Plants vs. Zombies - Survival: ENDLESS!
Written by Jason Long (evilbob)
Copyright (c)2009 Jason Long. All rights reserved.
This guide may not be reposted, in whole or in part, without my written
permission. The only website that has permission to display this FAQ is
gameFAQs.com. For questions contact me at evilbob65535 at yahoo dot com.
Searchable Table of Contents
Copy, Control+F, and Paste the codes in  to search for something quickly.
1. What This Guide Does [1WTGD]
2. The Theory [2THRY]
3. The Setup [3STUP]
3a. Phase 1 [3PHS1]
3b. Phase 2 [3PHS2]
3c. Phase 3 [3PHS3]
3d. Phase 4 [3PHS4]
3e. Phase 5 [3PHS5]
3e. Final Phases [3FINL]
4. Variations [4VARI]
4a. Variation 1 [4VAR1]
4b. Variation 2 [4VAR2]
4c. Variation 3 [4VAR3]
5. Thanks [5THNK]
What This Guide Does
This FAQ is not a walkthrough nor is it intended as a general game guide. For
an excellent general guide, please see curby's FAQ/walkthrough on
This guide deals specifically with one of the final challenges in the game:
Survival: Endless. This challenge is unlocked after completing all other
Survival games (and beating the adventure mode). The purpose is quite simple:
survive for as many flags as possible during a never-ending onslaught of
zombies. It is set on the "pool" level during the day, and almost every
zombie in the game may attack at some point (including normally roof-specific
and night-specific zombies). It is incredibly challenging and can take hours
This guide has been heavily influenced by curby's guide and it should be noted
that all credit for the core strategy goes to that guide. curby's strategy of
using garlic to steer zombies into multiple gloom-shrooms is what inspired me
to create this guide and expand upon these strategies for the special
considerations that happen in Survival: Endless.
Note that this guide will not talk about the basics of the game. It assumes
you have completed the game's adventure mode, unlocked Survival: Endless, and
purchased all possible plants and seed slots from the game's store.
When it comes to Survival: Endless, many of the well-crafted strategies
presented in curby's excellent walkthrough just don't hold up over 20+ flags.
Part of the problem is that just about any kind of zombie can attack (I've
even seen yeti zombies), especially bungee zombies, and part of the problem is
that the massive number of gargantuars - and thusly, imps - eventually becomes
a tremendous problem.
Overall, the main strategy theory - which could be called "funnel zombies into
gloom-shroom kill zones with garlic" - is still very sound, thanks to the
area-of-effect and rapid-fire nature of gloom-shrooms and how useful they are
against groups. Add to this the "spikerock row" and using winter melons for
slowing and splash damage and cob cannon to cover everything else, and you
have a very solid base strategy. However, a few new ideas need to be added to
tackle the long-term problems of Survival: Endless.
- 6 gloom-shrooms. This is a core part of curby's strategy and it is here as
- 6 winter melons. These are simply too powerful to use less than 1 per row;
their slowing effect is absolutely critical to survival, even on rows where
garlic is quickly moving zombies to other rows.
- 6 cob cannon. This is really the minimum number needed for a long term
strategy; in later stages, even this won't be enough, but the space
requirements really preclude any additional cannon.
- 6 magnet-shrooms. You need at least this many: three for the northern two
strips of land and three for the southern two. More would be better, but
space limitations are just too great. (*See below for a way to get more.)
- 6 twinned sunflowers. Six should be running at all times, but again this is
riding the ragged edge: more sunflowers for a longer period of time is
better, so filling in gaps earlier with extra sunflowers helps, even if they
are to be replaced later. Building up a bank of several thousand sun helps
buffer against very bad levels where lots of plants will be destroyed.
- 6 spikerocks. This causes the overall expense to go up, but four are needed
to help stop vehicles and slow gargantuars AND you'll want one more in each
"kill zone" to help kill zombies faster - and as a bit of insurance for the
most important land rows you have: the ones with your offensive units. If
these rows are breached, it becomes much more difficult to recover, so the
secondary spikerocks are there for extra protection.
