Complete Guide to Monstercropping for Better Yields

Updated Jun 13, 2021

by Nebula Haze


Table of Contents

Why “Monstercrop” a Marijuana Plant?

What Strain Works Best?

How to Use Monstercropping to Increase Yields Indoors

Other Fun Re-Vegging Techniques


 

Why “Monstercrop” a Marijuana Plant?

Be scareful how you use this powerful cannabis growing technique… Just kidding, there’s no “monster” in monstercropping. The term was coined by a grower who noticed that cannabis plants produce odd growth patterns when they revert from the flowering (budding) back into the vegetative/leafy stage. They discovered they could use this “monstrous” growth to their advantage by cloning flowering marijuana plants to quickly produce plants with a lot of buds at the top.

This marijuana monstercrop plant by John Henry shows the classic growth pattern of a monstercropped clone. His result was similar to the manifold training technique with less effort.

Example of a cannabis plant that was monstercropped - notice the odd growth patterns with lots of stems

What is monstercropping? Monstercropping is a term for cloning a flowering cannabis plant to produce bushy clones. The results vary greatly between plants so this should be considered more a fun experiment than a serious growing technique. The idea is to use the fact that cannabis clones respond to re-vegging (reverting from the flowering stage to the vegetative stage) with odd growth patterns that may produce a plant with an above-average number of branches. “Monstercropping” is also occasionally used as a synonym for re-vegging.

Why monstercrop a plant? Monstercropping is one of many cannabis growing techniques that aim to create a wide “tabletop” shape while plants are forming. A wide flat plant allows each bud to develop at the optimal distance from the grow light. Although the results with monstercropping are unpredictable compared to other techniques, the idea is to increase yields and bud density by giving buds the perfect amount of light while they develop.

Let’s watch a monstercrop in action. (A huge thank you to Don B for sharing these pictures)

This clone was taken from a flowering cannabis plant several weeks before. It often takes longer for a flowering clone to make roots compared to a clone taken from a vegetative plant. This one just started growing again. You can see it’s not a normal cannabis clone because the buds weren’t removed and it has strange rounded leaves (1-point or round leaves are key symptoms of re-vegging).

A "monster cropped" cannabis clone - the clone was taken from a flowering plant, which caused strange growth and smooth leaves to form while th plant reverts back to the vegetative stage

Here’s the same plant 2 days later. It continues to grow new leaves with round edges and long stems while the plant is reverting back to the vegetative stage.

Same re-vegged cannabis clone 2 days later, in the process of monstercropping

Here’s that plant about a week later – at this point it’s growing (mostly) normal leaves. Some plants may take long longer. One downside to monstercropping is each cannabis plant/strain responds a little differently.

A re-vegged cannabis clone can take 1-3 weeks before it start growing normally again - this is a monstercropping example pictures

This is about 1 month after the first picture. Although it took extra time to get started, the plant grew big, fast, and wide with little influence by the grower. There are many ways to achieve this plant shape, but all the others involve bending and/or tying down stems.

Example of a monstercropped marijuana clone - the technique results in fast, bushy growth

Here is that plant at harvest! The grower Don B said that they were extremely happy with the results of the monstercrop process and would do it again.

Example of that monstercropped cannabis clone at harvest!

Yields and bud density improve when all buds are the perfect distance from the light. Monstercropping is one of many methods to change a plant’s shape.

Benefits

  • Fun – It’s enjoyable and rewarding to experiment with different growing techniques
  • Bushy clones – Produce a bushy growth pattern in new clones
  • Protect Genetics – Get a clone from a plant that has already started flowering

Cons

  • Unpredictable – Each plant responds differently so there’s an element of surprise with every monstercropped clone. You may still need to bend and tie down stems to wrangle plants into the desired shape.
  • Slow – There are exceptions, but it may take weeks or occasionally even months for flowering clones to make roots and start producing new leaves
  • Timing – The longer the original plant has been flowering, the higher the chance of clones dying and/or taking forever to re-veg. Success rates start dropping as soon as buds appear and it can be very difficult to clone flowering plants that are approaching harvest.

What’s the difference between re-vegging and monstercropping? The terms get confusing so let me explain. Growers may use “re-vegging” and “monstercropping” interchangeably, but they’re a bit different. Re-vegging is the act of a flowering plant going back into the vegetative stage whether it’s on purpose or not. The term monstercropping usually refers to the technique of re-vegging a flowering clone.

Base of monster crop plant by PuravidaC

Example of a nicely constructed base - perfect for a monstercrop!

It’s also important to note that monstercropping is different from supercropping, which is a completely unrelated technique that just happens to have a similar name. Supercropping has to do with bending the stems in a specific way for canopy control. It allows you to bend tough, woody stems that are getting unruly. Teach me about supercropping cannabis.

