All ZenGardenplants have to be watered (except aquatic plants, as they live in water) and fertilized to grow and either bug sprayed or played music to make them drop extra coins periodically, but nothing negative will happen if the player ignores their needs. The objective of the mode is to acquire plants, either by random drops in any of the other game environments or by purchasing them from Crazy Dave.
Once they are obtained, the player must care for them by watering them and meeting their other needs until they are fully grown. This means that if you start at 23:55, then as you finish, your plants will want water, food, etc.
ZenGardenplants can be obtained by random drops from killing zombies, or up to three Garden Marigolds can be purchased per real calendar day from Crazy Dave's Twiddydinkies for $2500 but on some versions, it costs $5000. On the iOS and Android versions, the player may purchase sprouts in Crazy Dave's Twiddydinkies once per day.
Dropped ZenGardenplants will not contain normal Marigolds, any of the upgrades, or a Flower Pot. Other day plants, including Grave Busters and Planters, can be sold for $8000 when fully-grown.
Mushrooms and aquatic plants will not mature past the first stage or allow themselves to be happy unless they are in the Mushroom Garden or Aquarium, respectively, and aquatic plants never need to be watered once they have grown past the seedling stage. Once fully grown and happy, mushrooms can then be moved to the main Garden where they will remain awake and drop coins at intervals throughout the day (aquatic plants can be moved there as soon as they mature).
Mushrooms must be moved back to the Mushroom Garden once a day to be watered and made happy again, after which they will remain awake in the main Garden, or they can be left in their own garden and will drop coins there after a short while when happy. Other aquatic plants, once fully grown, no longer need to be in the Aquarium Garden to be made happy, and never need to be watered.
Night and aquatic plants can be moved to the main Garden once they are fully grown and happy. Plants can be moved around in the main Garden by purchasing a Gardening Glove, which costs $1000.
After purchasing one of the other Zen Gardens, the Wheelbarrow becomes available for $200 and can be used to move plants from one Garden to another. It can be used as a replacement Gardening Glove, though it adds an extra step to moving each plant.
In PV:Jet Garden was drastically changed, compared to original Plants vs. Upgrade plants automatically appeared fully-grown after purchasing Mushroom and Aquatic Gardens were absent and mushrooms were awake in daytime Zen Garden Watering Can and Phonograph were consumable items just like Fertilizer.
The main purpose of keeping the plants in Zen Garden is gaining access to three special levels in the end of each area. In order for these plants to begin dropping coins, they must be cared for until they mature.
Other items purchased at the store include Fertilizer ($750 for five uses), the phonograph ($15,000 for unlimited use), and bug spray ($1000 for five uses). Once it has been given fertilizer, the seedling will then mature into a very small version of the full-grown plant and drop a gold coin.
30 minutes to one hour later, the small plant will again become thirsty and require another round of watering, followed by a request for more fertilizer, at which time it will grow to a medium-sized plant and drop two gold coins. Finally, there will be one last round of watering followed by another request for bug spray or the phonograph.
The drop rate starts out relatively high and decreases as the day progresses. The player can either pick them up manually or purchase Stinky the Snail to do this task.
This means the player may open another window and run other applications while continuing to collect coins from the Garden (the game must not be in full screen, and if the game is minimized, the Garden won't drop or collect coins for the PC version). At midnight, by the player's computer's clock, the timer resets, and his or her plants will need to be watered or made happy once more.
At first, he will appear asleep at the bottom of the Garden, if the player wakes him up by clicking on him, he will begin to slowly collect coins dropped by his or her plants. After a few minutes, he will become sleepy and fall asleep at the bottom of the screen again.
Stinky does have a secret weakness for chocolate, and if the player feeds him a piece, he will become extremely hyper and continue to collect coins at a high speed (for a snail) for about an hour. Strangely, on the PlayStation 3 version, pressing the triangle button feeds him the chocolate without waking him up.
As stated previously, plants drop more often right when they become happy; as a result, chocolate is best given at that time, when they give the maximum increase. The Garden can be a relaxing low-pressure click-for-rewards game, or can simply be left running as a musical and visual treat.
Additionally, feeding Stinky chocolate will allow the player to continue collecting coins, even when they aren't at the computer, making the Garden a popular way to earn money. Repeat step two and three until the Marigold grows up to maximum (two more times).
For a net loss of $1150 for each Marigold sprout purchased and grown. Cherry Bomb and Jalapeño are the only plants that shake constantly in the Zen Garden.
Even though the player can obtain a Marigold from Crazy Dave's Twiddydinkies, they will often not be white, but they will have a random color when half grew. Note that the color variety does not apply to the IOS or Android versions of the game, in which marigolds come only in white.
In the Chinese version of the game, there is a one out of one hundred chance that the player may randomly receive a different plant when he or she purchases Marigolds from Crazy Dave. It is unknown if this glitch occurs in the English version of the game.
However, this does not apply to Puzzles and Survival: Endless, where any kind of Zen Garden plants can be dropped. This will make any plants within thirsty again and can be used to gain more money in a shorter amount of time.
An application called Zen Garden Editor will allow the player to trade plants with another one (for example, a Marigold for an Explode-o-nut). If the Tree of Wisdom is counted as a Zen Garden Plant, it makes 49.
After the player's plant is happy, they can give it chocolate, resulting in it dropping more money than usual, as well as having its animations sped up. When a mushroom is happy, it will stay awake in the regular Zen Garden.
This may be because the Nintendo DS screen is too small to show plants as shoots. Zombies, upon idling for a while, the toolbar and the words Zen Garden in the bottom right corner will disappear.
To let them reappear, one must go back to the game and move the cursor. Zombies, the bubble icons for the plants in the top row are covered by the toolbar.
Occasionally, the player will be able to see part of the icon at the very edge of the toolbar. Zombies, there is no icon on the main menu indicating that the plants need water.
Money in the Zen Garden will disappear in one minute, longer than normal levels. Zombies, if the player closes the lid after watering and wait long enough, their plants will be ready for more upon resuming.
Zombies, once any aquatic plant grows to full size, it will not require either the phonograph or bug spray at any point. When in the main and Aquarium gardens, the Day music plays.
On the iPad version, Gold sprouts can no longer be bought after getting all possible plants in the Zen Garden. Moving a Potato Mine in the Zen Garden, showcasing the lighting up bug.