How Cold can Cucumber Plants Tolerate? Expert Answer!

Just like any other crop, cucumbers need specific conditions to thrive, and temperature is a crucial factor. This blog will delve into how cold cucumber plants can tolerate, and what happens when they’re subjected to temperatures outside their comfort zone.

Cucumber plants can tolerate temperatures down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) for a very short period. However, any frost or temperatures below freezing will likely kill the plants. To ensure healthy growth and development, cucumber plants thrive best within a temperature range of 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit (21-32 degrees Celsius). Nighttime temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) can hinder flowering and fruit production.

Cucumber VarietyCold Tolerance Range
SiberianCan tolerate temperatures as low as 40°F (4°C)
Northern PicklingCan tolerate temperatures as low as 45°F (7°C)
CorintoAs low as 45°F (7°C)
Marketmore 76Can tolerate temperatures around 50°F (10°C)
SocratesAs low as 50°F (10°C)
Lord F1As low as 50°F (10°C)
Suyo LongAs low as 50°F (10°C)
Bush ChampionCan tolerate temperatures around 50°F (10°C)
Salad BushAs low as 50°F (10°C)
LemonCan tolerate temperatures around 55°F (13°C)
DivaAs low as 55°F (13°C)

Ideal Temperature Range for Cucumber Plants

As with any plant, cucumbers have a specific temperature range where they can grow and yield optimally. This ‘Goldilocks zone’ ensures the plants have the right conditions to perform their essential metabolic processes.

Optimal Temperatures for Cucumber Plant Growth and Fruit Production

The ideal temperature range for cucumbers is between 60-90°F (15-32°C). In this range, the plant’s metabolic processes, such as photosynthesis and respiration, operate optimally.

Soil temperatures of 70-95°F (21-35°C) are perfect for germination, while a daytime temperature of 75-85°F (24-29°C) and a nighttime temperature of 60-70°F (15-21°C) promote vigorous growth and high yields.

Preferred Temperature Range During Different Stages of Growth

Each stage of a cucumber plant’s growth has slightly different temperature requirements, so it’s beneficial to adjust the growing conditions as your cucumber plant matures.

  • Germination: The journey for a cucumber plant begins with germination. Cucumber seeds require a soil temperature between 70-95°F (21-35°C) to sprout. The warmer the soil, within this range, the faster the seeds will germinate. It’s important to note that soil temperatures below 60°F (15°C) can delay germination or prevent it altogether.
  • Seedling stage: Once the seeds have sprouted, the cucumber seedlings prefer a slightly cooler but still warm temperature. Daytime temperatures of around 70-80°F (21-27°C) and night temperatures no lower than 60°F (15°C) are ideal at this stage. Maintaining these temperatures will help the seedlings develop a strong root system and vigorous foliage.
  • Flowering and fruiting stage: As the plant matures and enters the flowering stage, a balance between daytime and nighttime temperatures is vital. Daytime temperatures should be 75-85°F (24-29°C) with nighttime temperatures between 60-70°F (15-21°C). These conditions optimize flower production and fruit set. Too cold or hot, and the flowers may fall off the plant before they can set fruit.

Keeping these temperature preferences in mind at each stage of cucumber growth will help you provide optimal conditions for your plants.

Remember, consistency is just as important as hitting the right range, sudden temperature swings can stress the plants and may lead to problems such as poor growth or lower yields.

How Cold Temperatures Impacts Cucumber Plant Growth and Development

Cold temperatures can have profound effects on the health and productivity of cucumber plants. When temperatures fall below 50°F (10°C), the metabolic processes that power your cucumber’s growth, such as photosynthesis, slow down considerably. This, in turn, leads to slower growth rates, reduced vigor, and can ultimately cause the plant to enter a state of dormancy.

A reduction in photosynthesis also means the plant is unable to produce as much energy, thereby affecting its ability to create new cells and tissues. This slowdown can lead to smaller leaves, shorter vines, and fewer flowers, which directly impacts the overall yield.

Aside from the direct damage, cold stress can make cucumber plants more susceptible to disease and pests. Plants weakened by cold are less able to fend off diseases like powdery mildew or pests such as aphids.

Effects of Cold on Cucumber PlantDescription
Growth RetardationCold temperatures can slow down the overall growth rate of cucumber plants. Leaves may appear smaller, and the plant may exhibit a stunted appearance.
Delayed FloweringCucumber plants exposed to cold temperatures may experience delays in flowering. This can lead to a longer time between planting and the first appearance of flowers.
Reduced Fruit SetCold stress can negatively impact the pollination process, resulting in reduced fruit set. This means fewer flowers develop into mature cucumbers, leading to lower yields.
Poor Fruit QualityCucumbers grown under cold conditions may exhibit poor fruit quality. This can manifest as misshapen or deformed fruits, uneven ripening, or a lack of sweetness and flavor.
Blossom End RotCold stress can contribute to the development of blossom end rot, a condition where the bottom of the cucumber fruit becomes dark, leathery, and sunken.
Increased Susceptibility to DiseasesCold-affected cucumber plants may become more vulnerable to various diseases, such as powdery mildew, downy mildew, or bacterial infections.
Yield ReductionOverall, cold temperatures can lead to a reduction in cucumber yields. The combination of delayed flowering, reduced fruit set, and poor fruit quality contributes to lower harvest quantities.