Note: I’ve come to realize over the years that the terms used by cannabis growers don’t necessarily make the most technical sense. Never fear, my partner Sirius created a glossary for a list of common growing terms to explain what everything means.

Every individual plant responds differently to being re-vegged, even of the same strain. It can be a little hard to predict exactly what to expect during re-vegging since each plant is different, but re-vegging often starts with the appearance of new leaves that appear round and often have just 1 “finger” per leaf.

Clone of a flowering plant that is now re-vegging with smooth, round, single-finger leaves.

Example of a monstercropped cannabis clone that has come from a flowering plant and is being allowed to re-veg

Every strain expresses re-vegging a little differently!

Example of the odd round leaves from a cannabis re-veg

The longer the plant spends in the flowering stage, the more dramatic the effects from a reveg, and the longer it takes the plant to completely re-vegetate and start growing normally again.

As the plant transitions back to the vegetative stage, it eventually starts growing standard leaves. Most plants will be growing in a more traditional way within a few weeks, but sometimes the monstercropping pattern lasts for a month or even months. Every strain is different.

Monstercropping Can Help Preserve Good Genes

If you are very pleased with the results of a specific cannabis plant as it’s developing, you may want to take clones even though the plant is no longer in the vegetative stage.

This grower took clones of all plants as the plants started flowering. After drying/curing, they chose to only keep the clone from the plant that made these buds. Monstercropping gives the grower a way to preserve genetics that turn out better than expected. No need to lose important plant cultivars.

Example of a pretty cannabis nug on a black background

Sometimes re-vegging happens by accident (for example, a light leak gives plants light exposure at night during the flowering stage). When that happens the best thing to do is fix the problem and allow the plant to revert back.

Strain and Plant Choice for Monstercropping

I highly recommend only attempting to monstercrop a plant that has grown fast and vigorously in both the vegetative stage and the early part of the flowering stage. If at all possible, you want a plant that is able to quickly grow lots of new stems and bud sites, so you can get back to flowering and harvest again as soon as possible.

Plants that stay short and grow slowly can take a very long time to re-veg and “get going” again. In that case, you would be better off starting fresh with a seed, which grows vigorously from the beginning as long as it’s fresh and germinated properly, even strains that tend to stay short.

Very Short or Slow-Growing Marijuana Plants React Poorly to Monstercropping. Try to Choose Only the Best Plants!

If you’ve got limited space or height, you may not want to monstercrop a particularly tall marijuana strain, as the second version of the plant may end up being bigger than the first.

Lastly, never try to monstercrop an auto-flowering strain, as they are basically unaffected by light schedules. This means they typically can’t be forced to re-veg.

How to Use Monstercropping to Increase Yields Indoors

If you plan on monstercropping an indoor plant, or if it happens by accident, how do you take advantage of the strange re-veg growth? If you are going to re-harvest a plant, what’s the best way to do that?

Tips for Successful Monstercropping Indoors

  1. Choose a medium size strain – Short strains tend to grow on the slower side and may not grow fast enough to really take advantage of monstercropping. On the other hand, tall strains tend to grow fast and stretchy, which can make it far too easy to overgrow your space during the second round). Learn more about cannabis strain research.
  2. Only monstercrop the best cannabis plants. For the best results, make sure to only monstercrop plants that grew quickly and healthfully throughout their life up until week 6 of the flowering stage. Starting with a few extra plants the first time will give you the ability to choose the best instead of settling for whatever you get.
  3. Make sure to train plants to stay flat and wide for the best results. Regular training rules apply, you just have a bushier and faster-growing plant that may not need much input from you.
  4. Never try to monstercrop an auto-flowering strain because they typically won’t re-veg

Although this grower got good yields, and the picture shows the monstercropping structure perfectly, the yields would have been even better if the grower had lollipopped less (so that buds go down further on the stems) and had defoliated the top colas so that all the buds are getting access to direct light. Training technique can make a huge difference no matter how you grow.

Example of a mosntercropped marijuana plant not long before harvest
Keep reading for specific instructions about taking a flowering clone and/or re-harvesting!

