ACNH flower breeding

Are you using outdated mechanics in your ACNH flower breeding?

Growing flowers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is more detailed than previous games. Nintendo made some changes to flower mechanics, so even series veterans can brush up. First, you need to understand that ACNH flowers use real Mendelian genetics.

That means each flower has three or four genes. Flowers don’t have a fixed ratio of genes – all possible gene combinations exist. A flower’s gene combination is what determines its color – but color alone is not sufficient to determine a flower’s genes.

The data behind this is backed from the work of the ACNH community’s data miners. The game also doesn’t depict genes in any way to the player. That means prolific flower breeding and cloning is the best way to figure it out. There are a few optimal patterns to use for each type of flower.

ACNH Flowers – Colors

ACNH flower colors

Every single flower type in ACNH has it’s own colors. The only type of flower that has every color available is the Rose. Two black roses can be bred together for a chance at a gold rose.

No other flowers have a gold version. Mums are also the only flower that produces a green flower. Pink, Blue, Purple, Black, Green, and Gold are all hybrid flower colors in Animal Crossing.

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ACNH Flower Guide – General Care

Flower breeding in Animal Crossing means producing offspring or cloning. Flowers produce offspring when they have an available breeding partner.

Flowers will potentially clone themselves when no viable breeding partner is available. You have a percentage chance of producing hybrid flower colors at the beginning of each day.

Flowers need to be watered at least once a day to be eligible to breed. Unlike previous installations in the series, ACNH flowers do not wilt. If you don’t water your flowers, they will not breed, but will still be alive. Flowers can be watered once you can see the color of their buds to contribute to reproduction.

Watering flowers at any growth stage also raise the hidden water counter that controls base reproduction chance.

All flower breeding and growth happens during the first loading screen of the day. No further flowers will spawn while you’re playing or throughout the day. A new game in the day starts at 5 AM, your local time. Make sure you have all your flowers watered before then. There is also no cap on how many flowers can spawn each day.

After a flower has already bred with another flower, it becomes unavailable for the cycle. Planting your flowers in certain patterns takes flower locking into account. We’ll get into that a bit more in down below.

Hey, Listen! – Always start with fresh seeds you’ve planted yourself. Other flowers may have genes with expressions you can’t identify.

ACNH Flower Breeding – 3×3 Sucks, Don’t Use It

Growing flowers in Animal Crossing using a 3×3 pattern has worked for years. However, due to flower locking, it’s not the most optimal pattern for growth in ACNH. Here’s why flowering locking matters in this game.

Flower Locking

When flowers grow and breed in the morning, using the 3×3 pattern may lock out three flowers. For example, planting four white roses with a single red rose in the middle.

  • R = Red Rose
  • W = White Rose

This is a typical 3×3 grid used to grow flowers. Because flowers only grow once per day at login, it can create situations where other flowers can’t breed.

Before Login

Before login, the Red Rose in this graph is eligible to breed with any of the four white roses in the corners. But what happens if the game selects the red rose to breed with one of the white roses?


After Login

If the game selects the red rose with one of the white roses, it leaves the other three locked. This is why the 3×3 pattern is not optimal for producing new offspring.


You should always use optimal patterns to ensure your flowers have multiple breeding partners. Here’s a look at the optimal patterns for each ACNH flower type.

Flower Rolling

Flower rolling is an analogy that refers to the chance a flower has to produce an offspring.

Let’s say a flower needs to roll a six and have an available space to reproduce. If a space is available, the flower will seek a partner. A flower’s hidden water counter and visitor watering (more below) can reduce the minimal roll number needed to successfully breed in this analogy.

If a suitable partner exists in the surrounding eight blocks, it will reproduce. If the flower has space but no breeding partner, it may produce a clone of itself.

ACNH Flower Breeding Patterns

The following flower breeding patterns are optimal for producing hybrids and new offspring. The green E spaces mean the spot should be empty to accept a new plant when you login in the morning.

Note: The layouts below are only examples. There are other optimal layouts depending on your flower breeding goals and island constraints.

Mums & Cosmos

This pattern is multiple 3×3 grids together so that each flower pair has a potential breeding partner. This is how you can maximize the number of new flowers you get per day. Remember, there is no cap on new flower growth, once per day at login.

Mums & Cosmos – Separate
Animal Crossing flowers

Don’t want to grow your mums and cosmos together? This pattern works for cloning and hybrids – like black mums. Each ‘E’ in the pattern offers nine chances at extra flowers each day.

Pansies & Windflowers – Blue
Animal Crossing hybrid flowers

Plant white pansies and windflowers in this pattern to have nine chances at blue hybrid flowers. Remove the blue hybrids from this layout and place them apart to clone blues faster.

Pansies & Windflowers – Purple
ACNH hybrid flowers

Reminder: Use the red and blue pansies and windflowers in the previous step to have flowers with the right gene expressions.

Using this modified and expanded 3×3 pattern has a greater chance of producing purple pansies and windflowers. Remember to remove any flowers that have grown in E spots for maximum chances.

Tulips & Hyacinths – Orange
ACNH flower breeding

This is the same pattern above with red and yellow tulips and hyacinths. This will net you greater chances at orange flowers of both colors. Orange of both colors can be used to create purple flowers of both colors.

ACNH flower patterns

All lily colors are tier one flowers, with the orange lily not needed for anything. Red lilies can make pink lilies – white lilies are not needed in this pattern. Red lily seed + white lily seed = pink lily seed, also.


Roses are the most involved flower breeding in ACNH because they are available in all colors. Start with the above pattern in all red roses to grow blue roses.

Another patch of red and yellow roses will grant a chance for the necessary orange roses for this pattern.

Curious how to grow gold roses in ACNH? You’ll need the above pattern of just black roses and a golden watering can. Get a golden watering can by having a 5-star island.

It’s also worth noting that black roses have a memory of being watered with a golden watering can.

It seems up to ~3 days after being watered by a golden watering can, black roses may produce a golden rose. They can carry that memory across islands, which is important in trading. Black roses keep their golden watering can memory even if it rains on your island.

Gold-flagged black roses have a 50% chance for their offspring to be gold.

How do I get Lily of the Valley flowers?

You can get Lily of the Valley flowers once your island reaches a 5-star level. The rate at which they spawn is currently unknown.

Lily of the Valley doesn’t increase the chances of breeding hybrids in New Horizons at all. They are purely for an island’s aesthetic value.

Friend Bonuses

Did you know you can get a bonus to your breeding flower pairs by having friends water your flowers? Up to five friends can contribute to higher chances of flower breeding.

The below numbers are raw averages from data miners, not precise percentages.

Single FlowerFlower Breeding Pairs
1 Friend28.9%45.5%
2 Friends37.3%58.3%
3 Friends50.9%75.1%
4 Friends65.3%87.8%
5 Friends80%96%

It’s worth noting that island residents’ watering does not count toward this bonus. Only visitors from other islands and yourself.

Research Credits

The information in this guide would not be possible without the dedicated work of the Animal Crossing community. Their research and datamining helps determine the actual numbers and mechanics behind successful breeding.

Condensed Infographic

Datamine: Aeter, Psi & Ninji
Calculations: Chomp
Layout Method: BackwardsN
Graphics @PeachNKey

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