Basic Plant Training Techniques

If you train your cannabis plant, it can create multiple top colas to maximize the light available to the plant in an indoor grow. By doing this, you can increase your yields up to 40% and who doesn’t want that. By manipulating your plant, you open up bud sites to the light that wouldn’t otherwise receive that light. The most commonly used plant training techniques include:

  • Low stress training or LST
  • Supercroppping
  • Screen of green or ScrOG
  • Topping
  • FIMing
  • Manifolding or Main-lining
  • Selective defoliation


Low Stress Training on My Plants

Low stress training is one of the best plant training techniques because it can be used for both autoflower and photoperiod plants alike. It’s easy and even beginners can have huge benefits from it. All you need is something to tie your plant down with (ex. string, pipe cleaners, coated wire, or rubberized garden ties), scissors, craft sticks/popsicle and possibly some clothes pins if you’re using grow bags.

It is best to do LST on a young plant in vegetation or the start of flower as long as they are tall enough. You don’t want to do it too far into flower as the stem gets stiff and ridged, making it more likely to snap rather than bend. Low stress training is the main technique used among autoflower growers due to the low stress it causes on the plant & the lack of recovery time they have. It is the only training technique I have personally done so far. Even for a first time grower, I had amazing results.

To LST your plant:

  • It’s a good idea to anchor your plants main stem, to help keep it from moving too much from the bending
  • Place a craft stick/popsicle stick in the medium near your plants main stem
  • Wrap a tie around the main stem at the bottom, and then around the craft stick/popsicle stick
  • Then, gently tie or twist your tie off choice around the main stem of your plant towards the top in between the nodes
  • Then gently pull the plant down away a 90° or close to and secure the tie down somehow (clothes pin, drill holes in put to fasten them to, etc.)
  • Continue to adjust as the plant grows towards the light You can also tie down new growth as well to control the shape of the plant
  • When your plant is the shape you want and about half as tall as you’d like it, your work is done
  • You should finish all your LST before it gets too far into flower so you minimize touching your growing


Supercropping on a Branch (from
  • When plants get too tall but the stems are stiffer, you can use suppercropping
  • All you need are plant ties and scissors to cut the ties
  • You have to soften the stem first by gently bending the stem between your fingers, back and forth (There’s also now a tool available to soften the stem, “The Supercropper” I believe)
  • Once softened, you can tie it down like with LST
  • More advanced plant training technique than LST

Screen of Green or ScrOG

My First Attempt at Using a ScrOG Net
  • When growers use a screen over their plants to weave the stems through the screen as they grow to cover the most space
  • All you need is a terllis net/scrog net and time
  • By the time the plant starts to flower, the plant is already a flat, table top structure, optimizing the light and space
  • The screen also helps to hold the plant up while it’s budding
  • Form of LST

Topping & FIMing

The Difference Between Topping and FIMing (from
  • Form of HST where you damage parts of the plant strategically to create more main colas
  • All you need are some scissors and time
  • Can be done on autoflowers but can be more difficult especially for beginners
  • Both should be done early on when the plant has between 3-5 (FIMing) & 4-6 (Topping) nodes
  • Topping is done by cutting the plant between the nodes while FIMing is removing the newest growth without cutting the stem
  • FIM is short for “F**k, I Missed”
  • FIMing creates unevenly spaced top colas
  • Topping is more stressful than FIMing, which means it takes longer to recover from
  • Topping can be used to control plant height
  • FIMing creates 2-4 main colas at the top of the plant and LST can be used to create
  • Topping creates 2 even spaced main colas and LST can be used to create more

Manifolding or Main-lining

Example of Mainlining/Manifolding (from
  • Topping the plant twice in a specific way to form a wide “manifold” at the base
  • All you need are scissors and time
  • Plants that have been manifolded grow out very thick afterwards which means there are more bud sites
  • Creates many uniform buds
  • Can add a week or two onto your grow due to recovery
  • Only experienced growers should use this technique on autoflowers
  • Less training on your part but still big results
  • Less likely to get bud rot or mold since plants won’t produce one huge cola that gets too thick
  • With more main colas, less trimming will need to be done come harvest time

Selective Defoliation

Pile of Defoliated Cannabis Leaves
  • Defoliation refers to removing leaves, mainly the largest fan leaves, from the plant
  • Done before the start of flower and again in the first month of flower to encourage bud growth
  • All you need are scissors or your fingers
  • Remove fan leaves blocking prime bud sites
  • Opens up bud sites to light and air at a crucial time
  • Can do more harm than good, if done too much or too late

I am no expert on plant training techniques but I hope this gave you some basic knowledge of each technique. A great website for technique tutorials and information is Grow Weed Easy. For more detailed information regarding these techniques & other techniques, check it out.