Tangle Kelp is a single-use aquatic plant appearing in both main series Plants vs. Zombies series games. He drags the first zombie that makes contact with it underwater, killing the zombie and vanishing after.


Kelp forest at Taranga pinnacles Hen and Chicken Islands PA232359

Real life kelp

He is based on kelp, an aquatic algae with long, stringy leaves that have been known to tangle small fish. The fact that he tangles zombies is a reference to how real-life kelp tangles small fish. The tangle in his name refers to how he tangles up zombies and drowns them underwater, defeating them.


Plants vs. Zombies

Tangle Kelp is unlocked by completing Level 3-3. He can only be planted in water, but will instantly kill any zombie that he abducts, regardless of health.

Plants vs. Zombies 2

Tangle Kelp is unlocked by completing Big Wave Beach - Day 6, and is the world's exclusive plant along with Lily Pad. His mechanic has been changed: When a zombie is spotted, he will first submerge for a few seconds before immobilizing the target and drowning him. If the target dies before this, Tangle Kelp will resurface until another enemy is in his sight. Once again, Tangle Kelp can only be planted in water, and he will be killed if the tide recedes below the tile he is placed on. Deep Sea Gargantuar cannot be killed by Tangle Kelp, but will receive a large amount of damage from it.

Killing ten zombies in a single level by using Tangle Kelps earns the player the achievement Undertow.

Almanac entry

New Tanglekelp almanac

Plants vs. Zombies

Tangle Kelp

Tangle Kelp are aquatic plants that pull the first zombie that nears them underwater.

Damage: massive
Usage: single use, on contact
Must be planted in water

"I'm totally invisible," Tangle Kelp thinks to himself. "I'll hide here just below the surface and nobody will see me." His friends tell him they can see him perfectly well, but he'll never change.

Cost: 25

Recharge: slow

Plants vs. Zombies 2

Tangle Kelp

RECHARGE: Sluggish


RANGE: Touch
SPECIAL: Zombies Dragged

Tangle Kelp are aquatic plants that pull the first zombie that nears them underwater.

Usage: single use, on contact

Tangle Kelp likes to go deep. He majored in philosophy. Grab a root beer with him, and he'll go on and on about Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zucchini" or hold forth on Kant's "Critique of Petunia Reason." It's cool and all, but sometimes you just want to keep the conversation light. Sometimes you just want to talk about the temperature of the water.


Plants vs. Zombies 2

Plant Food effect


Tangle Kelp's Plant Food ability in action

When given Plant Food, Tangle Kelp will pull up to four random zombies underwater. Deep Sea Gargantuars can be targeted by Tangle Kelp, but cannot be killed regardless of health. In addition, his drag count is reset, allowing him to drag down multiple zombies again, if Tangle Kelp was upgraded to be able to do so.

Enforce-mint effect

When boosted by Enforce-mint, Tangle Kelp will do an additional 1000 DPS to zombies it can't pull, it can pull an additional three zombies underwater, and it can pull anywhere from 5-7 zombies underwater with its Plant Food effect.

Costumed (China only)

It pulls up to five zombies underwater.

Level upgrades

Level Seed packets Coins Upgrades
Sun Cost Recharge (Sluggish) Starting Recharge Toughness (Typical) Damage (Huge)* Special (Zombies Dragged) Plant Food Power (Zombies Dragged) Range
1 0 0 25 20 seconds 15 seconds 300 dps 400 dps One 3~5 Touch
2 10 1,000 19 seconds 14 seconds 350 dps 450 dps 3~5
3 75 5,000 18 seconds 13 seconds 400 dps 500 dps 4~5
4 200 10,000 17 seconds 12 seconds 450 dps 550 dps Two 4~5
5 400 20,000 16 seconds 11 seconds 550 dps 600 dps 4~6
6 750 30,000 15 seconds 10 seconds 600 dps 650 dps 4~6
7 1,000 40,000 14 seconds 9 seconds 650 dps 700 dps 5~6
8 1,250 50,000 13 seconds 8 seconds 700 dps 800 dps 5~6
9 1,500 60,000 12 seconds 7 seconds 800 dps 900 dps 5~7
10 2,000 75,000 10 seconds 5 seconds 900 dps 1000 dps Three 5~7

*This column shows the damage dealt when it attacks a Gargantuar.

