As a cultivator, you can control the final height and shape of your plant by using proper cannabis training and growing techniques while the plant in veg and early flower, such as topping, FIMing, LST, main-lining, supercropping, defoliation, SoG, ScrOG and more. However, no matter how well you train your plants during the vegetative stage, some grow patterns are going to be determined by your plant’s genetics, especially in the flowering stage. You can control the genetics by choosing to start with a specific strain, and this page will explain everything you can do to get your cannabis to grow the way you want, whether it’s small or big, so you get the best yields possible for your unique setup!
Many indoor and outdoor cannabis growers prefer to keep their plants relatively short, growing bushy and wide instead of tall and thin. Keeping plants small helps make sure each plant gets plenty of light.
What It Does:
Topping is a method used to force the cannabis plant to have two slightly smaller main flowers instead of the single normal sized one. Top flower sites almost always have the highest concentration of buds (by weight), so yields are noticeably increased by making two of them, even if nothing else is done besides topping.
How it’s Done:
Not only is Topping the easiest form of training but it also only takes seconds and is totally done afterwards. To top your plant, you’ll need to wait until it grows at least 3 to 5 nodes tall. To top, simply cut the very top growth right above the node. You can also cut down further on the plant if you need to make it shorter, this will in turn push plant hormones into the side branches of this node and they will become two distinct tops on the plant which means an additional flower site that will receive full lighting.
LST is a commonly used term in the cannabis growing community. It simply stands for “Low Stress Training.”
LST technique is considered a “gentle” way of controlling how cannabis plants grow. Unlike more aggressive methods, low stress training such as bending, tying down, and supercropping do not involve cutting or breaking branches.
The idea of LST is to actually ‘bend’ and otherwise gently manipulate the plant to get plants to grow in the shape you want while exposing new sites for buds to form on.
For most indoor cannabis growers, the goal is for flat, horizontal rows of buds, instead of the natural “Christmas Tree” shape.
LST is a gentle and effective training technique for all cannabis strains
While LST is useful for all growers, LST is pretty much the only training technique that can be used for auto-flowering plants.
Low stress training involves bending tall branches and using garden tape (green tape) or soft ties to hold down the branches. (Usually the ties are secured to the sides of the pot using staples or simple holes or stakes if you are planting directly in the earth.)
When growers LST their plants, the general idea is to gently pull branches away from the middle of the plant, so that the plant looks like a star when viewed from above. This helps expose the lower branches to more light, while also keeping plants short.
This technique can be used on plants that are getting too tall for your setup, or are growing taller than your other plants. Most growers want to keep an even canopy when growing indoors to get the most from their grow lights.
Soft ties work great for using LST on cannabis If you plan on using LST, we highly recommend getting a spool of twisty tie or coated wire to tie your plants down with. There are many options available at your local gardening store or online.
You can bend over branches at a 90 degree angle so that it is at the desired height. However, a lot of stems are too stiff or brittle to easily bend over, so this is best to be done with fresh growth that is more easy to manipulate.
Supercropping is when you pinch just above a node with your fingers applying slightly greater pressure until you feel a the branch give or hear a slight snap, this is done to get your plant to conform to the shape you want, you can then add support by tying the branch down to a bamboo stake or some other type of support structure.
At this point the damaged branch will normally grow how horizontally and the node where it was broken will begin to grow vertically, this technique can be done over and over again until about two 1-2 weeks into flower.
(If you fully break a branch but it is still hanging on, LEAVE IT or secure it to a stake or use binding tape to wrap it up in a type of cast.)