- Before you submit your own strategies, please see Plants vs. Zombies Wiki:Strategies first.
There are multiple ways to make money quickly in Plants vs. Zombies, a practice also known as gold farming. You can also play certain levels such as any Survival Hard or Endless levels, Column Like You See 'Em, and Last Stand.
For newer profiles, access to seed slots and mini games will be limited. One can employ early mini-games like Wall-nut Bowling and ZomBotany to get a reasonable amount of gold, somewhat quickly.
For ZomBotany, refer to the strategy guide on ZomBotany/Strategies. For Wall-nut Bowling, the idea is simple, but some luck is involved based on the formation of zombies. Try to ricochet (or bounce) the Wall-nuts off of as many zombies as possible. For every ricochet you get more coins: one silver coin for a second bounce, two silvers for a third, three silvers for a fourth, and a gold coin on five bounces, etc. Avoid using Explode-o-nuts, unless completely necessary, or use them to kill single zombies close to invading your house. Keep in mind you can align zombies in different ways by manipulating zombies who move faster than others (Newspaper Zombies and Pole Vaulting Zombies).
- Main article: ZomBotany/Strategies
ZomBotany is a good place to start if you don't have much unlocked yet, since playing through normal adventure mode will unlock it automatically for you.
Requires: eight seed slots, Garlic, Gloom-shroom, Fume-shroom, Coffee Bean,Sunflower, Spikeweed, Potato Mine, and Marigold. With nine slots you can take Imitater or Twin Sunflower if you have them, as depicted in the screenshot.
Begin by planting three to four Sunflowers in the first, third, and fifth rows. If zombies appear in that row, plant Garlic to move them into the second and fourth rows. Use Potato Mines to kill the first three zombies at the left edge of second and fourth rows. Eventually you will have Garlics in the two rightmost columns in the first, third, and fifth row, as needed. Plant one Marigold, and increase your Sunflower count to six while placing a Gloom-shroom in the third row behind the Garlic. Eventually flesh this out to what is shown in the picture; keep planting Marigolds in open spots in the first third and fifth rows as they become available, and place two more Gloom-shrooms to the left of the first Gloom-shroom. Once you have sunlight, you can begin placing Spikeweed. If you did it right, you can have seven Marigolds (without the Imitater) by the time the first Huge Wave appears. The zombies will eventually destroy your Garlic, so keep an eye on it and replace them as soon as they disappear.
This strategy should generate a little over $2000 per run without the Imitater, and approximately $3000 with it, and will also gain you the Wall-Not Attack achievement.
This example is an improvement over Example 1; however, it requires you to have unlocked three optional upgrades: Gloom-shroom, Imitater, and nine slots. Wall-nut First Aid is helpful but not strictly necessary.
Begin by placing five Sunflowers in the middle row as far left as possible. Use Potato Mines to kill the first two zombies. Use Garlic if they come in the third row. Build your first Fume-shroom in the third row, third or fourth column from the right, then place both Marigolds in the first or fifth row. Continue building up Marigolds as you can, using Garlic in the first, third or fifth rows to keep the zombies in the second and fourth rows. While waiting for more Marigolds, upgrade the Fume-shroom to a Gloom-shroom and wake it up; you should be able to do this without needing to use more than three Potato Mines. Place your first Wall-nut in the second or fourth row, then you can start placing Marigolds behind it. The goal is to have at least one Wall-nut built per second/fourth rows with two awake Gloom-shrooms by the time the first flag arrives. Eventually you will want a second column of Garlic and a second Wall-nut as insurance; you will definitely have enough Sunlight. Eventually you will arrive at the picture above. After that point, you should have enough spare sunlight to erase the Sunflowers and replace them with more Marigolds.
This strategy, properly executed, will yield between $4000 and $4500 per run, but will not give you the Wall-Not Attack achievement.
- Main article: Last Stand (PvZ)/Strategies
There are several ways to gold farm in the Last Stand mini-game.
With the upgrade that allows you to use nine seed packets, select the Marigold, Magnet-shroom, Gold Magnet, Fume-shroom, the Coffee Bean, Gloom-shroom, Garlic, Lily Pad, and the Pumpkin. If you have the ten slot upgrade, use the Tall-nut to stop Dolphin Rider Zombies or the Squash for Football Zombies, although you can bring Spikeweed to plant in the land rows to wear down the zombies.
