For other uses, see Cactus (disambiguation).
Indeed, Cactus has changed over time, User Dave. Now she fires a thorn for ranged damage, but hides for ground damage when zombies approach.


Cactus is a combative, projectile-based plant appearing in both main series Plants vs. Zombies games. She attacks by shooting spikes at zombies, with an added secondary ability which varies between which game she is in; being able to stretch herself to hit flying targets in the first game, and being able to bury herself to deal ground damage in the second game.



Cactus could be inspired by any number of members of the genus Cactacae, but she most resembles a saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), albeit with a red flower instead of a white one.

Her ability to stretch herself to pop Balloon Zombies is a reference to how Cacti in real life can grow to be some of the tallest plants on earth.


Plants vs. Zombies

Cactus is essentially a Peashooter that shoots spikes instead of peas. It is obtained before Level 4-3, which Balloon Zombies appear. This plant's distinction is the ability to stretch upwards vertically to pop their balloons, but the spikes being unaffected by Torchwood. The damage she deals is the same amount as a Peashooter.

Plants vs. Zombies 2

In the sequel, Cactus is a premium plant which is advertised alongside Neon Mixtape Tour Side A. She shoots a spike that goes through two or three zombies, and also hides when zombies are close to her while dealing ground damage to zombies that walk over her in this form, similarly to Spikeweed. Each spike deals 30 damage per shot to each zombie it hits, and the ground damage deals the same damage as the Spikeweed's. Jester Zombies can deflect shots from the Cactus, but still be damaged by her ground attack.

Almanac entry

Plants vs. Zombies

New Cactus almanac

Almanac entry of Cactus


Cactuses shoot spikes that can hit both ground and air targets.

Damage: normal
Range: ground and air

She's prickly, sure, but Cactus's spikes belie a spongy heart filled with love and goodwill. She just wants to hug and be hugged. Most folks can't hang with that, but Cactus doesn't mind. She's been seeing an armadillo for a while and it really seems to be working out.

Cost: 125

Recharge: fast

Plants vs. Zombies 2



DAMAGE: Normal

RANGE: Multi-Hit
SPECIAL: Spike Damage

FAMILY: Spear-mint

Cactus fires a penetrating thorn that can damage multiple enemies!

Special: hides and does ground damage when zombies are near

Things have really changed for Cactus lately. Book deals, movies, truck show appearances... she's just trying to focus on staying humble and launching thorns like always.


2,147,483,647 feet
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Plant Food effect

Cactus PF2

Cactus after being fed Plant Food in Plants vs. Zombies 2

When fed Plant Food, Cactus' spikes become supercharged with electricity, increasing her maximum penetration capability by two. Cactus will also deal doubled damage for the remaining duration of her life, whether she is shooting or hiding underground. After this, Cactus can no longer be fed Plant Food.

Spear-mint effect

When boosted by Spear-mint, Cactus's spikes do an additional 120 DPS, her Plant Food spikes do an additional 240 DPS, her hiding spike damage will do an additional 40 DPS, and her Plant Food hiding damage do an additional 80 DPS.

Level upgrades

Level Seed packets Coins Upgrades
Sun Cost Recharge
(Spike Damage)*
Normal Powered** Normal Powered**
1 0 0 175 5 seconds 300 dps 30 dps 60 dps 10 dps 20 dps Normal Multi-Hit
2 10 1,000 175 4.5 seconds 350 dps 40 dps 80 dps 15 dps 20 dps
3 25 2,500 175 4.5 seconds 400 dps 50 dps 100 dps 20 dps 30 dps + 1.6x
4 50 5,000 175 4 seconds 450 dps 60 dps 120 dps 25 dps 30 dps
5 100 10,000 150 4 seconds 550 dps 70 dps 140 dps 25 dps 40 dps
6 200 20,000 150 3.5 seconds 600 dps 80 dps 160 dps 30 dps 40 dps
7 400 30,000 125 3.5 seconds 650 dps 90 dps 180 dps 30 dps 50 dps + 2.2x
8 800 50,000 125 3 seconds 700 dps 100 dps 200 dps 35 dps 50 dps
9 1,200 75,000 100 3 seconds 800 dps 110 dps 220 dps 35 dps 60 dps
10 1,600 100,000 100 2.5 seconds 900 dps 120 dps 240 dps 40 dps 80 dps

*This column shows its ground damage when hiding.
**After being fed with Plant Food, both its spike and ground damage are powered.

