Popcap’s award-winning game, Plants vs. Zombies, operates like a modified tower defense game. Shock full of mini-games and special content, one of my favorite features is the Zen Garden. In order to unlock all the tools, extras, and special plants in the game, players must collect gold in order to buy items and unlockables from Crazy Dave’s shop. In each stage, Sun is the currency used to create a suitable defense to ward off crazy zombies of all types, but starting in level 2, defeated zombies being dropping gold coins that players use to buy nifty items like the Zen Gardens, the Double Sunflower, and the Corn Cannon. This guide explains some cheesy but legit ways to get gold fast and some ways to collect extra coin by beating survival stages.
Last Stand Strategy
This strategy requires that the Last Stand mini-game is unlocked. This can be accomplished by defeating the first thirteen mini-games.
Recommended Plants: Marigold, Lily Pad, Coffee Bean, Magnet Shroom, Gold Magnet, Pumpkin, Doom Shroom
Plant Marigolds in the first two lawn rows. Then fill the pool with lily pads, and fill the bottom two rows with Marigolds. Then begin planting the pool rows carefully with marigolds and leaving the 5th lily pad in row three empty. Put a Magnet Shroom there, and do not awaken it with a coffee bean. Use the Gold Magnet card on it. The Gold Magnet is not nocturnal and does not need to be activated with a coffee bean for it to work. Fill the rest of the lily pads with Marigolds. Finally, put Pumpkins around the marigolds in column 8 and 9. (These are the two columns on the right side of the screen where the zombies first appear.) You should have 250 suns left at this point.
Start the game and let the zombies come forth. They will begin chomping away at the pumpkins. Just ignore them and help your Gold Magnet collect all the coins popping out of the Marigolds. When the zombies get near your Gold Magnet, drop a Doom Shroom in any of the now empty spots and activate it with the Coffee Bean. You will only be able to do this once. Let the zombies go ahead and chomp their way through the rest of your plants. Once you have no Marigolds or the zombies have eaten your brains, simply start over and repeat.
The reason this strategy works so well is this stage ignores the reset timer on the Marigolds. Once one is planted, it takes a long time before they can be planted again in a normal stage.
Estimated Haul: Anywhere between 9,000 gold coins and 15,000 gold coins depending on your timing.
Survival Mode Strategy
Playing Survival: Pool (Hard) with a very basic defense and tons of Marigolds can result in lots of gold coins as well as chocolates and plants. The same strategy can be used for Survival: Pool (Easy) if Survival: Pool (Hard) is not yet unlocked. The Tree of Wisdom tells us that plants drop most in boards with pools, so this is an excellent and easy way to get gold coins and plants.
Recommended plants: Sunflower, Potato Mine, Pumpkin, Magnet Shroom, Gold Magnet Shroom, Lily Pad, Melon Pult, Marigolds, Spikeweed, Rockweed, Coffee Bean, Twin Sunflowers
Survival: Pool (Hard) can be easily defended with a row of Winter Melon Pults, and the last four boards can be easily played with four full rows of Marigolds. The first order of business is to get two columns of sunflowers down in every row. Defend them with potato mines until you can afford Melonpults, and place them in the pool before the lawns. They will be all you have defending your pool lanes. Melonpults do area of effect (AoE) damage, so make sure that you leave the bottom rows for last.
Put a Gold Magnet Shroom in row 4, column 5. That is right in the middle of the entire board. It will be best for picking up the gold coins that the Marigolds toss out every now and then. Marigolds are on a very long timer, so the earlier you can put them down, the better. In the first stage of Survival: Pool (Hard), make sure that you get all your Sunflowers planted, and make sure that the first column all gets turned into Twin Sunflowers. You do not want to have to take the Sunflower or the Twin Sunflower card in stage 2 of Survival.
From then on, make sure that you take Marigold as your first card and plant one in front of your melon pults as soon as you are able to do so. Again, they have a really long timer, so it will take at least 2 boards to completely fill the space available. Please see the picture for the final layout.
Estimated Haul: Between 6,000 and 8,000 gold coins. Sometimes a couple of diamonds drop, and usually you will receive one or two plants. This is very important for the fastest way to make coin in the game.
The Zen Garden Strategy
The Zen Garden in Plants vs. Zombies probably serves as the most effective and efficient way to get gold coins. If the Zen Garden is even half full and fully grown, Stinky the snail can collect approximately 15,000-20,000 coins while players are away from their computer, working, or browsing the web. Simply give Stinky a piece of chocolate, feed a piece of chocolate to a couple of plants, and run the game in windowed mode. The hard-working little snail will zip around collecting gold and silver coins from the invigorated plants. With a nearly full Zen Garden, Stinky can collect more than 30,000 coins in an hour. Marigolds will drop just as much coin as other plants. In addition, a fully grown Zen Garden plant will sell for 8,000 coins. A fully grown Mushroom Garden or Aquatic Garden plant will sell for 10,000 coins.
Ultimately, making gold and silver coins in Plants vs. Zombies can be extremely easy, and many fun features are unlocked by spending those coins. Finally, when everything that Crazy Dave has to sell has been bought, players can still help the Tree of Wisdom grow by feeding it Tree Food. The Tree of Wisdom has plenty of extra content for players to enjoy.