Plant two Garlics (in the rows next to the pool) in the rightmost column, and two more on the column next to it. Plant two to three Gloom-shrooms behind it (three works best, but you can have fewer Marigolds), and wake them up with Coffee Beans, and Pumpkin the one furthest to the right. Fill in the rest of those rows with Marigolds, and plant Lily Pads in the Pool rows, starting with the column of the left-most Gloom-shrooms (if you have three), or the column behind it if there are only two. Next, plant a Magnet-shroom behind each of the left-most Gloom-shrooms, when using three, or the next column to the left when using two. Plant Gold Magnets on them, but do not wake the Magnet-shroom up first! Magnet-shrooms can be upgraded to Gold Magnets even when asleep. Plant a Pumpkin five squares back in the top and bottom rows, then plant Pumpkins on the two right-most columns of Lily Pads (but only the first if using Tall-nuts). Fill in the empty Pumpkins and the empty space to the left of your plants with Marigolds.
As the onslaught goes on, replace near-dead Garlics with fresh ones (they are near-dead when they start tearing), and near-dead Pumpkins with fresh ones. To save sun, you may wait until the instant a zombie finishes eating them, but this requires very quick responses to avoid losing plants. Click on any coins that the Gold Magnets miss. You should be able to get $7,000-10,000 this way per game, if you do not die. You get more if you use two Gloom-shrooms on each side of the pool than if you use three, but you have to be much more attentive to your Pumpkins.
If you use codes, you may want turn off the 'future' code. If it is turned on, the zombies do not pull a face when they chomp on the Garlic, so you have less time to hit them with your Gloom-shrooms. By turning it off, you do not have to watch the Garlics in the pool at all.
Unfortunately, this strategy does not seem to work as well in the DS version due to lack of seed slots and the increased danger of Jack-in-the-Box Zombies. However, to modify it to work, replace the Pumpkins in rows one and six with Tall-nuts and replace the foremost Pumpkins in the Pool with Tall-nuts as well, but do not plant the second column of Pool Pumpkins. The Pumpkins around the Gloom-shrooms can be left as they are. Do not use Magnet-shrooms or Gold Magnets, so you will have to pick up the money yourself, and plant Marigolds there instead. Whenever a Jack-in-the-Box Zombie appears, make sure to Squash it immediately, because once it comes into range of the Gloom-shrooms it will almost always explode and severely damage your setup.
REQUIRES TEN SLOTS
Using this configuration, a player can plant thirty-two Marigolds and devote all attention to maintaining the front line defenses. Save all resources for maintaining the Garlic, Pumpkin shells on the first two Gloom-shrooms, and occasionally a Wall-nut. DO NOT try to expand with more Gloom-shrooms, unless you finish a round with 700+ sun. The Magnet-shrooms remove helmets from the Football Zombies and Buckethead Zombies, both of which are resilient enough to make it back to the Wall-nuts. In their current position, the Magnet-shrooms are close enough to pull helmets just before the zombies reach the Wall-nut, giving them a chomp or two at most. Players can expect around $8000 from this approach.
SAME METHOD USING NINE SLOTS
Using the same layout, same approach with the same amount of coins obtained, for those who do not have ten slots but have nine slots, can modify the above method. Just don't take the Gold Magnet. And instead of that, put two more Magnet-shrooms.
Optional (suggested) - Instead of putting those two Marigolds in front of the Magnet-shrooms and before the Gloom-shrooms, put two more Magnet-shrooms for a better protection against those annoying Buckethead Zombies who come in the pool. This way there is less maintenance for the Pumpkin on the Gloom-shroom.
The problem with this method? You will have to manually collect all the coins yourself that come from the Marigolds. But with those extra Magnet-shrooms, you do not have to worry about the zombies and maintaining the Pumpkins as much - though you have to keep a good eye on the Garlics. For laptop users: An external mouse is recommended for collecting the coins. BONUS: Those who have external drawing tablets such as the ones from Wacom, use the stylus to collect the coins. It is MUCH easier.
When your goal is gold farming, it is not necessary to use a build which will actually win the mini-game. Skimping on offensive plants leaves more sun and space for Marigolds, at the cost of ultimately allowing the zombies to reach your house. The basic strategy is to fill most of the yard with Marigolds (using Lily Pads as necessary) and use Pumpkins to protect the first three columns to buy time. As with other builds, a Gold Magnet near the middle of the yard is useful to collect most of the coins. When the Pumpkin defenses have been weakened, additional time can be bought by using a Doom-shroom (awoken with a Coffee Bean). This is probably one of the worst choices for Gold Farming, as on average only $1000 to $3000 can be collected.
