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Fimming & Topping Tutorial

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FIM Your Way to Multiple Colas!


by Sirius Fourside

FIMing: The act of pinching or cutting a young cannabis plant in such a way as to force it to grow 4 main colas instead of one. FIM is used as a word itself, but is actually an acronym for “F**k, I missed!”

So what exactly is FIMing?

power-of-scrog-growing-marijuana-hps-xsmFIMing is an easy way for growers to dramatically increase their yields while also making the plant more manageable for limited spaces.

I know that sounds too good to be true, but it’s definitely the case!

The problem with the natural growth pattern of the cannabis plant is that it tends to be shaped like a Christmas tree. This is inefficient, and not very good for indoor growing since the main cola will typically receive much more light than the rest of the plant.

When you FIM your marijuana plant, it grows 4 main colas instead of one (this is where the extra yields come from). Next, the grower would typically tie those 4 colas down a bit to help force the plant into having a flat canopy. This allows you to lower your lights and makes it so most of the plant is receiving a higher overall amount of light.

Whenever you see a picture of a marijuana plant with multiple large buds that are at a similar height, the grower almost certainly used FIMing or another technique called ‘Topping’ to achieve this.

At this point, choosing whether to FIM or not might seem like a no-brainer, and I agree that it’s a technique that most growers should employ. However, nothing is absolute, and there could be a few scenarios where FIMing isn’t for you:

  • If you’re doing a tiny microgrow, such as in a computer case
    • In tiny stealth microgrows, there isn’t always room for an effective FIM.
  • If you’re doing '12/12 from seed'
    • Your plant will get close to skipping the vegetative stage, and that’s the only time to FIM.
  • Auto-flowering strains
    • It's generally a bad idea to top OR FIM auto-flowering marijuana plants, as they don't have enough time to recover before they start flowering, similar to plants grown 12/12 from seed
  • You don’t like having lots of weed at your disposal
    • I know that sounds like a joke (it was, a bit), but some places have limits to the amount of weed you can possess, and FIMing could actually get you in more trouble in some cases because of all the extra buds you will produce.

FIMing vs. Topping

fim-vs-top-sm.jpgFirst, what is ‘Topping’?

Topping is a technique similar to FIMing, wherein you cut a young cannabis plant to create extra colas. However, unlike FIMing, the Topping technique produces 2 colas instead of 4.


This article is about FIMing, and does not go in depth about Topping. FIMing can be a superior choice in many cases. Why FIM instead of Top?

  • FIMing is less traumatic to the plant
    • When you FIM your cannabis, you only need to pinch the newest growth, which doesn't really stress your plant much. With Topping, totally removing the newest growth is necessary, which is a stressful event for young marijuana plants.
  • FIMing barely slows down plant growth; Topping slows down plant growth considerably for a short period.
    • When you FIM your plant, you will see recovery move at a much higher speed than with Topping. When I FIM one of my plants at the beginning of the day, I can usually already see it adjusting by bedtime.
  • FIMing creates 4 main colas at once, while Topping only creates 2.
    • Double the main colas…no explanation needed!
  • aurora-2013-sm.jpgIt’s easy to FIM a plant more than once!
    • I wouldn’t necessarily advise this tactic for growers who are new to FIMing, but definitely keep this in mind! You can FIM your cannabis plant more than once, and with some Low Stress Training, you get plants with dozens of colas like the one to the right.
  • How to FIM Your Marijuana Plants

There are three important factors we need to pay attention to when FIMing your plants for the first time:

  1. Pinch vs. Cut – What method do we use to remove/damage the new growth and force new colas?
  2. Amount – How much do I pinch/cut?
  3. Timing – At what point in the plants development do we FIM?

Pinch vs. Cut

When you’re FIMing your plant, you have the option of either cutting off a piece of the new growth or pinching it. Both have the potential to work equally well at forcing the plant to create new colas. However, I strongly recommend pinching your plant instead of cutting it since pinching leaves more room for error.

pinched-leaf-sm.jpgAnother benefit of pinching is that it leaves the damaged foliage on the plant. This way, your girls at least have a chance to continue using those leaves if they can, whereas with cutting they don’t have the option. Here’s a case:

In my last grow, I saw a few weird looking leaves that appeared to be chewed-up. Upon further examination, and judging by where I found them, I determined that they were actually pinched leaves! The plant kept those leaves, and used them to make energy all the way til harvest!


