A bend or brake will stop your plant from growing normally along that stem. This can cause the stem to not grow. It can cause buds not to form. In some cases, it may introduce pathogens to the plant which can kill it.
You will need to act fast. Read on to find out more about how to care for your injured plant:
What makes a Branch Break?
In nature, there are an endless amount of possible ways that a plant can get a broken or bent stem. A storm can cause high winds which can break the stem. A passing animal may not care about the plant and trample it. An animal may just decide to see if it is food and chew on it. If you don’t have animals or a thunderstorm in your grow space, then these should not be issues that you have to deal with.
Depending on how immature your plant is, a bend or break can happen when you brush against the stem or branch. Another way that cannabis plant stems can bend or break is due to the way they are being cultivated. Depending upon if you are using high stress or low stress cultivating techniques can sometimes cause a bend or break.
There are a lot of ways in which your cannabis stems can bend or break. What is important is how to assess the damage and to repair it, if you are able.
How to Repair your Stems and Branches?
Is the branch snapped off completely? Is it bent? Is there a tear or slice in the stem? I am asking these questions because the first thing you need to do is to make an assessment of the damage and gather information. Then it is time to gather some materials together. Your best friends are going to be sturdy tape and something which provides support (if you are thinking toothpicks, popsicle sticks, or sticks then you are on the right track). All of these techniques will share some similar properties. Read on to find out what to do:
The First Problem – Repairing A Bent / Folded Stem
A bent stem can be problematic and produce a lower yield from your cannabis plant. It can slow down growth due to not getting enough water through the stem, scarring on the plant, or being bent low and not receiving enough light. A bent stem needs to be coaxed back into its “normal” shape. Do this gently! You do not want to make the problem worse.
Once you have it back into shape, put whatever you are using for support along the stem. Again – and I cannot stress this enough – be gentle with your plant when you are trying to repair these issues. Once you have the support in place use some tape to secure it. Make sure that it is tight enough to hold it in place but not so tight that it kills the cannabis plant. Check on it at least twice a day to make sure that the repair is holding and that the tape has not slipped – more if you are worried.
The Second Problem – Partially Broken Stems
A partially broken stem can cause a serious reduction in yield of weed from your plant. Not only can the branch have stunted growth – it can completely stop growing. It can also introduce pathogens to the plant – Pathogens in your cannabis can be deadly for the plant. You need to take care of this quickly. Luckily, the technique for repairing a partially broken stem is almost exactly the same as with a bent stem – with just a little more added on. You will need the same equipment. You may wish to add another support into the soil so that the branch or stem has some tension taken off of it. Have all of your equipment ready to go and at hand. Once you start you will want to do this quickly. Gently place the stem back together. Once you do add your support. While holding the break together, with the support under the broken cannabis stem, wrap your tape around the tear or break. Make sure that the area is held together while you do this. You do not want to leave space between the two sections of plants. Again, check on this repair frequently.
The Third Problem – a Full Break
The heartbreaking full break. What can be done? Is your plant going to die? Well we are going to try to make sure that doesn’t happen. A full break can be repaired. You just need to build upon the techniques you used earlier with a little more work. The difference here is that you need make sure that the two separate sides of the break are fully pressed together. You need to make sure that the broken area is VERY well supported. You need to make sure that the mend is taped together very well. Also, you need to make sure you do not do more damage to the plant than is already done. If the break happens low on the plant and is a small stem, it might be better to let it go and accept your losses with that. The full break repair is not always guaranteed to work, but if it does you may just save your weed.
Can you save a seedling?
You can save a seedling if you act very quickly. The method for saving a seedling is exactly the same as the method for a full break. You will need the exact same equipment and the same process. The difference is that you will need to be even more careful and gentle when handling the seedling. An older plant can handle stress and damage better than a seedling. Because of this you want to minimize the shock and stress.
Another method – Glue or adhesive
You can use glue or another adhesive to fix a break in your stems. I am not overly fond of this method. It is quick and can be effective, but it can introduce a lot of issues to your grow. Are the ingredients natural? Remember what your plant absorbs, becomes part of the end product. Your buds will contain some amount of the chemicals in the adhesive. When you smoke it (or however you ingest your weed), you will take those chemicals into your body. This is why I don’t recommend this.
For the sake of academic interest, we will go over it.
As with the other methods, you have to put the two pieces of the break together. You will have to support it. You will then have to put glue carefully around the outside of the stem or branch, where the break is. Do not get it between the two sides of the joint. Otherwise, you will block the channels in the plant that allow nutrients, water, and sugars to travel through the plant. This will undo your work.
It worked! Now, what do I do?
I hope it worked for you. I hope that your plant is well on its way to being the healthiest plant that it can be. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes the plant cannot fix the damage that has been done. But when it works… It feels really good to know that you helped your cannabis plant back to health, doesn’t it?
Now you just need to take the tape supports off the plant. Make sure the plant is really healed before you do this – it should be about 204 weeks. If it is, you should proceed. Be very careful when taking the tape and supports off. You do not want to damage your plant again.
A note on the techniques
You will come across a lot of information on the web about how to handle these issues. Most of the information is really good. Some of it aligns with what I have written, some of it doesn’t. These are my recommendations and what I have found works for me with fixing the plants in my grow space.
Some people don’t say to use supports for fixing broken stems and full breaks. They only recommend it for bent or folded stems. If you have tried it and that works, that’s great and I applaud you. I have found, when dealing with broken stems, that any support that you are able to put into place will be beneficial. If you broke your leg today and went to the hospital, wouldn’t you want them to put a cast on your leg? Well the same thing applies to your cannabis plant. Supporting the area of the break mitigates the stress on the plant. Obviously the plant is under enormous stress as it is, help it out as much as you can. If it saves your plant, it’ll be worth the little bit of extra work.
Can a cannabis plant recover from a broken stem?
Yes, a Cannabis Plant can recover from a broken stem. Plants are able to heal themselves to a certain degree. With a little help for you, your little green weed should be staying green for a long time. It is highly important to make sure you get to the break as quickly as possible. Otherwise you may not be able to save your stem, or maybe even your whole plant.
Can you re-attach a snapped main stem?
It is possible to reattach the main stem if it breaks. This technique is basically grafting the plant back on to the bottom of its stem. It is a more advanced technique and will not always work. But, if you are willing to try, it is the same technique as a full break.
Can you grow roots from a cannabis stem?
You can grow roots from a cannabis stem. You can use a root gel or hormones. In that case, follow the directions on the specific product you are using. If you want to try to grow roots without using gels or hormones, use the following procedure:
- Prepare an opaque container with unchlorinated water.
- Immediately place your cutting in the water. Trim its lower leaves so they are not sitting in water.
- Place your cutting on a windowsill, not in direct sunlight.
- For best results keep the temperature at 23-25°C (73.4 – 77°F). Roots should form in about 8-10 days. They should be ready for transplant in about 2 to 3 weeks. The roots should be at least 3-5 cm (1.18 – 1.96 inches) long.
How long does it take for a broken stem to heal?
Each plant is different. Your plant may not heal at all, depending on what sort of damage it has received and whether or not the plant recovers from the shock. A plant will usually recover somewhere between two to four weeks. Of course you will need to make sure that your pant is well cared for and you are checking it often.