By topping the plant—removing the flower. A tobacco plant is driven to reproduce, so it concentrates most of its energy on making a big, beautiful flower, which contains thousands of tiny tobacco seeds. The flower grows at the very top of the plant. Tobacco farmers need some seeds, but sometimes they want to grow tobacco with a little more kick, so that means removing the flower.
Taking off the flower is known as topping. When a tobacco plant is topped, especially when it’s done very early when the flower is but a bud, the tobacco plant concentrates its efforts on the leaves, which are later rolled into cigars. More energy to the leaves means more power, and stronger tobacco.
Take a look at the video above, shot in a tobacco field in Nicaragua, to better understand the process of topping.
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