How to Re-Veg a Flowering Clone…

  1. Choose a cannabis plant that has grown well and is overall performing above average. These are the genes you want. If you are impressed with the bud quality, that’s another great reason to monstercrop a specific plant even if it’s not necessarily growing the best. Some growers will take clones from all their flowering plants (with labels to know which is which) soon before harvest and start monstercropping them. Once you harvest and test the buds, you can toss all the clones that came from average plants, and keep any winners to grow again. This allows you to skip having to maintain a “mother plant” for the whole grow. Once the new clone starts vegetating again, it will be much easier/faster to take more clones.
  2. Make sure to give your new flowering clone the best care possible, and remember it may take a few days longer than a normal clone for your cutting to root and start growing again.
  3. Keep the clone on a vegetative time schedule (18-24 hours of light/day) and start giving it vegetative nutrients.
  4. The clone will start growing very oddly, with round leaves and often with many stems, creating tons of bud sites in a very short amount of time. The odd growth lasts 3-4 weeks on average, though it will take shorter if plant wasn’t flowering long, or possibly months if the clone was taken just before harvest time. Each plant also reacts a little differently.
  5. Don’t skip on plant training. During the vegetative stage, make sure the plant is trained to stay short and flat, so you can take advantage of all those bud sites.
  6. When the plant is about half the final desired height, switch to a 12/12 light schedule and continue keeping plant flat during the first 6 or so weeks of the flowering stage, until the plant stops growing new stems and leaves altogether.
  7. Harvest as normal and enjoy your monstercropped buds!

Example of a Recovering Clone After Being Monstercropped

In this instance, the clone seemed to get back to the vegetative stage more quickly than most. This clone was taken from a flowering cannabis plant, notice the strange rounded leaves

A "monster cropped" cannabis clone - the clone was taken from a flowering plant, which caused strange growth and smooth leaves to form while th plant reverts back to the vegetative stage

Here’s the same plant 2 days later. It continues to grow new leaves with round edges and long stems while the plant is re-vegging.

Same re-vegged cannabis clone 2 days later, in the process of monstercropping

Here’s that plant about a week later – at this point it’s already growing (mostly) normal leaves

A re-vegged cannabis clone can take 1-3 weeks before it start growing normally again - this is a monstercropping example pictures

Only 1 month after the first picture, the plant has grown far bigger and faster than a similarly sized seedling would have been able to grow in that time.

Example of a monstercropped marijuana clone - the technique results in fast, bushy growth

That plant at harvest! The grower said that they were extremely happy with the results of the monstercrop process and would do it again!

Example of that monstercropped cannabis clone at harvest!
Monstercrop cannabis pictures by Don B

 

This is not really monstercropping, but here’s another fun way to use re-vegging.

How to Re-Harvest the Same Plant Twice…

  1. Train your plant with multiple colas and a wide base during the initial grow. This will ensure you have good plant structure the second time around.
  2. When you harvest the plant, you should remove all the buds but you must make sure to leave several stems and healthy, green leaves remaining. Consider that all new growth will originate from this, so consider that when making cuts to your plant during harvest. You want to leave enough behind to make a great base. If you leave any buds behind while the plant is re-vegging, they’ll eventually start to wither and die.
  3. Put the plant back into a vegetative time schedule (more than 18 hours of light/day) and start giving it vegetative nutrients.
  4. The plant will start growing crazily, with round leaves and often with many stems, creating tons of bud sites in a very short amount of time. The odd growth lasts 3-4 weeks on average, though it will take shorter if plant wasn’t flowering long, or possibly longer if the clone was taken just before harvest time.
  5. Don’t skip on plant training! In the vegetative stage, it’s very important to make sure the plant stays short and flat, so you can take advantage of all those bud sites!
  6. When the plant is about half the final desired height, switch to a 12/12 light schedule and continue keeping plant flat during the first 6 or so weeks of the flowering stage, until the plant stops growing new stems and leaves altogether.
  7. Harvest as normal and enjoy your second set of buds!
  8. What about a third harvest? it’s generally not recommended to harvest a third time, as yields often suffer, and plant just doesn’t re-veg as easily or grow as vibrantly the third time around. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done!

Note: Results can vary depending on the strain. Some strains will produce the same or more for their second harvest, while some strains don’t respond as well and may end up with lower yields.

This plant was just harvested, and the grower plans to allow it to re-veg by putting it under a 24 hours light schedule. In order to help the plant re-vegetate more quickly, it may have helped to leaves a few more leaves, as opposed to leaving buds, but this will work! The grower left a good “spread” at the base to help the plant grow wide and flat, almost like a manifold.

Example of a plant that was just harvested, and is going to be allowed to re-veg

Three days later. Notice you have new leaves but the buds are already dying. When the plant re-vegs it “gives up” on the buds and they wither, so it’s better off to harvest them all, and focus on leaving as many leaves as possible!

Example of a plant that was harvested, and is being encouraged to re-veg

Example of Flowering Plant Being Re-Vegged After Harvest

The grower liked the results from the “mother” plant and wanted to grow the same cultivar out again.

Here’s the plant not-too-long after harvest.

