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Cannabis lollipop method

How to Lollipop a Weed Plant

There are numerous training techniques which can be used to boost plant yields, and some of them provide useful practical purposes too.

One of these techniques involves pruning to lollipop a weed plant and it is a popular method to carry out at the end of the veg period for many growers to help with plant management.

How to lollipop a weed plant.

What is the lollipop pruning method for weed?

The lollipop pruning method got its name because by removing lower branches and leaving the bulbous canopy behind, the plant resembles a lollipop (well kind of!…).

Outdoor cannabis plant


Lollipopping autoflowers is feasible, but a more common training technique used with photoperiod plants, simply because they are bigger and produce more foliage.

The cannabis lollipop technique involves stripping away the bottom branches of a weed plant. So what does ‘the bottom’ mean in this context.  When you lollipop a weed plant you are focusing on the branches on the bottom third – half of the plant.

How to use the lollipop pruning method

Outdoor cannabis plant
When lollipopping a cannabis plant it is always a good idea to ensure that tools are sterilized. A pair of sharp scissors is advised for smaller branches, but pruning shears may be necessary for bigger specimens, especially well developed plants grown from outdoor cannabis seeds.

Looking at the plant it will be quite obvious which branches to cut away. The lower branches will be naturally thinner and more spindly with smaller leaves (and underdeveloped bud sites if lollipopping when in flower).

Outdoor cannabis plant lollipop pruning method

To lollipop a weed plant remove foliage by making a clean cut close to the stem. A good tip is to make this a 45° cut as this will allow water to roll off and stop moisture building up in the wound which may cause infection.

Outdoor cannabis plant lollipop pruning method

As well as those obvious lower branches, there may also be untidy growth in the middle of the plant. Again you are looking for branches that don’t bring anything to the party – small, twisty, pathetic bud site formation.

How much to cut away? If you’re unsure then exercise caution. As with all pruning  techniques a common mistake made by beginners is to get too carried away. Despite the lollipop term, the end result will more likely resemble an umbrella, with a number of branches, naked at the bottom, coming off the main stem (which will bush up with healthy growth further up into the canopy).

“Plants that are in flowering can be pruned as well to increase the light distribution to bud sites and increase the potential yield of the variety. We recommend not prune after week 3 of flowering”

When is it best to use the lollipop pruning method?

Outdoor cannabis plant lollipop pruning methodIndoor cannabis plant in a pot.As with all growing techniques, and especially training methods, growers tend to have different ideas based on their own growing experience.

Therefore most weed cultivators, growing indoor and outdoor cannabis seeds insist that lollipopping weed plants should take place before the plant has completed its veg stage. There is a logic to this because lollipopping is a medium to high stress training technique which is going to have an impact on your plant.

As a rule of thumb it takes about a week for a plant to recover from the stressful impact of a pruning surgery such as lollipopping.

Following this line of thought, any stress during the flowering period is going to have an impact on the development of the flowers, so why take the risk?  However, some growers dispute that this will significantly affect the plant and prefer to lollipop after flowering has commenced as they have a better idea of which bud sites to preserve.

Experimentation is the only way to decide for yourself which approach you are more comfortable with, but it’s advised to set the cut off limit for lollipopping weed plants at 3 weeks into flowering.

Lollipop plant benefits

  • The main reason for lollipopping your weed plant is to channel the plant’s energy away from bottom branches with less productive growth (untidy branches, small leaves and ‘popcorn’ buds) and focus development in the top buds.
  • Lollipopping is also a useful technique for improving air circulation around the bottom of the plant to help prevent mold. This is particularly popular for those growing with outdoor cannabis seeds entering a wetter and colder autumn period up to harvest.
  • It is used to allow extra light to bud sites where the upper canopy is extra dense, especially if the light source of a grow setup only comes from above.
  • It is also used to help with pest control, by effectively cutting out the little critters’ transport network for moving from the grow medium to the top of the plant and from plant to plant due to overlapping foliage.
  • Ease of giving water?

Indoor cannabis plant

Lollipopping plants to prevent hermaphroditism in the grow room.

Interesting terpene profiles and additional potency have fuelled the popularity of Californian exotic strains. However, one of the downsides of this new generation of exotics genetics is less stability.

This can sometimes lead to issues in the grow room with hermaphroditism. Pollen sack development tends to occur in the lower branches and lollipopping weed plants can prevent this.

Hermaphrodite cannabis plant

At the same time it creates a clean, manageable space for keeping an eye out for pollen sack development (allowing swift removal before they have a chance to contaminate the rest of the plant.


Lollipopping cannabis plants is a common practice used by experienced growers to manage their weed plants, promote better harvests and reduce the risk of cultivation issues in the flowering phase.

Lollipopping is one training technique amongst a handful which are regularly used and if you are interested in learning about other training techniques, our knowledge base also has articles on LST Low Stress Training), SCROG (Screen of Green),SOG (Sea of Green),Super-cropping, topping and fimming.

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