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Gigantic Marijuana Plants

  • Escrito por : Ciara
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Cannabis crops are some of the most versatile crops on the planet, capable of adapting to almost any growers needs thanks to the amazing variation in how long some strains take to grow versus others. You can find spectacular autoflowering strains that are ready to cut in just about two months of cultivation, and then you can also find seasonal strains that need certain photoperiods (periods of light and darkness) to grow and flower. Today we’re going to talk about some tips and tricks to grow gigantic marijuana plants; to do this they’ll need a longer growth period and a whole lot of care, but you’ll be rewarded with the biggest specimens that you have ever seen.

Many growers have already seen astonishing images in which American growers are standing beside incredible 4 or 5 meter tall marijuana trees with an enormously dense branch structure that end up looking like big green balls. This phenomenon is quite typical in Humboldt’s seed catalogue and other American seed banks, as well as professional growers books and of course thousands of images and videos online.

Choose a good strain

Choosing a strain with a decent growth level is essential because your plants entire structure will depend on this specific characteristic. Sativa strains tend to have a much larger growth as well as a larger distance between nodes and a thinner, taller structure. Indicas, however, grow into more manageable plants with shorter distances between nodes, more branches and a stronger central stem.

Indica and sativa hybrids obviously have characteristics from both genotypes, although depending on the strains used to create the hybrid and the percentage of indica vs sativa, they’re more likely to have certain characteristics. Generally, the biggest specimens will have a sativa percentage of over 60%; if the plant is indica-dominant then the specimens will be more compact but with a larger branch structure.

Make sure they get a good growth period

Growth timing is definitely a key element when trying to grow large plants due to the fact that once your plants move on to the flowering stage, they tend to get a lot bigger. This means that the bigger your plant grows during its growth stage, then the more they will develop during the flowering stage.

For outdoor crops, growers have to depend on the seasons and the climate for their plants to switch periods, whereas indoors the grower decides when to change the light period, allowing him or her to choose how big their plants should grow. This means that indoor growers can play around with the number of plants and the timing of their crops; with a shorter growth period you can have more plants. This is how SoG systems were born; cuttings don’t need a growth phase and seeds only need two growth weeks.

There are also growers that like to fill their crop area with just one plant, giving it an enormous growth period as well as a large flowerpot; this makes for plants that would leave outdoor growers astonished. Some seed banks keep mother plants for over 10 years, so we know that you can give your plants all the growth time you want and rest assured that they won’t die (if you take care of them properly).

So, now that you know that you can grow plants indoors for as long as you want, and that outdoors marijuana plants grow a larger branch structure, the question is: What would happen if you let your plants have a long growth period and then took them outside to flower?

When you grow your plants indoors and then take them outdoors they go from getting 18h of light a day to getting a lot less, so they immediately begin flowering. If it’s still growth season your plants will begin budding but then they’ll revegetate, losing potency in the process which is something you want to avoid, especially with a crop like this that takes a lot more work.

However, if you take your plant outdoors to flower when the sun begins to set earlier, your plants will begin flowering normally and should be ready around the same time they would be ready if you had planted them outside from the beginning. The obvious difference is that these plants will be much larger and have a much higher yield; by using this method you can get plants that are over 4m tall.

Increase the number of branches through pruning

If you use the previous method it’s not hard to get gigantic plants, but large plants don’t necessarily have a lot of branches. If you’re looking to increase the number of branches on your plants then you’ll need to consider pruning them.

It’s actually quite common for indoor growers to prune their plants every now and then when they’re employing a long growth period. If done properly without stressing your plants too much, then your plants should grow various new branches per pruning. All you’ll need to do is use a revitalizer on your plants to reduce stress and a couple of weeks after pruning more branches will have grown. If you’re thinking of using a growth period of a few months then you’ll have enough time to repeat this process a good few times. Once they begin flowering the amount of branches will obviously be higher, making your plants incredibly leafy and bushy.

