The 9 Best Bush Cucumber Varieties in 2024

Cucumbers are a popular fruit to grow in the home garden. However, they take up a lot of space in the garden or have to be trellised to keep them healthy.

If you do not have a lot of space or don’t want to mess with a trellis, a bush cucumber might be for you. They are the perfect size for a patio or balcony.

What Is A Bush Cucumber?

Bush cucumbers have shorter vines and grow taller, like a bush. They are dwarf versions of regular vining cucumbers. 

Why Pick A Bush Variety Of Cucumber?

Bush cucumbers can be grown in pots or other containers or in the ground if you do not have much space. They don’t require a trellis like vining cucumbers, although they will do nicely with a short, two- or three-foot trellis.

Most bush cucumbers have just as many cucumbers as vining varieties but in much less space. They do tend to have problems with powdery mildew and downy mildew later in the season, however, so need to be grown in the spring. 

Slicing Versus Pickling Cucumbers

Cucumbers come in two types, those primarily intended to be eaten raw and those primarily intended to be pickled.

Pickling cucumbers may be smooth-skinned, but most are bumpy. The skin is thicker so that they stand up to pickling better. Many slicing cucumbers can be picked at 3-4 inches long and pickled.

Some pickling cucumbers taste good enough to eat raw, but it is better to grow a slicing variety if you intend to eat a lot and pickle a few. Pickling cucumbers also bear fruit for a shorter time so that you get enough quickly to can a batch.

Slicing cucumbers bear fruit longer. Both varieties can be picked small (around 1 ½ inches long) to make gherkin pickles. Most pickles are three to four inches long because that is the size that fits in pint jars.

Larger cucumbers fit in quart jars, but it is rare to pickle a cucumber that is more than six inches long. Some slicing cucumbers are bred to be burpless. They have less cucurbitacin, which is what makes the skin bitter and people burp. 

9 Best Bush Cucumber Varieties

There are not as many varieties of bush cucumbers as there are vining cucumbers. However, you can find both slicing and pickling bush dwarf varieties to grow on the patio or in a small space. Here are my picks for the best bush varieties. 

1. Salad Bush

Salad Bush Cucumbers

Type: Slicing

Days to harvest: 57

Hybrid or Open Pollinated: Hybrid

Resistance to disease: Corynespora Leaf Spot/Blight, Cucumber Mosaic Virus, Powdery Mildew, Scab, Target Leaf Spot

Harvest size: 8 inches

Salad Bush cucumbers are full-sized cucumbers. They are dark green with white flesh.

This variety was a 1988 All-America Selection, so you know they are tasty. In fact, these cucumbers compare favorably with the Straight Eight vining cucumber.

The high disease resistance means you get more cucumbers over a longer season. The plant is six to eight inches tall with a spread of twenty-six inches.

This cucumber can benefit from a short, two- to three-foot-long trellis in the pot to grow on, but you don’t have to include one for it to produce well.

You can find seeds for Salad Bush at Burpee and Amazon. Plants are widely available at nurseries, but big box stores may or may not have them. 

2. Spacemaster

Spacemaster Cucumbers

Type: Slicing

Days to harvest: 56

Hybrid or Open Pollinated: Open Pollinated

Resistance to disease: Cucumber Mosaic Virus, Scab

Harvest size: 7 ½ inches

Spacemaster was developed to be grown in containers or hanging baskets. The fruit is a little smaller than Salad Bush, a dark green, and slender.

This cucumber is very prolific and enjoys a long season. It tastes great in salads or plain as a snack.

If you pick the fruit when it is three to four inches long, these cucumbers are good pickled. The vines are 2-3 feet long. You can get seeds for Spacemaster at Burpee, Botanical Interests, and Amazon.  

3. Picklebush

Picklebush Cucumbers

Type: Pickle

Days to harvest: 52 

Hybrid or Open Pollinated: Open Pollinated

Resistance to disease: Cucumber Mosaic Virus, Powdery Mildew

Harvest size: 4-5 inches

Picklebush cucumbers are bred by Burpee to grow in containers and produce loads of fruit. The fruit grows to be 5 ½ inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter but tastes best when picked at 4 inches long.

The cucumber looks like a classic pickle, dark green with lighter stripes and white spines. The vines are usually two feet long but can get to be 30 inches long.

You can get seeds for this cucumber at Burpee, Walmart, and Amazon. Plants may be harder to find but should be in most nurseries and some big box stores. 

4. Pick a Bushel

Pick a Bushel Cucumbers

Type: Pickling

Days to harvest: 50

Hybrid or Open Pollinated: Hybrid

Resistance to disease: Cucumber Mosaic Virus, Mottle Mosaic Virus, Scab, Watermelon Mosaic Virus (Strain 2)

Harvest size: 3-6 inches

Pick a Bushel is a semi-bush cucumber that grows to 32 inches long. It would grow best with a small trellis in the container it is in. Each plant has 10-20 white-spined cucumbers to pickle.

It was a 2014 All-America Selections Regional Award Winner for Heartland and Great Lakes and is grown frequently in the North, where the growing season is short. However, Pick a Bushel is successful in warmer regions, too.

You can get seeds at Burpee, Park Seeds, and Amazon. Plants are hard to come by, so you may find them in nurseries and big box stores, and you may have to grow this one from seed. 

5. Bush Champion

Bush Champion Cucumbers

Type: Slicing

Days to harvest: 55

Hybrid or Open Pollinated: Hybrid

Resistance to disease: Cucumber Mosaic Virus

Harvest size: 8-12 inches

The Bush Champion cucumber is a Burpee exclusive that is fairly new. It has long dark green cucumbers with lighter green stripes.

