Why Do Cucumber Leaves Feel Crispy? Causes and Fixes

By Kimberly


If you have noticed that your cucumber leaves feel crispy recently, you should act fast. There are a few things that may be responsible for this problem, and it’s important to figure out the cause sooner rather than later.

The main culprits or causes of crispy cucumber leaves include:

  1. Lack of moisture
  2. Powdery mildew
  3. Too much moisture
  4. Fertilizer burn
  5. Not enough space

If you are unsure about which one of the above is causing your cucumber leaves to feel crispy, you may need to look out for other symptoms as well, such as discoloration and wilting.

To find out in more detail what causes cucumber leaves to feel crispy, be sure to keep reading.

An image of small cucumbers growing on thin branches among green foliage on a hot summer day.

Why Are My Cucumber Leaves Dry?

Cucumber leaves need moisture to stay alive and remain healthy. In hot, dry weather, they are more likely to dry up and turn crispy from leaf scorch. If the leaves begin to dry up at the tips, and then continue to dry, it is most likely due to a lack of moisture and can be fixed by watering the plant. 

Another word for this is leaf scorch because the leaves are essentially scorched from the hot and dry weather. Luckily, it is possible to restore leaves that are scorched if they are not too damaged. You can do this by watering the plant, spraying the leaves, or even immersing the leaves in water, to rehydrate them.

To prevent your cucumbers from drying out, ensure you are watering them often, but not too often. Watering them too often can cause other problems, and you want to avoid that!

Cucumbers are more likely to lose moisture during the summer, so it’s important to maintain them as much as you can.

Why Are My Cucumber Leaves Crispy?

Now, let’s look at some other common causes of crispy cucumber leaves in more depth.

Reason #1: Leaf Scorch

We addressed leaf scorch already, but it’s the most common cause of crispy cucumber leaves. So if you didn’t read the above section on leaf scorch, make sure you give it a read by scrolling up now.

Reason #2: Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can spread quite quickly on cucumber leaves. If your leaves are crispy and have white blotches that appear powdery, this is likely the culprit.

Fungus thrives in warm and moist environments, so your leaves are more likely to develop powdery mildew if you live in a region with a more humid climate. 

It’s important to note that fungus is highly contagious, so if you think this might be the cause of your leaves being crispy, you should remove any affected leaves immediately. Unfortunately, it’s not guaranteed that you can fix fungal-infected leaves.

However, potassium bicarbonate might be able to fix the problem.

Potassium bicarbonate is also useful for preventing future cases of powdery mildew, which is useful if you live in a warm climate. All you need to do is apply it to your cucumbers daily, and it should prevent fungus from spreading.

Reason #3: Too much moisture

Although lack of moisture can cause crispy cucumber leaves, too much moisture can also cause problems. If the soil becomes drenched in water, the roots lose access to oxygen. When the roots lose oxygen, they are unable to transfer water and nutrients to the leaves.

The leaves subsequently begin to dry up and turn crispy. Too much moisture can be caused by heavy rain or overwatering, for example. To ensure the roots don’t get waterlogged in the soil, it is important to keep them away from overly wet conditions.

Too much moisture can also cause your cucumber leaves to wilt. As soon as you notice your cucumber has too much moisture, you should avoid watering it until the soil dries.

An image of female hands holding fertilizer for grass growth in granules on the grass background.

Reason #4: Fertilizer burn

If you over-use fertilizer, it can scorch your cucumber leaves. Fertilizer draws moisture from plants, so using too much of it dries them out. As well as crispy leaves, you may also notice brown discoloration because of fertilizer burn.

There are things you can do to prevent fertilizer burn, such as using slow-release fertilizer or using compost. If you suspect your cucumber plants are suffering from fertilizer burn, you should keep watering the soil for a few days to drown out the fertilizer.

If you do this, be careful not to over-saturate the soil; you don’t want to cause too much moisture, either! 

Reason #5: Not enough space

If your cucumbers have limited space, it can cause the leaves to turn brown and crispy. This happens because the roots become crowded and are not able to absorb water through the soil. 

If this is your problem, you can simply move your cucumbers and re-pot them to give them more space to absorb water.

What Are the Signs of Overwatered Cucumbers?

Some of the signs of overwatered cucumbers include:

  • Yellow and brown leaves
  • Rotting roots
  • Soil that is green
  • Leaves that are crispy and dry, but can also have a wilted appearance

To avoid overwatering your cucumbers, you should keep them away from soil that is saturated and manage the amount of water you apply to them. If you notice your cucumber leaves are discolored, you should check the base of the cucumber. There shouldn’t be any excess water around the bottom.

If there is excess water, stop watering the plants and ensure there are adequate drainage holes for the water to drain out of.

You can fix a lot of the issues related to over and underwatering issues of your plants by setting up a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation has the added bonus of lowering a water bill by being smarter about overall water usage.

Why Are My Cucumber Leaves Turning Yellow and Crispy?

If your cucumber leaves are turning yellow and crispy, this is yet again a sign of either too much water or too little water. As you know from above, too much water can cause the leaves to turn yellow due to the root’s lack of oxygen and too little water causes the same issue!

So, if you notice your leaves turning yellow, you should be able to decipher what the issue is quite easy.

An image of a young sprout of cucumber growing vertically in a greenhouse on a rope garter. The top of the plant with leaves and flowers close-up. Blooming vegetables in the garden.

Next Steps

There are many things that can cause cucumber leaves to feel dry and crispy. Hopefully, after reading this guide, you now know what is causing your cucumber’s problems.

Always be sure to act as soon as possible if you suspect a problem with your plants.

One thing you can do right now to make sure you know what to do to act is to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll email you with tips, tricks, and ideas to keep your garden growing while also making things run more efficiently. The newsletter is totally free, and we’d love to have you join our growing community of backyard homesteaders.


Learning from your own experience is essential, but learning from others is also intelligent. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as homesteaders.

  • Lamp’L, Joe. “Controlling or Eliminating Powdery Mildew.” Growing A Greener World®, 26 Feb. 2020, www.growingagreenerworld.com/controlling-or-eliminating-powdery-mildew.
  • “Leaf Scorch.” The Morton Arboretum, 1 Dec. 2021, mortonarb.org/plant-and-protect/tree-plant-care/plant-care-resources/leaf-scorch/#!
  • “Powdery Mildews – 2.902.” Colorado State University Extension, 22 Feb. 2016, extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/powdery-mildews-2-902.

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