Stake or string your plants to increase strength

Staking plants is essential if you want them to develop correctly and constantly, so you’ll need to start doing it during their first few days. You’ll need to start by staking the trunk and then wiring the branches that grow, which will give a higher yield thanks to being held up.

When your plants have reached the production levels that we were talking about before, the stakes or string you’re using might not be strong enough to put up with the weight of the branches and buds; one of the most recommended systems is by using metal meshes. By doing this you can hold up each branch individually and with less stress on the mesh due to the fact that the weight of the plant will be evenly distributed. It’s also pretty easy to set up, all you have to do is extend the mesh over your plant, placing each branch in a hole making sure that light can still access all of them.

So, now you know that if you want to get monstrously huge plants you have to consider the strain, give them a much longer growth period, prune selectively, and make sure that it can deal with the weight of all of those amazing buds. If you follow all of these tips you’re guaranteed to produce enough per crop to keep you going in between seasons. We recommend using organic fertilizers to increase flavor and cannabinoid levels in your plants, so that way your gigantic marijuana plants will have an extremely high production rate as well as powerful and flavorful buds.

Learn how to grow gigantic marijuana plants, you'll get an enormous yield without using any chemical fertilizers that could alter the final product.

How Many Cannabis Plants Can You Grow Per Square Metre?

Congratulations on committing to cannabis cultivation. Now you need to settle upon the right number of cannabis plants to grow. We’ve got practical advice you can use to determine how many plants to fit per square metre.

Factors that determine how many plants you can grow per square metre.

  • 1. Factors that determine the number of cannabis plants you can grow
  • 2. Cannabis strain genetics
  • 3. The size of your indoor grow
  • 4. The size of your pots
  • 5. Training your plants
  • 5.a. Sea of green (SOG)
  • 5.b. Topping and fimming
  • 5.c. Mainlining and lollipopping
  • 5.d. Low-stress training (LST)
  • 5.e. Screen of green (ScrOG)
  • 6. The grow lights you use
  • 6.a. Guidelines for number of plants under HID lighting
  • 6.b. LED grow lights
  • 1. Factors that determine the number of cannabis plants you can grow
  • 2. Cannabis strain genetics
  • 3. The size of your indoor grow
  • 4. The size of your pots
  • 5. Training your plants
  • 5.a. Sea of green (SOG)
  • 5.b. Topping and fimming
  • 5.c. Mainlining and lollipopping
  • 5.d. Low-stress training (LST)
  • 5.e. Screen of green (ScrOG)
  • 6. The grow lights you use
  • 6.a. Guidelines for number of plants under HID lighting
  • 6.b. LED grow lights

Before you get started with your indoor grow operation, you need to have a plan. Among the things you need to think about is how many cannabis plants you can feasibly fit in your grow space.

FACTORS THAT DETERMINE THE NUMBER OF CANNABIS PLANTS YOU CAN GROW

From the available space in your tent to the size of your pots and the type of lights you’re using, several factors influence the number of plants you can reasonably fit per square metre.

CANNABIS STRAIN GENETICS

The first thing to consider is the type of cannabis you’re growing—the strain genetics. Sativas tend to grow tall, while indicas are stocky and bushier. Autoflowers grow particularly short, with some varieties reaching only 50–60cm.

Even those without significant spatial limitations tend to choose shorter cannabis varieties when growing indoors. After all, you are responsible for providing illumination, so you need to account for the space taken up by your grow lights. Moreover, if you’re growing different strains and some end up being much taller than others, this can deprive smaller specimens of light, resulting in stretching and reduced final yields.

If you don’t plan on training your plants, consider growing the same type of strain, or two strains with very similar heights, to avoid running into issues with spacing and lighting. Of course, the smaller and more compact your plants, the more you can fit per square metre. It’s up to you to decide if you’d rather crop several small autoflowers or just one or two ultra-vigorous hybrids.

THE SIZE OF YOUR INDOOR GROW

The dimensions of your growing area will largely dictate how many plants you can grow per square metre, and in general. If you’re like most home growers, you’ll likely be using a grow tent set up in a suitable location in your home.

