By Luke Sumpter

Almost every cannabis cultivator grows with big, sticky buds in mind. Not only do large and thick flowers possess more cannabinoids and terpenes, but they simply look better. Canopies appear denser when bearing large buds, and the fruits of your labour look much more impressive when you show them to your weed-loving friends.

Although massive flowers are a delight, they can pose a few problems. For example, cannabis branches can only handle so much weight. If your flowers become excessively large, the canopy can pay the price and branches can even buckle.

But don’t let this stop you from growing the largest cannabis flowers possible! Below, we'll show you some tips for growing huge buds while keeping your precious plants intact. Find out how to keep your buds from falling over.

1. Support Plants With String and Stakes

Cannabis growers can take care of their canopies with tools as simple as bamboo canes and pieces of string. Whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, this is a time-tested technique.

  • Bamboo Canes

Bamboo canes are inexpensive yet extremely effective. These cheap but sturdy tools will help keep the main stem upright and prevent branches from sagging under the weight of heavy buds.

Best Ways To Support Large Cannabis Buds Indoors and Outdoors

You can use them both indoors and outdoors when your buds become too heavy for their branches. Simply lodge a few canes into the soil around your plants. Use soft garden ties to secure branches to the canes, but leave some room to allow the branches to thicken as the plant continues to grow.

If you're growing in containers, you can attach bamboo canes along the rim of the pot using duct tape. Form a circle around your plant using 6–8 canes and tie any weak links in your branches to the structure for additional support.

  • String

String allows growers to secure large marijuana colas, even without the use of canes or stakes. If you come across any branches that look like they’re about to break, use some string to offload the weight.

Tie one end onto the affected branch and the other to a point higher up on the main stem. We recommend only using this method on large outdoor sativa plants with sturdy stems capable of taking on the extra load.

Best Ways To Support Large Cannabis Buds Indoors and Outdoors
  • Outdoor Cannabis Staking Protocol

Be mindful that whatever you use to support your outdoor weed plants will be exposed to the elements. In terms of the aforementioned bamboo canes, these can rot with prolonged exposure to rain, and can pass on harmful diseases to your plants as a result. If you live somewhere rainy, consider an alternative material, such as fibreglass.

It’s a similar situation with the string. Don’t choose anything that degrades easily or is prone to rotting. 

2. Trellising

Trellising involves using a mesh with a wide lattice to support the growth of your plants. Trellising has many benefits: it spaces out your buds, maximises grow space, and provides structural support.

Best Ways To Support Large Cannabis Buds Indoors and Outdoors

Indoor trellising can be carried out in several ways. You can use vertical trellises, which travel alongside your plants, or horizontal trellises, which are suspended at a certain height above your plant’s level. Horizontal trellising is often carried out with the screen of green growing method, whereby the plant is cultivated such that most of the heavy plant matter is above the trellis. Screen of green requires a moderate amount of skill, as you will need to prune your plants, direct their growth, and lay out your garden with some degree of precision. If trellising is set up incorrectly, it can restrict sunlight and airflow to the lower parts of the plants, and cause stunted growth and other negative side effects. It may not be the best method for a first-time grower. Unless, that is, you really want to challenge yourself!

Standard trellises are usually two-dimensional screens, and they work perfectly for climbing vegetables such as beans. However, because cannabis is more of a bushy plant, outdoor plant cages achieve the same effect while catering to the weed plant's specific shape.

  • Outdoor Plant Cages

Plant cages work brilliantly at supporting the weight of huge weed flowers. Simply purchase a roll of sturdy garden mesh and form a column around your plants. If you’re growing in containers, attach the cage onto the rim of the pot. If you’re using beds, simply press the cage into the ground around your plant.

Tie together both ends of the roll with garden ties to maintain the columnar shape. As your plant grows, the branches will pass through the gaps in the mesh, which will work to support them against the heavy force exerted by big buds.

3. Wire Tomato Cages

You can place your weed plants in wire tomato cages to give your branches something to hang on to. As tomato plants and weed plants are shaped differently, this method requires some customisation. Wire tomato cages tend to be narrow at the bottom and wide on the top, while weed plants tend to be wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. As such, you’ll need to use string, velcro, or twist ties to attach the lower parts of the plant to the cage, as per the first method in this guide. This method may not be ideal for very young plants, as the cages could make it hard to get the lamps within range of the plants.

Just like large cannabis flowers, big, juicy tomatoes place a lot of strain on branches and stems. These handy devices are specifically designed to protect tender branches against the force of gravity. 

Best Ways To Support Large Cannabis Buds Indoors and Outdoors
  • Perfect for Outdoor Cannabis Plants

Wire tomato cages are similar to plant cages when it comes to protecting cannabis plants. However, they save a lot of work, especially if you’re growing a lot of plants. They arrive ready to do their job, with no cutting, fitting to size, or tying required.

These structures are often much more sturdy than homemade cages, too. Because outdoor plants are exposed to high winds and stormy weather, wire tomato cages offer a bit more protection, without having to stake your cages into the ground.

4. Plant Yoyos

Plant yoyos are an easy way to give your plant support while interfering minimally with its structure. Plant yoyos are small plastic hooks attached to a string, which then attaches to a mechanism which attaches to the top of your grow tent. Plant yoyos allow your grow tent to hold some of the weight of your plant. The plastic hooks are designed to touch a minimal surface area of your plant, and yet to distribute weight evenly so as not to cause damage. If you’re using a grow tent, plant yoyos are the simplest way to get those heavy buds some support!

Best Ways To Support Large Cannabis Buds Indoors and Outdoors

Add Fertiliser To Improve Plant Strength

If you want stronger stems and branches, you need to go to the source: nutrients in the soil. Give your plants fertiliser rich in calcium, potassium, and phosphorus to help them get buff. After all, the best case scenario is to have heavy buds and plants hefty enough to handle them!

One caution is to avoid giving your plant too much of any one nutrient. In particular, supplementing your plant with calcium while neglecting potassium and phosphorus can backfire in a big way!

  • Organic Outdoor Fertiliser Methods

Outdoor growers have access to a wide range of organic nutrients that do cannabis plants a world of good. Instead of pouring bottles of synthetic chemicals into your growing medium and hoping for the best, use organic substances such as worm castings and compost to feed your soil.

By composting all of your kitchen scraps and garden waste, or feeding it to worms in a vermicompost setup, you’ll convert rubbish into a rich source of nutrients.

Not only does this material contain all of the nutrients your plants need, but it possesses high levels of organic matter, feeding the soil microbes that go on to feed your plants.

Mix compost and worm castings into your potting soil before getting your grow off the ground. Going forward, use it as a top dressing every few weeks to keep your soil fed.

Supporting heavy buds is more art than science. To find out what’s right for you, listen to your plant, gauge its innate strength, figure out where it’s strong, and find out where it needs support. Happy growing!

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