When FIMing your plants, the amount you’ll want to pinch is actually quite small. You’re basically pinching the tips of the leaves of the newest growth on the main cola that hasn’t ‘stretched-out’ yet. See the picture further down for a good example.


The first pinch or cut in a FIM should happen when your plant has 3-5 nodes (or sets of leaves) in total. Once that initial FIM has been completed and the plant has recovered, a grower can use his/her discretion to determine when to FIM again as it’s mostly based on plant health and desired shape. Just remember to make sure your plant looks healthy and recovered before FIMing again!

copied and pasted from - http://www.growweedeasy.com/fim-your-way-to-multiple-colas


Topping a Plant

1. Locate the very top of your plant and cut through the main stem just below the newest growth. This should be done after the 3rd or 4th leaf set but can be done at any time after the 3rd leaf set.

2. Shows Plant Top cut off and where the 2 new Branches that will form a "Y" in the main
stem will grow from.

3. Shows the newly topped plant after 2 days of growth, notice the Y in the
Stem Forming.


copied and pasted form - http://www.cannaversity.com/cannaversity/article.php?id=091




After seeing and hearing many questions about the FIM method I decided to do a tutorial on this method to show exactly how it is done and the results that can be achieved.
FIM stands for Fuck I Missed and im not sure how it got that name because its very simple to do. I use this method all the time to help create a wide canopy with many branches and colas. Some people FIM each plant more than once to create even more colas and branches and it works very well for them and has very minimal stress on the plant.

I usually FIM plants when they are about 10-12 inches tall (I have done it on both taller and shorter plants) but the earlier the better. As long as the plant has at least 4 true sets of leaves it can be FIMmed successfully. All FIMming should be done at least 2 weeks before turning to 12/12 to maximise the growth potential of the new shoots and maximise the benefits of using this method.

#1 Locate the very top of the new growth.


#2 With a clean, sterilized scissors, Fold the fan leafs over and cut approximately 80% of the new growth off the plant.


#3 This is what it should look like after the cut has been made.


#4 View of the Cut section after 2 days growth, showing the 4 new growth shoots (branches)


I sometimes dont even use scissors and I just pinch out some of the new growth with my fingers. Heres a few pics of another plant that I pinched with my fingers. This plant has been neglected throughout its short life so far and it has been sitting under a shitty fluro light so it would be doing much better under some decent lighting and better conditions but it gives you an idea of the early progress.
You can see the dot where the FIM was done.









4/6/09 Now you can see how many new shoots have started to form and you can get some idea of how many main branches this plant will have





This is the difference between FIMming and Topping:




copied and pasted from -http://www.marijuanagrowing.eu/tutorials-tips-tricks/the-fimming-tutorial-t36632.html




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I like this im doing a og kush and a Ak47 are they ok to f.i.m I have f.i.m others plant and I seem to get to many tops and they grow up very close together so no light gets to the main parts off bud and the weed has not been that good this time I toped a thc bomb by bomb seeds at about 8 inchs high by accident I broke it but it has grown about 1 and a half metres high and I have toped 2 white rhino and the tops are ok but when I have tried to fim them they go wrong any idea or is it down to studying the plant before growing im in to much off a rush but im in to getting this right because I have seen some amazing topprd plants I think it the difference between 15 to 20 grams or 100 to 200 grams a plant

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Some plants don't like to be topped,so it is good practice to research a strain before, purchasing or growing it.


I haven't grown either strain, so I can't give a personal growing expirience to you.


When ordering seeds, check out the breeders site first,it may tell you in the write up what they do or don't like.


Google is your friend so often people forget to use it. It is on my list to try! In the mean time I'm doing a selection of auto's , so can't try it untill I do a Photo grow, but the results I have seen, were very impressive.


Firstly google your strain like this  "og kush topping" or as if your asking a question "does og kush like being topped".


When searching make sure the strain you read about is from the same seed breeder as your seed, some cannabis strains have same name but different breeder. So the plants may have different characteristics.


I've had a look round the interweb for you and from what I read, both straiins  should  like a nice bit fimming or topping.


when reading about the OG kush there was advice about it like to stretch due to the sativa influence and should be flowered around 30 cm for a finish height of 100cm, maybe look in to this as I don't know who bred your seed.

with out all the details this is the best I can do, I hope it helps.


Best thing is to do a little research ,have a  look around the interweb and you'll be sure  learn alot from other people asking the same question, plus some nice information you didn't expect, but probably find handy.