Grow tents are available in many different sizes, from small 50 × 50cm tents to large ones that could fill half your room. The right size depends on what strain(s) you’re growing, how large your indoor growing space is, and what type of grow you are going for (heavy training, leaving plants to develop as is, etc.).

As an example, if you just want to grow a single untrained photoperiod indica plant, a 1 × 1m tent should be sufficient. As you add more plants, you’ll need to scale up accordingly. But again, don’t just account for the eventual size of the plants themselves, but also lighting, ventilation, and other equipment.

THE SIZE OF YOUR POTS

Depending on the diameter of your pots, several can fit into one square metre. But the size of your containers doesn’t just impact how many plants can fit per square metre, but also how big the plants will get overall. Said differently: The larger your pots, the bigger your plants will get.

Recommendations for pot sizes:

½ litre: Seedlings and young plants up to

15cm
2–3 litres: Plant height up to

25cm
5 litres: Plant height up to 60cm
11 litres and more: Average plant height (check strain description)

For the average indoor grow, you can fit nine 11-litre pots per square metre.

Use rectangular planting pots to fully take advantage of your available growing area. With round planting pots, you’ll be wasting valuable space.

See our planting pot calculator to find the optimal pot size for your cannabis plants.

  • 21L – 1 plants m²
  • 18L – 2 plants m²
  • 15L – 5 plants m²
  • 11L – 9 plants m²
  • 5L – 18 plants m²
  • 3L – 25 plants m²

The environmentally friendly RQS fabric pot, complete with proprietary “Aqua Breathe” geotextile layer, lets your plant’s roots breathe for optimal growth.

The environmentally friendly RQS fabric pot, complete with proprietary “Aqua Breathe” geotextile layer, lets your plant’s roots breathe for optimal growth.

TRAINING YOUR PLANTS

With plant training techniques, you can keep the number of cannabis plants to a minimum while maxing out their potential. Each of these training techniques is designed to optimise space and increase yields.

SEA OF GREEN (SOG)

4–16 plants per square metre
Outcomes: Fast yield, keeps plants short, easy to perform, comparatively smaller yields per plant

The sea of green method (SOG) is all about getting the most out of your available floor space. It is a good way to achieve a consistent outcome with photoperiod plants, clones, and autoflowers. This technique is fast and profit-yielding.

In a SOG, plants only get 1–2 weeks of vegetative growth before they are forced to switch to flowering. No pruning or training is needed. As the plants don’t have time to branch out, the result is many short plants with short main colas.

Under a 400W HPS light, you can fit 4–16 plants per m² in 5–12l containers. An optimal SOG grow can deliver multiple 500g/m² harvests per year.

TOPPING AND FIMMING

2 large/5–10 small plants per square metre
Outcomes: Simple to perform, keeps height in check, boosts yield, prolongs growth phase

Topping and fimming are high-stress training methods. By cutting off or pinching the main growing tip, you break the apical dominance of a plant so it develops multiple main colas instead of just one. This naturally results in bushier growth and causes plants to stop growing in their characteristic Christmas tree shape.

Any high-stress training technique that involves damaging your plants (like both topping and fimming) slows down growth and extends the vegetative phase. If you’re pruning, topping, and/or fimming, allow your plants to recover and expect a later harvest date. Don’t overdo it; top or FIM 2–3 times per growing season.

MAINLINING AND LOLLIPOPPING

1 large/2–4 small plants per square metre
Outcomes: Challenging to perform, consistent results, options for beginners and more advanced growers

Mainlining and lollipopping are two plant training techniques that promote the growth of large buds at the ends of branches.

Mainlining

Mainlining is a mix of topping, LST, lollipopping, and ScrOG. Plants are topped at the third node, with all the lower branches cut. This causes new growth to develop equally from one central hub, and plants are often topped a second or third time to develop multiple colas and an even canopy. This can fill up your grow space significantly depending on how many colas and the size of your pots, so keep in mind you may be able to fit fewer mainlined plants per square metre.

