How to Top Autoflowering Plants the Right Way?

cannabis autoflower topping

The cannabis autoflower topping is a training technique to manipulate the growth of your marijuana plants. This allows you to maximize the possible yields you can get from your plants. 

Can you attempt to cannabis autoflower topping to get better yields? Let us answer that question by looking into how topping works and provide other tips on getting the highest yield rate on autoflower plants.

Topping procedure

Topping a marijuana plant involves cutting the top growth. You make the incision on the main stalk or stem of the plant right above the topmost branch. 

Most marijuana plants grow vertically when you leave them alone. This is why they have a pine tree-like shape as they go through the vegetative cycle. When you cut the topmost part of a plant’s stem, you create a blockage of its energy flow. This diverts the plant’s energy towards the side branches. 

Allowing the side branches to grow results in a bushy shape plant. Doing so will create multiple main colas on your plant where your buds can grow. It also allows all parts of the plant to get exposure to the light. 

It is important to note that creating multiple colas will not increase or double the expected yield rate of your marijuana plant. Instead, you avoid producing a singular large bud and small immature ones. Topping will help distribute the plant’s energy to other colas on your plant.

The process leads to fully produced buds surrounding the plant. The total amount of buds from topped plants results in better yields than plants that grow on its own. 

Other benefits of topping marijuana plants are to keep their height down to a manageable level. 

Feasibility of topping autoflower plants

To disprove any myths or misinformation, it is possible to top autoflowering plants. The issue with these plants is the level of difficulty in successfully topping it. 

Autoflower plants differ greatly from regular cannabis plants in terms of the growth cycle. Auto seeds have only around three to four weeks of vegetation to develop its plant structure.  

Take note that topping plants is a stressful experience and they require a significant amount of time to recover. Plants also require time to grow laterally in order to achieve a bushy shape and create multiple colas. 

Photoperiod or regular cannabis plants have no problem with the stress of having its top part removed. They have as low as eight weeks to recover and grow their side branches. Autoflower plants have a small window of opportunity to create multiple colas. 

Proper autoflower topping method

As we mentioned earlier, topping autoflower plants is possible. You can also expect slightly better yields if you can do this properly. 

Timing is a crucial factor in training your auto plants and giving them the time to recover. A good time to cut the top part of your auto plant is when they have at least four to five pairs of leaves. This usually happens around the second week of their lifespan.  

The second important factor in successfully topping your plant is its health. A robust plant can withstand the shock of topping and quickly grow its side branches. Green leaves with a light hue indicate a healthy plant that is suitable for topping. 

Avoid cutting the top branch of a plant if it’s showing any signs of nutrient deficiencies. One of the signs includes a yellowish patch on its leaves. Do not top plants that are developing slower than other neighboring plants of the same strain. 

Alternative training for autoflower plants

A safer way of getting the highest yield rate for autoflower plants is to use low-stress training (LST). This method involves bending the main stalk and securing it in place with twine or a strong string. 

LST allows all parts of the plant to get full exposure to sunlight. This is due to the top branches not covering the bottom ones. This allows all of the branches to grow at an equal rate and have the branches gain a bushy shape. 

Unlike topping, LST does not put a significant amount of strain on auto plants since you are not cutting out any part of it. Auto plants only need a few days to recover from bending their main stalk. Without needing too much time to recover, your auto plants can focus more on growing its stalks taller and produce more colas. 

Keep in mind that LST works best on healthy plants that grow and develop at a steady pace. You may not get the same yields as sickly or stunted auto plants. 

Applying LST to young plants is a good idea. This is when their stems are still bendable and not rigid. In addition, avoid using too much force when bending the stalk. Apply just as much as possible and secure it with a soft string that will not cut the plant. 


You now know how to top your auto plants to max out their yield rates. If cannabis autoflower topping seems risky, you also know how to use LST on your plants instead. 

Working on getting the best possible yields from your auto plants can do wonders for your self-esteem. Enjoying the strains should never be a crime at all. As James Franco would put it “Taking weed is just like enjoying a cold beer.”


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