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5 Top Tips On Training Your Cannabis Plants (2021)

Keep reading to learn tricks and techniques that can influence the growth structure of your cannabis plants.
04 March 2020
7 min read
5 Top Tips On Training Your Cannabis Plants (2021)

  • 1. Most common training techniques for cannabis plants
  • 2. Pick the best suited strains
  • 3. Decide on a vegetative period for non-autoflowering cultivars
  • 4. What about training autoflowering cultivars?
  • 5. Rest and recovery
  • 6. Limited grow space
  • 7. Training indica cannabis plants
  • 8. The top 3 fast buds strains recommended for plant training
  • 9. In conclusion

When growing Cannabis plants, there are many tricks and techniques that can seriously influence the growth structure, final plant height, and overall enhancing production. So if you want to get into cannabis training and get to know the best growing techniques for cannabis , here are Fast Buds' 5 top tips to consider when growing your plants in the vegetative stage of 18/6 and what to know for next time.

1. Most Common Training Techniques For Cannabis Plants

Topping / Pinching out refers to the removal of the crown tip, exposing the axillary shoots. This will cause the plant to focus on growing 2 main crown shoots. A very easy technique that should be performed with a clean, sterile pair of scissors or scalpel. Just remember that you should know how to top a cannabis plant before trying it to avoid stressing your plant too much.

L.S.T / Tying Down is the art of lowering certain points of the canopy, in order to create a uniform, multi tipped canopy and to expose light to the inner parts of the plants. There are different ways to tie side branches down and using twine, metal wire and even weights in some cases prove the most effective. 

Super cropping means to purposely break the stem of a Cannabis plant, by using the pressure applied from finger and thumb. This technique is classed as high stress and should only be performed by more experienced growers. 

Fimming describes when 70-80% of the growth tip is cleanly removed and cut away using scissors. As the top growth is temporarily reduced, the remaining energy will go to the growth sites beneath the highest point.

Pruning involves removing selected foliage, with the understanding that what remains will go to the rest of the plant. This is advantageous for eliminating lower, popcorn buds, improving aeration around the base of the plants and focusing on a top-heavy canopy.

SCROG refers to when a screen is applied to a grow room, to multiple or one huge plant, to be trained and manipulated through the screen. This is usually a long-winded process that can take from 6 weeks upwards to perfect. 

2. Pick The Best Suited Strains

As a grower becomes more familiar with Cannabis genetics and can differentiate between the basics of indica, sativa and hybrid cultivars, he will realize which type of plant is better suited for plant training.

When it comes to plant training, this basically means the hands-on practice of manipulating the canopy to your will. It is important to have a set goal in terms of growing time, and knowing which strain and techniques will work best for your skill and experience level.

Many seed banks and breeders will explain in the strain description if in fact that strain is ideal for a uniform Sea of Green set up, or better as SCROG. For example, sativa dominant autoflowering cultivars such as Original Auto Sour Diesel and Original Auto Jack Herer would be the best candidates for plant training, in comparison to indica dominant hybrids that remain shorter and more stocky in appearance.


5 Top Tips On Training Your Cannabis Plants: SCROG graph


3. Decide On A Vegetative Period For Non-Autoflowering Cultivars

The vegetative stage refers to the amount of time your Cannabis seedling or clone, spend under a light cycle of 18/6. This is the point where your plants will focus on producing as much foliage as possible. Depending on which specific strain you are growing out, the pot size, plant count, your skill and experience and size of your growing space will all determine what is really possible.  

Grow Phases of 7-14 days

The standard model for when growing for commercial production in both organic and hydroponics methods. The main goal behind a short growing time is to create a fast turn around of many small-sized flowering plants, whilst reducing electricity bills also and dramatically cutting down on the amount of nutrient solution required. There is no need for training seedlings during this short time frame.

Grow Period of 21-28 days

During this time you are able to top the plants, prune and even apply gentle super cropping and breaking of the stems. Sativa and hybrid strain will offer more in comparison to stocky and stubborn indicas. It is important to allow your plants full rest and recovery, so perhaps a topping up to two times, with one FIM is perfect, without demanding too much from the plant so early on.

  • Top Plants 1-2 times

  • FIM plants once

  • Prune one week prior to flowering

  • Apply super cropping

  • L.S.T

Grow Period of 36-70 days

There are advantages and disadvantages to growing one huge plant that requires up to ten weeks of vegetative time. Apart from incurring high electricity bills, the use of nutrients and demanding hands-on maintenance on a regular basis, the grower gets to really push their plant to the limit in terms of size and production.