Place two Garlics in the front of a row on the top and bottom sections. On one row of the pool, Put a Garlic (on a Lily Pad) one tile in and another four tiles in. On the adjacent rows, put in a Gatling Peashooter and a Torchwood. These will act as your defenses. Now, cover up the rest of the area with Marigolds, and place one Gold Magnet somewhere safe. Now just let the game run, and the magnet will pick up any money the marigolds make. Restore the Garlic each round.
Place two Garlics on rows one and six. then, fill these rows with Marigolds. In rows two to five, plant first Gatling Peas, then Repeaters, and then Peashooter. Place a Torchwood in front of them. Remember to pick up the coins, or optionally you can plant Gold Magnets. Restore Garlics when eaten.
A cheaper, but equally powerful, layout for the central portion:
Repeater, Repeater, Peashooter;
Gatling Pea, Threepeater, Threepeater;
Threepeater, Repeater, Repeater;
Repeater, Repeater, Repeater.
This gives exactly the same amount of peas each row and costs 75 less sun.
Example 6 (For iPad, iOS and Android)
When you start Last Stand: Night, before you start the onslaught, graves will pop up, you can use Grave Busters to bust them and give you money, without actually playing the Last Stand and fighting the zombies. (You will have more than enough sun to bust all the graves.) When the graves are all busted, you can simply restart the level and repeat (without actually playing the game). However, most of the time you only get 10 coins (sometimes 50 coins) per grave (although occasionally you can even get chocolate, presents, and diamonds), so this may not be very efficient.
Watch the tutorial to the right.
NOTE: You need nine seed slots and the Gloom-shroom upgrade at Crazy Dave's Twiddydinkies.
Set up the layout like this:
GM M M M M M M G G
MP MP MP M
MP MP MP M
MP MP MP M
MP MP MP M
GM M M M M M M G G
GM= Gold Magnet
In Survival: Endless the more flags you survive, the more zombies approach you, meaning there is a greater and greater opportunity to get money. If you can survive for a lot of flags (past the 30th, where several zombies start to come) you can collect money quickly because the zombies come in huge numbers, and therefore the game drops huge amounts of coins, diamonds, and Zen Garden plants (there is an average of a diamond every 15–30 seconds). This is probably the most efficient way of getting money, although definitely not the easiest. See Survival Mode and the links below for good ways to survive.
Survival Hard and Endless
A lot of presents drop then, clogging up all the space in your zen garden. How do you fix that? Pause, go to your Zen Garden and sell them. Each sprout is worth $3000. This makes Survival Endless an even better candidate for gold farming. Ten sprouts = $30,000. A lot of Survival: Hard/Endless can fill your pockets with cash.
Fill the Zen Garden with plants, get Stinky the Snail, and get some chocolate. Plants can be bought at Crazy Dave's Twiddydinkies, or picked up randomly during the game in the various modes. Chocolate can be gathered by playing any modes, and they will be dropped randomly.
Make sure that all of your plants are full-grown and happy, and your normal Zen Garden greenhouse environment is as full as possible. Note that fully grown and happy mushrooms will stay awake in the environment, and the same applies for aquatic plants (though they don't have to be happy). Give Stinky the Snail chocolate. You can also give chocolate to Zen Garden plants to make them drop more coins.
Stinky will collect coins until the chocolate wears off one hour later. You do not need to stay at the computer to collect any coins manually, but do not minimize or close the game window or leave the Zen Garden to play other modes or no coins will be dropped or collected.
If you are not going to leave the window open for Stinky to collect coins, you can make a profit by watering the plants and playing the phonograph for the plants which request it. Do not use the bug spray, however, unless you intend to let the garden run for a while. The price of bug spray is greater than what you will earn back from the gold coins plants give when first sprayed, so you will lose money on bug spray unless you collect (or let Stinky collect) enough coins from happy plants to offset the loss.
However, note that if you are playing on the iOS version, Stinky will continue to collect coins even when you are away from the game. When you return it will pop up a message saying, "While you were away Stinky collected X coins" and you will gain the money that was collected. Because of this, it is profitable to use the Bug Spray on the iOS versions of Plants vs Zombies.
You can also sell your full-grown plants to Crazy Dave for $8000 for Normal Zen Garden plants or $10,000 for Mushrooms or Aquatic plants. You can then replace them with new Marigolds from Crazy Dave's Twiddydinkies.
