacterial wilt.​

3. Cucumber Beetles

Cucumber beetles are known for their black and yellow stripes, while some of them are spotted. These insects chew small holes in the fruit’s flowers or leaves.

They usually carry wilt disease and love to suck on young seedlings. Aside from this, the larvae of these pesky insects feed on the roots. One thing you can do with cucumber beetles is pick them by hand. They move slow during the morning or evening.

To kill them, prepare a cup of soapy water and drop them. On the other hand, keep the bugs at bay by applying pesticides. Once the seedlings blossom, stop spraying for cucumber beetles to allow bees to start pollinating the plants.

Here’s what a striped cucumber beetle looks like:​

Photo by Rob Mitchell licensed under GNU 1.3..

4. Cucumber Mosaic

This type of cucumber disease affects the flower, leaf, stem and growth of the plant. When the infection strikes, it may lead to the formation of prominent foliar yellow mosaic, severe plant stunting, malformation, reduction of leaf size, downward leaf curling and more.

The flowers may show signs of prominent abnormalities. This disease is very common. The virus is transmitted from one plant to another by various kinds of aphids.

Good thing, mosaic disease can be managed by controlling the presence of cucumber beetles and aphids throughout the season. It is best to use good quality seed all the time. Control perennial weeds to prevent the disease from occurring. On the other hand, you may also use insecticides and mineral oils.

Here’s a great paper on Cucumber Mosaic Virus from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.​

5. Downy Mildew

A cucumber plant has downy mildew when it shows signs of angular yellow spots on its leaves. This fungal disease can be treated and prevented in different ways.

If your plant is already infected with the disease, pull it to prevent the infection from spreading. Use good cultural practices to avoid the infection from occurring and use fungicides to stop the disease.

Check out this video from the Rustic Garden to learn more about spotting and treating downy mildew.​

Are Deformed Or Misshapen Cucumbers Infected With A Disease?

Some people think that misshapen or deformed cucumbers are diseased. However, when a cucumber is funny shaped, it does not mean it is infected with a disease. There are possible reasons deformed cucumbers occur.

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One possible reason is poor pollination. If there is low insect activity in your garden, it may lead to misshapen cucumbers.

Plants need honeybees for pollination and this process should not be interrupted. Other reasons for funny shaped fruits are high temperature, insufficient water and too much fertilizer.

Here’s an awesome video from Man Living Naturally if you’re really having trouble with deformed cucumbers:​

Why Do Cucumbers Turn White?

Nowadays, there are cucumber seeds that are bred to produce white fruit. However, if you have planted green cucumber varieties but you get white cucumbers, one possible reason is powdery mildew.

When it spreads, the whole fruit may be covered with the mold. However, when a cucumber appears white it does not necessarily mean it is infected with a disease.

There are another two possible reasons cucumbers turn white. The first one is blanching, which occurs when the fruit is entirely covered by leaves.

Keep in mind that cucumbers are in need of sunlight to develop and be able to maintain its green color. To prevent blanching, make sure to position the fruit appropriately so that it receives the right amount of sunlight it needs.

It is advisable to snip out a large leaf or two to expose the fruit. On the other hand, excessive moisture may also cause cucumbers to turn pale or white. Water tends to leach nutrients from the soil.

The absence or lack of nutrients changes the color of the fruit into white. To address the problem, water only when necessary and use a fertilizer rich in phosphorus. It is best to keep in mind that diseased white cucumbers are not safe to eat. However, those cucumbers that turned pale or white due to blanching or too much moisture can be eaten.

There are different varieties of cucumber. Most cucumbers diseases are fungal infections. The good news is, you can avoid these problems by selecting and planting cucumber varieties that are disease-resistant. On the other hand, you need to act fast and find a solution at the first sign of infection. When using insecticide, always wear protective clothing and gloves.


How to Cure Mildew on Cucumbers

21 September, 2017

Most mildew infestations of cucumber plants are carried in by the wind. Two natural organic solutions to a mildew problem are a milk solution and a tea made from chives. However, for some more resistant infestations, a harsher natural or chemical fungicide may be required. If you live in an area prone to mildew, you can use either the milk solution or the chive tea as a preventative measure.

Milk Treatment

Mix one part milk with one part water. An enzyme in the milk helps control cucumber mildew.

Spray the plants every three or four days when you first notice the mildew.

Spray the plants weekly as a preventative measure for mildew and several other fungal diseases.

Chive Spray

Put a cup or two of chives in a glass container.

Cover the chives with boiling water.

Strain the mixture.

Spray your cucumbers two or three times a week as a preventative measure.

Other Natural Fungicides

Apply a natural copper-based fungicide according to label instructions. Be careful, however, as fungicidal levels of copper can be toxic to some beneficial organisms, like earth worms.

Apply a fungicide containing neem oil. Again, although it is a natural fungicide, the concentrations may be toxic to some organisms, like ladybugs.