Costumed (China only)

In addition to becoming supercharged, Cactus will shoot a bunch of supercharged spikes, dealing tons of damage. This will also enable Cactus to be fed Plant Food again.

Level upgrades (China only)

Level Upgrades Description
LevelIcon2New Cactus Upgrade 1
Electrical Spike
Cactus has a chance to shoot an electrical spike which stuns zombies.
Combat Training
Cactus gains 50% more attack power and health (150% of initial).
LevelIcon3New Cactus Upgrade 2
Strong Puncture
Spikes can pierce through more zombies.
Cell Activation
Cactus gains another 50% more attack power and health (200% of initial).
LevelIcon4New AbilityAwakendIcon
Ability Awaken
Cactus may be boosted when planted.
Fighting Power
Cactus gains another 50% more attack power and health (250% of initial).
LevelIcon5New Cactus Upgrade 3
Prickly Pear
Cactus will sometimes spawn a prickly pear that damages zombies and blocks them.
Fighting Power
Cactus gains another 50% more attack power and health (300% of initial).


Plants vs. Zombies

Cactus's main role in the player's arsenal is to shoot down Balloon Zombies before they can get past through the defense, turning them into normal zombies that can be attacked by any other plants. While she will be sufficient in normal levels, the sheer amount of Balloon Zombies that can spawn in Survival Mode, plus its lackluster performance against other threats makes Cactus not a worthwhile choice later on. Cactus also has to compete with Cattail, which can target zombies from any lane and deal twice as much as damage as the Cactus, but suffers from an aiming issue, as well as Blover, which can clear Balloon Zombies from all lanes and ward off the fog in Fog levels.

A column of Cacti should be planted to safeguard the player against potential Balloon Zombies. Cactus is also a possible candidate for getting the Don't Pea in the Pool achievement, but should not be used given her poor damage capability and the lack of Balloon Zombies in Pool levels - most lobbed-shot plants are much more suited for this task.

Plants vs. Zombies 2

Cactus's main strength is her versatility: She can be planted at the back to shoot incoming zombies, as well as a front-line plant to damage enemies like Spikeweed. Compared to other penetrating plants such as Laser Bean and A.K.E.E., Cactus also boasts a relatively high damage output, which can be further enhanced with Plant Food. However, her unreliable penetration capability makes Cactus not as reliable against large groups of zombies.

Cactus is also a good counter for Shield Zombie, Barrel Roller Zombie, and Pianist Zombie, as her spikes can pierce through each of the zombie's barricades. Because when it hides it acts like a Spikeweed, she can instantly destroy Barrel Roller Zombie's barrel and Pianist Zombie; however, Cactus will be sacrificed, even if she has her Plant Food effect activated. Cactus is also good against Imp Cannon, Zombie King, and Imp Porter as their projectiles can pass through zombies in front of them. It should be noted that Cactus cannot damage Excavator Zombie, even though the thorns bypass the shovel, and Excavator can shovel up hiding Cacti without stepping on her.

In Frostbite Caves, Cactus has a great advantage against Troglobite and Weasel Hoarder as her spikes can hit all ice blocks and multiple Ice Weasels (similar to Zombie Chickens). Watch out for Dodo Rider Zombie as he will fly over hiding Cacti.

