Training cannabis plants will better your chances of producing high yields of potent flowers than if you were to let your marijuana grow naturally. In nature, the plant hormone auxin controls the growth of cannabis plants, and it concentrates at the top of plants to produce one large flower known as a “cola.” However, training cannabis plants encourages the hormone to distribute more evenly across a level canopy and grow more than one cola.
Generally divided into two methods (low-stress and high-stress), training techniques give cannabis growers the ability to alter the chemical balances in their plants in the aim of forcing them to produce several colas and not just one. Here we talk about how to train cannabis plants using these two different methods.
1. Low-Stress Training (LST) techniques bend and secure cannabis plants without causing any physical damage to the plant.
- While the plant is flexible (before the stem turns woody) bend the tallest stems away from the middle of the plant as it grows so it takes on a wider, flatter shape.
- Use string, soft pipe cleaners, or twist-ties (nothing sharp like chicken wire) to secure bent stems in place so the plant receives as much light as possible.
- Continue to tie down vertical growth until the plant begins to flower.
- An alternative LST method is known as Screen of Green (SCROG), which involves placing a light screen over cannabis plants and weaving stems through it as the plant grows to create a flat canopy shape.
2. High-Stress Training (HST) methods damage or remove parts of cannabis plants to promote better growth of more flowers.
- "Topping" (cutting the top off) cannabis plants while they are young “splits” the stem so the two (or more) large colas form. You can repeat this step multiple times during the plant's vegetative stage.
- Stem mutilation (also known as “super cropping) involves bending fan leaves or upper branches until the fibers break and fold over, but not enough to snap off. This HST technique can be done through the earliest part of the flowering stage so that the top growth slows and more light can reach lower areas of cannabis plants.