If all else fails, try using minimal quantities of chemical fungicides. Be aware, though, that these can harm beneficial organisms and are not considered organic.

Make A Fungicide For Powdery Mildew On Organic Cucumbers

Growing your food organically means you have to be selective in how you treat pests and disease. Several kinds of powdery mildew affect different plants. The mold is a sort of cotton-candy vampire, sucking nutrients from the plant, so if you leave it untreated, a severe infestation can cause your plants to wither. Even if they survive, your yield will be badly affected. Start by removing the worst-affected leaves, if possible, bagging them immediately so you don’t spread the spores. If you’ve just begun to notice mold on the cucumber leaves, or if you’ve had problems in the past and want to minimize the risk of powdery mildew, milk is an easy, all-natural deterrent to the fungus. Apply weekly or biweekly. Baking soda has a long list of household uses, and you can add “treating powdery mildew” to that list. It’s especially important in the Pacific Northwest, where humidity favors the fungus’ growth. That new growth is especially susceptible to powdery mildew.

The best way to ensure that your cucumbers don’t suffer from mildew is to keep your garden area as clean as possible. Keep the leaves and growing cucumbers as dry as possible.


How to Prevent Powdery Mildew on Plants With Baking Soda

A Home Remedy for Fungus Diseases

Powdery mildew is one of the most commonly occurring plant problems. It is a fungal disease that affects plant leaves and stems, coating them in what looks like a white or gray powder-like substance. In severe cases, powdery mildew can even spread to the buds, flowers, and fruits of plants. Although any plant can get powdery mildew, some are very susceptible—such as crab apples, cucumbers and all types of squash, lilacs, phlox, and roses.

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The white coating greatly diminishes the appearance of the plant, but it is not fatal unless left uncontrolled. However, as it spreads, it stresses and weakens the plant and makes it hard for photosynthesis to occur.

Controlling Powdery Mildew With Baking Soda

Baking soda has long been used as an inexpensive control for powdery mildew on plants. Unfortunately, baking soda fungicide is most effective as a preventative, offering only minimal benefits after your plants have become infected. If you know which plants are susceptible, spraying them weekly with the baking soda recipe, during humid or damp weather, can greatly reduce the incidence of powdery mildew in your garden.

To control powdery mildew on plants, mix together the following:

  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap
  • 1 gallon of water

Do not store unused mixture. While this recipe has been known to be effective, it can burn the leaves of some plants. It is recommended that you water your infected plants well a couple of days before applying this mixture, and don’t apply it in full sun. Try on a small area first, to test the plant’s response before spraying the entire plant.

Some recipes also recommend applying one tablespoon of ultralight horticultural oil to the mixture. The oil coats and smothers the fungi. The soap is added to help the mix spread and cling to the leaf surface. Be sure to apply to lower leaf surfaces as well.

Control Versus Cure

Unfortunately, this baking soda mixture works best as a preventative, applied before powdery mildew has a chance to spread on your plant. It is less effective as a cure once the fungus has taken hold. If you know a plant is affected by powdery mildew year after year, as is the case with many monarda, phlox, and lilacs, then spraying early in the season may prevent any occurrence that year. It is still worth trying after signs of powdery mildew appear, but it might not get rid of all the fungus.

Spraying plants with a milk mixture, after they have been infected with powdery mildew, is showing a lot of promise for actually killing the fungus. While so far no one is really sure why the milk mixture works it’s worth a shot if preventative measures have failed.

Additional Uses?

Researchers are still studying the effects of using a baking soda mixture on other fungal diseases such as black spot, rust, and anthracnose.


Reasons For White Cucumbers: Why Cucumber Fruit Turns White

Many cucumber seeds on the market today are bred to produce white fruit. They often have the word “white” or “pearl” in their name, and the cucumbers are very similar to green varieties in flavor and texture. If you have planted green varieties and get white cucumbers instead, however, then it’s time to look for problems.

Reasons for White Cucumbers

One reason that cucumber fruit turns white is a fungal disease called powdery mildew. This problem begins on the upper surface of the fruit, and the cucumbers may look as though they have been dusted with flour. As it spreads, the entire fruit may become covered with the mold. Powdery mildew usually occurs when the humidity is high and air circulation is poor.

Treat powdery mildew by making the environment around the cucumber plant less hospitable to the disease. Thin plants so that they are spaced at a proper distance, allowing air to circulate around them. Use a soaker hose to apply water directly to the soil and avoid getting water on the plant.

Two common cucumber plant problems that cause white fruit are blanching and excessive moisture. Blanching occurs when the fruit is completely covered by leaves. Cucumbers need sunlight to develop and maintain their green color. You may be able to position the fruit so that it receives enough light. If not, snip out a large leaf or two to let the sunlight in.

Excessive moisture results in white cucumbers because water leaches nutrients from the soil. Without the nutrients needed for proper development, cucumbers turn pale or white. Correct the problem by feeding the plants with a fertilizer high in phosphorus and watering only when necessary.

