Have you ever felt like it might be impossible to find a beautiful, fast-growing, productive cucumber plant that can withstand common diseases that plague the typical crop?
Well, you’re in luck! The Excelsior Cucumber was bred with those specific needs in mind, making it one of the most coveted cucumber types around.
Read on to learn more about this beloved, sweet cucumber variety—and get ready to grow this new favorite in your own garden!
Characteristics of Excelsior Cucumbers
There are several traits that set the Excelsior Cucumber apart from its contemporaries and make it a delightful cucumber both to grow and to eat!
First to note is the quick and prolific growth habit of the Excelsior Cucumber. This variety matures and bears its fruit in about 50 days, making it ideal for both early and all-season harvesting.
The Excelsior was first bred specifically for trellised cultivation inside greenhouses, so it does well in both the garden and in the greenhouse or a smaller screenhouse. So whatever your specific growing capabilities are, chances are high that you can grow an Excelsior yourself!
In terms of appearance, the Excelsior Cucumber tends to be a deep, lush emerald green, often with creamy, paler green stripes. It has a distinctive stout, barreled shape as well, growing only about 4 to 5 inches long and being thick all around from end to end.
The size of this cucumber variety, coupled with its delectable flavor profile, makes it ideal for pickling as well as enjoying raw in various dishes or as a simple snack on its own.
Another fantastic characteristic of Excelsior Cucumbers that makes them quite popular among many growers is their disease resistance. This cucumber variety can withstand such diseases as scab and target spot, powdery mildew, cucumber vein yellowing virus, and cucumber mosaic virus—all of which often plague their contemporaries.
The Excelsior Cucumber Specific
The small size, stocky shape, and sweet cucumber flavor of the Excelsior Cucumber altogether make it ideal for enjoying in a variety of ways!
In terms of eating them raw, Excelsior Cucumbers make a fantastic garnish for salads or other fruit and veggie dishes, veggie trays, and the like. They can also be enjoyed as an easily managed component of tzatziki in Greek dishes, or in various other dips and dressings. Pairing them with yogurt is a must to bring out the brightest, sweetest flavor notes here!
The fantastic flavor profile of Excelsior Cucumbers also makes them a great addition to drinks. Homemade juices, various teas, water infusions, and even adult beverages can all benefit from Excelsior Cucumbers added in one way or another.
Great for Kids
The sweetness of this cucumber also holds a fantastic appeal with younger eaters. This makes the Excelsior Cucumber a wonderful option for babies starting on solids, and toddlers with a sweet tooth, to get a healthy dose of natural, bioavailable nutrients. Just be sure to peel them first to avoid choking hazards.
Lastly, Excelsior Cucumbers make for a perfect pickling cucumber. Their size and flavor profile lend perfectly to canning as well as offsetting the vinegary bite of the pickling brine. Use them to make dill or bread and butter pickles…they will pair beautifully with either profile!
Like all cucumbers, there is a bevy of health benefits to consuming Excelsior Cucumbers. They are high in water content, which helps maintain hydration, as well as in fiber, which works together with the water to aid in optimal digestion.
There are also a number of vitamins and nutrients abundant in Excelsior Cucumbers! This includes vitamins B and C, which are fantastic for immune health, as well as potassium. Cucumbers in general are also low in calories, making them an ideal snack for those looking to maintain a healthy weight and good hydration levels simultaneously.
In addition to all of the above, cucumbers are high in antioxidants. These immune-system warriors help combat free radicals throughout the body and reduce overall system inflammation, which can help you feel your best at all times!
Growing At Home
Between its disease resistance, productive, rapid growth, and its hardy breeding making it ideal for greenhouse or garden growing, there is essentially no reason to pass up on growing Excelsior Cucumbers at home!
When to Plant
Like most cucumber varieties, the Excelsior needs warm soil to germinate. You can begin the seeds indoors around 2 to 4 weeks before the final threat of frost has passed in your area if you’d like to give them a headstart.
Otherwise, be prepared to direct sow once soil temperatures have reached a consistent range of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or higher! You will want to plant your cucumber plants or seeds in direct sunlight or partial shade, in soil that is loamy, sandy, or clay-like, and well-draining.
Spacing and Planting
Your cucumber plants will need about 3 to 4 feet of space between rows, and seeds should be planted at a depth of ½ inch. When direct sowing, you can begin with between 4 and 6 seeds per hill, but will want to thin to 1 or 2 once they’re established at the first true leaves in order to help them truly thrive.
As a trellising cucumber variety, the Excelsior flourishes when provided with an upward trellis of some kind. However, it can do well without one if space is limited—another benefit to its careful breeding.
Fertilizing and Watering
Bear in mind that cucumbers are heavy feeders! They will need well-fertilized soil at planting, with additional fertilization every few weeks. You can use compost or organic fertilizer for this purpose, and you may also consider purchasing cucumber plant food to give them an added boost.
You will also want to water your cucumber plants frequently, but be careful not to oversaturate them! If you poke your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle and feel dryness at your fingertip, then it’s time to water. When watering, aim for the soil at the base of the plant and avoid watering the leaves.
Where To Buy Seeds
Have we convinced you to grow your own Excelsior Cucumbers? If so, seeds and even young plants can occasionally be sourced at local nurseries, lawn and garden centers, and even farm stands.
However, if you’re sourcing your seeds online, we recommend organic seeds like the ones we found on Amazon.
Wrapping Up Excelsior Cucumbers
Excited to plant the perfect, delicious Excelsior Cucumber in your own garden this year?
Ready to continue discovering these funky fresh vegetables? Then learn more about cucumbers by checking out my planting guides, recipe tips, brand suggestions, and more!
- About the Author
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Renee Dugan is a lifelong writer, professional editor, and lover of all things nature, gardening and the big outdoors.
A Midwest girl who’s been in the garden since she could first hold a hand trowel, Renee’s love of growing things has bloomed into a passion for healthy living, holistic lifestyle, and knowing where our food comes from.
Now a mother and maturing gardener herself, Renee is passionate about channeling everything she knows and continues to learn about gardening into lessons for her son and others. Her excitement for sharing this knowledge is only superseded by her excitement about being able to finally grow her own citrus plants in pots.
Renee can be reached at email@example.com