Botany: That one job where everyone's a stoner, a powergamer or a griefer

(This guide assumes you have at least some experience with the game as a whole.)

Okay, you’ve just spawned, realised you’re playing possibly the coolest job of them all, and wanna find out how to do magic with plants. You’re in the right place.

I just spawned, what do?

First thing you wanna do, is get a better outfit than the default botanist one is get all your botany tools. This is gonna be your shovel, bottles etc:

  • A plant bag
  • Bottle of robust harvest
  • Cultivator
  • Spade
  • Plant analyzer
  • Large beaker | Steal it from the grinder in botany, it’s a direct upgrade from a bucket.
  • Botanical Belt | Get it from the lockers in the backroom.
  • Empty bottle of ez-nutrient | Get an ez-nutrient bottle from the nutrimax, splash it on the floor, drink it, whatever floats your boat.

Shove these all into your botanical belt, it’ll look a little something like this:

Okay, now what?

Go on a nice walk to tool storage, maybe look at the scenery on the way. Once you’re there, you’ll need to take some stuff for your own purposes:

  • A screwdriver and a wrench.
  • A multitool
  • A high capacity power cell.
  • A cell charger | Unwrench it with the wrench you should have in your toolbox, and then pull it.

(If tool storage has already been looted, you can also find a cell and a charger for it in front of science on most maps.)

The cell charger is used to swap out the power cell in the dispenser if it runs out, you can do this by using your screwdriver on the dispenser, then just slap the new cell to swap it, and then recharge the old one and repeat the process eternally. Remember to close the cover afterwards.

Head back to botany with your new belongings, you’ve got everything you need to start working.

That part where you actually grow plants.

The first and most thing we’re going to grow, is Ambrosia Gaia. It contains a special chemical called earthsblood that is possibly the holy grail of botany, which I’ll tell you more about later.

Gaia is a mutation of Ambrosia Deus, which is a mutation of Ambrosia Vulgaris. To get mutations, we plant the seeds we want to mutate, and then use chemicals to mutate them. For us, that’s Ambrosia Vulgaris, which can be found at the top of the megaseed servitor:

To plant it, you just click on an empty tray with it, fairly straightforward. The tray should look like this:
(If there are any lights on, it means something is wrong with the plant. You can find out what they mean here.)

So, this isn’t gaia. We’re going to fix that by filling that large beaker from earlier with mutagen, using a special chem dispenser called a “Minor botanical Chemical dispenser”. Stick your beaker in there, press the button that says “Unstable Mutagen” and fill the beaker with it. Next, use the beaker in-hand (or press Z) to change the amount you’ll pour to 5u.

Back to our vulgaris, simply click on the beaker with it, and it’ll pour 5u mutagen into the plant, which will give it a chance to mutate.

That did absolutely nothing. Do it again. And again, until the vulgaris mutates into Ambrosia Deus. It’s easy to tell when it mutates, because it turns a green-ish color.

Okay, we still don’t have gaia. Pour even more mutagen into it until it mutates again. Once it mutates into Ambrosia Gaia, it’ll be a nice golden color, and you can stop pouring mutagen into it.

I hope you didn’t find the last bit tedious, because this is where it actually gets tedious.

To start out, gaia has mediocre stats, we can see these by using a plant analyzer on the tray.
(Yours will probably not look the same as this)
Each stat has an effect on the plant:

  • Plant age: How long the plant has been alive.
  • Plant type: If you have a type trait, this will change to be either Weed, Fungus (plant types have a few bonuss, which aren’t super important)
  • Potency: The amount of chemicals in each harvested fruit/vegetable from the plant.
  • Yield: The amount of harvested plants you get.
  • Maturation speed: What age the plant needs to be to be ready to harvest
  • Production speed: How often it can be harvested (Lower is better!)
  • Endurace: How much health the plant has.
  • Lifespan: If the plant’s age is higher than its lifespan, it’ll start to take damage and die.
  • Weed Growth Rate: How many weed levels the plant gains when it ages.
  • Weed Vulnerability: If the plant is at 10 weed level, this is the chance for it to be killed and replaced by a random weed.
  • Species discovery value: How many points you get if you scan any harvests with a discovery scanner.
  • Plant Traits: The traits the plant has, these have various modifiers like changing plant type, letting you harvest a plant multiple times, etc.

Using the dispenser’s saltpetre, we can only increase potency and reduce production speed. Mutagen however, can randomly change every stat except maturation speed when poured into a tray, but as we saw earlier, 5u doses will mutate it into another species instead of just changing stats, so we want a smaller dose. Beakers can’t go any smaller than 5u though, right?

This is where the long forgotten empty ez-nutrient bottle comes in. It can pour in 1u/2u doses. Fill it up with mutagen just like the beaker, set the pour amount to 2u and put some mutagen into the tray.