Your cucumber plants can trick you into watering them too often. Water evaporates rapidly from the large, flat leaves on hot, sunny days, causing them to wilt. There may be plenty of moisture in the soil, but the roots can’t absorb it as fast as it is evaporating. To determine if the plants need watering, wait until the end of the day when the sunlight and temperatures are less intense. If the leaves revive on their own, the plant doesn’t need watering. Otherwise, it’s time to water.

Is it Safe to Eat White Cucumber?

It’s best not to eat diseased white cucumbers. Those that are white because of blanching or too much rain are safe to eat, although nutrient deficiencies may result in a significant loss of flavor.


7 Healing Benefits of Cucumber to Beat The Heat This Summer

Shilpa Arora | Updated: April 26, 2016 14:19 IST

  • Cucumber is made up of 95% water and is low in calories
  • This nutritionally dense vegetable is packed with nutrients
  • Lignans found in cucumbers have immune boosting effects
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Here are 7 cucumber benefits you need to know.

An essential in most salads, the flavor of refreshing cucumbers entices everyone in the summer heat. It’s a joy to have a cool bite of this crisp, nutritionally dense vegetable that is packed with nutrients like Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Riboflavin, B-6, Folate, Pantothenic acid, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc and Silica (phew). This versatile vegetable is made up to 95% water, which makes it naturally low in calories, fat and cholesterol. A 100 gram serving of cucumber provides only 12 calories as carbohydrates.

7 Healing Benefits of Cucumber

1. Alkaline producing effect on the body: Cucumbers are amazingly alkalizing, which is great especially for people who have acidic bodies due to wrong eating habits. Your body has to be slightly alkaline, if you wish to be healthy.

2. Cucumbers are the best cosmetic for your skin: Cucumbers are used topically for various types of skin problems, including dark circles, swelling or puffiness under the eyes and sunburn. Two compounds in cucumbers, ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, prevent water retention which may explain why cucumbers applied topically are often helpful for swollen eyes, burns and dermatitis.

3. Cucumbers are excellent source silica: Silica is the beauty mineral, a trace mineral that contributes to that strength of our connective tissue. Connective tissue is what holds our body together. It includes the inter-cellular cement, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone.

4. Hair growth: Silicon and Sulphur promote hair growth. It’s best to juice cucumber with some mint leaves and carrots to increase this function.

5. Cucumber works as a diuretic: The high water content cleanses the body by removing toxic and old waste material. Cucumbers help eliminate uric acid, which is beneficial for people with arthritis and joint pains. The magnesium content in cucumber relaxes nerves and muscles and helps blood circulating smoothly.

6. Eat cucumbers to lose weight: Since they are 95% water, they fill you up adding volume to meals. With 16 calories per cup, cucumbers are nutritionally dense, this means you can eat more and feel satiated.

7. Helps improve heart health: Lignans found in cucumbers have immune boosting, anti-inflammatory effects that are beneficial for fighting cardiovascular disease. Cucumbers also provide important minerals like potassium and magnesium that are extremely beneficial for healthier blood pressure levels. Magnesium rich foods are also beneficial for blood pressure in addition to general nerve functioning, fluid balance, heart beat regulation, better blood sugar levels and higher energy expenditure.

Quick serving idea: Cucumber Tempura

Make cucumber tempura by dredging cucumber slices in a beaten egg and then in whole wheat flour. Bake on a cookie sheet until crispy and serve with a dipping sauce.

About the Author: Shilpa Arora ND is a renowned Health Practitioner, Nutritionist and certified Macrobiotic Health Coach. She has to her credit Doctorate in Natural Medicine. She is currently based in Delhi NCR region, successfully running her Nutrition Studio with individual consultations, offering life style programs supported by the most up-to-date clinical research.

Disclaimer:The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.


How to Mix Vinegar to Get Rid of White Powdery Mold in Plants

Things You’ll Need

Every garden contains a huge variety of fungi in the soil and on plants. Some fungi are visible, while others play an unseen role in the soil decomposing organic matter. Some plants have a symbiotic – mutually beneficial — relationship with certain species of fungi. But parasitic fungi, including many types of mold, can infect a plant, weakening and sometimes killing it. Fungicides are problematic as they kill nearly all the fungi they contact, including the useful varieties. Vinegar is an alternative treatment for mold on your plants and seems to destroy the white powdery mold often seen on plants, especially roses.

Step 1

Make a weak dilution of 1 part vinegar to 20 parts water in the spray bottle.

Step 2

Spray the afflicted plants thoroughly, covering the tops and bottoms of the leaves.

Step 3

Repeat every four to five days until the mold appears to be gone.

Alternating the vinegar treatment with other natural sprays — ones based on baking soda or vegetable oil, for example — may be more effective than one remedy alone. If the mold is resilient, you could also try slightly stronger vinegar and water solutions.

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Judith Willson

Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.


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