Zombie Yeti - Level 4-10
One gold farming exploit/technique is to repeatedly attempt Level 4-10, the only level in the game where the Zombie Yeti consistently appears. As the Zombie Yeti yields four diamonds (worth $4,000) when defeated, the gold farming application is obvious. Do note, however, that unless your version of the game has the Quick Play mode on it (from which you can access Level 4-10 at your whim), it is necessary to reach that point in Adventure Mode after defeating it the first time. To be able to keep replaying the level, it is of utmost importance that the player does not collect the money bag at the end of the level, or restarts as soon as the Zombie Yeti is killed.
- Note: This exploit has been fixed in the Steam Game of the Year edition so that the Yeti can only be killed once during Level 4-10.
To defeat the Zombie Yeti, treat it as you would a Buckethead Zombie (without using the Magnet-shroom). Try to save a Split Pea or Starfruit to plant in front of it in case it tries to run away, and possibly a Pumpkin for it (if the defenses in the row the Zombie Yeti is occupying are weak).
One solution that gives a few thousand coins per run is to play the first Day level (just normal Zombies, easy to kill).
NOTE: It is better to use regular and Imitater Marigolds, since it takes a long time to load,and more effective than Imitater Wall-nuts.
Plant a few Sunflowers and use Potato Mines to kill the first zombie or two while you Wall-nut set up the killing field. Put Garlic at the far right of lanes one, three and five to direct zombies to lanes two and four. Put Wall-nuts in the fourth column from the right, with three Spikeweeds in front; once this is set up, the zombies will not even reach the Wall-nuts before dying. Then plant as many Marigolds and Imitater Marigolds as you can before you run out of zombies. You'll probably want to replace the Garlics between the two waves.
Another way you could do it is to plant Sunflowers in lanes one and five. Then place Potato Mines to kill zombies. After you have enough money, place Spikeweeds and Magnet-shrooms in lanes two, three and four. Start to plant the Gold Magnets. Once you have one Gold Magnet, place Marigolds in lanes one and five, but have Garlic in those lanes.Then start adding Marigolds in lanes two, three and four until the level ends.
Another way is to add more Marigolds.
As a defense, we can use Kernel-pults and Starfruit, added with Wall-nuts.
First, we need to build two rows of Sunflowers, use some Potato Mines while you set it up.
Then add a wall nut in lanes six with a Starfruit. Then, from there, start to build the Kernel-pult with Starfruit together.
After then, you can add Marigolds with a Gold Magnet in the center.
You can add more Marigold by replacing the two rows of Sunflowers by Marigolds, as the Kernel-pults and Starfruit are enough to the first (and second) level lawn zombies.
You can even bring it on to the third (pole-vault) with add two rows of Wall-nuts in columns eight to nine.
Perpetual Gold Farm
Strategy by Fungus3
You will need:
- Seven to nine slots (as many as nine if you wish to use an Imitater Marigold, Twin Sunflower, Potato Mine)
- Wall-nut or Tall-nut
- Gold Magnet
- Cabbage-pult (for its extra damage, cheapness in sun, and unaffected fire rate)
- Persistence, remembrance, and Maintenance of the Wall-nut.
- One live zombie.
The easiest way to start this farm would be on the very easiest Quick Play level (Day setting, first level). Play the level normally, adding Marigolds if you have the sun. Once you kill off the last of the zombies, KEEP ONE ALIVE and stall it with a Wall-nut and Pumpkin combination. Once the zombie is stalled, you can start filling the lawn with Marigolds. Gold Magnets are recommended so the harvesting is automated. The farm should be completely automatic non-stop as long as the game is running on that level (not paused) and the zombie is alive (allowing the plants to still continue producing sun or money). The only necessary player interaction would be to replace the Wall-nut and Pumpkin every so often.
Your farm should look like this:
S M M M M M M M M Symbol Legend S M M M M M M M M M Marigold S M M M G M M M G N Wall/Tall-Nut (Pumpkin is represented by S M [N]zM M M M M M z Zombie brackets.) S M M M M M M M M S Sunflower (Normal or Twin) G Gold Magnet
NOTE: You can have the lone zombie on any lane or position. Just remember to place a fresh Wall-Nut and Pumpkin before the zombie eats through them.
When the farm is no longer needed, kill the zombie.
Enjoy your earnings, and maybe some bacon.
Note that this strategy does not work on the iOS or PC versions, as Marigolds will stop producing coins during huge waves.