Homing Thistle is a premium plant that was released in the 2.9.1 update of Plants vs. Zombies 2. He attacks in a way similar to the Cattail, shooting spikes that home in (as the name implies) on the zombie nearest to the Player's House. However, Cattail shoots two spikes at a time with each spike dealing 20 DPS, while Homing Thistle shoots one thistle instead with each thistle dealing 40 damage per shot. He now costs 100 gems. Like Cattail, Homing Thistle's attack is triggered by a zombie appearing in any lane.

In the 3.4.4 update of the game, the accuracy of Homing Thistle's attack was changed. Instead of every needle hitting the leftmost zombie, they are now much more inaccurate and will sometimes hit random zombies or even go off the lawn without hitting anything. Sometimes after he has destroyed a zombie, he will attack somewhere random, perhaps not hitting anything or damaging a gravestone. This was fixed as of the 5.7 update though; in the current version of the game it still shoots randomly after defeating a Zombie. 



Homing Thistle is based on thistles, a plant group known for their prickly leaves; possibly the milk thistle (Silybum marianum) due to its large spikes and the flower's shape and color.

His name is a combination of the aforementioned "thistle"; and "homing missile," a weapon that is known to target a location or object and adjust his trajectory in order to hit, a quality present in Homing Thistle's projectile.

Almanac entry

Homing Thistle



RANGE: Full Board
FAMILY: Spear-mint

Homing Thistles fire seeking shots at targets that are closest to home.

Don't even think about trying to pull one over on Homing Thistle. He's got a bead on you. He sees right through your facade. It's like he has a laser beam ... aimed at your soul.


Plant Food effect

Plant Food ability (animated)

When given Plant Food, it spins and shoots blue needles that target zombies on the screen or tombstones and any lawn obstacles if there are insufficient zombies. The blue projectiles deal 225 damage each, and they sometimes encircle zombies for a long period of time. If there are no zombies present on the screen, it will fire the projectiles in a spiral shape.

Spear-mint effect

When boosted by Spear-mint, Homing Thistle will receive an additional 140 DPS to its main attack, and its projectile speed will also increase.

Level Upgrade

Level Seed
Coins Upgrades
1 0 0 250 15 seconds 10 seconds 300 dps 40 dps Normal Full Board
2 10 1,000 250 14 seconds 10 seconds 350 dps 50 dps
3 25 2,500 225 13 seconds 9 seconds 400 dps 60 dps + 1.3x
4 50 5,000 225 12 seconds 9 seconds 450 dps 70 dps
5 100 10,000 200 11 seconds 9 seconds 550 dps 80 dps
6 200 20,000 200 10 seconds 8 seconds 600 dps 90 dps
7 400 30,000 200 9 seconds 8 seconds 650 dps 100 dps + 1.6x
8 800 50,000 175 8 seconds 7 seconds 700 dps 110 dps
9 1,200 75,000 175 7 seconds 5 seconds 800 dps 120 dps
10 1,600 100,000 150 5 seconds 5 seconds 900 dps 140 dps

Costumed (China only)

It now mixes normal blue projectiles with fire projectiles, which do more damage, and ice projectiles, which slow zombies.

Level upgrade (China only)

Level Upgrades Description
LevelIcon2New.png Homing Thistle Upgrade 1.png
Spiked Batter
Homing Thistle gains a 25% chance of firing two thistles at a time.
Combat Training
Homing Thistle gains 50% more attack power and health (150% of initial).
LevelIcon3New.png Homing Thistle Upgrade 2.png
Strengthen Batter
Homing Thistle gains a 50% chance of firing two thistles at a time.
Cell Activation
Homing Thistle gains another 50% more attack power and health (200% of initial).
LevelIcon4New.png AbilityAwakendIcon.png
Ability Awaken
Homing Thistle may be boosted when planted.
Fighting Power
Homing Thistle gains another 50% more attack power and health (250% of initial).


Homing Thistle, in groups, can thin out the ranks of lesser zombies very quickly and pile on damage on single targets, making them a good complement to any offensive. Their flying thistles can target just about any enemy type from anywhere, including Snorkel Zombies while they are swimming, Prospector Zombies after they have jumped, and even Swashbuckler Zombies while they are swinging (the thistles will wait in ambush where they will land). Homing Thistle is also a good choice against Pirate Captain Zombie as a group of them can quickly kill his Zombie Parrot and prevent the plant from being stolen. Since they always target the enemy closest to the lawn mowers first, enemies closing in on the Player's House can expect to take additional damage even if their row is unoccupied.

Homing Thistle is also useful when only one or two Gargantuars are on screen, as five or more of them can easily overpower a Gargantuar. However, this is not advised when aside from the Gargantuars, there are other zombies on screen because the other zombies on screen might be closer to home than the Gargantuars are, letting the Gargantuars walk closer to your house.

Homing Thistle, however, requires mass planting for them to be effective by themselves, as groups of enemies with high toughness, such as Buckethead Zombies, can tank through a storm of thistles. This is complicated by their slow recharge time and, ironically, their priority on targets furthest ahead on the lawn, which often causes them to target lesser enemies while ignoring real threats like Buckethead Zombies, or especially high-level enemies such as Gargantuars or Wizard Zombies. If the player is using them exclusively as their only offense, it's best to support them with defensive plants such as Spikerock and Tall-nuts, while using plants such as Cherry Bombs, Chili Beans, Iceberg Lettuce, and similar plants to stall or pick off higher-level enemies.

