Let me mention before we get into all this that indica plants typically are naturally a lot shorter than sativas, thus should be considered first for indoor growing situations. Remember that your harvest time can add more indica like qualities to your sativa as well. With that in mind, there are plenty of methods you can exercise to train your plant into more of the short curvy woman you are looking for out of it. Of course also you will be able to come up with your own methods once you get the hang of these tried and true ones.
Cropping and training not only is space savvy, it is more efficient for your light fixture as well since you can spread out each leaf to get just as much light as the next. Some methods also will make your plant grow stronger and even add more top colas! For those who don’t know (and probably shouldn’t be growing weed at that point) the top cola is the largest nug at the very tip which also contains the most cannabinoids and resin since the plant focuses most of its energy on this area.
When you are cropping and training your plants, remember that the more time your plant has to focus on fixing itself, the less it is focusing on creating THC and resin. Keep your methods as low stress as possible with that in mind! If you do happen to damage your branch, you’ll want to support the bend with a toothpick, then surround the bend with fertilized soil , then wrap with plastic wrap, leaving air to breath on the sides.
Screen of Green
This method is going to be relatively easy to use, but remember throughout this and all the other methods to treat your plant like a baby. You are first going to have your plants in their PERMANENT pots because there will be no going back. Give them plenty of space to spread out their roots, or growth will be stunted. All of your pots should be next to each other, then you will lower a mesh fencing on top of all of them, poking each plant through a square hole. Now, secure the fuck out of this net! As the plant grows and pushes on this net, you can NOT risk it moving around! Your marijuana plant will easily become uprooted, then you have a dead plant in the middle of your net stuck there and attracting pests which will then ruin the rest of your plants. You then are going to weave the plants into the the mesh fencing like you are knitting a cat into one of those pillows. Send the longest middle branch towards the outside so you do not have to worry about finding places to weave it towards the middle, but keep the top cola under the light as priority to the others.
Make sure all the leaves are up at the surface to catch light, but remove any large fan leaves that are blocking light to your nugs. When removing leaves, less is more. Try to cut off just half the leaf if you can. Once you have wrapped all your plants, remove a fraction of the leaves that are under the net. They are unnecessary, but you want to slowly remove them over the next few days so that your plant does not go into shock, then possibly turn hermaphroditic. The downfall to this method is that water can more easily get caught in between plants since they are so close together, settle in leaves and produce mold. To prevent this, keep a constant breeze flowing through the leaves that will keep mold spores from being able to settle on a leaf and start growing. The potential for mold growth is usually close.
This technique is more stressful on your plant than the prior, but can have long term benefits. You are basically going to crush the soft inner tissue located right under the green skin on your plant that you expose when making clones. This is called cellulose and it forms a vascular tissue containing xylem and phloem which are responsible for transporting nutrients. When you break the inner wall, it will grow back stronger each time. This is beneficial if you want to start pointing your plant to grow another direction, since the bend will be definitely permanent. This is also good if you have a plant with a weird weak spot that you can’t get to strengthen up. Or if anything, you can just do this because you want your plant to transport water and nutrients quicker, being stronger overall.
To crush the wall inside, GENTLY rub the branch back and forth in between your thumb and index until you feel it start to collapse. You may need to use a toothpick secured with string or tape. Do not break the branch; that does not work. Whenever it grows back, there will be a thick solid knot in its place.
Pruning for size/yield (high stress)
These practices are high stress on your plant and should be exercised with extreme moderation. Over pruning will cause your plant to grow into shock, possible turning it hermaphroditic. Growth can be stunt and yields will decrease as result.
There are two different ways that are usually used to prune; topping and FIMing (which stands for Fuck I Missed) That is because with topping, you must remove 100% of new plant matter while FIMing is only 80%. The benefits of this are the opportunity for more branches and top colas to grow in its place (topping will always be four while FIMing has been up to 8 from just one cut)
With FIMing you also do not have to remove the plant material at all, but instead you can just crush it between your fingers. Your plant will hold onto the leave and use it later to gather storage and removing it could have slightly brought the plant down instead. You basically are going to crush right where the leaves are spurting out of the fork in the node or right where you start to see it turn dark green. Basically when you see the new growth, crush 80% of it between your fingers. With topping, you must remove the entire matter. Even if you are just going to cut the matter off, your plant of course would prefer that it only be 80% plus you get that added benefit of more growing back in its place. However, some methods do involve more precise and guaranteed results to reach a desired shape.
So basically anywhere you see new growth (including the top cola), you can do this and more branches will come in its place. The newest growth is not referring the the leaves closest to the end of the branch, but what is sticking out from the last fork in the plant where the two branches divide off. You will see tiny leaves inside there and the tips of those must be crushed for the results you want. This will typically make much bushier and fuller plants if you continuously do it throughout the life cycle. Once you have made it to flowering, you have to stop and let your plant focus on creating resin.
Low Stress Training
This is one of the best training methods because it does not bother your plant hardly at all unless you accidentally snap it and you can influence shape and yield with it. This is kind of like the screen of green method, except that you are just going to hold your plant down with a string or something as it starts to grow horizontal. Then tying your plant to stakes or itself, you can influence it to grow whichever way you need. You can use this method because you need the plant to keep a short profile, or just because you want to take better advantage of your light fixture by spreading out the leaves. Or perhaps you just want to be creative.
Influence the growth of your top colas as well. Take your top cola and tie it down lower than the rest of your plant. Eventually, your plant will start to form a new top cola. As you see the new leader inching up towards the light, repeat this step. The highest branch will assume the position of the top cola since it already gets the most light. You can do this many times!
This method is going to be confusing at first because it involves doing something you are always told not to; take clones from a plant that is flowering. However, when performed correctly, you will producer bushy plants filled with nodes (which is where the bud grows). Take your clone from a mother that is about three weeks in to flowering, or less depending on life cycle. You will want you cut to be the lowest branch possible that gives you enough to work with, about one inch or more behind the second node, but feels fresh and not rigid or rough at all.
Make your cut as long as possible across the side of the stem, exposing as much of the cellulose located directly under the green film as possible to increase water intake, then quickly transfer the plant into a glass of water as soon as you make the cut. This will prevent air bubbles getting into the branch, which will be fatal. Use a rooting solution to increase your chances. Hydroponics are great for fall proof cloning. You are going to have to place your clone immediately under a veg light for at least 20 hours of light, or it will continue to flower, You can also remove some of the leaves to help encourage it to go back into vegetative, but leave the top growth. This can be tricky at first.
Mainlining is the technique mentioned above that involves topping for a uniformed shape. The benefit to this is that each branch is going to get the same amount of light, thus essentially each branch is a top cola. To begin this, you are going to have to begin pruning at the beginning. First, you will have to prune the beginning growth so that it grows split both ways. You will then split those when new growth forms. Repeat this as many times as you would like until you have all the branches you want.
Remember, each strain has a limited amount of marijuana it can produce that you can not surpass with any technique. As you are planning out how many branches you want, the plant should be horizontal to the soil right now. Your final branches are going to be the ones that grow straight up! If any of the branches grow up from a different height than the others, however, this will not work. Each branch must grow up evenly. Leave the leaves that are on the side of the branches growing up, but if any branches come out, you’ll want to remove them. Basically, you only want these branches going straight up with leaves and bud like a green cat tail.