Can one plant have more than one cola? The answer is yes. 3It’s actually very easy and straightforward. By carefully pruning the plant when it’s young you can get 2 or 4 main colas.
What exactly is a cola? Simple. Cola is Spanish for tail, and is how the long thick buds that the plant produces are referred to. You won’t see them on every plant, but some will have giants. If you’re growing for fun you should try for big coals because it will impress people.
If you want the biggest colas possible you’ll probably do better growing single ones. Still, if you want more yield then multiple colas will probably deliver. There are two methods to get multiple colas – training and trimming. I’m going to look at trimming here.
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What I mean by “trimming” is to pinch off the top of the plant when it’s still young. This is a common practice with many plants. Gardeners have been doing it for centuries. Pinching off the tips of fuchsias causes them to double the of blooms. It also works with different plant varieties. The method is also used to get tall plants to stay short and bushy.
With this kind of plant you can use a few pinching techniques. You get a slightly different outcome with each technique. There are fans of both approaches. You can try both and make up your own mind about which you prefer.
Start by letting the plant develop a few nodes. The place on the stem where branches pop out is a node. They occur on the main stem. The growing tip continues to grow up the center between each set of branches.
If you pinch this growing tip off just above the 5th or 6th node the plant will replace the pinched off tip with two new ones on each side of the main stem. They will take over as the two dominant stems. They will continue to shoot off branches and leaves as the plant grows.
You can do this different ways. In fact, if you like you can just pinch off every growing tip you find, and end up with a ton of small buds, but if you do that you won’t get any colas . You’ll get lots of little buds, but no huge colas. Or, you can pinch less. One way will produce two big colas and the other will produce four. Both will result in some big colas.
The way to get four colas is to wait until you have more good nodes (4-6). You cut off the main stem leaving two nice healthy nodes below. You’ll get new stems from where you cut the stem as well as from the node below that. Two sets of new stems means 4 colas. The other method is to pinch it off lower. Without a node for the second set of stems to sprout you’ll restrict the plant to only two new stems. Two sprouts equals two colas.
Can you wait until the plant is bigger and pinch it off higher? Will that create 6,8, or 10 colas? The answer is yes, but the colas are smaller. By pinching off the main stem you’re tricking the plant a bit, and manipulating it’s hormones.You can’t go too far before it stops working. If you pinch off every growing tip you’ll increase the number of colas, but they won’t be worthy of the name. They’re buds, and that’s all. The growth hormone will have been too spread out. No big fat colas to make your buddies smile.
That’s basically it. Growers argue about which technique will produce more bud, but it’s very hard to get a true answer on this. There are too many other inputs that can vary. Lights, nutrients and strain all have their roles to play. Two or four buds will tend to get a balanced amount of light and do well. As they start growing they’ll also tend to spread apart and let light into the center of the plant (and as a result get lower into the plant, letting more of it get light energy). It’s about fun, not maximum yield. Have fun with it, and don’t forget – you can root the cutting that you pinch off and have another plant for more experimentation!