Pruning Your Way To More Colas

Can one plant have more than one cola? It’s been prove many times that it can be done. It’s really quite simple. By carefully pruning the plant when it’s young you can get 2 or 4 main colas.

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Before we get started, what exactly is a cola? Simple. Cola means tail in Spanish, and is the name given to the long buds that the plant produces. You won’t see them on every plant, but some will have giants. If you’re growing as a hobby I recommend trying to get some big ones as they are more impressive.

You’ll likely get the biggest colas by growing single ones. Still, if you want more yield then multiple colas will probably deliver. There are two main ways to do this: trimming and training. We’ll talk about trimming in this article.

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By trimming I mean pinching off the central stem near the top of the plant. This won’t be news to anyone with other gardening experience. Gardeners have been doing it for centuries. Fuchsia growers regularly pinch off growing tips to get more blossoms. This technique also works with plants that you want to develop more branches. You can keep a plant that would normally grow tall small 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. Try each and decide for yourself which is the one you like most.

Start by letting the plant develop a few nodes. The place where these branches leave the main stem are called nodes. They occur on the main stem. The growing tip of the plant, in the very center, sprouts up from between the nodes.

If you cut this growing tip off the plant will react by replacing it with two new nos on each side of the pinched off stem. These will create two new main stems. They will continue to shoot off branches and leaves as the plant grows.

There are different methods that you can use. One way is to just keep pinching off the growing tips as the nodes multiply. This will result in lots of smaller colas, and no monsters. There are two happy mediums, though. One way will create 2 big colas, and the other will create 4. Either way, you should get some big ones.

The way to get four colas is to wait until you have more good nodes (4-6). Then, pinch off the center stem as described earlier, just an inch or half inch over the 2nd node. The plant will send out two new stems where you pinched it off, as well as two more from the node right below. Two sets of new stems means 4 colas. The second way is to pinch the plant off one node lower. That will only leave one good inter node to sprout. Two new stems will turn into two colas instead of one (or four).

What happens if you wait until the plant is taller and then pinch the stem at the 10th node? Do you get even more colas? The answer, technically, is yes, but it’s not that simple. The thing is that clipping the stem manipulates the plant’s hormones.However, you can only go so far with that. 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. Too much pruning will get lots of small buds, not lots of huge colas.

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. Light, strain and nutrients will make a big difference in results. If you have all the light coming from above it won’t reach lower parts of the plant as well as it reaches higher parts and the lower buds will suffer as a result. 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). Keep in mind that we’re pruning in order to get big colas that will blow our friends’ minds. Try each method and have some fun, and don’t forget to root the cutting for a new plant!


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