Cucumbers are refreshing and versatile vegetables that come in various shapes and sizes. While most cucumbers are long and cylindrical, a delightful cucumber category is round. These round cucumber varieties add a touch of novelty to your garden and culinary creations.
Herein is an in-depth roundup of these cucumber varieties, their distinctive features, and essential care guides.
5 Round Cucumber Varieties
The most popular round cucumbers are:
- West Indian Gherkin
- Lemon Cucumber
- Mandurian Round Cucumber
- Crystal Apple Cucumber
Lemon cucumbers are small to medium-sized cucumbers with a round shape resembling a lemon or lime. They have smooth, thin, and tender pale yellow or golden skin. The flesh is pale green, juicy, and crisp.
Lemon cucumbers thrive in warm climates and require similar growing conditions as other cucumber varieties. They prefer full sun, well-drained soil, and regular watering. They can be grown in home gardens or containers.
These round cucumbers have a mild, delicate flavor compared to other cucumber varieties. They are slightly sweeter and less bitter, making them popular for salads, pickling, and snacking.
The texture of lemon cucumbers is firm, crunchy, and refreshing. The skin is thin and doesn’t require peeling, and the flesh contains numerous tiny, edible seeds.
Lemon cucumbers are low in calories and rich in essential nutrients. They are a good source of hydration due to their high water content. They also provide vitamins A and C, potassium, and dietary fiber.
Crystal Apple Cucumber
The Crystal Apple Cucumber is another popular round cucumber variety known for its unique characteristics. This cucumber variety is highly sought after for its appearance and flavor profile.
This cucumber has a round, apple-like shape. It features smooth, pale green skin and crisp, juicy flesh. This variety is often praised for its excellent texture, making it enjoyable to eat raw or incorporate into various dishes.
A distinguishing feature of the Crystal Apple Cucumber is its refreshing flavor. It offers a mild and slightly sweet taste, which adds a delightful touch to salads, sandwiches, and other culinary creations.
The cucumber’s crunchy texture and mild flavor make it a favorite choice for slicing and adding to fresh salads or using as a crunchy garnish.
The Crystal Apple Cucumber is also well-suited for pickling due to its firmness and ability to retain its shape during pickling.
When it comes to cultivation, the Crystal Apple Cucumber thrives in warm climates and requires ample sunlight to grow.
It is a vining cucumber variety that benefits from trellising or supporting structures to ensure proper growth and prevent the fruit from touching the ground. Regular watering, well-drained soil, and adequate spacing between plants are essential for optimal growth and yield.
The Cucamelon (Mexican Sour Gherkin or Mouse Melon) is an exciting and unique cucumber variety that resembles a miniature watermelon.
Despite its name, the Cucamelon is not a cross between a cucumber and a watermelon but rather a member of the cucumber family.
The Cucamelon is native to Mexico and Central America. It grows on vines and produces small, grape-sized fruits that have a resemblance to tiny watermelons. The fruits are around 1-2 centimeters in size, with green skin featuring thin stripes or speckles.
It has a crunchy texture similar to cucumbers but with a tangy, citrusy flavor that is often compared to a cucumber with a hint of lime or sourness. This unique taste makes the Cucamelon an interesting addition to salads, salsas, pickles, or as a fresh snack.
An advantage of growing Cucamelons is their ease of cultivation. They are well-suited for home gardens and can be grown in containers or trellised to save space.
Cucamelons thrive in warm climates and require similar growing conditions to cucumbers, such as full sun, well-drained soil, and regular watering.
In terms of care, Cucamelons are relatively low-maintenance. They are known for their pest and disease resistance, making them suitable for organic gardeners.
Regular harvesting encourages continuous fruit production, and the vines can reach a length of about 1-2 meters.
Mandurian Round Cucumber
The Mandurian Round Cucumber (Mandurian Cucumber) is among the most unique round cucumber varieties. Despite being classified as a cucumber, it is more closely related to melons.
The Mandurian is green in color with smooth skin. It has a crisp and juicy texture, making it a refreshing choice for salads, sandwiches, and other culinary uses.
A notable feature of this cucumber is that it can be eaten rind and all without bitterness or burps.
The Mandurian Round Cucumber is a non-vining variety, meaning it does not require a trellis or support. This feature makes it suitable for smaller gardens or containers. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil, similar to other cucumber varieties.
Plant the cucumber seeds about 1 inch deep and about 12-18 inches apart. Cucumbers, including the Mandurian Round variety, have high water requirements and benefit from consistent moisture.
Harvesting can typically be done when the cucumbers reach their desired size. For Mandurian Round Cucumbers, this is when they are about 2-3 inches in diameter. Regular harvesting promotes continuous fruit production.
West Indian Gherkin
The West Indian Gherkin (Maroon Cucumber) is a unique cucumber variety native to West Africa and the Caribbean.
It is named “gherkin” due to its small size and resemblance to pickling cucumbers. Despite the name, it isn’t related to the true gherkin cucumber (Cucumis anguria) but belongs to the common cucumber (Cucumis sativus).
The West Indian Gherkin is a vining plant that produces small, round, or oval-shaped cucumbers with spiky skin. The skin color can vary from light green to yellow or even maroon, which gives it the alternative name “Maroon Cucumber.”
These cucumbers are harvested when about 2-3 inches long, although they can be left to grow larger if desired.
It has a slightly tangy and crisp taste, making it suitable for fresh consumption and pickling. These cucumbers’ small size and unique appearance make them popular for pickling purposes in traditional recipes and culinary applications.
Cultivating West Indian Gherkins requires similar conditions to other cucumber varieties. They prefer warm temperatures, full sun, and well-drained soil. As vining plants, they benefit from the support of trellises or other structures to climb upon.
Growing Tips for Round Cucumbers
Below are handy tips for growing round cucumber varieties:
Round cucumbers thrive in a sunny spot in your garden, receiving at least 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. They are warm-season vegetables and require ample sunlight for optimal growth and fruit development.
Cucumbers prefer loamy soil that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged. Add compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility and drainage.
Start cucumber seeds indoors or sow directly in the garden once the soil warms up. Cucumber seeds can be started 3-4 weeks indoors before the last frost. Transplant them outdoors when the weather is favorable.
Alternatively, you can sow cucumber seeds directly in the garden after the frost disappears. Provide trellis support for vining varieties to promote upward growth or give ample space for bushy types.
Keep your garden soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Round cucumbers have high water requirements, especially during hot weather.
Water the plants deeply and regularly, ensuring the soil stays evenly moist. However, avoid overhead watering, as wet foliage can promote the development of leaf diseases. Water the base of the plants or use a drip irrigation system to keep the leaves dry.
Round Cucumbers are heavy feeders and benefit from regular fertilization. A balanced fertilizer, like a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 blend, provides a mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Follow the recommended application rates, usually applying fertilizer every 3-4 weeks.
Harvest round cucumbers when they have reached their mature size and have a firm texture. Round cucumbers come in different sizes, so refer to the seed packet or variety description to determine the desired size.
Generally, cucumbers are ready for harvest when they are about 4-6 inches in diameter. Regular harvesting encourages continued production, as leaving overripe cucumbers on the vine can reduce the plant’s productivity.
Round cucumber varieties offer a unique twist to traditional cucumber gardening and culinary experiences. You can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delightful round cucumbers with proper care and attention and elevate your recipes with their distinctive flavors.