How to Breed Flowers in Animal Crossing

Your guide to Animal Crossing flower breeding and crossbreeding

Flowers are a great way to decorate your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. They’re attractive, affordable, and easy to grow. If you want to customize the look of your island, though, you’ll need to breed your own flowers in unique colors. Here’s how to do it.

The Basics of Flowers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

It’s important to understand the basics of flowers before diving in. The nuance of how flowers grow can trip you up at first.

Every island starts with its own native flower that will grow from the very first day. The flower is selected at random from the game’s eight “common” flowers: Cosmos, Hyacinths, Lilies, Mums, Pansies, Roses, Tulips, and Windflowers.

Animal Crossing character breeding flowers

You can acquire other common flowers by purchasing them from the store. Your options will expand as you upgrade the store from the Resident Services Tent to the final, expanded Nook’s Cranny. Here’s what you can expect from each upgrade.

  • Resident Services Tent: 3 types of seed, 3 types of flower, one color each
  • Nook’s Cranny: 6 types of seed, 3 types of flower, 2 colors each
  • Nook’s Cranny (Expanded): 9 types of seed, 3 types of flower, 3 colors each
Animal Crossing character buying seed from Nook's Cranny

Flowers may also be gifted to you as presents, sold at special vendors (such as Leif), or appear in the wild on Mystery Islands.

The most reliable alternative way to expand your flower selection is to visit islands owned by other players. Each island’s store will offer a different selection on any given day. If your friends don’t play Animal Crossing: New Horizons you can turn to community sources, like Turnip Exchange or Reddit, to find players providing access to their island.

How to Grow and Move Flowers

You can acquire flowers in four states: seed, stem, flower, and plucked.

Plucked flowers are obtained walking up to a plant and pressing the Y button on your controller. This removes the flower from the plant for use in crafting but leaves the plant behind. Plucked flowers can’t be used to grow new flowers.

Seeds are purchased from stores, and they can be planted on any open ground. Seeds don’t need care, and will grow into a full-sized, blooming flower after four days.

Flowers are fully developed plants that have bloomed. Flowers will only breed once they’ve grown. A grown flower can be moved and planted in a new location by digging it up with a shovel. You can purchase grown flowers or dig up flowers on Mystery Islands and move them to your island.

Animal Crossing character with flower in inventory

Stems are fully developed flowers that you’ve plucked and haven’t yet regrown their blooms. You can dig them up and transplant them just as you can a blooming flower plant. Stems will develop new blooms after a few days.

The differences between these states can be confusing, but they’re important to remember, because only fully grown flowers will breed.

How to Crossbreed Flowers (For Unique Colors!)

Crossbreeding creates new colors of a given type of flower. You’ll
want to plant only flowers of a single type if your goal is to crossbreed them
for new colors.

  1. Obtain multiple colors of the flower type you want to crossbreed, either by purchasing them or re-planting them from other locations.

  2. Plant the flowers in an empty space that is entirely clear of obstructions on all sides. Simple rows are effective, attractive, and easy to organize.  

    Animal Crossing flower bed in rows for breeding
  3. Return to your flower bed and water every day. While watering is not a necessity, it will significantly increase the rate at which new flowers grow.

    New flowers only grow in empty spaces adjacent to a fully grown flower, so make sure you have empty space nearby! 

  4. Dig up and re-plant new flowers as they grow to ensure your original flowers have space for new growth. 

Flower colors generally appear in patterns you might expect. For example, placing a red and yellow flower side-by-side will often result in an orange flower, while planting red and white flowers near each other will often result in a pink flower.

However, color variations are limited based on type, as shown in the table below. Some flowers, like Roses, have many possible colors. Others, like Cosmos and Mums, are limited to just a few.

Flower type color possibilities in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
 Flower type Pink Orange  Blue Purple Black  Green
Cosmos X X     X  
Hyacinths X X X X    
Lilies X X     X  
Mums X     X   X
Pansies X X X    
Roses X X X X X  
Tulips X X   X X  
Windflowers X X X X    

Advanced Crossbreeding Tips

Plantings in rows with plenty of free space nearby is simple and works well enough for most purposes. You’ll breed a wide variety of colors that you can move to other parts of your island. That, in turn, will breed even more variety.

However, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has an extremely complex flower genealogy system. We recommend three fan guides if you want to fully understand it, listed from least to most complex: the ACNH Hybrid Guide infographic by Peach-n-Key, the ACNH Flower Genetics Guide by Paleh, and the Optimized ACNH Hybrid Recipes by Backwardsn.

These guides are more than most players need, but you’ll have to read up if you want to precisely target a specific color, or want to crossbreed flowers as fast as possible.

Breed Flowers More Quickly by Inviting Friends

Whatever method of crossbreeding you choose, you’ll see results quicker with help from visitors to your island.

Flowers breed at a higher rate when watered by visitors. Datamining shows having just one visitor water your flowers a day more than doubles the chance they’ll reproduce the next day. The bonus increases up to five visitors, which increases the chance flowers will reproduce by more than five times.  

How to Get Gold Roses

Gold Roses are a rare color of rose that appear under specific circumstances.

First, they breed only from black roses. Second, the black roses must be watered with a Golden Watering Can. The DIY Recipe for the Golden Watering Can is unlocked and provided to you after your island hits a 5-star rating.

Animal Crossing character standing in field of golden roses

MarioFan92 / Twitter

How to Get Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is a rare flower that will only appear once your island receives a 5-star rating. It has a chance of appearing every day your island keeps a 5-star rating.

The Lily of the Valley doesn’t reproduce and only appears in white, so crossbreeding is impossible. You can only obtain more by maintaining a 5-star rating and waiting for the flower to randomly appear.

Animal Crossing character with Lily of the Valley flower

Arxsia / Twitter

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