Example of a cannabis plant that is about to be re-vegged

22 days later

Example of a re-vegged marijuana plant getting bushy from being monstercropped

Look how the re-vegged plant grows naturally in a very bushy way.

Top view of that monstercropped marijuana plant - the re-vegging structure can cause plants to grow very bushy

This is that plant less than a month later, just before switching to flowering. This particular plant naturally grew nearly 80 tops! The entire process took 1 month and 19 days to reach this point, which is bigger with more colas than a plant grown from seed would have been able to grow in that time.

Less than a month later, that plant has not only stayed nice and bushy, but has naturally grown nearly 80 tops!
Amazing Re-Veg Pics by GDTRFB95

Example of another marijuana plant that was re-vegged after harvest 🙂

Example of a marijuana plant that was re-vegged after harvest to get a 2nd harvest

Closeup of the odd, round leaves.

Example of the odd round leaves from a cannabis re-veg

Re-harvesting the same plant twice can be a fun experiment, but remember that it can take time and be a little unpredictable so it’s always recommended to grow backup plants at the same time, at least until you get more experience.

Re-Vegging Outdoors in Warm Climates for Multiple Harvests/Year

Re-vegging can be great for outdoor growers with warm temperatures all year long, because if you time it right, you can harvest twice/year. You’re taking advantage of the fact that plants will start flowering with long nights, and start vegetating with short nights.

  1. Plants seeds in winter. If plant cannabis seeds outdoors around January in the northern hemisphere or June in the southern hemisphere. Cannabis plants outdoors at these times will usually start flowering/making buds within about a month due to the long nights. You can start plants indoors on a 12/12 light schedule and put them outside if you know it’s going to get warm soon. Don’t let cannabis plants experience frost. Make sure their “night” is never interrupted with light. Cannabis plants need unbroken dark periods to make buds.
  2. Buds should be ready by late Spring, just as days are getting long enough to turn the plant back into the vegetative stage.
  3. Harvest buds but leave a solid base – Leave plenty of vegetation and a hardy base of the plant so it’s got the perfect start right as the “real” growing season begins.
  4. Grows plant out as normal the second time and harvest in the fall.

After the first harvest, make sure to leave a wide base with plenty of leaves if possible. Extra green matter helps your plant grow bigger and wider more quickly. A head start in spring means you can grow bigger plants by fall.

Example of a nicely constructed base - perfect for a monstercrop!
pic by PuravidaC

For those who live in climates where the temperatures never go down to freezing, this can allow you to produce multiple outdoor harvests in a year.

Strain Choice for Outdoor Re-Vegging

For outdoor cannabis monstercropping, choose a strain that needs a relatively short time in the flowering stage, for example one that needs less than 6-9 week of flowering stage before being ready to harvest.

This ensures your buds will be ready to harvest in time for late Spring, and short-flowering strains tend to be less sensitive to the fact that the day lengths are increasing (which can cause some long-flowering, Haze or Sativa plants to re-veg, even if the days are still short, because they can “sense” the days are getting longer)

Passion #1 by Dutch Passion can be a good choice. It was developed to grow outdoors and has an extremely short flowering stage compared to most cannabis plants

Passion #1 produces good buds even in rugged conditions

Learn more about manipulating light schedules for outdoor plants to get additional outdoor harvests. Or you can use the easier auto-flowering technique for multiple outdoor harvests!

 


 

Avoid Re-Vegging a Plant by Mistake; the Results Are Unpredictable Without Preparation!

This plant was almost done flowering but then started getting light leaks at night. In this case, the grower didn’t want the plant to re-veg. It’s recommended they either harvest buds immediately or cut off all the new growth and make sure the plant is getting 12+ hours of uninterrupted dark every night. It’s possible the plant will get back on track but if you notice the buds appearing to wither, harvest immediately or they’ll soon be gone.

Example of a cannabis plant that was accidentally re-vegged, you don't want to monstercrop by accident!

Another example of an accidental re-veg. In this case, the plant was accidentally getting light at night, which caused it to revert back from flowering. In general, you want to avoid re-vegging by accident since you don’t get a lot of benefit from growth like this.

Example of an unhappy cannabis plant in the process of being re-vegged

Now you’ve learned how to use the monstercropping technique for indoor and outdoor marijuana grows. Do you want to learn even more about re-vegging cannabis plants?

One thing to keep in mind with monstercropping is it can be a little hard to know exactly what to expect, so make sure to remember that it’s an experiment and try to enjoy the twists and turns 🙂

If you have pictures of plants that you have monstercropped, we’d love to see them!

 


 

Jump to….

7 Tips to Growing Top Shelf Buds

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Learn About Supercropping!

What’s wrong with my plants? (Diagnose them with pictures!)

 


 

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