- 4 umbrella leaves, 2 empty spaces. No strategy would be well-suited without
taking in some of the slightly rarer but extremely problematic zombies, such
as bungees and flyers. In my own experiments, I have come to the conclusion
that 4 well-placed umbrella plants covering 2/3rds of the field along with an
"emergency umbrella" system generally gives the best possible protection for
the space available. Additionally, leaving at least 2 spaces open on the
field not only allows for quick blover placement (and jalapenos/cherry bombs),
but it also gives you just a little more time to react before your defenses
are compromised. You don't want to leave much more space than this, however -
you need the plants!
*One trick that can really help on some levels - but costs a decent amount of
sun and seed space - is to swap out two magnet-shrooms for the front line of
umbrella leaves, and vice-versa. Essentially, when you know no bungee zombies
are coming, rebuild magnets; when bungees visit again, replace them with
umbrellas. This can really help on levels with no bungees but that have both
football zombies AND diggers. However, again the cost associated with this is
high, and it can leave you vulnerable.
However, the main difference between this strategy and previous versions is
the placement of flowers. Most specifically, during late-game flags the imp
is actually the most dangerous zombie of them all: its ability to attack
rear-guard plants and destroy them so quickly means that all land-based rows
are extremely vulnerable. So how do we counter this threat? Move the bulk of
our offensive power to the pool. Since cob cannon in particular are one of
the only plants it is impossible to guard with pumpkins, getting them away
from the paths of the imps is absolutely essential. Granted, this leaves some
of our production and threat-reduction plants more exposed, but these are
cheaper and faster to replace, and without a powerful offense clearing the
way, it really isn't possible to rebuild. Clearing zombies is the most
There are a few other key placement differences as well. First, while digger
zombies pose a high threat, they are still slower and easier to defeat than
imps. This means that the first (leftmost) row is actually safer than the
second and third rows. It also means that since imps are so dangerous and
since they can come so quickly, unless you have an attacking plant on the
first row, you are more vulnerable. Thus, winter melons are moved to the
rear, or left-most rows (except for pool lanes).
Here is a general summary of these points along with the basic strategy from
curby's original FAQ.
- all plants unlocked/purchased; ten seed slots available; rake purchased
- garlic directs zombies into gloom-shroom "kill zones"
- spikerock row gives the best first defense possible
- pumpkins protect all possible plants (except garlic, spikerock, and cannon)
- winter melons on each row
- minimum of 6 cob cannon, twinflowers, and magnets
- need umbrella leaf defenses built into the strategy
Key differences from previous strategy:
- winter melons on back rows (on land) make them vulnerable to miners but they
help so much against imps it's worth it
- move as many critical plants into the pool as possible to avoid imps
- twin flowers, while bad to lose, are still not as critical as offensive
- extra sunflowers early help build a decent sun bank that can be used on bad
The following is a step-by-step setup of how to go about setting up the best
defense. It is organized into "phases" or "levels", which correspond to the
period of time between which you can select new plants. Each phase covers 2
flags at first, then later 3, and so on. It is recommended to read through
the entire plan before starting.
Initially, pick the following flowers: sunflower, garlic, pumpkin, lily pad,
coffee bean, puff-shroom, gloom-shroom, kernel-pult, spikeweed, and finally,
potato mine. Be sure you have purchased a rake.
Your goal for the first "level" (this involves several flags or waves) is to
make sure you get several tasks done and plant all you need of certain plants
so you won't have to select them again. Seed selection becomes the most
important part of the game, so starting early and getting things out of the
way is important. By the end of this level, you shouldn't need to select the
sunflower, lily pad, puff-shroom, or gloom-shroom again. Also worth noting:
potato mines are the absolute best single-kill plants at the beginning of the
game due to their low cost. However, once you get past the first few zombies,
you'll never use them again.
I have borrowed curby's map design and symbols because they are excellent.
Here is a picture of the final look of your yard by the time you can choose
S S S S . . [.] g + Symbol Legend
S S c c S [G] + . + . land G gloom-shroom
S S c o o [G][G] _ _ _ water g garlic
S S c o o [G][G] _ _ S sunflower + spikeweed
S S c c S [G] + . + c kernel-pult o lily pad
S S S S . . [.] g + [ ] pumpkin
- Start with sunflowers on land, garlic in rows 1 and 6, and kernel-pults in
rows 2 and 5. Use the rake off the bat and potato mine any cone-wearing
zombies to help get your economy (sunflowers) off the ground. You should have
a full 8 sunflowers on land as fast as possible. Save the water sunflowers
- Once you get that far, move to gloom-shrooms on the land rows. Be sure to
pumpkin first, then puff-shroom. Throw a kernel-pult or two in the pool to
counter pool zombies as soon as you can, but once you get the first two gloom-
shrooms going and they are backed up by kernel-pults, you shouldn't have a
problem with anyone getting through.
