SET UP III Plant size, spacing and pruning

There are many types of plants you can grow indoors so there are many genetic differences in growth rate and potential size. No matter what plant you grow, you can affect growth. If you keep the plants in small containers  you will make plants smaller. You can induce your plant to flower earlier making the plant smaller. If you want larger plants you keep them in larger containers and let them grow large before inducing flowering. Plant size is controlled by specific genes so it is something that is easy to include in a breeding  program, if you are interested.

There are many different opinions on how much space a plant needs. Basically, the closer you space your plants the less room they have to grow. So, you have two choices grow many small plants close together or several large plants spread out. You need to decide what type of plant spacing will work best with the light and area you have. In general, the total growth in a room with many smaller plants will be greater than a few larger plants. This may not be true with all plants, some may not be able to grow in small spaces and flower/fruit successfully.

The final height of the plant also determines the space needed. A 10 foot plant will need at least 4 feet diameter of space to grow; a 4 foot plant will need 1 foot diameter etc. You can prune or train plants to be smaller and fit into your grow area if their growth habit does not exactly fit your grow space.

With pruning again there are two basic ideas -- prune the plants and don’t. I don’t like to prune, removing leaves is bad as the leaf is an organ of a plant that makes sugars to provide the plant energy.  I think what I don’t like is that people think pruning will make a plant grow better. It won’t. It will make a plant grow the way you want it to, with a specific shape or size, which may be better for you but is not for the plant. If you don’t prune your plants indoors you should have an HID like me that emits light that can penetrate several feet. If you do not have an HID, you may find it better to prune plants so that the plant grows directly under the light. Another option I like is to tie your plants down instead of pruning. This leaves the leaves on the plant to gather light and keeps the plant in the area you have to grow it in.

Good Growing,
Dr. E. R. Myers

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