Okay, the stats are… a little different now. They’ve been randomly increased and decreased.
We want to do that again and again, until yield is at 10, and weed growth rate is less than 7. If weed growth rate is too high, the plant will need to be de-weeded more often, and if it’s at 10, the tray can be instantly taken over with 0 warning. This is… bad. So, we want to repeat until we have the stats we want.

After a while, usually after a minute or two of pouring mutagen (though it can be much longer if you have bad luck!), you’ll have some stats that look similar to mine. The important stats are Weed Growth Rate and Yield.
As you can see, weed growth rate is at 0, and yield is at 10. These are the ideal stats, but as I said, any weed growth less than 7 is fine.

Next, we want to increase the potency and decrease the production speed. We do this by pouring 100u doses of saltpetre into the plant using the large beaker. Each 100u dose increases potency by 50, and reduces production speed by 1. We want to pour enough doses to bring production speed to 1, and potency to 100.

Your new stats should look similar to this. All of the stats on this plant are the best they can be:

  • Max potency
  • Max yield
  • Low production speed
  • Low weed growth rate.

Since our stats are the best they can be, we want to make sure they stay this way. Normally, plant stats get randomly changed whenver you harvest, however, this can be prevented by pouring Robust Harvest into the tray to stop the stats from being changed by harvesting and also to get a +30% bonus to your yield. (10 yield gives you 13 plants)

Okay, so by now the plant is probably ready to harvest.
You can just click on it to harvest. If you click on it with a plant bag, it’ll put the harvest into the plant bag instead.

If all went well, you now have 13 ambrosia gaia branches.

Stick one of them in the seed extractor, and you’ll get a few yellow ambrosia gaia seeds.

Wow, that was really tedious. Can we do the fun bit yet?

You sure can. It’s time to edit the genes and do the magic.

Go ahead and grab one of the seeds you just extracted. Next, go to botany’s back room, open a locker and grab a box of plant data disks. Then grab a cabbage seed and a watermelon seed from the seed vendor.

Once you’ve got all that stuff, swing by the plant DNA manipulator. Looks a bit like this.

Stick one of the plant data disks from the box and a cabbage seed into it, you should see this:

Don’t panic quite yet, it’s all quite simple when you get used to it.

Here’s a breakdown of what you see

  • Core genes: These are all your stats. You can press extract to put a specific gene into a disk, and then press replace on another seed to… replace the stat with the new one. Sounds convenient, right? Wrong. It can’t save max stats unless science upgrades it, which they usually don’t do.
  • Reagent genes: These are all the chemicals in your plant. Their quantity is actually % of your potency. So a 100 potency plant with “Vitamin Production 4%” will have 4% of 100 units of vitamin.
  • Trait genes: Very useful, they apply various effects to your plants, like deciding plant type, making the harvest do fun stuff or simply letting you harvest it multiple times.

Extracting a gene will destroy the seed and put the gene into a disk, letting you place it into any other seed.

Okay, back to actually changing the genes. Cabbage has a trait called “Perennial Growth”, this lets the plant be harvested an infinite number of times instead of being cleared when you harvest it, like our gaia did. Go ahead and extract the perennial growth gene, you should see the Empty disk turn into “Perennial Growth”.

Next, put our gaia seed in the manipulator.

As you can see, the gaia has the stats from earlier, but now we can see the chemicals.

Earthsblood is an extremely powerful healing chemical, with the downside of brain damage. If you put enough earthsblood into a plant tray however, it will glow gold, never need to be watered, always de-weed and de-pest itself and have infinite nutrients and light. Overall, very good.

Back onto the gene modding part, if we perss the button that says “Insert: Perennial Growth” it will insert the trait. Quite straight forward.

So, now the gaia has a trait that lets it be harvested infinite times, meaning you won’t need to re-plant it again.

We also want to increase the amount of nutriment from 6% to 20%, because a plant with more nutriment produces more biomass when placed into this handy dandy machine, the biogenerator!

So, how’re we going to increase the nutriment amount? We’re going to replace the nutriment gene with a stronger one from our watermelon seed.

So, go ahead and take out the gaia seed and the perennial growth disk. You can store the disk in this doohicky right here:
It’ll organize your disks for you and is generally quite convenient.

Next, we can put a new, empty disk in the DNA manipulator aswell as the watermelon seed.

Go ahead and extract the 20% nutriment gene. The seed will again be destroyed, and we can insert the gene into our gaia seed.

But wait! The insert button for the nutriment is greyed out!

Yep. You can’t have multiple of the same gene in a plant, even if they’re different strength. Press remove on the old, weak nutriment production to get rid of it, and the insert button should be highlighted again, go ahead and insert the gene.

Our gaia seed is now ready to be planted. Go ahead and throw it in a tray. Don’t forget to put some more robust harvest into the tray to keep the stats from being ruined.

Remember our 12 other gaia branches? if you click on trays with them, the chems will be composted into the tray. Remember how earthsblood in trays is very good? Compost 4 gaia branches into a tray and watch it glow gold!

