Growing Cannabis can be as easy, or as complex as you want it to be. The cannabis plant has a few different growing stages; germination, seedling, vegetation, and flowering. In this topic, I will cover what to expect during the vegetation stage and different cannabis training techniques for maximum yields.
Stages of a plants’ life
The Stages of a plants’ life include:
Germination – A process of germinating a seed to start the life of the plant.
Seedling – When a new plant sprouts from the seed. (infant stage)
Vegetation – A time that a plant grows new leaves and thick stems. (adolescent stage)
Flowering – When the plant produces buds or flowers to receive pollen for reproduction. (maturity stage)
Vegetation stage – What to expect
Vegetation stage starts when the seedling grows 3 sets of leaves not including the round leaves. When in this stage of life the plant will grow very fast. It takes about 4 weeks to go from seedling to ready to flower. In this time you can train your plant to grow big and bushy, tall and lanky, or both tall and bushy ( that might take a little longer than 4 weeks to accomplish).
When the plant grows in this stage of life it will produce large fans leaves that will help in the production of flowers later on in life. The plants’ main stem will keep growing taller unless trained not to do so. The internodes will also grow branches which later will turn into bud sites where the flowers will grow.
In the vegetation stage, you will want to feed the plant a high amount of nitrogen to help with the production of growth hormones. The type of lights that you will use, do not matter much in this stage of life, however, the time the lights are on, does.
Hours Of Light
The vegetation stage requires at least 18 hours of light. Some growers will allow for 24 hours of light but I do believe that will add stress to a plant as it will never get a chance to rest. I find that the sweet spot is 18 hours of light with 6 hours of darkness, or 20 hours on and 4 hours off. This way it gives the plant the time in the day to grow and plenty of time for it to rest before growing again the following day.
When training the plant you will stress it out because you are cutting the limbs off and bending or breaking the plant to control how it grows. So you will want it to rest for a period of time to regain its strength.
Topping and Training
When the plant grows at least 5 nodes (sections of leaves, refer to diagram), it is the stage when you can begin training. What I would do is wait for at least 5 nodes to grow then count 3 nodes from the bottom of the plant and make a cut. This is called topping the plant. In this process, you will locate the 3rd node and cut just above the 3rd node on a 45-degree angle making sure that it is a clean cut. This way the plant can heal faster without inviting pests and disease into the wound.
When topping the plant, it will stop growing a single main stock and in turn, grow two main stocks/shoots. The idea behind this is it is telling the plant that it can no longer grow tall because there is something preventing it from growing tall. So, in turn, it grows bushier. The lower branches will grow quicker and the main stalk will double to become a bush.
If you were to cut each outside fan leaves “fingers” in half that will tell the plant that it can no longer grow bushy and in turn, it will grow taller.
By training the plant you can grow as many main stalks as you would like. The process of doing this will allow for more sites that the flowers can grow, which will get you a heavier yield.
I have tried many ways and by topping the plant at the 3rd node and letting the two main stalks grow and recover. Then bend the two main stalks down so they start to grow outward. When those main stalks grow 4-5 nodes I again would top each of the two branches the double the shoots. And bend and tie them down. By this point, you will have four main shoots. Keep in mind that every time you do this the plant will become bushier. When this happens it will grow more and more fan leaves and you will have to defoliate the plant so that more light can see through.
F.I.M. or fimming stands for Fu*ck I Missed. It is a term for cutting the top portion of the plant but only 80%. The term came from a time someone was trying to Top the plant, but in doing so they missed the whole cut.
The technique is done by locating all the new growth on the top of the plant, Grab all the new leaves and bunch them up. Next, take your scissors and cut 80% off leaving the 20% still attached.
The effect of this technique will make the plant think that the top has been cut off and all the lower branches will start to grow taller. Also since the plant thinks that it was topped, it will grow two main stems rather than just the one. Now here is where things get interesting, since you have left 20% attached, the main stem will still grow. So technically you have just produced 3 main stems. With this technique, it is less stress on the plant than topping it.
Bending is also called super cropping. Bending the branches on the plant is another low-stress training method that will provide more sites for buds to grow. You do this by taking a branch midway down and pinch the branch between your thumb and forefinger to break the flesh, then you can bend the branch down. If you don’t break the flesh first, the branch will snap off.
If you do snap the stem, connect the two ends together and tape it up. It will grow back.
After bending, the plant will recover by growing a “knuckle” around the area that was bent to support itself. Since the branch is now on a horizontal level, the buds will grow upwards like they always do, but the smaller nodes below the main bud will grow into fatter buds (new colas)
Another way of training a plant is to lollipop them; this is a process of cutting all the lower branches that won’t see as much light. This will allow the plant to use that energy more efficiently during flower production. This technique is for those that like to SCROG (Screen Of Green) This is a term used to describe how the canopy grows. All the tops grow through a rope screen and since the canopy is so thick the lower branches, and bud sites don’t see the light. Therefore, they need to be cut off to allow the plant to put the energy into the canopy growth, and later the top cola growth.
The great thing about the cannabis plant is that since it is a weed, it will recover from the training that you do to it quite quickly. Experiment with your plant to see all the different ways that it will grow.
We have covered what to expect during the vegetation stage, and how to top and train your plants for bigger yields. I hope you found this information helpful for growing strong high yielding plants.
If you have any questions or comments about the topic at hand please feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to help you out.
Until next time