It doesn't matter if you find it on another forum, I'll look anywhere as long as I find the information I'm looking fort,  when I do find my answer, I  like to bring it home to Strain Hunters & share it with the family. ;)


Why not check out the main lining tutorial - http://forums.strainhunters.com/topic/7882-main-lining-tutorial/

Another mainlining how to thread - http://forums.strainhunters.com/topic/7880-main-lining-what-is-it-how-to-do-it/


Mainlining will shape a plant a bit like a goblet,  allowing more light in than the traditional christmas tree shape.Main Lining will give you  either 8 or 16 colas depending how you top them.


When learning a new technique, it may not always go as planned, but thats how we learn, there isn't a single grower, who hasn't made mistakes at some point when growing.


I wish you luck with your grow and hope your ladies will enjoy your attention. ;)


One last thing, not everybody likes to use the same techniques, If you want to try a new or different technique then do so, but always look into it first. This way in the future you can talk with experience about it and say how it did or didn't work for you.


peace & smokes



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thanks lambs og kush is dinafem & the Ak47 is serios seeds I have been practicing with the others this is my go were im hoping to do a lot better I have had a look at shawns og kush it says about feed but not topping he does to some fim tech I think and the Ak47 gonzoghost did this strain and fim and trimmed a lot so I now about feed im thinking off fiming them and then tie the four tops down that is the bit that never works out right the branches end up to stiff or I have snapped them the topping im not to bad its the tieing down bit that goes over my head yhanks for getting back peace my friend

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Always happy to lend a hand where I can, but with so many posts, I can't always answer with a big answer.


You did the right thing to check out grows of the same strain as yours.  other members who have grown this,can also give you some nice help and answer questions.


When you find someone growing the same strain and/or using the same technique, this is where gold is found. These threads and posts will surely be a great help to you & you can read how they did it .


Have you started a grow journal for your girls? If you haven't , why not start one. This will help as we can see your plants grow and be able to advise accordingly, plus we just love to see this wonderful plant in as many pics as we can. :D


Happy growing brother



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I havent got it yet but I have ordered a compost bucket thing so I can make my own compost for my next grow or one in thr future but that is for a different day thanks&peace

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It is wonderful that you are attempting the topping and fimming techniques. And do not fear the tying-down techniques. Many times when one "breaks" a limb, they think all is lost for that limb and then try to do too much to "correct" their mistake. But it wasn't a mistake.... The so-called "break" is actually good for the plant. As long as the parts of the plant remain in contact with each other and the central cavity remains relatively closed, the parts will begin immediately to rebuild their broken Cambrium tissues. The resulting Cambrium tissue will be even bigger and stronger than original, and because it is bigger and stronger, it will be able to transport even more nutrients up and down between the roots and the leaves.

So yes, go ahead and bend those limbs apart, even to the point that they kink. No problem. If you wish, you can tie them to a support for one or two weeks until they accept their new shape and can support their own weight (normally requires no more than 3 or 4 days). The limbs that try to grow too high, simply tie them down about even with the other limbs so that they do not become dominant and steal the best nutrients. After one or two weeks, the limbs will achieve a nutrient-equilibrium, then all the limbs can be released and then the flowering Phase can begin with each limb on a fairly even playing field.

Another technique that I use is to squeeze a limb or stem between my finger and thumb (not fingernails) as hard as I can stand the pain, up and down the stem, and then do it again 90° from the original plane up and down the stem. (Ha ha, my wife thinks I am torturing the plants. But No...) This action crushes some of the Cambrium tissue throughout the entire stem or limb without opening the central cavity. Sometimes I intentionally kink or twist (Wrench) the main stem or limb, and then I simply leave the plant alone for 2 or 3 days. They have always recovered and stood up again with rock hard stems and limbs.

You mentioned a compost bucket.... Even better is to compost your vegetable waste in a worm farm composter. If you haven't yet seen this, Google-up "worm farm techniques". There are excellent worm farms also to be seen in YouTube. They are super simple to build. You can even get compost tea right out of the worm farm set-up. Use at least 4 Levels, even better up to 6 Levels. Worm castings are one of the absolute best soil amendments possible.


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Fimming really works!!! It is pretty much a proven method...been doing it for years. Will post some pics. If i can ever figure out this damn computer! Good stuff this forum...

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It is not really recommended to top or fim autos  as it will stunt the growth and with the time limitations does not give them enough time to recover and you might end up with a very small plant. Have not tested this myself but maybe someone on here who has can give some more info.  :gamer:

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