What about the magic? What about the fun bit?

Check out the wiki for that! It may be a little outdated, a little rusty, but it’s still extremely useful. It’ll tell you which plants do what, and what to mutate to get them. Using the knowledge I’ve given you (how to edit genes, how to max stats, why robust harvest is great) there’s not a lot you can’t do with botany.

  • PS: Don’t be the average, shitter botanist who grows weed and forcefeeds it to people, or the nuisance who spreads glowshrooms. Nobody likes those guys.

Well I guess here’s a good a place as any to drop my fav non-grief plant combos:

Mutate Glowshroom to Glow cap for Electrical Activity and Teslium. Chefs like Tesllium to make living food. Electrical Activity combine with Capacitor from potato and the resulting plant can get wires added to it to make a self-charging battery.

Fly amanita. Remove all effects apart from Growth Serum, add Perennial and you got “Beeg Yoshi Mushrooms”. You can reach 2x3 tiles in size when consuming this.

I prefer using a tobacco plant as the earthsblood/nutrient mix. It has a Yield of 10 and a fast growth rate. Note, it does die quickly. but after a couple of harvest you should have all the biomass you need.

Vape. Screwdriver to open, click in hand to empty (to add your own), multitool to increase power to make smoke clouds. NOTE! Not for Apids, as the act of making smoke clouds will make you fall asleep. Kinda funny to be a drugged out Bee sleeping in the station though. You’ll never wake up where you fell asleep.


Tobacco works but I personally find it’s easier to min-max the stats with gaia than put all the genes in tobacco. It also gives me an excuse to cram the mutagen stat min-maxing method in the guide, which is very useful for other plants too.

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I’d also like to add the certain reagents do not have a reagent gene associated with them.
Those being : mutation toxins of any kind, reagents that come from the Blob, adminordrazine.
This isn’t a comprehensive list because tbh code-diving to find every single reagent that doesn’t have the botany flag would take too long.

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Oh and another tip : you can use a pen on the pack of seeds before planting it to change its text. This will carry over to the fruits too, so you can have One Bite Healing Apples (contains omnizine too!) or that Dankest Kush On This Side Of The Galaxy

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Damn, I just tried out this guide in a pretty long round as a life bringer on lavaland, and I gotta say, it’s really darn good! The only fault was actually my fault since I missed the fact I needed to put in robust harvest at the start, but even that got corrected when you mentioned it the second time.
Managed to get some cool plants, hang out with the stranded survivor nearby, etc.

I feel like this guide really got me from an almost 0 at botany to being able to confidently say I know what I’m doing at botany.

I would love to know about more random tips like what Hithere mentioned (I got alot of growth serum, that was pretty fun, heh). Also, I do wonder, how do glowshrooms work? Because I tried to spread them, at max potency through out lavaland, but it just wasn’t very fast or very far, did I do something wrong?


Glowshroroms where nerfed to spread very slowly/not spread at all due to abuse.

And as an added tip; Omega Weed, not just filled with ALL THE DRUGS. But also has a limit of 420u compared to the 100u of other plants.

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not 100u, it is 50u.

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Really? OK, thanks for the info.

As a showcase of this guide, in just my second botany shift, as a solo botanist, I managed to do the gaia process, grow apples that made the whole crew fat, weed and holy melons for bounties, durathread for clothing, towercaps for wood, hypodermic lemons and limes with water and potassium respectively as a research project (you could throw them both at people to make them explode) and finally hypodermic oranges with tirizine for sec. All at 10 yield, 100 potency, no worrying about feeding watering or weeds. Botany is busted.
Oh also, is there a way to control the amount of chemicals inside a plant more precisely (as in, decrease or increase the ammount for specific recipes)?

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There’s no way to adjust values individually. Values all go together depending on its potency. You wouldn’t be capable of making a perfectly-dosed plant.
It’s possible to adjust individually in botany rework, but no ETA to release it.

the formula is ultimate 1u + rounddown(potency * reagent ratio) which means you always fucking get 1u even at 0 potency.
vitamin 4% means 5u of vitamin at 100 potency.
You guys will never be capable of adjusting chemical units accurately because it’s rounddown to integer.

4% being 4 is close enough for me, such precision isn’t particularly important anyway

people will not understand why 49% of A, 10% of B is why 50u of A. This becomes problem when you’re stacking multiple chemicals into things.

Do you ever get bwoinked for this, btw?

I got in an argument in dchat about how tools that are necessary for my job are powergaming once, but never bwoinked.

Maybe add a note that the jannies are cracking down on this. They want you to go to public tool storage and back again for each instance of needing the tool.

Considering the tools are necessary every 5-10 minutes, I don’t plan on doing the back and forth maybe 20 times per shift?


That’s an entirely reasonable stance to take. Unfortunately the jannies seem to disagree. Just thought I’d let you know.

The whole argument stemmed from having a full toolbelt as a non-engie, mind you.