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Plants come in varieties that are either cultivated or grow wild. Cultivated plants are planted by colonists in a growing zone or a hydroponics basin, mainly for food. Wild plants grow naturally throughout the map. Some wild plants spread themselves via seeds. Animals mostly graze on wild plants but will happily eat cultivated crops as well, including tamed animals. Since Alpha 17, they leave ash on the ground when burnt.
Growth rate factors
The medium used to grow the plants in matters for both for growth speed and if growing a plant is even possible in any given spot.
Most plants have a Fertiltiy requirement of at least 50%. However, most Trees come out with a measily 30% Fertility.
Most plants have a <fertilityFactorGrowthRate>, which is used to determine how "picky" a plant is about how fertile its terrain needs to be. Ingame this is also denoted as "Fertility sensitivity". A plant with a <fertilityFactorGrowthRate> of 0 will not care if it is planted on fertile soil or sand; it will grow at the same rate on any terrain tile that will accept its roots. In contrast, a plant with a <fertilityFactorGrowthRate> of 1 will not grow so well if it is planted on anything less fertile than standard soil.
Note: Beyond 100% Fertility, high Fertiltiy Sensitivity becomes a bonus rather than a penalty. For such cases highly sensitive plants are preferable.
- Sand: 10%
- Stony soil and Marshy soil: 70%
- Soil and Lichen-covered dirt: 100%
- Rich soil: 140%
- Hydroponics: 280%
(GRF(F)) Growth Rate Factor(Fertility) = (Fertility ÷ 100% − 1) × fertilityFactorGrowthRate + 1
For normal growth rate, plants require temperature between 10 (50 ) and 42 (107.6 ). Plant growth rate drops by 10.0% for each degree Celsius below 10 (50 ), and by 6.25% for each degree above 42 (107.6 ). The plant's info window will show 'Non-ideal temperature. Temperature growth multiplier: #%'. Plants will not grow when the temperature falls below 0 (32 ) or rises above 58 (136.4 ). The plant's info window will show 'Non-ideal temperature. Not growing.' If the temperature drops below -10 (14 ), the plant will either die or lose its leaves, depending on its type. This is obvious on trees, because it shows a new graphic with no leaves on it, but it actually applies to all wild(?) plants, including grasses. Leafless plants are inedible by animals. This may cause problems to inexperienced players, as it's unrealistic and the game doesn't give a hint on why colony's animals stop grazing and starve, the plants seem perfectly normal upon close examination. It takes 24 hours to regrow leaves after the temperature rises back above -2 (28.4 ), the plants cannot grow before then, despite possibly high enough temperature.
The actual values of temperature and temperature growth multiplier are unseen real numbers, the game only shows rounded values. Thus, it is possible, for example, to see a 3% multiplier at 58°C (the actual temperature may be 57.52°C).
(GRF(T)) Growth Rate Factor(Temperature) = Temperature ÷ 10°C ; Temperature < 10°C
(GRF(T)) Growth Rate Factor(Temperature) = 1 ; 10°C ≤ Temperature ≤ 42°C
(GRF(T)) Growth Rate Factor(Temperature) = (58°C − Temperature) ÷ 16°C ; Temperature > 42°C
Most plants typically require at least 51% light to grow.
Decorative Plants typically require at least 30% light to grow.
In mods, this minimum light value can be modified by changing a plant's <growMinGlow> value. When a plant lacks adequate light its info window indicates this with the text 'Needs light level: ##%'. Over that minimum a plant's growth rate will increase until it reaches its optimal light level (100% standard). A plant's optimal light level can be modified by changing its <growOptimalGlow> value.
Most artificial light sources only provide 50% light. Only decorative plants can grow under such poor light conditions. The sun lamp provides 100% light in its radius, and is thus usually required for any indoor growing.
(GRF(L)) Growth Rate Factor(Light) = (Light − growMinGlow) ÷ (growOptimalGlow − growMinGlow)
All plants rest from hour 19 through hour 5. More accurately, plants rest for 11h of the day, leaving 13h of the day for growing.
During the plant resting time period, plants will not grow no matter the light level.
A new constant, Growing Ticks/Day, can be found by multiplying Ticks/Day by 13/24 (approx. 54.167%) :
Growing Ticks/Day = (60,000 Ticks/Day × 13/24) = 32,500 Ticks
All plants receive an instantaneous growth of 5% when sown (planted).
This is relevant because it means that all plants only need to grow 95% from the moment they are sown to become fully grown (100%).
You'll see this show up in a later equation as a new value: Growth Remaining
You can use this value to help determine how long a plant has left before it is fully grown.
