Stachelgurke, Igelgurke - care of the ornamental cucumber

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Sting Cucumber - Echinocystis

Who likes cacti as well as exotics, will love the spiny cucumber. Hard to believe but true, the plant belongs to the genus of cucurbits and is also referred to as ornamental cucumber or hedgehog cucumber. The spines of North America have little in common with a cucumber - it is more reminiscent of a hedgehog. In the warm season, this plant provides amazed looks in the garden and on the balcony. The best comes to the end, the fruits are ideal as a fall decoration.

Cultivation from seeds

Anyone who buys the hedgehog cucumber in seed form should either pre-breed it in a large pot or sow in the garden directly from the end of May. Since this plant is insanely sensitive, it may only migrate after the Eisheiligen out, otherwise it may break. There are some mixtures. Including the Cucumis Carolinus, Cucumis Dipcaseus, Cucumis Metuliferus and many more.


The small plants from the gardener should be planted in the summer in the garden or directly on the balcony in a pot. Also, the hedgehog cucumber feels comfortable in a hanging basket. If you want to harvest the fruits of these plants, plant them best in the greenhouse, as they are difficult to grow in the field. The different Central European climate makes so many plants to create. If you like to experiment and try new plants, you should take the ornamental cucumber to heart. A project that is really fun.


The hedgehog cucumber is a one-year plant. Repotting is only necessary if it increases rapidly in size and no longer fits into the small flowerpot or in the flower basket. Whoever grows the ornamental cucumber on the balcony should regularly observe the plant if there is enough space left. If not, buy a larger pot and repot the cucumber.


If it is plants that have been preferred in pots, they must first get used to the new weather conditions. Therefore, the plants should not get into the soil too early or too late. Ornamental cucumbers like neither frost nor too strong sunshine. As long as they are small, the plants get a sunburn in strong sunlight and that would be counterproductive. Even worse is icy cold combined with wetness. That's what spiny cucumbers absolutely do not like. Those who want to keep such plants in the spring, should have a good greenhouse or a conservatory. There, the plants thrive quite positively. As the cucumbers grow rapidly, the shoots should be tied up. The best way to stick a pole in the ground or as stated put on a hanging lamp. If the ornamental cucumber is to bear fruit, the temperature must not be below 15 degrees, as it will affect the maturity.


That may sound a bit contradictory. Ornamental cucumbers need a lot of sun. It is important that the plant does not reach the pristine sun immediately. Even plants have to slowly get used to the new circumstances and thus remain protected by a fire. In the shade, the spiny cucumber grows well, but there are fewer fruits to harvest because they need heat. The soil should be moist and mulched. Who creates a good underground, spares the fertilizer in hindsight.

to water

Sting Cucumber - Echinocystis

Water is vital for this plant. The soil should be permanently moist. Nevertheless, gardeners should not exaggerate it, because waterlogging, the cucumbers again dislike. Those who can serve with high humidity make this plant happy. That's why most of the fruits are also directly in the greenhouse. There, the climate is simply ideal and the floor remains automatically damp due to the high humidity.

To cut

One advantage of the ornamental cucumber. Cutting is almost superfluous in this plant. Nevertheless, it can sometimes happen that the extreme growth causes space problems. In that case, the gardener is allowed to pick up the scissors and trim the cucumber a little bit. Important: The shoots should stay tuned, because later the fruits are produced.


Since the ornamental cucumber is one year old, there is accordingly no wintering. Anyone who would like to experiment in the winter nonetheless, should own a greenhouse accordingly. In the field, these plants thrive only from mid-May. Rule number 1: Frost is deadly to these plants.


Those who do not get enough of their ornamental cucumbers can sow the seeds right in the spring and look forward to wonderful plants. The sowing is easy by the hand and as everywhere patience is announced.

Diseases and pests

Pests are not explicitly known in this plant. However, if unwelcome vermin appear, it is always better to resort to natural remedies first. In the case of the small greenhouse flies, for example, it is small yellow plates that are inserted directly into the ground. The flies stick to it and the plant is not poisoned with fertilizer. In the specialized trade there are also necessarily suitable products.


The fruits are ripe when they turn orange. In the field, the end of August is likely to be the case. Careful at the harvest. The spines are pretty sharp, so attack with kid gloves. The opinion of whether one should eat the fruits are of different nature. They are not toxic, but some are said to cause digestive problems. Besides, they taste pretty bitter. In any case, ornamental cucumbers are a wonderful deco idea for autumn.
If you like to experiment and get to know new things, you can look forward to a wonderful plant, which always provides new surprises. Since the plant in this country is still fairly new, there are not really many research results. With a little patience, the small plant will also establish itself on the local garden market.

Cultivation tips

Sting Cucumber - Echinocystis

The different ornamental cucumbers are made from seeds. There are quite different varieties on offer, often mixtures of different plants. Cucumis canoxyl, Cucumis metuliferus, Cucumis myriocarpus, Cucumis anguria, Cucumis carolinus, Cucumis sativus, Cucumis dipcaseus are recommended. Most of these plants only come to the greenhouse in the greenhouse, but those who are keen to experiment can try it outdoors as well. Some of the plants are very big. For ornamental purposes are cultivated Cucumis metuliferus, Cucumis hirsutus and Cucumis disapceus. They can be used in hanging baskets. The pre-culture takes place indoors in mid-April in large pots. Most plants grow very fast, need to be repotted soon. After the ice sacs you can also sow the seeds on the spot.


  • You must slowly get used to early plants. There must be no night frosts and also to the sun you have to get used to the plants slowly, otherwise it can lead to sunburn. Wetness combined with cold nights can be deadly to the plants. The greenhouse is definitely the best place. A conservatory does it too.
  • Spiny or ornamental cucumbers require a permanently permeable soil and are sensitive to waterlogging. Nevertheless, they have to be watered regularly, never get dry. The climate should be sunny and warm, a south facing wall is well suited. A high humidity is very favorable for the growth of the plants.
  • Spiny or ornamental cucumbers grow very fast. You should tie the shoots up, otherwise they will grow like a ground cover and will expand enormously. Recesses are often essential if other plants are nearby.
  • Temperatures below 15 degrees delay or prevent fruit ripeness.
  • Spiny or ornamental cucumbers are not long in the trade. In the gardens they are still in the experimental phase.

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