by Nebula Haze
Sirius: Although this page is named after me, it was totally Nebula’s idea. I only said “limbo” one time ever, so this should really be called “The Nebula Limbo Training Technique”. Also, it’s not really a technique so much as it’s a way of thinking…but it’s still really good info! Let’s get to it!
Plant training. Why would you want to train your cannabis plants? Growers do it to increase their yields indoors as well as keep plants in more manageable shape and size.
But what’s it all about? There are too many insider terms in the grow world… LST, HST, supercropping, manifolding, topping, and more.
What does it all really mean?
There’s a perfect distance to keep each plant from your grow light, and you’re getting them to bend and contort themselves to stay just under that line. You are basically doing a plant limbo.
You want your plants to “limbo” under the light. Any part of the plant that hits the bar (gets too close to the light) suffers consequences. In the plant world, leaves and buds can get bleached or burned if they get too close to the light, even if the temperature is perfect. The stress of extensive light or heat damage can cause some plants to sprout male flowers as the plant self-pollinates in a last ditch effort to reproduce, causing seedy buds at harvest.
How to limbo?
You have three main techniques for your limbo dance.
- Topping – Remove the end of a stem, which splits one stem into two branches. Often referred to as “topping” the plant.
- Bend and Tie Down – Gently bend branches and tie them down the way you want (any part that is not tied down will immediately face up and start growing towards the light)
- Supercropping – This specific bending technique allows you to make a major bend on a stiff or woody branch without breaking the skin. This is often referred to as “supercropping” and lets you create a 90-degree bend or more. Basically, you bend a branch by squeezing a stem hard at the hinge point and gently wiggling until the stem does the limbo
How to “supercrop” your plants into a limbo
- Grab stem firmly between fingers at the hinge point where you want to make the bend and squeeze until you feel/hear crunching.
- Wiggle stem back and forth at the hinge, continuing to squeeze, until the stem naturally limbos all the way flat.
- You may need to tie the branch down either now or in a few days because many stems will start growing upward again
Note: You have to slowly soften the inside of the branch up to limbo. If you try to limbo a stem too fast it will just break the skin. If you snap a branch, tape the wounded ends together and the plant will almost always repair itself but you will have to be careful with it. Young stems are easiest to bend, but even woody branches can become surprisingly flexible and still not break the skin if you limbo slow. Think about stretching out to limbo if you were a human. You’re less likely to get injured if you warm up easy and bend a little further every time.
That covers 99% of training techniques. They include various combinations of those 3 techniques to get the most light to the plant while keeping everything just the right distance from the light.
Simplest training technique step-by-step (this is what I do with every plant)
- Wait until the plant has grown 6 nodes (sets of “real” serrated leaves)
- Cut off the tip of the plant right under the 6th node, through the main stem.
- Spread out the branches as they grow and tie them down and away from the center of the plant (using plant twistie tie)
- Try to spread the plant out to fill up space under the light
- If any branches start getting too close to the light or seem to be growing way taller than the others, make that stem do the limbo
Note: If the plant is an autoflowering strain, this simple training technique is still recommended as long as the plant hasn’t started flowering when you remove the growing tip. I top every autoflowering plant this way and it works well as long as the plant gets big enough before it starts flowering. If you’re not sure or the plant starts flowering before it reaches the proper size, just let the plant grow naturally and use simple bending and tying to control its size and shape.
Make your plants do the limbo!