  • Top Plants 3-6 times

  • FIM plants multiple times

  • L.S.T

  • Use of screen (SCROG)

  • Super cropped multiple times

  • Pruned one week prior to flowering


5 Top Tips On Training Your Cannabis Plants: Super cropping graph

4. What About Training Autoflowering Cultivars?

Due to autoflowering Cannabis being non-dependant on a darkness period of 12 hours like photoperiod strains do, we recommend that the only training to perform is an L.S.T to allow more light to enter the canopy, as well as creating more top-heavy colas.  Pruning is always a good idea with any type of Cannabis plant as that will divert the growth energy to the upper parts most dependent on flowering. 

We DO NOT recommend topping or fimming your autoflowering plants, as this may stunt the growth and interfere with the growth structure of the canopy.

5. Rest And Recovery

Low stress training (L.S.T.) not only means tying the plant down but it basically covers any technique that does not purposely cause the plants heavy stress or trauma. Hands-on methods such as topping plants, fimming, and gently tying down with string or metal wire all fall under the category of low stress.

On the other hand, high stress techniques involve purposely breaking the inner cell walls of the plants. The end result is a rush of repair growth hormone sent from the roots of the Cannabis plants up towards the break. Within a short time frame, the original broken stem will now grow with a hard, wooden knuckle meaning the plants will grow stronger with an increase in vigor and structure.


5 Top Tips On Training Your Cannabis Plants: Low stress training graph

6. Limited Grow Space

Our top tip is to work with indica strains and top the plants early on in the first few weeks. By exposing the axillary shoots, the growth structure of the plant will become bushier and will grow two main crown shoots, and prevent the plants from producing the growth hormone Auxin that causes apical dominance.

Fimming is also an excellent way to dramatically slow down vertical growth and allow the lower growth sites to receive more growth energy. By carefully removing 70-80% of the growth tip, this will buy you between 5-7 days before the top growth sites grow back to normal. By this stage, there will be a clear difference in the plants, and they will have obtained a bushy and dense appearance.

5 Top Tips On Training Your Cannabis Plants: fimming and topping graph


7. Training Indica Cannabis Plants

Due to their genetic makeup, indica dominant cultivars are well known for remaining low during the growing period, with short internodal spacing, thick fingered fan leaves and a stout growth structure. Often times, these varieties can be the most difficult to work with in terms of what training can be applied and can grow extremely bushy in no time, leaving the beginner growers overwhelmed once the flowering period commences. 

Pruning lower fan leaves that block lower grow shoots is a great way to expose intense lighting to the underparts, as well as improve airflow and reduce the risk of insects.

Topping is an excellent way to create multiple crown shoots, however, be careful not to overcrowd your canopy with indicas, unless intense pruning is performed prior to flowering.

Indica Cannabis plants will grow with uniform and homogeneous characteristics, making them perfectly suited for a Sea of Green set up, involving the plants being grown in small pots, with a very short vegetative time and packed closely together. 

8. The Top 3 Fast Buds Strains Recommended For Plant Training

Here is a helping hand to get you on your way to the biggest harvests possible, with our best strains for applying plant training:

Gelato Auto
5 out of 5
I recommend this to everyone! Super powerful with great flavors and yield. I think it was easy to grow. This is awesome strain!
Verified customer
Reviewed 10 June 2020

A sativa dominant hybrid that loves to be trained, in order to really get the most out of this large yielding strain. An excellent way to control her final height also.

Gorilla Glue Auto
5 out of 5
first time ever growing and got some amazing colors from this strain with low temps ran it at about 58-64 for 2 weeks and got this color
Jackin Meoff.
Verified customer
Reviewed 26 December 2017

One of the most potent strains out, as well as one of the most productive. A solid performer that grows one main cola and thick cactus-like branches.

Zkittlez Auto
5 out of 5
Just an easy to grow, solid packed buds. A heavy feeder and can be a bit prone to light burn at the end but otherwise perfection!
Verified customer
Reviewed 21 November 2020

Zkittlez Auto has a very large number of long side branches that may need support. Excellent results when tying down and pruning.

9. In Conclusion

Executing the right techniques at the right times will allow you to not only increase yields and control the canopy but also teach you to be more hands-on with your Cannabis plants. Learning how durable and resistant to training your plants are is one way to get familiar with certain cultivars, and having patience is very important allowing the plants to fully heal and recover. Remember that your plant may have different reactions to the different training techniques so make sure you know how to Scrog or how to top a marijuana planta before starting to avoid ruining your harvest.

Good luck training those monster plants!


04 March 2020