Lollipopping

Lollipopping is complementary but can be done on untrained plants too. All branches—including the main stem—are trimmed of unnecessary growth, leaving only the main bud and side branches with large buds. Just as with mainlining, the plant now directs energy toward the large buds.

LOW-STRESS TRAINING (LST)

2–4 large/4–6 medium plants per square metre
Outcomes: Suitable for autoflowers (no topping needed), best for beginners, requires no major recovery time

LST is a beginner-friendly training technique. You’re essentially just bending and tying down stems during vegetative growth to manipulate plants into growing horizontally. LST can be combined with other techniques, such as ScrOG. It is often done together with topping to break apical dominance, but it can also be performed without topping on autoflowers. Between 2–4 plants trained with LST can effectively fill 1m².

SCREEN OF GREEN (SCROG)

1–2 large plants/4 medium-sized plants per square metre
Outcomes: Best yield per square metre, flexible with how many plants you want to use, for advanced growers only

A ScrOG is the best way to utilise a single square metre of growing space. In this advanced training method, the screen is a grid-like mesh (chicken wire, netting, etc.) through which shoots of developing cannabis plants are woven to control growth. Growers usually start weaving their ScrOG during the vegetative phase and end it before the third week of bloom.

A ScrOG keeps only the main colas under the light so the plant’s energy goes toward bud production. Top your plants early to get more branches, then proceed to train them in multiple directions through the screen. This way, you can get the maximum yield from your available growing space.

You can choose how many plants/pots you use for a ScrOG. You could fill your space with only one monstrous plant in a large 20l pot, but you could also grow several smaller plants, such as four medium-sized plants each in a 10l pot.

THE GROW LIGHTS YOU USE

The last factor that determines how many plants you can fit into each square metre of your grow space is the type, and intensity, of your grow lights. This becomes ever-more clear when you realise that grow lights don’t spread light evenly across the entire area.

The greatest light intensity (and thus the fattest buds) is right underneath the light, then decreases significantly toward the sides. This could make growing fewer plants more sensible, as you’ll probably be sacrificing yield to poor light spread if you cram in too many. There’s no point in depriving any of your ladies.

If you’re growing weed with HID (high-intensity discharge) lights, a simple formula can give you a rough estimate for the recommended number of plants. Divide the wattage of your light by 75 and round up the fractions.

GUIDELINES FOR NUMBER OF PLANTS UNDER HID LIGHTING

  • 150W HID ÷ 75 = 2 plants
  • 250W HID ÷ 75 = 3.3 or 4 plants
  • 400W HID ÷ 75 = 5.3 or 6 plants
  • 600W HID ÷ 75 = 8 plants
  • 1000W HID ÷ 75 = 13.3 or 14 plants

When using CFLs, divide by 150. For example, using a 400W CFL: 400W ÷ 150 = 2.6 or 3 plants

LED GROW LIGHTS

Modern LEDs output the same power as HPS using only 60% of the energy. Therefore, they cover the same space in less wattage. A good 250W LED is equal to a 400W HPS, which can cover around 5–6 plants. By comparison, a high-powered 1200W LED should be able to cover around 8–9 plants.

However, keep in mind that wattage is only one value to consider when it comes to determining the power of your LEDs, as many other variables—including the type of LED—impact their effectiveness too.

When using LEDs, it is best to consult the manufacturer for the recommended number of plants to grow and the optimal distance from your lights to your plants’ canopy. Reputable manufacturers usually make this type of information available.

  • PRO TIP: If uncertain about how many plants you want to grow, it’s always better to keep it “safe” with fewer plants. Two large but happy plants with fat buds will ultimately be better than a tent full of small, light-starved cannabis that will only yield mini buds. In addition to that, you’ll also save on seeds.

Not sure how much marijuana to grow? This blog will help you figure out the right number of cannabis plants to fit in each square metre of your grow space.