How to Exploit Basic Plants in Minecraft

By Jesse Stay, Thomas Stay, Jacob Cordeiro

Beside the classic crops that you can grow in Minecraft, which provide a moderate farming experience, Minecraft offers several other “growing things” that can be exploited.

Reaping sugar cane

Sugar cane consists of green reeds that grow naturally near bodies of water, and collecting at least one sugar cane block is enough to start a farm, similar to the one shown. Sugar cane is useful to mass-produce: Paper and items such as bookcases require a lot of reeds to craft, and you can make sugar for items such as cake and potions of swiftness.

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Fortunately, sugar cane is easy to farm. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Find (or make) a place that holds water.

    Reeds grow only near lakes or pools. Note that they can grow only on grass, dirt, or sand.

  2. Place canes next to the water in the same way you would place any block.

    When a patch of reeds is placed where it can grow, it extends vertically until it’s three blocks tall.

  3. After the sugar cane is fully grown, harvest all but the bottom block.

    When you break the stalk blocks in the middle, the top section breaks down into items. The reeds at the bottom begin growing again.

The essential concept is to plant a short patch of reeds, let it grow, and then mow it down so that it can grow again.

When the ground is flat, you’re at eye level with the point at which you should break the sugar canes. Walk around with the crosshair at eye level while holding the left mouse button to break all the reeds quickly.

Utilizing cacti

Cacti are sharp desert plants that can be used for creating traps or making green dye. (Refer to the small cactus farm shown on the right of the sugar cane in the image.) You can typically find cacti in the desert, and you can grow them similarly to sugar cane. However, growing them is unique because they

  • Require no water and must be placed on sand

  • Cannot be placed next to other blocks

  • Are sharp, and they destroy items

Destroy the entire cactus and replant it to ensure that some of your profits aren’t destroyed by other cactus blocks.

Enjoying cocoa beans

Cocoa beans are used to make brown dye and as an ingredient in cookies. The best way to find cocoa beans is to explore a jungle — the beans are found in pods growing on the trees. Though green and yellow pods aren’t fully matured, orange ones provide several cocoa beans when you smash them.

Farming cocoa beans is easy. To place a pod, right-click some jungle wood while holding cocoa beans. Then break the pod when it turns orange to harvest lots of cocoa beans. Make a large wall of jungle wood to start your farm.

Finding nether wart

You can find nether wart growing in special rooms in the nether fortress. You can pick up nether wart by breaking fully grown crops. Nether wart is useful for brewing potions. You can farm nether wart by planting it in soul sand blocks and waiting for it to grow, similarly to wheat. (You don’t need to till soul sand.)

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Chopping down trees

Tree farms aren’t commonly established. They’re usually useful when you live in a place with few trees nearby or when you want a wood source while underground. To grow trees, collect saplings — occasionally dropped when breaking leaf blocks — and then right-click to place them on dirt or grass in a well-lit area. (Remember that trees need lots of space to grow.)

Plant a square of four jungle saplings and apply bone meal to one of them to make a giant tree grow.