- Continue to place gloom-shrooms as quickly as the upgrade seed recharges.
In the mean time, build a few more sunflowers and kernel-pults, and be sure
you are laying down pumpkins as fast as they recharge as well. Once you start
getting enough sun to cover everything, put spikeweed down in your "kill" zone
to help protect your gloom-shroom there, and then create the first spikeweed
row on the far column.
- You should make it easily to this point without losing any plants or
mower/cleaners. If you lose any of those, go ahead and start over.
- If you find yourself with plenty of sun left over, go ahead and finish
placing kernel-pults and pumpkins from the next phase. Extra sunflowers never
hurt, either: as long as you collect 3 sun from a sunflower, it was worth
Pick twinflower, garlic, pumpkin, coffee bean, magnet-shroom, kernel-pult (if
necessary), melon-pult, spikerock, and jalapeno. For your last slot, you can
grab squash, or you may want to pick up lily pad, sunflower, or anything else
you still need from phase 1. Alternately, you can skip ahead and grab winter
Your goal for this level is to upgrade your defenses significantly while
boosting your sun production a tremendous amount. After this level, you
shouldn't need coffee beans or magnet shrooms (for a while).
S t t t M [M][M] g # Symbol Legend
S S c c [S][G] # . # . land G gloom-shroom
S* S* c c m [G][G] _ _ _ water g garlic
S* S* c c m [G][G] _ _ S sunflower # spikerock
S S c c [S][G] # . # c kernel-pult M magnet-shroom
S t t t M [M][M] g # [ ] pumpkin t twinflower
- You probably didn't need to replace your garlic in the first phase; get
ready to keep a constant eye on it from now on.
- Pumpkin placement becomes important as you want to make sure no zombies get
past your front line.
- Start with magnet-shrooms and get them up as quickly as possible. Place a
twinflower and spikerock immediately and then you'll pretty much spend the
entire rest of the level waiting for those two to recharge so you can have 6
total of each.
- Melon-pults will help finalize the pool defense, but they can wait until
other goals are accomplished.
- Squash are a decent, relatively quickly charging one-shot defense.
Jalapenos are much better but are more expensive and take longer to recharge.
Pick your favorite.
- The sunflowers marked with an * are ones you can try to twin if you get a
chance, but it's not a big deal.
Pick garlic, pumpkin, melon-pult, winter melon, kernel-pult, cob cannon,
imitater->pumpkin, jalapeno, and either pick two things you didn't finish
before OR load up on cherry bomb and squash. Alternately, you can bring
twinflower again and go for a couple of the sunflowers on the pool.
This level is going to be expensive, but you should have the sun to back it
up. After this level you shouldn't need melons or winter melons again.
[W] t t t [M][M][M] g # Symbol Legend
[W] S c c [S][G] # . # . land G gloom-shroom
S* S* CCCC W [G][G] _ _ _ water g garlic
S* S* CCCC W [G][G] _ _ W winter melon # spikerock
[W] S c c [S][G] # . # c kernel-pult M magnet-shroom
[W] t t t [M][M][M] g # [ ] pumpkin t twinflower
CC cob cannon
- Start by winter-meloning your existing melon-pults and then hit another one
each time it recharges. Dig up the back sunflowers and put winter melons
there as well.
- Pumpkin EVERYTHING! Use the imitater->pumpkin** to help you get the back
rows while you use the regular pumpkin to replace defenses. Go ahead and hit
the twinflowers on the top and bottom rows if you get a chance. Don't neglect
your garlic - the magnets are counting on you!
- Try to save up for cob cannon - you should be able to get two at least. If
you have enough sun, go ahead and hit the other two pairs of kernel-pults.
- If you think it will be cost effective, go ahead and twin the * sunflowers.