Factors Affecting Cucumber’s Cold Tolerance

Temperature plays a pivotal role in every stage of the plant’s life, from germination to fruit production.

In this section, we’ll discuss the preferred temperature range of cucumber plants and explore how cold temperatures impact their growth and development.

1. Temperature Range That Cucumber Plants Prefer

In the world of plants, cucumbers are considered thermophilic, meaning they love warmth. Their preferred temperature range can be broadly divided into two categories: optimal soil temperature for seed germination, and ambient temperature for plant growth and fruit production.

Cucumber seeds germinate best in soil temperatures between 70-95°F (21-35°C). When the soil temperature falls below 70°F (21°C), the germination process slows down significantly, and if the soil temperature drops below 60°F (15°C), germination may not occur at all.

Therefore, gardeners often wait until the soil has sufficiently warmed up in late spring or early summer before sowing cucumber seeds.

Once the plants have germinated and begun growing, they prefer an ambient the plants to carry out essential metabolic processes, like photosynthesis and respiration, at their best.

A steady daytime temperature of around 75-85°F (24-29°C) and a nighttime temperature of 60-70°F (15-21°C) promote healthy, vigorous growth and maximize fruit production.

2. Duration of Exposure

The duration of exposure to cold temperatures greatly impacts cucumber plants and their ability to tolerate such conditions.

Let’s delve into how different exposure durations affect cucumber plants and explore the concept of chilling hours:

  1. Influence on Cucumber Health:
  • Brief Exposures: Cucumber plants can handle short encounters with cold temperatures, such as temporary drops during nighttime. Although they may experience some stress, their overall well-being isn’t severely compromised.
  • Extended Exposures: However, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures poses risks to cucumber plants, affecting their health, growth, yields, and even survival.
  1. Understanding Chilling Hours:
  • Chilling hours represent the cumulative hours within a specific temperature range experienced by plants during their dormant phase, usually occurring in winter.
  • For cucumber plants to break dormancy and resume normal growth in the following season, they require a certain amount of cold exposure during this dormant period.
  • Insufficient chilling hours can lead to delayed or irregular growth, reduced yields, and difficulties in fruit production.
  • Conversely, excessive chilling hours beyond the plant’s requirement may cause issues like inadequate bud development or bud drop.

Gardeners and growers residing in regions with mild winters or unpredictable temperature fluctuations should consider selecting cucumber varieties better adapted to their specific conditions. Opting for varieties with lower chilling hour requirements or those bred for colder climates can be a wise choice.

3. Environmental factors

Environmental factors, such as wind, humidity, and frost, play a crucial role in the cold tolerance of cucumber plants.

Let’s explore how these factors impact cucumber plants and provide practical tips to protect them:


  • Impact on Cold Tolerance: Strong winds can intensify the effects of cold temperatures on cucumber plants by increasing heat loss through transpiration.
  • Protection Tips:
    • Create windbreaks: Creating barriers like fences or temporary structures shields cucumber plants from strong winds, reducing heat loss and minimizing cold damage.
    • Utilize row covers: Covering rows with lightweight fabric or plastic row covers forms a protective shield against wind, preserving heat around the plants.


  • Impact on Cold Tolerance: High humidity levels can worsen cold damage by facilitating the formation of frost or ice crystals on plant surfaces.
  • Protection Tips:
    • Enhance air circulation: Providing adequate spacing between cucumber plants promotes better air movement, reducing humidity levels and the risk of frost formation.
    • Avoid excessive watering: Excess moisture raises humidity levels around the plants. Water cucumber plants appropriately, allowing the soil to slightly dry out between waterings.


  • Impact on Cold Tolerance: Frost can inflict significant harm on cucumber plants, leading to tissue damage, wilting, or even plant demise.
  • Protection Tips:
    • Monitor weather forecasts: Stay informed about anticipated frost events to take timely preventive measures.
    • Cover plants: Use frost blankets, cloths, or even old bedsheets to shield cucumber plants during frosty nights, providing a protective barrier against freezing temperatures.
    • Consider watering: Wet soil retains more heat than dry soil, so watering the soil around cucumber plants prior to expected frost can offer some insulation.

Cold Tolerance Threshold for Cucumber Plants

The cold tolerance threshold of cucumber plants indicates the lowest temperatures they can survive. However, survival doesn’t necessarily mean the plants will thrive or produce well.

In this section, we will determine these crucial low-temperature limits and delve into the impact of extreme cold on cucumber plants.

