African Horned Cucumber

Cucumis metuliferus Packet

Standard seed packet, 30 seeds

In Stock

  • Native to Africa
  • Very unusual fruit
  • Banana and lime like flavour

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'African Horned Cucumber' seeds

Cucumis metuliferus

  • Native to Africa
  • Very unusual fruit
  • Banana and lime like flavour

Climbing vine native to Africa with very unusual green thorned fruit that mature to a bright orange/yellow colour. Fruit can be eaten at any stage but mature fruit has the best flavour. Mature fruit has jelly like flesh with a flavour is similar to a mix of banana, lime and cucumber. Is most commonly eaten as a fruit, a garnish or juiced. Fruit stores well and is often used as a decoration. Easy to grow. Also known as Jelly Melon, hedged gourd or melano

Seeds per gram: 68
Product code: F3-13

Best Months to Sow
  J F M A M J J A S O N D
Quick Sowing Guide
Method Sow direct or raise seedlings
Sowing Depth 10mm
Season Spring(or after frost) and summer
Germination 14-21 days @ 20-35°C
Hardiness / Life Cycle Frost tender Annual
Row Spacing 120cm
Plant Spacing 40cm
Position Full sun, moist well drained soil
Days Until Maturity 120 days

*Notes: Can be grown on ground or as a climber. Pick regularly to encourage more fruit. Avoid overhead watering. Can become weedy in some areas if left to go to seed

How To Grow

How to Grow Cucumber from Seed

Family: Cucurbitaceae
Binomial name: Cucumis flexuosus
Life Cycle: Annual

Some other plants are known as ‘cucumber’ but are different species botanically. This guide is still relevant as these plants are grown in the same way as cucumber. African Horned Cucumber (Cucumis metuliferus) and Cucamelon (Melothria scabra) are examples that grow in a similar way to standard cucumbers.

When to Sow Cucumber Seeds

Cucumber is a warm season crop. Use the table below to identify the best time of year to sow cucumber seeds in your climate.



Cucumber plants are best grown in full sun. Choose a location that will receive at least 6 hours of full sun each day.

Cucumber plants need a well drained soil enriched with plenty of organic matter. Prepare soil by weeding it thoroughly, digging it over to loosen it and adding aged animal manure or compost. Keep the area free of weeds until planting.

How to Sow Cucumber Seeds

Cucumber seeds do not require any treatment (eg soaking, stratification) before sowing.

Cucumber seeds grow best when they are sown directly into the garden.

  1. Sow seeds directly in the garden 10mm deep and 40cm apart, with rows 120cm apart.
  2. Keep soil moist but never wet or dry.
  3. Seeds should germinate in around 14-21 days at a soil temperature of 20-35°C.
  4. Young seedlings will need protection from pests, pets and weather until they are established.

Cucumber is a tender crop that’s sensitive to frost. Do not transplant seedlings or sow seeds outside until all danger of frost has passed.

How to Grow Cucumber

Cucumber plants may need watering during the growing season. Water when the soil is dry about 5cm below the surface (test this by scratching away a little soil with your finger). Water deeply in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid watering the leaves of plants to avoid fungal diseases. Learn more about watering here.

If soil was well prepared no extra fertiliser should be necessary. In poor soil or to give your plants an extra boost, application of a balanced fertiliser or one formulated for fruit and vegetables can be beneficial:

  • Apply slow release fertiliser at the recommended rate when transplanting or when seedlings are 5-10cm tall.
  • Apply liquid fertiliser at the recommended rate and frequency while plants are fruiting or flowering.

Vines can sprawl along the ground or be grown up a strong trellis. If growing on the ground, allow at least 2 square metres per plant. If growing on a trellis, plants will attach themselves using their tendrils but extra support can be provided by tying plants gently using twine or plant ties. Make sure you have the support in place when you sow seed or transplant seedlings to avoid disturbing the plant’s roots later.

How to Harvest Cucumber

Cucumber should be ready to harvest in approximately 120 days.

Fruit is ready to harvest when the skin is glossy and the fruit is large enough to eat. Harvest fruit when tender and young as older fruit can become unpalatable. Harvest fruit by cutting it from the vine or bush, leaving a small amount of stem attached. Store cucumbers in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge. For longer term storage cucumber can be pickled.