Just note that you'll be digging these up part of the way through the next
phase, so don't push it. If you can replace them early then it's probably
still worth it; if the level is about to end it's probably not.
** Note about the imitater: while the versatility of this plant is amazing,
it sadly has about a half-second delay in deploy time: making it juuuust
barely useless for instants and other plants you need to lay down while
zombies are attacking. It'd be GREAT as a backup cherry bomb; sadly, it will
die before it can explode unless nothing is near it. This, plus the fact that
it cannot duplicate other purchased plants, makes it best used for adding to
Pick garlic, pumpkin, umbrella leaf, kernel-pult, cob cannon, spikeroot,
spikerock, imitater->pumpkin, jalapeno, and another instant like cherry bomb.
Or, something you left out before, or a blover if balloon zombies are present.
Finally, phase 4, where we see our hard plans come to fruition. This is the
final step in the base strategy. At this point you should have an obscene
amount of sun saved up. Also, since we passed 10 flags, bungee zombies and
loads of vehicles should start coming into the picture. At this point the
types of zombies you face each level is fairly random, but there are a few
more defenses we need to set up first.
[W][t][t][t][M][M][M] g # Symbol Legend
[W][u] CCCC [u][G] # . # . land G gloom-shroom
CCCC CCCC [W][G][G] _ _ _ water g garlic
CCCC CCCC [W][G][G] _ _ W winter melon # spikerock
[W][u] CCCC [u][G] # . # u umbrella leaf M magnet-shroom
[W][t][t][t][M][M][M] g # [ ] pumpkin t twinflower
CC cob cannon
- Go ahead and pluck those sunflowers and plant umbrellas. That will cover
2/3rds of the field, and your remaining pieces of land are now your "special"
spots. If you see a bungee zombie targeting anything in the last three
columns, quickly throw an umbrella plant into the appropriate spot to cover it
(it will get eaten immediately but that's ok). If they target something both
above and below: well, I'm sorry. It's not a perfect defense.
- Once you have 4 cob cannon, start digging up the remaining sunflowers in the
pool lanes and replacing them with kernel-pults and then cob cannon as well.
Try to wait until the cob cannon has recharged and you have enough sun before
you dig up the sunflowers: the idea is to squeeze as much sun out of them as
possible before they go.
Generally, you'll want:
- garlic, pumpkin, spikeweed, spikerock, jalapeno (all levels)
- imitater->pumpkin, cherry bomb (when you have room)
- umbrella leaf, blover (when facing bungee and balloon zombies, respectively)
- coffee bean, magnet (as necessary; good to take if you have the room and are
facing gargantuars or zombonis as they will likely get a magnet or two)
- kernel-pult, cob cannon (when imps kill your row 2 and 5 cannon)
- whatever else gets killed
At this point, the game is about damage control and wise cob cannon usage (and
to some extent, luck of the draw based on which zombies are attacking each
phase). Your twinflowers are at the top and bottom of the screen (helpful so
you don't accidentally click a cob cannon and launch it), and they will keep
you afloat - but hopefully you have several thousand sun banked up, because
you'll need it. (Just wait until you randomly get two gargantuars and a
zomboni on the same level! WHEE!) This almost goes without saying but ALWAYS
go for sun over collecting coins - however, the maximum amount of sun you can
collect is 9990, so once you get that far, just watch your defenses. Keep
your spikerocks as healthy as possible. Eventually, the game will become all
about the spikerock recharge timer, as you'll be blowing through them
incredibly fast. Try to use cob cannon to ease their load when you can, but
save up enough blasts to both fend off imps, the occasional digger that still
gets through, and kill gargantuars. Ideally, if you fire two cob cannon in
rapid succession at a gargantuar, it won't get to throw its imp - but zombies
never make things easy. Sometimes you'll miss, and sometimes you'll barely
get another gargantuar in the second blast, causing him to throw. Just accept
that it will happen and try to defend as best you can. Jalapenos help a great
deal since they can take out imps and hit things still coming - although they
work best on your "special" spots on rows 2 and 5 - but don't be shy about
digging up a garlic and using one there if you can do it quickly enough.
Also, don't be afraid to dig up an umbrella plant and throw a cherry bomb down
if you need to - those are cheap to replace, and if you need one you probably
brought them on this level.