The cucumbers are 8-12 inches long, and this plant is prolific. The vines only get two feet long, so this cucumber plant produces lots of food in a small space. It will grow almost everywhere.

Because this is a Burpee exclusive, you will only find seeds at Burpee, Amazon, and other places that sell Burpee seeds. You won’t find transplants yet. 

6. Burpless Bush

Burpless Bush Cucumbers

Type: Slicing

Days to harvest: 56

Hybrid or Open Pollinated: Hybrid

Resistance to disease: None listed

Harvest size: 10 inches

Burpless Bush cucumbers are thin-skinned and won’t upset your stomach or make you burp. They grow to be ten inches long and one and a half inches in diameter.

These cucumbers have a smooth, dark green skin, a small seed cavity, and grow straight. When picked at 3-4 inches long, this variety makes a good pickle. The bush gets around a foot tall.

You can get seeds from Urban Farmer and Amazon. Home Depot has plants. 

7. Fresh Pickles

Fresh Pickles Cucumbers

Type: Pickling

Days to harvest: 50-55

Hybrid or Open Pollinated: Hybrid

Resistance to disease: Downy Mildew

Harvest size: 3-5 inches

This cucumber is cute and delicious. The vine grows less than three feet long and produces up to 55 cucumbers. They are the perfect size to pickle, and they are good sliced as well.

The cucumber is dark green with lighter green stripes. The plant is compact and leafy.

Because these cucumbers are designed to be grown in pots, they are resistant to downy mildew but not some of the other diseases that are more common in cucumbers grown in the ground.

Get seeds from Burpee and Amazon. Some nurseries may carry plants, but they are hit or miss.  

8. Patio Snacker

Patio Snacker Cucumbers

Type: Pickling

Days to harvest: 50-55

Hybrid or Open Pollinated: Hybrid

Resistance to disease: None listed

Harvest size: 6-8 inches

Patio Snacker cucumbers are just what the name says, a great cucumber to grow in a pot on the patio. These slicers get to be six to eight inches long and can be picked early for pickling.

The fruit is slightly sweet and has a thin, bitter-free skin for easy peeling. Expect crisp, juicy cucumbers great for salads from this plant.

Patio Snacker is prolific when harvested regularly. Even if the conditions on your patio are less than optimal, you should get plenty of cucumbers from this variety.

This is a larger plant than most bush varieties, getting to three to five feet long. It should have a trellis in the pot with it or be allowed to hang down off a hanging basket.

Seeds are available from Gurneys Seeds and Nursery, Eden Brothers, and Amazon

9. Garden Bush

Garden Bush Cucumbers

Type: Pickling

Days to harvest: 50-55

Hybrid or Open Pollinated: Hybrid

Resistance to disease: None listed

Harvest size: 3-5 inches

Garden Bush cucumbers are a light green with a lot of greenish-white when they are ready to harvest. They are bred specifically to be grown in a container in any place you have a sunny spot.

These cucumbers produce a lot of cucumbers in a small space. The plant grows to be eleven inches tall. They are crisp and juicy for the best pickles. The short, squat shape fits better in jars than a longer cucumber would. This plant gets to a height of eleven inches.

You can get seeds from Park Seed and Amazon.   


Because pots are so important when growing bush cucumbers, here are my thoughts on them. Your pot needs to be at least twelve inches deep and fourteen inches in diameter to give the cucumber room for its roots.

In the summer, the soil will not dry out as fast in a larger pot. Any pot you choose needs to have drainage holes in the bottom, or your cucumber’s roots will rot.

Clay pots lose more water in the summer than plastic or metal pots. Metal pots heat up too much in the summer and will cook your cucumber’s roots, so I would not use them. A metal raised bed does not heat up as fast as a metal pot because it holds more soil, so they work okay, too.

Wooden planters are nice but are usually heavy and hard to clean well between seasons. Pick something that you can sterilize between seasons so fungi and other problems don’t build up. I use a clay or plastic pot. Clay pots just require more water to keep the soil moist, so check them more often. 

Potting Soil

Potting soil is important, too. General potting soil mixes do not have enough organic matter in them for bush cucumber plants. Pick a potting mix intended for vegetables.

If you can’t find one, mix half general potting soil and half compost together and use that. Be sure to mix it well before using it.


Most bush cucumbers have a lot of cucumbers. To avoid damage to the bush, you need to harvest your cucumbers every day. Otherwise, vines may break, and you won’t get as many cucumbers as you should.

Pickle bushes produce most of their cucumbers in two or three weeks. You should plan on canning a batch every four or five days while the cucumbers are still relatively fresh. Slicing cucumbers keep for about a week in the refrigerator crisper drawer.

You can find more information on growing bush cucumbers in my article.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, the best slicing bush varieties are Salad Bush, Spacemaster, Fanfare, Bush Champion, Patio Snacker, and Burpless Bush. The best pickling bush varieties are Bush Pickle, Fresh Pickles, Garden Bush, and Pick a Bushel. To grow the best cucumbers, find a space that gets at least eight hours of sun. Use potting soil with lots of organic matter in it and a large enough pot. Keep the soil moist and fertilize carefully, and you will get a bumper crop. You may have difficulty in keeping up with all the cucumbers you grow.

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Stephanie Suesan Smith

Stephanie Suesan Smith has a Ph.D. in psychology that she mainly uses to train her dog. She has been a freelance writer since 1991. She has been writing for the web since 2010. Dr. Smith has been a master gardener since 2001 and writes extensively on gardening. She has advanced training in vegetables and entomology but learned to garden from her father. You can see her writing samples at, and her vegetable blog at

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