PopCap’s newest release, Plants vs. Zombies, is an innovative twist to a traditional tower defense game. You defend your house against invading hordes of zombies using clever plants with special powers. In this excellent and fun new game, familiar PopCap favorites like Bejeweled, Insaniquarium, and Bejeweled Twist take on new life as they are plant-vs.-zombiefied. One of the best parts of the game are the Zen Gardens, which are obtained by finishing parts of the game or outright purchasing them from Crazy Dave.
Unlocking the Zen Garden
You can unlock the first Zen Garden by beating level 5-4 in Adventure Mode the first time through the game. This makes the Zen Garden available to you with three plants, fertilizer (5), and a green watering can that waters each plant individually. The following items can also now be purchased from Crazy Dave:
- Fertilizer – Some plants want fertilizer in order to grow. $750
- Bug Spray – Some plants need bug spray in order to grow. $1,000
- Music Box – Some plants enjoy music and need it to grow. $15,000
- Gardening Gloves – Allows you to move plants in a garden. $1,000
- Golden Watering Can – Allows you to water four plants at the same time. $10,000
- Wheelbarrow – Allows you to move plants between zen gardens. $200
- Stinky the Snail – Will pick up coin for you. $3,000
- Marigolds – Dave spawns 3 a day to be purchased for the garden. $2500
Getting Plants and Using Chocolate Wisely
Once you beat Adventure Mode, chocolate and immature sprouts in dirt pots will be begin dropping from the zombies in different levels and mini-games. Chocolate drops far more frequently than sprouts, so I try to use them fairly regularly. Many theorize that keeping your chocolates maxed at 10 will force more frequent plant drops. I have not been able to verify this theory. Feeding chocolate to Stinky the Snail, who is a familiar face from Insaniquarium, wakes him up and puts him on super speed for an hour so that he can pick up coins from your Zen Garden. I often run Plants vs. Zombies in windowed mode with Stinky the Snail gathering the coin that produce regularly. You would likely start doing this when you have at least half your garden full. Otherwise, Stinky spends a lot of time doing nothing. Plants will also produce coin faster for approximately 5 minutes if they are fed a piece of chocolate as well.
Crazy Dave sells three marigolds a day, so always buy up these marigolds, but do not let them fill more than half of your Zen Garden. You want to have room for any that drop during adventure mode, survival mode, or any of the mini-games. Sunflowers are great for producing coin but not great for selling.
Each plant has approximately three stages for growth before they are fully grown. A golden, sparkly halo around the bottom of the pot indicates a full-grown plant. Each full-marigold plant will spit out a gold coin or a silver coin approximately every two to three minutes, and the specialized plants produce coin every thirty seconds to a minute and a half.
The Mushroom Garden and the Aquarium Garden
Crazy Dave sells the Mushroom Garden for $30,000. Before you obtain the Mushroom Garden, your nighttime plants that grow from sprouts will sit in your zen garden sleeping. They will not be able to grow beyond their first stage until you have bought the Mushroom zen garden from Dave. Nighttime mushrooms drop readily from nighttime mini-games or nighttime survival mode boards. Each of these plants, when fully grown, can be sold for $10,000.
The Aquarium Garden can also be purchased from Crazy Dave for $30,000, and plants that reside in a pot full of water in their first stage are the ones that can be transported to this garden. Some plants are both aquatic and nighttime plants, so they will rest in a pot of water sleeping in your zen garden. These will wake up in the Mushroom Garden, but they will not grow until they are moved to the Aquarium Garden. Full grown plants in the Aquarium Garden will also sell for $10,000 each, so playing pool boards, especially nighttime pool boards, can rapidly fill your Aquarium Garden.
In order to move plants between the zen gardens, you must first purchase the wheelbarrow from Crazy Dave. Then simply click on the wheelbarrow and click on the plant you want to move. Alternately, you can also pick up the plant you want to move with your gardening gloves and place it on the wheelbarrow. Then click the yellow arrow to switch between your gardens. Click the wheelbarrow again and place your plant into its new space. Remember to check both of these zen gardens often because Stinky will only collect coin from the primary Zen Garden.
Tree of Wisdom
Once the Zen Garden is unlocked, Crazy Dave sells a special garden just for the Tree of Wisdom for $10,000. The tree can be fed constantly with special tree food, and it will give tips and easter eggs for the game. Here are just a few examples of the messages it gives:
Chompers and Wall-nuts work exceedingly well together.
You want two columns of sunflowers.
Snorkel Zombies… are best dealt with, with Wall-nuts on Lilypads.
Pssst! Try typing ‘future’ while playing to experiences zombies… from the FUTURE!.
What’s cheaper than free? Nothing! That’s why Puff-shrooms are essential on all night levels!
Crazy Dave sells Tree Food for $2,500. Each application will grow the Tree of Wisdom one step, and it will likely sprout a leaf with every application. The tree has approximately thirty growth levels and is yet another way to advance in PvZ.
The Zen Garden is perfect for running in the background to make some extra money while you watch TV, take a nap, or even go to bed at night. Simply take your game off of full screen mode from the options menu, feed Stinky a piece of chocolate, and he’ll run around picking up coin for an hour. When you have enough plants in your Zen Garden, he can make up to $10,000 coins in an hour easily. You can also sell the plants in your Mushroom Garden and Aquarium Garden for $10,000 apiece when they are fully grown, so make sure to check on them often! The Zen Garden is an excellent way to reach the $80,000 that you need for your final card slot in the Adventure Game and be the master of PvZ.