Plants vs Zombies: Top 10 PvZ tips, hints, and cheats

Definitive Plants vs. Zombies Guide: How to grow more plants faster, kill more zombies deader, get more money quicker!

While we're all waiting for the Plants vs. Zombies 2 to show up in the iPhone and iPad App Store, the original version is still providing tons of fun, not to mention frenetic plant on zombie action! I've lost many a nights sleep playing PvZ since it launched, and I've accumulated a bunch of really handy tips, hints, and cheats. Here are my top 10!

  1. Planning out your sunflowers Sunflowers are the power of this game. If you have too few sunflowers you won't be able to afford enough of the right plants to defend your lawn from the zombies who want to "eat your brainz". Sunflowers are your primary concern when you start the level. Plant two rows of sunflowers in the back of your lawn where they are mostly pretty protected. Then, when the first zombie enters the screen, plant the single pea shooter 3.5 squares away from the first zombie. This pea shooter will kill the zombie just before it eats your plant, maximizing your time. Then keep planting sunflowers until the next zombie enters the screen. Repeat until all two rows of sunflowers are planted.

  1. Check which zombies are coming before you select your plants Before you start the level you get a glimpse at which zombies will attack on that level. That lets you know the proper plants to choose for that level. There are some zombies which are only beaten by certain plants, such, as the bungee zombie, and you want to make sure you have the right plant, like canopy plant, to stop them dead(er).

  1. Check your almanac After you have encountered a zombie it is added to your almanac. So if ever you forget how to defeat one of the zombies you can just take a look at the almanac for its weaknesses and special quirks. You can do this before you have selected your plants, which will make sure you are not left defenceless.

  1. Farm the Yeti to earn money more quicklyThe yeti zombie is cute yet reclusive. He is only found on one level (4-10) and only after you have completed the levels once in full, and then gone back to complete them again. However, you can use the second time to farm the yeti and get three diamonds. If you dont see the yeti zombie in the preview restart the game a second time or kill the game in the task bar. The yeti zombie will run if he takes too much damage so always make sure to put some plants behind him to slow his escape. You can keep farming him for as long as you want with this method, just don't pass the level. (Apologies for the fog in the picture it is hard to take pictures during a lightning storm!)

  1. Getting Zen Garden plants Make sure that you have at least one spot open in your main zen garden for the new plant to be placed. If it gets filled up when one drops in a game, exit the game and sell another plant so you have a spot free in case another drops. Make sure you also have 10 chocolates. There's nothing worse than getting a drop of chocolate instead of a plant. The fastest way is through the bonus games. I like whack-a-zombie since it is fast and there is a chance each time you chew up a grave as well.

  1. Play "Last Stand" to make more money fast. Play the mini game "Last Stand" to earn even more quick cash. The best part of earning money this way is that after the set up you can just let the game play itself out without worry, as you don't have to care if you pass the level or not. The golden magnets will collect the gold for you and you can earn about 5k in two of the 5 flags.

  1. Grow your plants immediately If you don't feel like waiting on your plants to grow or if Crazy Dave's Shop is fully sold out of items which respawn the next day, you can move time forward. Using this trick you will replenish in moments instead of days. The first thing you do is make sure your plants are fully watered and fed for the day. Then leave the application. Next double click the home button to open the task bar and press the minus button kill the application. Then Settings > General > Date & Time > Set Automatically > Off > Move day one ahead. Exit and go back to your game with your plants will have grown up before your eyes. Repeat the same steps for putting the time back. Make sure to kill the application before you move the time ahead.

  1. Use the umbrella leaf sparingly The umbrella leaf plant will make your time on the roof much more relaxing, as it protects your plants from the bungee zombie. The bungee zombie will steal any plants it targets. You only need 4 umbrella leaf plants to protect almost the whole screen, as each one defends a 3 by 3 square.