Common Problems when Growing Cucumber

Like all plants, cucumber is susceptible to some pests, diseases and other problems. Below is a list of the most common problems gardeners encounter when growing cucumber plants:

  • Aphids
    Aphids are small (2-4mm long) sap-sucking insects that congregate on the new shoots or the undersides of leaves. They can cause leaves to wilt or become discoloured, and also excrete honeydew which can attract ants and other insect pests. To manage aphids, remove them by spraying with a garden hose, apply a soap or alcohol spray, or encourage predatory insects to your garden. Read more about aphids here.
  • hand pollinating cucurbits
    Not setting fruit is a problem caused by lack of pollination. Flowers may fall off the plant or small fruit may form but then shrivel and rot. Wait until the plant is producing both male and female flowers. Use a paintbrush to transfer pollen from the male flowers to the female ones. Learn more about hand pollination here..
  • Animal eating fruit
    Possums, birds and other animals can ruin a large percentage of your harvest overnight. Physically exclude pests by using netting or cages, or try spraying plants with a pungent homemade spray made from garlic, fish oil or mustard.
  • Powdery Mildew
    Powdery mildew is caused by fungal spores reproducing on the leaves of plants. First showing as white spots on leaves, affected areas areas can spread quickly to cover the entire leaf surface. While rarely fatal, powdery mildew can reduce yields. Water plants at soil level (not on the leaves) to prevent spreading spores, allow good air flow between plants, remove affected leaves and if necessary spray with an appropriate fungicide or homemade spray. Read more here about powdery mildew here.
  • Spider mites
    Spider mites (Tetranychus urticae), also known as two spotted mites, are sap-sucking arachnids that cause dry, wilted or discoloured leaves. The undersides of leaves may feel dry and a little like fine sandpaper. Prune plants to allow good air flow or spray with eco-oil or wettable sulphur. Learn more about managing spider mites here.
  • sunscald
    Sunscald will show up on fruit as white marks or blisters that often become moudly. Young, unripe fruit are most susceptible. Do not prune leaves from plants at the height of summer; leaves will help to shade and protect the fruit. Cover plants with a light fabric on very hot days to protect them from sunburn.


We deliver Australia wide.

All orders are dispatched from our warehouse in Knoxfield, Victoria, Australia.

We do not deliver overseas.

Shipping cost is calculated using all the items in your shopping cart and your delivery postcode. The table below outlines the delivery options and costs.

Order dispatch time is currently 1-3 business days plus delivery time.
Please note we are unable to guarantee specific delivery dates, the delivery timeframes below are estimates only.


Order contains: Delivery options: Delivery cost per order
Small seed packets ONLY - Economy Delivery $2.50 or FREE on orders over $20 $5
Parcel Delivery Capped rate of $6.99
Express Delivery $15.00

BULK seed, garden supplies, tools, or accessories -

Parcel Delivery

Capped rate of $6.99

Express Delivery

Starting from $15.00
(Calculated by weight)
Live Plants - Live plants Capped rate of $10.00

*All orders sent to Western Australia are subject to mandatory inspection and fees by Quarantine WA. These fees are included in all shipping costs above.

**We will replace all orders that are lost or damaged in transit however we will not replace or refund orders simply because they were delivered later than estimated. Full details here.


Ratings & Reviews

African Horned Cucumber

It's late February and I live in a dry remote area in S Qld. We have no water for the garden (only grey water) and a small a small amount of occasional rain. Because we actually HAD rain this year after prolonged drought I planted 3 cucumber seeds in late spring and they all germinated. I've just pulled out the plants because insects absolutely decimated them... as with so much of the garden! I found 101 full size cucumbers hidden under the leaves... Yes that's right... 101! That's not counting the ones we picked as they grew! These cucumbers are drought tolerant, prolific and really nice to eat. They don't have much white around the seed area in fact, they are nearly all moist jelly and seed... That's why I like them so much. Very tough hardy, heat tolerant plants. I recommend them for hot summer produce.
23 February 2022