Why Are My Cucumbers Yellow? 7 Shocking Reasons

Did you wander out to your garden only to find that most of your cucumbers turned yellow? Perhaps, following a rainstorm, you find the same thing. You are stuck wondering why are my cucumbers yellow and how can you fix it.


Believe it or not, yellow cucumbers are an issue many gardeners face each year. I’ve struggled for years as well, especially when I forgot to routinely check for ripe cucumbers.

There are several reasons why your cucumbers are yellow, and each reason has a solution to stop the problem from occurring.

1. Over-Ripened Cucumbers

Over-Ripened Cucumbers

The most common reasons why your cucumbers are yellow is that you left them on the vine for too long. Overripe cucumbers turn yellow.

Eventually, cucumbers turn orange. An overripened cucumber will also have wrinkles or appear puffy and swollen. At this point, you wouldn’t want to eat these cucumbers. You can see the difference in these cucumbers in this great video.

In the beginning, cucumbers are green due to the chlorophyll inside of them. All green plants contain the same type of pigments, such as tree leaves and zucchini plants. Over time, the chlorophyll levels start to decrease, leaving behind a yellow (then orange) coloring.

To prevent this problem, you should track when you planted your cucumber seeds and pick cucumbers when they are ready. Typically, cucumbers ripen 50 to 75 days after you plant the seeds, so keep an eye on the calendar.

It is important that you make a trip to your garden daily to see if there are any ripe cucumbers. They should be green and feel firm to the touch. Checking for cucumbers involves lifting all of the leaves. They hide so easily! Morning is the best time to pick your cucumbers.

2. Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV)

Virus disease of cucumber

All plants have potential diseases they may contract, and cucumbers are not the exception. Cucumber Mosaic Virus can cause your cucumbers to yellow. These cucumbers also have wrinkled leaves and white blotches, with a mushy texture.

Cucumber Mosaic Virus is transferred from one plant to another by the bite of an aphid. While the aphid will rid itself of the infection in a few hours, all of the plants it bites in that time frame will be infected. Luckily, you never have to worry that it would pass through seeds or your soil.

Unfortunately, there is no true treatment for CMV. The best thing you can do is work towards preventing it from occurring by controlling the aphid population with an insect killing soap or natural methods. If you determine CMV is the problem, remove all of the infected plants to help reduce the spread of the disease.

3. Potato Leafhoppers


Chances are you’ve never heard of potato leafhoppers, but they aren’t friends you want to have in your garden. These little pests like to invade your garden and feed on your cucumber plants.

Potato leafhoppers inject a toxin into the leaves of the plant, as they suck the sap, causing the leaves to turn yellow. Over time, those leaves will fall off of the plant.

There are a few ways to stop these pests. You could use an insecticide, but that may not be an appealing option. Spraying chemicals on your food could be a negative thing.

Controlling weeds around your plants will help to reduce the number of potato leafhoppers. Stay diligent and remove weeds as often as possible and any debris in your garden bed.

4. Nitrogen Deficiency

Nitrogen Deficiency

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for all plants. Your garden depends on a delicate balance of nutrients to ensure popular growth.

Unfortunately, an imbalance of nitrogen can lead to strangely colored and disfigured cucumbers. Without the proper amount of nitrogen, cucumbers will lose their green color. The entire plant won’t grow and develop properly.

There are a few other ways to know that nitrogen is the reason why your cucumber are turning yellow. The plant may have yellow leaves, and the cucumbers are often smaller, appearing stunted. The fruit could be misshapen, blotchy and yellow. These are all signs of a nitrogen supply issue.

Cucumbers need to have large amounts of nitrogen, as well as sunlight. It is essential to create that green coloring due to chlorophyll, turning the sunlight into energy. If there isn’t enough nitrogen in the plant, your plant won’t grow as well, and you won’t have a good harvest.

To fix this issue, you will want to consider using a plant fertilizer. You can use an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer. It should be labeled 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. Another idea is to add grass clippings around the base of your cucumber plants. As they decompose, grass clippings release nitrogen into the soil. Plus, they’re free!

5. Left in Contact with Soil

Cucumbers on the Ground

Another reason why your cucumbers may turn yellow is that your cucumbers are touching the soil. These cucumbers, typically at the bottom of the vines, might hide under leaves and don’t receive enough sunlight.

Instead of the entire cucumber turning yellow, you will find yellow spots on the side that are left in contact with the soil. This side of the cucumber was deprived of sunlight. The plant is unable to provide enough chlorophyll to the fruits, leaving a yellow hue to the fruits.

Lack of sunlight happens frequently for those who grow vining cucumbers but don’t provide something for the cucumbers to grow up.

Vining cucumbers require a trellis or support system to reduce the amount of fruits that may come in contact with the soil. A trellis is essential for vining cucumbers.

6. Yellow Cucumber Species

Yellow Cucumber

The sixth reason why your cucumbers are turning yellow is that they are supposed to! Believe it or not, some cucumbers are meant to be yellow. Some varieties, such as the Lemon Cucumber, are naturally yellow in color.

If you don’t check the species you planted, it could be that your yellow cucumbers aren’t bad at all. These are nothing you can do to remedy this problem. They are going to stay yellow, and that’s final! However, they are still fine to eat and enough.

7. Over-Watering Cucumber Plants

Watering Cucumber Plants

Everyone knows that water is essential for all of your plants. However, you can over-water your plants, and it is one of the worse things you can do. You may think that MORE water is better than less, but too much water can quickly kill the roots of your plants.

There are a lot of signs for over-watering, such as root rot, but yellow leaves are one of the most common signs. If roots are left to sit in water for long periods of time, they won’t be able to absorb nutrients, damaging the entire plant. Over time, those leaves will appear stunted, limp and could even fall off.

To remedy this issue, figure out if the problem is how much you are watering or drainage issues. It could be that the area you planted the cucumbers doesn’t allow the water to drain properly, putting some standing water around the base of your plants.

If you just are watering too much, all you need to do is stop watering as often. It is best to water deeply and less frequently.


It can be upsetting to find yellow cucumbers when you are expecting green ones to preserve and eat. You are sure to wonder why are my cucumbers yellow and what can I do to fix the issue. Luckily, once you determine the issue, there are plenty of ways to remedy the solution.

I hope this article helped you solve your problem. If you found it helpful, make sure that you share it. Have your cucumbers ever turned yellow? If so, let us know what the reason was in the comments!

About the Author Laura Bennett

Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.

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