In Neon Mixtape Tour, Cactus has an advantage on most zombies encountered in this world, as their jams do not have a major effect on the Cactus: Punk Zombie cannot kick her, MC Zom-B cannot use its microphone attack against Cactus (in most cases), Glitter Zombies cannot instantly destroy the Cactus and Breakdancer Zombies and the zombies it kicks can still be affected by Cactus's ground attack. This makes the Cactus a great option to use in this world. The only things to look out for are Hair Metal Gargantuar (as even their shockwaves will instantly destroy Cacti, hiding or not), Arcade Zombie's arcade machine (as it can still crush Cacti, hiding or not), Boombox Zombie's boombox (as it stuns all Cacti not hiding) and Bass Zombie's speaker and shock waves. However, Cactus's pierce can directly hurt Arcade Zombie and Bass Zombie.

In Jurassic Marsh, Cactus works great against pterodactyls and ankylosauruses. Zombies carried by pterodactyls will still be damaged by her spikes. Ankylosauruses cannot fling zombies past the Cactus (unless Cactus was hiding during the fling) and will not be pushed. In the Chinese version however, one must watch out for Egg Stealer Imps and Egg Roller Imps as their eggs can easily crush Cactus and the baby dinosaurs that come with it can also destroy Cacti easily.

Like Spikeweeds, Spikerocks, Spring Bean and Celery Stalker, Cactus should not be used in Big Wave Beach levels as zombies will eat the Lily Pad and cause Cactus to fall into the water, wasting 175 sun. 

However, unlike the first game, it is a bad idea to use this plant against the Balloon Zombie because the Cactus' spikes can no longer pop the balloon instantly.

It is also a bad choice to place Cactus on a Gold Tile close to Imp Porters, as this does not prevent them from setting up their tent. In the Chinese version, she is normally really weak for the Legendary rarity. However it's extremely recommended to get her costume, because one spike Cactus shoots in her Plant Food effect can destroy a speaker in a single hit. This, combined with her upgrades, area-of-effect, fast recharge and somewhat cheap cost, makes Cactus really worth the effort of grinding to get her to Level 4 and her costume.

Related achievements

Collect all 49 plants.
Book Learner
The Complete Zombie2
The Complete Zombie
You've won every trophy, climbed every mountain, defeated every zombie, planted every plant. Congratulations!


Plants vs. Zombies Wiki has a gallery for Cactus.
Visit this page to see it.




Concept art for Cactus in Plants vs. Zombies Adventures

  • As shown in Plants vs. Zombies Adventures concepts, she was planned to be in the game before being scrapped.
    • Therefore, if not counting the aforementioned game, Cactus is one of the few Plants that has appeared in all of the Plants vs. Zombies games, though being of unrelated functionalities.
  • She, Celery Stalker, Shamrock, Shamrockstar, and Scaredy-shroom are the only plants that hide.
    • Excluding Celery Stalker, all remaining plants above hide when there is a zombie nearby.
    • Out of four plants said, she is the only plant that only hides when there is a zombie in front of them and still attack zombies while hiding.
  • Though her main purpose in Plants vs. Zombies was to counter Balloon Zombies, in Plants vs. Zombies 2, she no longer stretches, but instead buries to the ground dodging damage, no longer having advantage over those Zombies. This makes her having a somewhat opposite mechanic in the sequel.
    • In the original Plants vs. Zombies, she was always above-ground, but in the second game, she is shown to be partially buried underground, given the dirt that surrounds her.
  • She and Explode-o-nut are the only two plants that vary wildly in function between the original Plants vs. Zombies and Plants vs. Zombies 2.
    • Coincidentally, both were made into premium plants.
  • In Cactus's online Almanac picture, it just shows her neck rising up.
  • In the french translation of the game, she is referred as a male in the almanac. Il (he) is used instead of elle (she).

Specific to Plants vs. Zombies

  • If stretching, she will be equally the same height to a Tall-nut.
    • However, she cannot block vaulting zombies even if she was stretching at the right time.
  • She cannot work on the slope in Roof levels unless on the fifth column, despite being able to grow taller.
  • She is one of the twelve plants that appear in the seed selection screen after the player gets the Grave Buster on the Web version, the others being Ice-shroom, Lily Pad, Potato Mine, Threepeater, Tangle Kelp, Jalapeno, Spikeweed, Torchwood, Tall-nut, Doom-shroom, and Blover.
  • On the loading screen, her pollen balls are red, but during gameplay, they are yellow. In I, Zombie, her pollen balls are orange.
  • In Portal Combat, Cacti in the lane of Balloon Zombies will attempt to fire at it even if the spike will go through a portal and end up in another lane. However, Cacti in other lanes that have a portal leading to the correct lane will also shoot at the Balloon Zombie.
  • She, Tall-nut, and Garlic are the only plants that appear in I, Zombie, but do not appear in I, Zombie Endless.
  • The plural form of Cactus is represented in-game as "Cactuses" rather than "Cacti."