Growth Remaining = 1 − 0.05 = 0.95
- Plant was just sown
Growth Remaining = 1 − Current Growth < 0.95
- Plant was sown some time ago
Actual growth time
The Growth Time displayed in-game can tend to confuse a player into thinking a plant will be fully grown in X number of days.
Due to the various Growth Rate Factors (Fertility, Temperature, Light) and every plant's need to rest, the growDays or "Growth Time" listed in-game is not an accurate/intuitive representation of how long a plant actually takes to grow.
For example: A Raspberry Bush (3:growDays), on Soil (1:Fert), experiencing optimal temperature and light 100% of the time (1:Temp, 1:Light), will take approximately 5.18 actual in-game days to grow.
It is important to remember this when setting up your growing zones.
Actual Growth Time = (Growth Remaining × 60,000 Ticks/Day × growDays) ÷ (Growing Ticks/Day × GRF(F) × GRF(T) × GRF(L))
If they are not harvested or eaten, plants will eventually die. This is called *dying of rot*. The counting of their lifetime starts when the plant is sown/spawned. Since plants only grow during certain hours, and growth rate varies greatly under different circumstances, it is possible for a plant to die before it reaches full maturity or even while still on the initial progress. A plant will also die from rotting if it is completely deprived of light - for example, if a roof is built over it.
The lifespan of a plant is calculated by multiplying the plant's growDays by its lifespanFraction.
Most vanilla plants have a default lifespanFraction of 5, but some go as high as 8. Trees have this property as well, but due to their long growth time (growDays), their lifespan is longer than is generally relevant.
|Grow Days||Harvest Yield||Real Grow Days||Nutrition Per Day (normal)||Nutrition Per Day (fertile)||Nutrition Per Day (gravel)||Nutrition Per Day (hydroponic)||Fertility Sensitivity|
Real Grow Days = Grow Days ÷ 0.5417
Nutrition per Day = Harvest Yield × Nutrition (0.05) ÷ Real Grow Days
|Beauty Base||Minimum Yield||Maximum Yield||Product||Growth Time||Fertility Factor|
|Beauty Base||Minimum Yield||Maximum Yield||Product||Growth Time||Fertility Factor|
Plant growth approaches
The player has a number of options to get plants grown for food and raw material. Each of them has their up- and downsides and a proper mix of them is nesseary to be resistant to disruptions, inclding seasons.
You just define a growing zone, select the crop and let nature and your pawns set to growing do the rest.
- No cost, excluding the work time to clear trees, sow crops, and harvesting.
- Available at the start, regardless of technology level
- Outdoor growing is dependent on the local seasonal weather and even impossible in the coldest biomes
- Highly vulnerable to irregular temperature variations such as cold snaps and heat waves that could stop growth or even kill plants
- Outdoor growing is vulnerable to events like toxic fallout and volcanic winter
- Without walls, raiders can easily set your crops ablaze and wild animals can eat your crops. Tamed animals can be excluded via zones however
The Greenhouse is a walled and roofed growing zone, with a sunlamp providing light and heaters or coolers maintaining climate
- Walling off your crops keeps out raiders and wild animals
- Low costs for the walls and sun lamp alone
- Full resistance to temperature variations once heaters or coolers are built
- Slightly increased growth, due to the persistent 100% lighting level from the sun lamp during the day
- Energy shortages will only kill existing plants if the temperature gets too extreme
- Immune to events like toxic fallout and volcanic winter
- Trees cannot be planted in greenhouses
- Needs tiles that can support building walls to support the roof, which is difficult in swamp biomes
- Sun lamps require incredible amounts of power during the day: 1-2 solar generators worth of production for the entirety of the plant's non-rest cycle
- High energy costs for maintaining sun lamps
- Requires electricity research to unlock
Hydroponics allows plants to grow without soil by using nutrients dissolved in a water bath. In-game, it requires research to unlock and the construction of one or more Hydroponics basins. These basins will override any growing zone they are placed on top of.
- Basins provide fertility of 280%, the highest rating in the game
- Plants with high fertility sensitivity grow especially well
- Can be combined with greenhouses for growing in environments too cold or hot for outdoor plant growth, including mountains
- Building a sunlamp and 24 basins (the maximum amount of basins that can fit within a sun lamp's radius of light) requires a huge resource and power commitment, requiring 4580 watts, 1720 steel, and 24 components.
- If the basin loses power, the plants will die within an in-game hour, unless it can be repaired immediately. If not, manually harvest ASAP
- A power outage including solar flares will wipe out the entire plant stock in all basins, requiring extensive replanting and usually disrupting food production
- There are fewer options for growing crops within hydroponics basins
- 0.10.785 - Rebalanced and reformatted plant ecology tunings to lengthen crop cycles and slow wild plant spread. Reworked plant growth in relation to light levels so plants can still grow slowly in dim light (e.g. tundra summers).