Keep an eye on your pumpkins and on your garlic, especially the pumpkins on
the magnets just behind the garlic. Later levels with dozens of pole-vaulters
or dolphin zombies are merciless on your 2nd-line pumpkins; keep them as
healthy as possible, too. Keep blovers handy for flyers, but note that you
can often wait until the last moment and catch two waves of flyers at the same
time. The nice thing is that you can plant it anywhere and it will clear the
Once you get past about the 30th flag, the game becomes less about strategy
and more about reflexes. Feel free to pause (space bar) as often as you can
and take a quick look around: see what's coming, see where your recharge
timers are, and see if anything is conspicuously missing from your lines.
It's also a matter of how much sun you can throw at a problem: storing up to
9990 sun early isn't a bad idea, because you will easily use all of it and
still die with no sun left. Try to be more conservative with how you spend
after this point: you are going to run out soon.
Zombonis and gargantuars are your worst nightmares; eventually the spikerock
timer just won't be able to keep up with them and you'll be using every trick
you have just to keep them at bay. Fortunately, this strategy does a pretty
decent job at fighting while losing; you can often keep the zombies off for a
good couple of flags past the point where your field is no longer viable,
especially since the worst types of zombies can't hurt your pool plants.
However, scores of dolphins will seriously mess you up if you start losing
gloom-shrooms, so keep those pumpkins healthy. Sadly, gloom-shrooms end up
being the most difficult plant to replace due to the 3-seed slot cost, so do
what you can to keep them running, as their defeat will signal your impending
And lastly, just remember that you're always fighting a losing battle: so
don't sweat it. :) Oh, and one good game can last HOURS, but you can pause
as much as you'd like.
This concludes the primary Survival: Endless strategy - however, this remains
a process under development. My current best is 37 flags using this strategy.
(This typically nets about 30,000 in coins, a couple of plants for the zen
garden, and maxes out my chocolate. You could probably get much more money if
you tried, but it can also take over 3 hours to get that far, so it's not a
great gold-farming method.) As I can reach phase 4 easily and bank the
maximum amount of sun, any new strategy ideally needs to deal with the massive
numbers of zombies and constant zomboni/gargantuar threat faced once you've
reached a flag count in the early 30s. More ideas - new placements, better
plant usage, more efficient builds, etc. - are always welcome.
Several variations exist on the main strategy, and unfortunately since it
takes roughly 3 hours to test one, not all of these have been tested. Any
data on any of these methods is appreciated.
Variation 1: Melon-pults vs. land-based cob cannon
One variation on this strategy that I invariably end up using is replacing my
two land-based cob cannon with pumpkined melon-pults. Imps become a constant
nuisance toward the 30s and two or three at a time can take out a very
expensive cob cannon before I can really react. So, once that happens, I'll
replace the cannon with two melons and pumpkin them; these hold up MUCH better
against the imps and help your offense to some degree as well. Sadly, the
loss of the cob cannon is felt, but it still seems to work better than
constantly burning the sun to replace them.
This leads me to wonder if planning this idea from the start wouldn't help. A
setup based around this idea would spread the melons out a bit more so that
they cover all land rows. There's also the winter melon vs. normal melon
thought, but since a single winter melon does a decent job of keeping
everything slowed and purportedly shoots half as fast, a normal melon-pult
seems the best way to go. Here's a final strategy based on this variation:
[W][m][t][t][M][M][M] g # Symbol Legend
[W][u][m][t][u][G] # . # . land G gloom-shroom
CCCC CCCC [W][G][G] _ _ _ water g garlic
CCCC CCCC [W][G][G] _ _ W winter melon # spikerock
[W][u][m][t][u][G] # . # u umbrella leaf M magnet-shroom
[W][m][t][t][M][M][M] g # [ ] pumpkin t twinflower
CC cob cannon m melon-pult
Variation 2: Cacti vs. open spaces
Another idea is to try to squeeze cacti into the group to deal with balloon
zombies. The advantages are that you aren't required to leave an open space
to throw down a blover, and you'll obtain a slight increase in overall
firepower. The disadvantages are that I am not entirely sure if one cactus
per row can handle the sheer number of balloon zombies that appear in later
waves, nor am I sure that the paltry extra firepower is worth the precious
space (especially since you can't do this AND have 4 extra melon-pults).