Specific to Plants vs. Zombies 2

  • Although the thorns penetrate various zombies, Excavator Zombie is immune to them, as the spikes hit the shovel, glance off (missing the Excavator Zombie completely) and continue to the next zombie.
  • She does not hide from Zombie Bulls and Balloon Zombies.
  • In Cactus's case, she cannot be eaten (unless a Zombie Bull attempts to); she can only be killed by rolling or smashing attacks, lasers from a Gargantuar Prime or Turquoise Skull Zombie, or if a Jester Zombie can damage her as fast as possible with the "help" of other straight-shooting plants. Additionally, MC Zom-B can hit her in some cases.
    • There is also a glitch, in which the Balloon Zombie with its balloon popped is able to destroy her, because she will not hide from it.
  • An advertisement for Summer Nights event in 2015 accidentally leaked the return of it a month in advance.
  • With her return, all Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare plant classes appear in both Plants vs. Zombies and Plants vs. Zombies 2.
  • The vocal noise she makes is from her Garden Warfare appearance.
  • She, Celery Stalker, Potato MinePrimal Potato Mine and Escape Root are the only "underground" plants that cannot be planted directly on Lily Pads in Big Wave Beach. Despite this, they can technically be planted on Lily Pads if they or the plant behind them is pulled by a Fisherman Zombie, which in turn pushes them onto a Lily Pad.
Cactus disably

A Cactus disabling an ankylosaurus' attack

  • Placing her on the third column from the right (seventh column from the left) will disable the ankylosaurus's attack. The zombies will simply be launched on top of her and stop when she hides. She will not be pushed.
    • This only works if she is out of the ground, not hiding. If she is, the zombie will be launched normally.
  • Like White Radish, Potato Mine, Bamboo Shoot, Carrot Missile, Celery Stalker, Primal Potato Mine and Escape Root, she cannot be planted on planks in Pirate Seas.
  • Cactus, Torchwood, Hypno-shroom, Sun Bean and Electric Currant are the only non-defensive plants that have their Plant Food effect last until the plant has been destroyed.
  • If facing a Seagull Zombie or Pelican Zombie, she will hide but she still tries to use her spikes to damage these zombies, although she can't damage them.

Specific to Chinese version (China only)

  • Similar for Red Stinger, her seed packet is different.
    • Cactus's entire body is visible in the Chinese version's seed packet, while her head and one hand is only visible in the International version's.

See also

V · T · E
Plants (Tower defense)
Plants vs. Zombies
Day Peashooter · Sunflower · Cherry Bomb · Wall-nut · Potato Mine · Snow Pea · Chomper · Repeater
Night Puff-shroom · Sun-shroom · Fume-shroom · Grave Buster · Hypno-shroom · Scaredy-shroom · Ice-shroom · Doom-shroom
Pool Lily Pad · Squash · Threepeater · Tangle Kelp · Jalapeno · Spikeweed · Torchwood · Tall-nut
Fog Sea-shroom · Plantern · Cactus · Blover · Split Pea · Starfruit · Pumpkin · Magnet-shroom
Roof Cabbage-pult · Flower Pot · Kernel-pult · Coffee Bean · Garlic · Umbrella Leaf · Marigold · Melon-pult
Upgrades Gatling Pea · Twin Sunflower · Gloom-shroom · Cattail · Winter Melon · Gold Magnet · Spikerock · Cob Cannon
Others Imitater · Explode-o-nut · Giant Wall-nut · Giant Sunflower · Giant Marigold · Sprout · Reverse Repeater

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