Knowing the basics of plant training can help save you trouble later on.Plant training can be very simple. Whether you’re growing a sativa strain that must be topped and tethered to keep its voracious growth in check, or you’re supporting the drooping branches of an indica laden with bud, chances are good that your cannabis crop will need additional support before flowering finishes. Sometimes, this support can be as little as a tomato cage for the bushy limbs to lean against, but in other instances you may need to tether, tie or stake your plants for additional support.Although it’s a good practice to discard especially weak plants, simply because their ultimate yield is likely to be quite low compared to a more robust, healthy plant, there are many instances where a little extra support is perfectly in order. From cotton and hemp twine to zip ties, wire and even paper clips, there are numerous methods of supporting and tying up your cannabis plants.
For plants that have grown extraordinarily top heavy, to the point of putting a serious strain on the main stalk, a wooden stake or shaft of wood can offer immense support. Simply imbed your stake several inches beneath the surface of the soil, so that is has a good, firm grip. Then tether the stake to the stalk of your plant like you would a splint.
Indeed, for plants in need of even more support, two stakes arranged exactly as a splint on either side of the stalk can often solve the problem. When you have a good, sturdy stalk but it’s your peripheral branches that are bending and at risk of breaking under the weight of their load, you can use some twine or string to secure the branches to the main stalk.
Another method of training your plants comes in handy when you want to grow a sativa or sativa-dominant hybrid indoors. These plants are renowned for growing long and tall, and they love to stretch out during flowering time. But in an enclosed space, that bodacious growth can get to be a bit too much. After all, not everyone has 20 ft. ceilings in their grow room.
So to train these wanna-be-tall strains to stay short and as bushy as possible, you can start young and bend the main stalk over, tethering it down to remain lower than the other growth. This is a useful trick because your cannabis will naturally refocus its efforts on the new topmost branch, developing that as the main cola because it is the tallest portion of the plant, closest to the light.
You can repeat this bending procedure with each new ‘main cola’, affixing the limbs down lower. Many growers like to do this in a circle around the perimeter of their pot, and the results can be pretty fantastic.
This is a pretty ideal method of containing the growth of your sativa; although many growers simply top their sativas repeatedly, topping your plants is far more stressful to them then bending them over and training them. The stress of topping can also result in much slower vegetative times, setting your plants back 1 – 2 weeks or more each time you top.