Cucumber plants are quite sensitive to cold. They can start showing signs of cold stress when temperatures fall below 50°F (10°C). Prolonged exposure to these temperatures can lead to plant injury or even death.

Frost or temperatures below 32°F (0°C) can cause immediate damage to the cucumber plant. The plant cells freeze, leading to cell membrane rupture and tissue damage. The signs of frost damage include wilting, browning, and eventual death of the plant.

Moreover, a frost event can kill cucumber plants outright. If the plant doesn’t die, the stress can slow down growth, reduce yield, and make the plant more susceptible to diseases.

Visual Signs of Cold DamageEffects of Cold on Cucumber Plants
Leaf DiscolorationLeaves turn yellow, brown, or black due to tissue damage.
Leaf CurlingLeaves curl inward or downward as a response to cold stress.
WiltingThe entire plant or specific parts droop and appear limp.
Water-Soaked LesionsDiscolored, wet spots or patches on leaves or stems.
Stunted GrowthSlowed or limited growth, resulting in smaller-sized plants.
Brittle or Damaged StemsStems become weak, brittle, or show signs of breakage.
Blossom DropFlowers fail to develop or drop off prematurely.
Fruit DamageMisshapen, discolored, or undersized fruits.
General DeclineOverall decline in plant health, vigor, and productivity.

How to Protect Cucumber Plants from Cold Temperatures

How to Protect Cucumber Plants from Cold Temperatures

Step 1: Monitoring Weather Conditions

Stay updated with local weather forecasts to keep track of potential cold spells or frost warnings.

Step 2: Choosing an Ideal Planting Location

Plant cucumber seeds or transplants after the danger of frost has passed. Wait until temperatures consistently stay above freezing to ensure the plants are not exposed to damaging cold.

Choose a planting location that naturally provides protection from cold winds and frost pockets. Opt for areas near structures, walls, or fences that act as natural windbreaks.

Step 3: Preparing the Soil

Prepare the soil by ensuring it has proper drainage to avoid waterlogging and root rot. Enhance soil structure and moisture retention by incorporating organic matter like compost.

Step 4: Mulching the Soil

Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around the base of cucumber plants. This helps insulate the soil, retain warmth, and suppress weed growth.

Step 5: Proper Watering

Water the soil thoroughly without overwatering. Moist soil retains heat better, providing insulation for the plant’s roots, but excessive moisture can harm the plants.

Step 6: Using Protective Coverings

Create a protective barrier by using row covers, frost blankets, or individual plant covers. Ensure the covers extend to the ground and securely fasten them to prevent heat loss.

Consider constructing temporary structures like cold frames, tunnels, or hoop houses over the cucumber plants for added insulation and protection. Ensure proper ventilation to maintain the right humidity and prevent overheating.

Step 7: Monitoring and Adjusting

Regularly inspect the cucumber plants for signs of cold damage, such as wilting, discoloration, or stunted growth. Take necessary actions promptly to minimize further damage.

Remove covers or structures during warmer periods to prevent overheating and encourage airflow around the plants. This helps avoid excessive humidity and reduces the risk of disease development.

Can Cucumber Plants Survive 40 Degree Weather?

According to my research, cucumber plants can generally tolerate temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) for short periods of time.

However, it is important to note that cucumber plants are warm-weather crops and cannot survive frost without protection. Prolonged exposure to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) can cause decay, pitting, and water-soaked areas on the fruit.

Can Cucumbers Survive 39 Degrees?

Yes, cucumbers can survive temperatures as low as 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). However, they will not thrive and may even die if the temperature remains at or below this threshold for an extended period of time.


In conclusion, cucumber plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) for a brief period, but any frost or temperatures below freezing will be detrimental.

To ensure optimal growth, it is advisable to provide a temperature range between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit (21-32 degrees Celsius) and protect the plants from nighttime temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). Taking into account the specific factors that can affect cold tolerance will help gardeners cultivate healthy cucumber plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if cucumber plants are exposed to extreme cold?

When exposed to extreme cold, cucumber plants can suffer from frost damage or even die. Symptoms of cold damage include wilting, yellowing leaves, and stunted growth. It is crucial to take preventive measures and protect the plants to avoid such detrimental effects.

Will cucumber plants continue to produce fruit in cold weather?

Cucumber plants require warm temperatures to thrive and produce fruit. When exposed to cold weather, especially below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) at night, cucumber plants may struggle to flower and set fruit. It is essential to maintain optimal temperature conditions for consistent fruit production.

Can cucumber plants tolerate temperatures below freezing?

No, cucumber plants cannot tolerate temperatures below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius). Any temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) can prevent cucumbers from developing properly and may even cause them to go dormant.

Andreea Tapu

Andreea TAPU is a passionate gardener with over 5 years of experience in cultivating a wide variety of plants and flowers in her garden. As the author and creator of, she is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and expertise with others, providing practical tips and advice to help gardeners of all levels achieve success and enjoyment in their gardening pursuits.