Level upgrades (China only)

Level Upgrades Description
LevelIcon2New Tangle Kelp Upgrade 1
Vigorous Wield
Tangle Kelp grabs a zombie, and attacks other zombies in front of it, pushes them back.
Combat Training
Tangle Kelp gains 50% more attack power and health (150% of initial).
LevelIcon3New Tangle Kelp Upgrade 2
Continuous Swing
Tangle Kelp grabs a zombie, and attacks other zombies in front of it, as well as zombies in front of it at adjacent lanes, and pushes them back.
Cell Activation
Tangle Kelp gains another 50% more attack power and health (200% of initial).
LevelIcon4New AbilityAwakendIcon
Ability Awaken
Tangle Kelp may be boosted when planted.
Fighting Power
Tangle Kelp gains another 50% more attack power and health (250% of initial).


Tangle Kelp's main advantage in comparison to other ground-based instant plants is the plant's relatively low cost, combined with fast recharge rate and independence from Lily Pad. Because of this, Tangle Kelp can be used as a specialized plant for guarding water lanes early on, when the player might have issue placing enough Lily Pads for offensive plant. Unfortunately, Tangle Kelp's limited effect plus his inability to be planted on land mean that he quickly loses his potential in the mid- to late-level. This means that when considering Tangle Kelp, the player will have to decide between early-game and late-game utility - a Lily Pad plus a Squash or Chili Bean will prove to be more flexible in most cases.

Plants vs. Zombies

Tangle Kelp are decently useful against Snorkel Zombies and Dolphin Rider Zombies, as he cannot be dodged by them under any circumstances. In the Fog levels, Tangle Kelp faces competition from Sea-shroom for the role of early pool defense, as the latter is a permanent standing plant and requires no sun to be planted.

Plants vs. Zombies 2

Tangle Kelp continues to see his usefulness be put under question, as the generally increased zombie density in normal levels can render Tangle Kelp obsolete even faster. On the other hand, because the highly dangerous enemies in the Big Wave Beach means that an effective way to fight them in the early level is required, Tangle Kelp may be even more important than he was in the first game. This is important to remember when dealing with Surfer Zombies, which will not consume all other plants on the water.

Tangle Kelp is highly useful against Zombot Sharktronic Sub, specifically on the third phase. When the Zombot initiates its vacuum attack, if a Tangle Kelp is placed in the range of the vacuum, it will jam the Zombot's jet engine, ending the attack and stunning Dr. Zomboss for a short time. Tangle Kelp needs to be placed on tiles where there are no other zombie however, as it will otherwise submerge and only resurface after all zombies are gone.

Related achievements

Plants vs. Zombies

Pool's closed
Pool's Closed
Complete a pool level without using aquatic plants.
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 2

Defeat 10 zombies with Tangle Kelp in a single level


Plants vs. Zombies Wiki has a gallery for Tangle Kelp.
Tangle Kelp1
Visit this page to see it.
Tangle Kelp1



  • He, and all other algae (like seaweed and kelp) in general, is technically not a plant, but rather a member of the Protoctist Kingdom, organisms that do not fit into any other kingdoms. This makes it along with Spikerock and the mushrooms the only plant not to be in any members of the plant family.
  • The sound that he makes when strangling a zombie is not a new asset and can be recognized in other media. This sound effect originates from the Hanna-Barbera sound effects library which can be heard in some of their cartoons, making it the first plant in the entire series to have sound effects from Hanna-Barbera.

Specific to Plants vs. Zombies

Specific to Plants vs. Zombies 2

  • He is the fourth plant in this game that went through a major redesign. The other plants are Grave Buster, Spikeweed, and Starfruit.
  • In the 5.7.1 update, its seed packet recharge time was changed from 20 seconds to 5 seconds. However, it was later changed back.
  • Like Lily Pad, he can't be used in Pirate Seas. It would still be useless anyway as zombies die when they fall off the planks and into the water.
  • In the Chinese version, it appears to be on land in the Almanac entry, but this is not the case in gameplay.
  • If he attempts to pull down a zombie underwater and was pushed back by Chard Guard, Hurrikale or Primal Peashooter, the Tangle Kelp will "follow" that zombie then proceeds to its ambush once that zombie lands.
  • "Thus Spoke Zucchini" and "Critique of Petunia Reason," two works mentioned in its Almanac entry, are puns of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Critique of Pure Reason, two real philosophical works.
    • The authors of these works listed in the Almanac entry are the same as the actual authors.
  • In Tiki Torch-er, sometimes he will pull a zombie down without making noise.

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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