By OG Mack

To a new grower, a one meter tall cannabis plant sounds huge! But to anyone with a few grows under their belt, they know that vertical growth can quickly become a problem.

Most indoor growers have height limitations and must use specific methods to maximize their grow space efficiently. The Canadian Government has also set a one meter vertical height limit on home grown cannabis plants. This makes the following methods even more useful and important.


Let’s start with the most basic technique to keeping your plants short. Topping is pretty simple, and should be done often and early for good results.

Start by identifying the new growth at the top of your plant. Then, carefully remove the smallest leaves with a pair of scissors or with a pinch.

Within a few days, you will see two growing leaf sets appear where your old growth was.

Continue this method on the new branches for maximum coverage. Or stop here and read ‘Mainlining’.

If one branch is growing faster than the rest, top it until an equal canopy is obtained.


Apply this technique when a plant has been topped once. Instead of being topped again, the two new growths are tied down and allowed to grow.

The main idea behind main-lining is that new branches form from the nodes of the tied down branches. These branches naturally grow up towards the light and create a canopy.

Continue to tie down the plant and stake as needed.


This technique involves tying down branches and also breaking branches! This is one of the more advanced techniques to keeping your plant short. It takes practice to get this one right. Any grower that has accidentally broken a stem knows it can be a terrible, heart-racing feeling. But as long as the branch isn’t fully broken there’s no need to panic! In fact, for this method we will be breaking branches. On purpose!

Start by selecting a plant that is at least a few nodes high. Then grab the upper part of the main stem and carefully bend it over until you hear a slight snap. You don’t want to bend it too far. You could cause irreversible damage and possible death to the top part of your plant. But you also don’t want to bend the plant too little and find no benefit from this method.

Once you’ve bent your main stem, the plant has entered a state of emergency. The plant will adapt by beginning to repair the stem tissue. Most importantly this causes the plant to put effort into lower branches, effectively creating more bud sites and a short bushy plant.

As the plant grows you will want to tie down branches as they get bigger. Its normal for the plant to select a main cola naturally. If you notice a branch growing faster than the others, tie it down and watch as branches start to form off the existing nodes.

Using this method can essentially make your plant look anyway you prefer.


I left this topic last for a reason, I can’t stress enough how important genetics are when you are trying to keep a plant short.

Indica plants tend to be shorter and bushier than Sativa. They also tend to react better to the methods discussed above.

Also keep in mind that Sativas tend to stretch more during the first few weeks of flower, some strains are even known to double in size. This means Sativas will need to be forced to flower earlier than Indicas, resulting in a smaller yield.

Don’t forget to do research on a strain before growing it. Just because a plant is Indica dominant doesn’t mean it won’t have Sativa-like growing habits. After a few harvests you’ll learn how different strains grow compared to others, and the special treatment they may need to stay short.


If you are thinking of starting a cannabis garden and need some help with the details, give us a call, send us an email or swing by the shop – Grow Op Hydroponics. Check out our Online Store

Check out some of our other blog articles like Convincing Your Parents To Grow Their Own.

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