Additionally, since the extra spaces also double as emergency umbrella deploy
spots, it leaves a full third of your field exposed to bungee zombies -
although, since they happen so rarely, this is potentially something that can
be recovered from - and you may be able to dig up your garlic to handle it
most of the time. However, they're also your emergency jalapeno and cherry
bomb deploy spots as well, which can be another issue. The final disadvantage
is that it also impedes your total reaction time to deal with zombonis and
gargantuars before they can destroy things, although having two spikerocks
should help. I've never explored this option completely but it remains a
Building on Variation 1 (sacking two cob cannon for space) I would guess it
would look something like this:
[W][f][t][t][M][M][M] g # Symbol Legend
[W][u][f][m][u][t][G] # # . land G gloom-shroom
f CCCC CCCC [W][G][G] _ _ water g garlic
f CCCC CCCC [W][G][G] _ W winter melon # spikerock
[W][u][f][m][u][t][G] # # u umbrella leaf M magnet-shroom
[W][f][t][t][M][M][M] g # [ ] pumpkin t twinflower
CC cob cannon m melon-pult
The cacti are intentionally near the back so they have the most time to fire
against balloons. It may also be necessary to dig up an umbrella leaf for
emergency blover/jalapeno placement in extreme waves of balloons (or use your
cob cannon), but honestly if you have to throw down a blover then this
variation is flawed from the get-go.
Variation 3: Garlic vs. double the gloom-shrooms
Since a double-row of gloom-shrooms are so effective, and since gloom-shrooms
only get more powerful as they are placed near each other, another variation
is to forget the garlic and just gloom-shroom like crazy. Another benefit of
losing garlic is that gives you more space to plant spikerocks, which means
you have double your chances of getting through a level with vehicles intact
and double the chance to slow a gargantuar. On the other hand, it also means
it will take twice as long to recover when they do get through, and you have
less reaction time to deal with them before they get to something vital.
This effectively also reduces the need for magnets, since you should be able
to kill most of the toughest zombies more easily. It still leaves ladder
zombies and diggers as a threat, however - one not easily dealt with. And, as
with variation 2, we still lose the verisimilitude of an open spot on the
field for blovers, although it might be something we could compensate for by
digging up umbrella leaves and replanting them as needed - so long as the
field was well-covered already. But the only spot that can completely cover
the field is in the middle of our offense... So how do we compensate?
[W][m][t][t][t][G][G] # # Symbol Legend
[W][u][m][M][u][G][G] # # . land G gloom-shroom
CCCC CCCC [W][G][u][G] _ _ water g garlic
CCCC CCCC [W][G][u][G] _ W winter melon # spikerock
[W][u][m][M][u][G][G] # # u umbrella leaf M magnet-shroom
[W][m][t][t][t][G][G] # # [ ] pumpkin t twinflower
CC cob cannon m melon-pult
This strategy uses 2 magnets simply as digger defenses and to maybe grab a
ladder once in a while. Cob cannon end up being backup defenses against both
of these, which isn't good as this keeps the already short number of cannon
busy. (Later digger zombies start coming 4 or 8 at a time, so many will get
through.) Additionally, due to practical requirements, umbrella plants cannot
actually cover the entire field. This leaves your top and bottom rows
particularly exposed, and worse yet, the only plants exposed are the hardest
to replace! Plus, your only defense against flyers is to dig up an umbrella -
but at least the field is covered as well as it can be so you shouldn't have
much trouble replacing it. This can get particularly troublesome if you need
to lay down a jalapeno, however. Lastly, I am unsure as to how effective the
front-line pool plants will be against normal waves, as pretty much every
zombie will be getting into the pool and chomping on those first pumpkins.
However, it does grant a tremendous defense against vehicles (if you can
replace the spikerock fast enough) and gargantuars, especially as any of these
that appear on rows 2 or 5 may get killed even without a cob cannon (although
without instant kills they will throw their imps). More testing is needed.
Thanks to curby for an excellent guide and strategy.
Plants vs. Zombies - Survival: ENDLESS!
Copyright (c)2000 Jason Long. All rights reserved.
Version 1.00. Last Updated 6-4-2009
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