How to Botany, Part 1

So you wanna learn more about the art of Hydroponics and being a Botanist. You probably think botany is a pretty simple job with some neat tricks, with it being grouped up in service with the janitors, the lawyers, and the cooks.

That’s where you’re wrong.

Botany is much more in line with roles such as the Chemist than it does the rest of service, and it’s able to do just as much as them- if not more. From being the easiest source of Strange Reagent, to being able to obtain chemicals literally unavailable anywhere else on the station, botany’s got a lot for the experienced to bring in. This part is a tutorial on getting started with botany, for the people who have gardens consisting of two dead plants and a room full of weeds an hour into the round.


So the shift just started. You’re standing in hydroponics with your friend in green, who you’ll be working with. Around this time the cooks will yell at you for the plants they want (Most often it’ll be tomatoes and potatoes) but to start off you want to ignore them.

Go to tech storage. Get the chem dispenser board. Do it immediately.

Get in however you can, though you can usually do it by asking the AI. If they refuse (because you’re nonhuman genetrash on Golden, or because they’re just retarded) you can bug the engineers.
You want this chem dispenser board for a few good reasons.
1- Botany is very chemical dependent. You’re going to be using a lot of unstable mutagen, diethylamine, and saltpeter throughout a shift.
2- It’s too much of a hassle to bug the chemists for it, and you won’t get enough of what you need.
3- Robbing chemistry for one of their pre-built dispensers is a grave sin, and will have you collectively lynched by medbay and security. Don’t do it. Unless there’s like, ten people on. In which case you’re okay. Use discretion and don’t blame me if you get nuggeted by the CMO.

Next, grab a full tool set, and a power cell.

Having a multitool should be obvious. You want to hack your vendors for strange seeds so you can have fun with all those entail. However, with that chem dispenser board you also need to build the dispenser itself. The power cell is the only part you actually need to collect. Once you return to hydroponics, disassemble the holopad and one of your trays. With the power cell you collected earlier, the holopad and hydroponics tray includes the parts you need to assemble your chem dispenser, with almost no need to beg the other departments for help in getting yourself set up. I prefer to build the chem dispenser out of the frame of the disassembled tray. Either record recipes or open the wiki page for the recipes of Unstable Mutagen, Diethylamine, and Saltpetre. These three chems do the following-

-Unstable Mutagen mutates your plants. In doses under 5u, this changes the stats, while 5u or more (the minimum a beaker can apply) can have greater effects, usually the one you want being mutating the plant into a new one. Usually the first thing a botanist first learns.
-Diethylamine increases the Yield of a plant at a 50:1 ratio, meaning you need a minimum of 50u to increase the yield.
-Saltpetre increases the Potency of a plant at a 2:1 ratio, so 50u will increase the potency by 25, capping at 100 on all plants. It also has a chance to reduce the production time on a plant, scaling with the more saltpeter added in one instance.


Ignore anything anyone else says, asks, or demands.
The first seed you should plant is Ambroisa Vulgaris. Now, apply unstable mutagen in 5u doses until it becomes Deus, then Gaia.
Ambroisa gaia is THE MOST IMPORTANT PLANT TO GROW FOR BOTANY. With it, you won’t have to constantly babysit every plant you’re growing, giving you room to actually leave hydroponics. Buff your Gaia up to 10 yield, 100 potency with the chems I mentioned earlier, then make sure it doesn’t get overtaken by weeds- this will happen very quickly, and usually as soon as you step outside.

Gaia is incredibly important because the unique chem in it, Earthsblood, will upgrade a hydroponics tray to never grow weeds, never have pests, and never require water or nutrients. Four leaves of 100 potency Gaia will upgrade a tray.


So now that you’ve got your chem dispenser built and your trays upgraded, you can start having some real fun with your plants. I’m usually at this stage around 10-15 minutes into the round, though your own time may vary.

Along with your chem dispenser, you’ve also got one other important machine to use- the Plant DNA manipulator. This lets you pull traits and contained chemicals from seeds, allowing you to insert them into other plants. You can do this to create things such as the ultimate healing food, poisonous landmines, or an all-natural gluon grenade. You insert a blank plant data disk and your seed of choice, extract the trait to the disk, then insert in the disk storage, usually sitting next to the manipulator. You’ll start with 2-3 boxes of disks, depending on your map, and can print more if science ever researches botanical technology. As if.

You’ll get more seeds by putting the harvest from your plants in the seed extractor. Start off by taking some of the pre-grown produce lying around until you find one with Perennial Growth (This can be found in plants like Watermelon, Apple, Pumpkin, and more.) Perennial Growth will be your most used trait, as it resets the harvest timer on a plant instead of simply destroying it once the plant is harvested. This makes mass producing your plants much, much easier. Put it in everything.

Something to also note are Strange Seeds- you’ll find two of these in hacked MegaSeed Servitor vending machines. You’ll get a total of four on Metastation, two everywhere else. These are special as they have completely randomized chemical contents and traits, so you might get something that’s completely useless, or you’ll find unique stuff like Xenobiology only chemicals, antagonist only chemicals, or plant traits unique to Strange Seeds. You can create more in the Biogenerator- simply grind up plants to create the seeds at a high cost.

At this point, you’re free to do whatever in botany. Complete bounties for Cargo, make the cooks happy, create your own little shop of horrors, or simply experiment.

Part 2 will cover Advanced botany, and Part 3 will cover being an antagonistic botanist. Both coming whenever I feel like making them.


Good guide, fits well with and expands my basic knowledge of botany. Some other things you missed:

In the early game, it’s good to have some other plants growing for fertilizer. Watermelons are superb for this because they 1. grow fast and have perennial growth, 2. with their 20% water and nutriment traits they fertilize immensely while watering the plants they’re composted into, and 3. are excellent bioregenerator fodder later on. At 50 potency a single melon will fully renutriment a tray. If on boxstation, you can grab them from the public garden ready to use.

Use Robust Harvest liberally. With access to mutagen you have no use for the slow, unpredictable mutations of left-4-zed and ez-nutriment. Make damn sure to use it on trays before you Gaia them.

Speaking of Gaia, here are some tips I’ve picked up for it:
Babysitting the first Gaia is the most stressful part of botany. Keep a cultivator in your pocket and stay close by. Once it’s finally been harvested, put a leaf in the seed extractor, put a seed in the dna machine, extract the earthsblood gene, and put it into something a bit more robust. Tobacco with its 10 yield or perennial wheat with its 1 speed are good choices. You can examine a tray to see the percentage each plant upgrades it by.

If you can’t get your own dispenser, chemistry might be more willing to help with a tribute of pest spray bottles, so they can fill them with synthflesh/lube+Cl3Fl. If medbay has been really helpful, put a tray with omnizine apples into the lobby.

You can make your own mutagen with chlorine from blumkins and the radium and phosphorus from glowshrooms.

The bioregenerator can make monkey cubes for the chef or in exchange for a gatfruit seed. Make a bio bag from cloth to store them

Poppies contain bicardine (brute) green grapes contain kelotain (burn) and carrots contain oculine (eyes). Earths blood heals everything, but causes brain damage, so pair it with mannitol (hydrogen, sugar, water)

Plants with the weed adaption trait don’t need nutriment. Plants with Fungal vitality don’t need water and can survive without light.

The chef will usually want wheat and tomatoes. You can make milk and flour with the bioregenerator, along with universal enzyme, which chemistry might appreciate.

I’ll update this as I remember more things, I’m still only a novice at advanced botany.