Avoid using Homing Thistle against Shield Zombie, Jester Zombie, and Excavator Zombie as they will block or deflect its shots, even if boosted by Plant Food.


Plants vs. Zombies Wiki has a gallery for Homing Thistle.
Homing Thistle2.png
Visit this page to see it.
Homing Thistle2.png


  • He is the first non-seasonal plant to cost gems.
  • He is the only plant so far to have two different Plant Food effect animations.
  • He prioritizes zombies over stationary objects like surfboards and tombstones.
  • If a Swashbuckler Zombie has not yet landed, his needles will circle around the tile it will land on until it touches ground.
  • If the player uses Plant Food on him after all zombies have been defeated, he will shoot normal projectiles instead of the blue glowing ones.
  • His projectile can be deflected by Jester Zombies. However, they will not home in on plants but rather go in a straight line.
  • Homing Thistle's spikes find it hard to target a group or Zombies, especially for submerged Snorkel Zombie, as the former may tend to loop above their snorkels for a long time, up to when the spike correctly aims one of them. It may also vanish if it fails to aim a Zombie after a certain amount of time.
    •  If there are no zombies on and Plant Food is used on him, there is a bug where the spikes will loop in a circle in the same pattern.
  • His idle animation resembles Hurrikale's and Hypno-shroom's.
  • A Valenbrainz advertisement of the Homing Thistle states "Homing Thistle is where the heart is," a pun on the saying "Home is where the heart is."
  • He technically has a "Full Board" area as he can target any zombie on-screen. In this way, he is similar to Blover and Thyme Warp.
    • Unlike them, he can only target zombies one at a time, rather than affecting all of them.
  • He resembles Flowering Caperticus from Clicker Heroes. However, this is most likely a coincidence.
  • He is featured for free in Big Wave Beach - Days 21, 31, and 32.
  • His projectile will disappear automatically if it exists on the field for more than five seconds.

See also

V · T · E
Plants (Tower defense)
Plants vs. Zombies 2
Player's House Peashooter · Sunflower · Wall-nut · Potato Mine · Cabbage-pult
Ancient Egypt Bloomerang · Iceberg Lettuce · Grave Buster · Bonk Choy · Repeater · Twin Sunflower
Pirate Seas Kernel-pult · Snapdragon · Spikeweed · Spring Bean · Coconut Cannon · Threepeater · Spikerock · Cherry Bomb
Wild West Split Pea · Chili Bean · Pea Pod · Lightning Reed · Melon-pult · Tall-nut · Winter Melon
Frostbite Caves Hot Potato · Pepper-pult · Chard Guard · Stunion · Rotobaga
Lost City Red Stinger · A.K.E.E. · Endurian · Stallia · Gold Leaf
Far Future Laser Bean · Blover · Citron · E.M.Peach · Infi-nut · Magnifying Grass · Tile Turnip
Dark Ages Sun-shroom · Puff-shroom · Fume-shroom · Sun Bean · Magnet-shroom
Neon Mixtape Tour Phat Beet · Celery Stalker · Thyme Warp · Garlic · Spore-shroom · Intensive Carrot
Jurassic Marsh Primal Peashooter · Primal Wall-nut · Perfume-shroom · Primal Sunflower · Primal Potato Mine
Big Wave Beach Lily Pad · Tangle Kelp · Bowling Bulb · Guacodile · Banana Launcher
Modern Day Moonflower · Nightshade · Shadow-shroom · Dusk Lobber · Grimrose
Money Snow Pea · Power Lily · Imitater · Chomper · Sweet Potato · Toadstool · Strawburst · Cactus · Electric Blueberry · Jack O' Lantern · Grapeshot · Cold Snapdragon · Escape Root · Gold Bloom · Wasabi Whip · Kiwibeast · Apple Mortar · Witch Hazel · Parsnip · Missile Toe · Caulipower · Electric Peashooter · Holly Barrier
Gems Squash · Jalapeno · Hypno-shroom · Pea-nut · Homing Thistle · Ghost Pepper · Sap-fling · Hurrikale · Fire Peashooter · Lava Guava · Shrinking Violet · Electric Currant
Mints Fila-mint · Pepper-mint · Winter-mint · Reinforce-mint · Bombard-mint · Ail-mint · Enchant-mint · Contain-mint · Enforce-mint · Arma-mint · Conceal-mint · Spear-mint · Appease-mint
Seed packets Torchwood · Starfruit · Dandelion · Blooming Heart · Bombegranate · Explode-O-Nut · Aloe · Hot Date · Solar Tomato · Enlighten-mint · Shadow Peashooter · Goo Peashooter · Sling Pea · Snap Pea · Zoybean Pod · Electrici-tea · Dazey Chain · Blastberry Vine · Pokra · Imp Pear · Pyre Vine · Pumpkin · Ice Bloom · Dartichoke · Ultomato · Gumnut · Shine Vine · Tumbleweed · Olive Pit · Puffball · Explode-o-Vine · Murkadamia Nut · Turkey-pult · Boingsetta · Stickybomb Rice · Hocus Crocus · Headbutter Lettuce
Others Marigold
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