Animal Crossing: New Horizons Hybrid Flowers Guide - How To Breed Flowers

Here's everything you need to know about breeding black, blue, purple, pink, and orange hybrid flowers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

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In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, gardening is both an art form and a science. You can buy regular flower seeds and plant them around your island to make it pretty, but if you really want to take your gardening to the next level, you're going to need to learn how to breed flowers to get brand-new colors. These hybrid flowers include black, blue, purple, pink, and orange variations of the flowers you can plant normally--plus the extra-special, elusive gold roses.

Hybrid flowers aren't just pretty--they can sometimes attract rare bugs you couldn't get otherwise and can also be used as crafting ingredients, so it's a good idea to have at least a few on your island. The technical details for this guide, including flower genes and the specifics of availability, come from the ACNH Flower Research datamine.

Speaking of flowers, the April update for New Horizons introduced Leif, the gardening sloth, who will come to your island as a special visitor and sell rare seeds and shrubs.

Types Of Flowers

Like with your native island fruit, there will be one type of flower that grows on your cliffs when you start the game; keep in mind that you'll need a ladder to scale the cliffs. You can buy other varieties of flowers (in seed form) at Nook's Cranny or from Leif when he visits. The flower varieties can be found in the image below.

A chart showing all the flower species in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and every color available for each. Click in to enlarge.
A chart showing all the flower species in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and every color available for each. Click in to enlarge.

Each of these flowers comes in standard red, white, and yellow varieties at first aside from windflowers, which come in red, white, and orange initially. (There are no yellow windflowers, and orange windflowers are not hybrids.) These are the only colors you'll find when buying seed bags; all other colors aren't sold at Nook's Cranny and are considered rare.

Native Flowers And Sister Flowers

The flower stock at Nook's Cranny will rotate each day, with three types of flowers available at any given time. As mentioned above, your island will have one type of native flower; this flower is always in stock at Nook's Cranny. You'll also have a sister flower, which will also always be in stock. The third flower in stock on any given day is determined by which month it is and can change each day within that month. For example, in the Northern Hemisphere, roses, tulips, and windflowers are all in season in May. If none of these are your native or sister flower, they'll take turns being in stock at Nook's Cranny each day in May.

According to datamined information, native flowers are determined at random based on which flowers are in season during your starting character's birth month, while your sister flower is one of the flowers that were in season during the month you started your island. If you aren't sure what your sister flower is, visit a few Mystery Tour islands; you can only encounter your native flower or your sister flower on these islands. Mystery Islands are also important for hybrids, which we outline a bit later in this guide.

With only three of the eight types of flower seeds available for sale on any given day, you're going to have some trouble getting certain types of flowers from the shop right away. Luckily, you can either buy these flower seeds from friends' islands (provided they have different native and/or sister flowers than you) or from the special visitor Leif, who stocks seeds you can't normally buy. You can also dig up flowers on friends' islands (with permission!) if you've registered each other as Best Friends; you can read more about how to add Best Friends in our guide.

How To Breed Flowers

The main way to grow new flowers is by crossbreeding (or just "breeding") two others. Flowers can breed only if they're the same species of flower, but there are a few other requirements you need to meet, too. Those are:

  • The flowers are planted next to each other (either directly or diagonally)
  • They're fully bloomed or budding (meaning they will be fully bloomed the next day)
  • They've been watered (either by any type of watering can or by rain)
  • There is an empty space adjacent to them

If these conditions are met, a new flower has a chance of sprouting on nearby empty spaces the next day. Unlike in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, there is no limit to the number of new flowers that can spawn each day. Note that flowers can spawn on dirt and dark dirt paths but not on any other type of path you can lay down using Island Designer, so be mindful of this when landscaping.

"Breeding" refers to this process of producing new flowers, and it doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a hybrid flower. Sometimes two white flowers next to each other will produce another white flower, for example. This is a good way to produce more flowers without having to buy seeds, and it's also an integral step in obtaining certain ultra-rare hybrids.

Cloning

There's also a chance that a flower by itself will spawn a new flower of the same color when watered. This is referred to as "cloning," because the new flower will have exactly the same "genes" as the original flower--see the section on genes below. Cloning is useful if you want to multiply your hybrids quickly and easily, or if you want to use a certain breed of flower for further breeding. Note that you can't clone gold roses.

The easiest way to clone flowers is to leave them with nine empty spaces around them (i.e., not touching any other flowers) or only touching flowers of a different species. Flowers can clone themselves if they're touching other flowers of the same species provided they aren't crossbreeding with anything else around them, but it's difficult-to-impossible to track whether the flowers crossbred or just cloned, so this isn't recommended if you're trying to clone something specific.

Visitor Watering Bonus

Try asking your friends to come to your island and water the flowers you're breeding! There's a special benefit to this: If flowers have been watered by a visitor, the chance they'll produce offspring, either by breeding or cloning, goes up. This effect stacks up to five visitors (with the effect steadily increasing) and can drastically increase the production of new flowers, so if you have willing friends, asking them to water your flowers can speed up breeding significantly.