  1. Cat of nine tails If you are playing a level in the pool, the cat of nine tails is just about the only attack you really need. They are really exceptionally efficient as they always go after the zombie which is closest to your home and will shoot down balloon zombies as well. They also shoot guided arrows to anywhere on screen so you dont need to worry about which row they are in or if the attack is behind or in front of them. (The zomboni zombie may need some spike weed though.)

  1. Finding water plants In order to find a water plant you need to be on a water level. That does not mean that each spawn will be a water plant though, but it does add water plants to the selection chances.

These are far from all the tips and tricks for plants vs zombies but they are most of my favorites. I hope they tide you over until Plants vs Zombies 2 comes out! Please let me know which Plants vs. Zombies tips and tricks you've found, and add them in to the comments below. If you have any questions, new tips, or just need additional Plants vs Zombies support, tweet me @Georgia_Prime!

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector and Isometric podcasts, follow her on Twitter @Georgia_Dow and check out her series at

  • I am not going to start playing PvZ again. I am not going to start... Dammit!
  • That's it! You found the real meaning of "gamification."
  • On number 1, don't plant a pea shooter, plant a potato bomb as soon as the zombie is on screen. takes forever for to get all the way across to eat it and blow up. I do 2, sometimes 3 before i start planting shooters. I've usually got almost all the sunflowers planted by then.
  • I prefer to put sunflowers in rows 2 and 3, and save the back row for shooters. This gives the shooters much more time to deal damage, and sunflowers are cheaper to replace should any in row 3 go down.
  • Augh! I just loaded the game and all my progress was lost! I haven't played much bu I loaded it about 2 weeks ago and it had lost my progress then too. Since that time I had played about 2 hours worth. Anyone know how to resolve this or, more likely, prevent it from happening again? Edit: I just went ahead and deleted the game & resinstalled it. Don't know if it'll help but it sure can't hurt to delete all the preferences & underlying files since I lost my progress anyways.
  • you dont need to delete or reinstall, where there is an error message or progress seems lost, follow this:
    If you are on Windows XP:
    C:\Program Files\PopCap Games\Plants vs. Zombies If you are on Windows Vista or 7:
    C:\ProgramData\PopCap Games\Plants vs. Zombies (Note: if you're on Vista or 7, you probably need to change your folder options to "Show Hidden Files and Folders" before you can access the ProgramData directory and find these files.) Copy the contents of the userdata folder, and save them to a secondary location. The simplest option will be to copy the entire folder and paste it into your Documents directory or onto your Desktop.
    Now delete the userdata folder from its original location.
    Launch Plants vs Zombies. You will be prompted to create a new user profile. If there were multiple user profiles, you will need to create the correct number of players to match the number of profiles you need to restore.
    Look in your saved userdata folder to verify how many profiles you need to create. If you have only user1.dat, then you only need to create one profile. If you have user1.dat and user2.dat, you need to create two profiles. If you have ever deleted a profile, you may see that your files are out of sequence; you may have user1.dat and user3.dat, for example. If that is the case, you need to create three profiles. It is important to recreate the profiles in the correct order. If Mikey played the game first, make sure your first profile is named Mikey, and so forth. It is not necessary to play the game under any of these new profiles; all you're doing is making placeholder files of the same names so that you can replace them with your saved originals. Exit Plants vs Zombies.
    Go to your saved backup folder, and delete the users.dat file. That's the file that's causing your pain, so be sure to take a moment and revel in the satisfaction of hitting Delete!
    In the new userdata folder, delete all of the files EXCEPT users.dat.
    Copy the rest of the files from your saved backup folder, and paste them into the userdata folder in the game directory. You may be prompted to confirm that you want to replace existing files in that location. You do, so just say yes!
    Launch Plants vs Zombies again. Your game should be right where you left it
  • I can't unlock plants at all. I have finished the game many times and almost completed my garden on my previous android. But I got a new phone and sold my old. On my new android I have completed the entire first adventure, all the mini games and most of my achievements, all I need is my zen garden plants AND I CAN'T GET ONE I can't get stinky or any of t