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Can You FIM Side Branches of Your Autoflowering Plants?

Before I answer this article’s main question, I would like to clarify what FIMing is. Cannabis naturally grows to take the shape of a Christmas tree, and although it is nice to look at, it is not productive if you want a plentiful yield to sell. FIMing is very similar to topping, but instead of producing two colas, you are creating four colas. Two reputable companies recount that the word “FIM” actually came about when a cannabis farmer was topping one of his plants and instead of cutting the top of the cola completely off, he just cut the top leaves and said to himself, “F**k, I missed.” Hence the acronym FIM.

This process is just a way for cannabis farmers to increase their yields from one cola to four colas and also works as a trimming when one is growing autoflowering cannabis seeds indoors. When you get your four colas, you have to tie them down so that you are forcing the autoflowering cannabis plant or any cannabis plant for that matter to have a flat canopy. This allows for equal distribution of light while also saving money by decreasing the amount of light needed.

The Debate

To go back to the question at hand, the debate about FIMing for autoflowering cannabis plants is like a double-sided sword. Some farmers say that you can FIM these autoflowering plants because it can increase their yields due to more colas being made. Others say that you cannot FIM autoflowering cannabis plants because since they grow so fast, the plants will not have enough time to recover. 

Since FIMing requires a grower to cut the plant, it could shock the plant and stunt its growth. This will not be good for the farmer because that means that he or she will not be able to harvest a lot of buds. So, in honor of giving an objective opinion, I give you the yae vs nae battle; and I will let you decide if you want FIM your autoflowering cannabis plants or not.


There are many people out there that agree with FIMing their autoflowering cannabis plants. For one, it is not as traumatic as a topping. Instead of using scissors, a grower can use a simple thumbnail. Since it is not as traumatic, FIMing barely slows the autoflower’s growth. This is very helpful since autoflowering cannabis plants grow fast with a 12-week harvesting time, so the grower doesn’t have to worry about long recovery time.

Next is that there is a possibility that you can FIM an autoflowering cannabis plant more than once. This is only possible for plants that grow vertically. For example, it is possible to FIM sativas such as the Amnesia Haze twice because it grows tall and lanky. When you do the first FIMing though, you should always aim for the fourth or fifth node when it is in its first two weeks of vegetation. This will increase the number of colas as well as create equal lighting for the plants.


Now, we get to the other side of this FIMing sword. There are just as many reasons people think that FIMing is a bad idea for their autoflowering cannabis plants. One of the top reasons is because of how short they are. Medium says that it is advised that if autoflowering plants grow horizontally then just leave the plant alone. Indica-dominant autoflowering cannabis plants, for example, grow large buds. If a grower tries to FIM these plants, then he or she is risking the bud rotting or snapping the bud off entirely. 

Another reason to not FIM is if you over-water or under-water your autoflowers. Autoflowering cannabis plants, just like any other cannabis plant, need the right amount of moisture and humidity. For example, if a grower FIMs an autoflower when there is not enough water, then when it needs to recover, there will not be enough water or moisture to help compensate and sustain the autoflowering cannabis plant. The opposite happens when there is too much water. Nonetheless, both situations can be very detrimental to the plant’s growth since it does grow fast.

The size of your garden and the timing of your lights also play a factor in nae-sayers’ argument against FIMing. If your garden is small like ones that you see on the balcony or in the closet, then you can’t FIM. The reason behind this is that there is not enough space or enough plants which again can cause you to risk losing your harvest to forced training. As far as light timing goes, if you do the 12/12 sunlight to darkness hours, then FIMing is out of the question according to the nae-sayers.


A lot can be used for and against the FIMing debate. Whether you are growing autoflowering cannabis seeds indoors or outdoors, recreational use or medical use, or for anything else; you can expect FIMing to become a heated top discussion. At the end of the day, it all comes down to common sense and experience. If you have years of experience in FIMing and want to experiment FIMing on a small portion of your autoflowering cannabis crop, then go right ahead. However, if you do not have that much experience, then it bottles down to common sense if it will be best for your crop or not.

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