When to Top Your Cannabis Plants

It’s vital to know when to top your cannabis plants. Here are some tips to help you determine when the time is right.

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Topping is a common cannabis plant training technique that involves removal of the main shoot summit to encourage the growth of two new shoots. By topping your plants, you can create a fuller,bushier canopy that will produce more buds come harvest time. When done correctly, topping can result in a bigger yield and higher-quality buds. Here’s a closer look at how and when to top your cannabis plants.

The vegetative stage

Cannabis plants can remain in the vegetative stage for a long time. If you’re growing indoors, you can control the length of the vegetative stage by changing the number of hours of light your plants receive each day. Most growers choose to keep their plants in the vegetative stage for 4-8 weeks before switching to 12 hours of light per day (12/12), which forces the plant to start flowering.

If you’re growing outdoors, your plants will start to flower when the days begin to shorten in late summer/early fall. You can influence when your plants flower by how much light they receive each day; growing cannabis indoors under 24 hours of light per day will keep your plants in the vegetative stage indefinitely.

The flowering stage

The flowering stage is when the plants produce buds that are ready to harvest. Most cannabis strains will start flowering around 6-8 weeks after the plants have started vegetative growth. However, some strains can take up to 12 weeks to flower. The flowering stage is determined by the amount of light the plant receives each day. When the plant receives 12 hours of darkness each day, it will start to flower.

The ripening stage

After your Cannabis plants have flowered for about 6-8 weeks, they will enter the “ripening” stage. During this time, the buds will mature and the THC levels will increase. The length of time that your plants spend in the ripening stage will depend on the variety of Cannabis that you are growing. Some strains will ripen faster than others.

You can tell when your plants are in the ripening stage because the buds will begin to change color from white to brown or red. The leaves will also start to turn yellow and red.

The ripening stage is a good time to “top” your plants. Tipping is when you cut off the main stem of the plant just above a node (where the leaves branch out). This causes the plant to grow more lateral (side) branches, which increases the number of bud sites. More bud sites mean more potential THC!

Tipping also makes your plants shorter and bushier, which makes them easier to manage and helps airflow around the buds (which is important for preventing mold).

If you want to maximize your yield, you should start tipping your plants when they enter the ripening stage and continue until just before harvest.


Topping your cannabis plants is a great way to encourage bushier growth and produce more buds. However, it’s important to know when to top your plants so you don’t damage them. For most strains, the best time to top your plants is when they are between 4 and 6 weeks old. This will give them enough time to recover from the topping before they start flowering. If you top your plants too early or too late, you may not get the results you want.

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