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I have three cucumber plants planted on my balcony. The plants started great and went on growing. What looked like a promising start is looking like a disappointing end.

It started with white mildew. I used one tablespoon of baking soda in one liter of water solution to spray the leaves. The solution was too strong because it would burn the leaves.

Now all the leaves are yellowing and dying.

The plants produce fruits that turn yellow prematurely and die.

What can be the problem?

Update. Unfortunately all three cucumber plants completely died out.

  • 1
    A photo would be very useful - you could be describing blossom end rot as well as mildew...
    – Bamboo
    Apr 25, 2016 at 18:30
  • I have supplemented the plants with calcium in firm of powdered egg shell. And just zinc to the pot. Could it be some kind of funges? Apr 25, 2016 at 20:20
  • Click on edit for this post and one of the icons let's you upload images
    – JStorage
    Apr 25, 2016 at 23:42
  • @BrittanyVandeWater - there's a difference between Downy Mildew and Powdery Mildew - Downy is much harder to control, does persist in the soil, and usually a fungicide is needed in the early stages. Powdery mildew does not persist in the soil and can be treated with more organic methods, such as milk and water.
    – Bamboo
    Apr 26, 2016 at 11:07
  • @Bamboo Do you mean the opposite of what you just said? I've heard powdery mildew is the one that survives through the winter and downy mildew isn't a big deal, usually (and that powdery mildew is harder to deal with). Apr 27, 2016 at 21:55

4 Answers 4


I have removed most of leaves and not that many left. I have been fertilizing the plants with manure tea every week. I also added Epsom Salt, Calcium and zinc.enter image description here

  • It already looks better
    – J. Chomel
    Apr 28, 2016 at 6:14

This kind of plant needs much sun and air to thrive. Try making here a better place on your balcony.

It is possible there is nothing you can do for it, sorry. And we can see that it has already a very long tail with no leaves. It must be quite old already.


Baby it and here's how.

  • They don't like wet feet, they need well-drained soil. Your potting soil might retain too much moisture.
  • Do not over water. Water ONLY when the first inch of soil is dry. So use your finger to do a little digging in the dirt to determine if it's dry enough to water. I found my small yogurt containers I sprout seeds in dry out very fast, and bigger containers stay moist longer.
  • They like warmer weather with nights above 60F. Give them that. They love it when it's 80F outside and sunny. Cold nights might be causing some of the mold and baby cuke dropoff problems.
  • Keep their leaves dry, do not use automatic sprinklers to water them or get the leaves wet. Use a drip system instead.
  • Keep cuke plants separated if you can so the leaves will dry quickly if they do get wet.

Lets first take care of the basics. Consider removing some of the affected leaves so the mildew (or disease) does not spread to other leaves or plants. Secondly, when was the last time you fertilized the soil to ensure healthy growth? I am not sure what the baking soda did to the plant but that is not something you can undo any more. Hope for the best and be patient.

  • I have removed most of leaves and not a lot left. I have been fertilizing the plants with manure tea every week. I have also added Epsom Salt, Calcium zinc. Apr 27, 2016 at 16:51
  • Are you sure the fertilizer (epsom salt, calcium, zinc) is not causing this problem? Are you using commercial fertilizer and following the instructions provided?
    – JStorage
    Apr 27, 2016 at 19:04
  • I am not sure. They are not causing any problems with tomatoes, Zucchinis and greenhouse cucumbers. I am using natural organic mix of cow/sheep manure. The calcium is from egg shells. The Epsom salt seemed to be very beneficial as it helped the plants grow and the leaves looked very healthy after applying the salt. The Zinc was added recently and after the condition of the plants worsened. Apr 27, 2016 at 19:55
  • Can it be nitrogen deficiency? Or lack of enough sun? Since there has only been a couple of hours of sun a day these days in rainy season? Apr 27, 2016 at 19:57
  • This sounds like a lot of fertilizer is going into the soil and I am not sure all that is needed. I grow vegetables and all I give it is commercial processed manure (to give it the nitrogen) and commercial organic vegetable fertilizer (as recommended). That does the trick for me so my suggestion to you would be to cut back on all the different combinations and stick with manure and egg shells. Also, if you are using fresh manure, be careful. I prefer to let it "dry" out and kill any pathogens
    – JStorage
    Apr 27, 2016 at 20:00

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