Topping a Cannabis Plant

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When growing cannabis indoors, you do not have the luxury of a nuclear furnace in the sky providing your plants with light. Grow lights, no matter how good, do not compare to natural sunlight. To make the most of the spread of light when growing indoors, topping a cannabis plant is essential.

It can seem scary to remove parts of your plant, but topping is easy, and it will give you better control of a plants structure. Also, it will encourage growth to the side, instead of growing tall. This helps when you have height restrictions.

If you have any questions about topping your cannabis plant, then feel free to ask for help in our cannabis growers forum

What is topping?

Topping is simply, removing the top of your cannabis plant. This can be done in a number of ways. Some growers just use their finger nails, some growers use sterilised razor blades. The principle is the same, by removing the top of the plant, you encourage more lateral growth.

Topping will also “tell” your plant that the main cola has gone. A hormone will be sent throughout the plant to tell the side shoots to grow stronger, as they will become top buds now. This will reduce the amount of popcorn buds in the final yield, leaving you with more, bigger flowers.

How to Top a Cannabis Plant

This can be done on the top of the plants main stem, or even on side branches to stop them growing longer. I would recommend topping only once, but growers do get good results by topping numerous side branches as well as the main top.

Wait until the plant is at least 3 nodes tall. It is preferred to let it grow a couple of nodes higher than where you would like to top. For example, let it grow to 6 nodes, and then top, at the fourth. This will leave your plant with a strong stem after the topping, and it also shows your plant is big enough to take the stress and recover quickly.

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As mentioned earlier, you can use scissors, your nails, a razor blade, you just have to remove the top. Leave the side shoots and leaves in place, as these are what you would like to encourage to grow out.

These side shoots will grow into branches of their own. They can be “trained”, horizontally to increase the amount of light your plants can get.

Topping Autoflowering Cannabis Plants

Topping autos is always controversial, but in my opinion, any cannabis plant grown indoors should be topped. It is much more beneficial to the plant in the long run.

Auto flowering plants however, have a set amount of time from germination to harvest, and any stress will affect final yield. You must top early.

When the third or fourth node has grown enough to be removed, take it off. Get this done early in the plants life, as it will give it time to recover. It will go through its vegetative stage for a couple more weeks. Any stress will be over come within a couple of days.

Final notes on topping cannabis plants.

It is easy, you just have to do it. Make sure whatever equipment you use is clean, and your plant is healthy and strong enough to take the stress. Cannabis plants can recover from a lot, topping, is nothing!

Topping a cannabis plant will also give you the chance to train your plants, using some LST. The side shoots can be trained and the height of the plant can be kept low. This is very useful for growers with a low ceiling in their grow room.

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Thanks for reading! You can find more information on anything related to growing in our cannabis grow guides. All of our guides are written by experienced growers, and members of our cannabis growers forum. If you have any questions, sign up. It is free, and we are always happy to help!

15 thoughts on “Topping a Cannabis Plant”

  1. @improper_weed_viking well thats great to know that even though I topped at 3rd node, that she should be fine, well she looks to of taken to it well, so will just watch and see how she comes along, so thanks for that my friend as your advise as put me at ease abit now, knowing she should be fine, so thank you my friend and happy growing and enjoy the wkend my friend

  2. @improper_weed_viking will have to take a look at that one, well the RH just been topped so just seeing how she going to take it, but I think I might Of topped off to much thought Id topped at 4th node, but turns out it was the 3rd, so not sure how its going to go now, so just watching an see how shes goes, but at least now I know to top 4;5th node, so thats another lessons learned lol so will monitor her progress an so she takes to it, before even thing about any LST or anything as not sure what this might do now, but I will soon find out my friend, so thank you and all the best

  3. great info guys, just topped my Royal Haze auto, wasnt to sure if I should of, but its a learning grow, and just wanting to take in as much as poss, so I can learn what it takes to grow a quality smoke, so just trying things out an learning as I go, and this site as been so helpful and very knowledgable and top class home grown growers, with yrs of ex, you guys all been so nice and very helpful, and so friendly my exp on here as been amazing, so thanks guys for all you do for the cause, and helping out others like me, thanks guys “PERCYS" no 1

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