How To Get The Golden Watering Can

Speaking of gold roses, you're going to need a special tool for those: the golden watering can. It works the same way as other watering cans--though it can water more flowers at once--except when you're watering black roses (details below). To get the golden watering can DIY recipe, you need to get a five-star town evaluation from Isabelle. In order to reach five stars, you'll need to have plenty of fencing, flowers, and furniture decorating your island, and Isabelle will give you hints as to what you're missing when doing her evaluations. When you do achieve five stars, Isabelle will give you the recipe for the golden watering can, which you can then craft at any time so long as you have the materials.

Flower Genes

Extensive datamining has confirmed that flowers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons have "genes" that determine both their color and what color offspring they're able to breed. Each type of flower utilizes three genes except for roses, which utilize four (hence why they're so complicated to breed). You can look at Paleh's Advanced Flower Genetics Guide, which uses datamined information, for the technical specifics of genes; for this guide, however, we're sticking to the practical applications for accessible flower breeding.

Basically, flowers in New Horizons utilize Mendelian genetics, the kind you learn in basic biology. That means flowers have recessive and dominant genes--think Punnett squares--and these genes determine what color the flower is. In some cases, two or more different combinations of genes can result in the same color flower, which is where chain breeding--the process by which you breed flowers, then take the flowers you've bred and then breed them to get another color--can get really tricky. Luckily, every flower that comes from a seed bag (whether you bought it from Nook's Cranny or Leif) has the exact same genes, which standardizes things.

For example, you can breed basic red pansies (the kind you plant from a seed bag) with blue pansies to get... more red pansies. However, the red pansies you get from this red-blue combo have different genes than the red pansies you can get from seed bags, even though they look the same--they're often called "hybrid red," while the normal ones are called "seed red." Because of the genetic difference, you can breed two hybrid-red pansies together to get purple, but you can't get purple pansies from seed-red pansies at all. In order to breed purple pansies, you have to keep track of which reds are from seed bags and which are from breeding with blue pansies.

For some flowers--namely lilies, cosmos, tulips, and hyacinths--you won't have to worry about genes too much, because their genotypes are relatively simple and require only minimal, easy-to-track chain breeding. For the others, especially roses, you'll have to pay close attention to the flowers you plant and breed if you want to get the rarest colors. This is also where cloning comes into play, since it's useful to clone the most hard-to-get genetic combinations once you're sure you have one.

Mystery Island Hybrids

If you're lucky, you may find hybrid flowers while on a deserted island Mystery Tour. In order to take some home with you, you'll need a shovel; dig up the flowers and you'll be able to replant them on your own island. Keep in mind that you'll only ever encounter your native flower or your sister flower while on Mystery Tours, and that applies to hybrids as well.

Hybrids you find on these Mystery Tours have different genes than the ones you can breed from seed flowers on your own island. In some cases, these hybrids can make chain breeding for ultra-rare colors far easier, so make sure you keep track of the hybrids you get from Mystery Tour islands--both so you can breed and so you can trade or share with friends.

A hybrid flower island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
A hybrid flower island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Hybrid Flower Breeding Combinations

Below are all the key breeding combinations (via Paleh's Advanced Flower Genetics Guide and our own testing) for every species and color of flower in New Horizons. This list assumes you're starting with flowers from seeds, so we've only listed the optimal combinations for each hybrid color. Because of how flower genes work, you may notice that other combinations we haven't listed may produce hybrids--this usually occurs when you have "hybrid" versions of the standard colors, like the hybrid-red pansies in the example above.

Most of the combinations listed only have a chance to produce the hybrid color and might give you a different color some of the time, but we've specified the percentage in the more complicated cases where chain breeding is a concern. (This percentage represents the chance you'll get the desired color/gene combination when the flowers breed.) If you're trying to get more of a particular color of a flower, we recommend cloning it rather than trying to breed it with itself.

Note that "seed" colors refer to the flowers you plant from seed bags you've purchased at Nook's Cranny or from Leif; "island" colors refer to the hybrids you can only get from Mystery Tour islands; and "hybrid" or "special" colors refer to specific genetic combinations of flowers where noted. If it's not specified, assume every red, white, and yellow flower in this list is a seed flower (and that any simple hybrid colors listed came from those seed combinations). It's important to start with seed flowers when breeding for consistency.

Cosmos

Cosmos are simple and easy to breed, with only one chain: orange to black.

A chart showing how to breed every color of cosmos in New Horizons.
A chart showing how to breed every color of cosmos in New Horizons.

Basic combos:

  • red + white = pink
  • red + yellow = orange
  • orange + orange = black (rare)

Best combo for black cosmos:

  • island orange + island orange = black (around 19%)

Hyacinths

You can get every color of hyacinths without any complex genetic chains, but purple is incredibly rare this way. The chance of getting purple goes up significantly (to 25%) if you breed blues from oranges and then use those blues to breed; these blues are identical to those you can find on Mystery Tour islands, which also work.

A chart showing how to breed every color of hyacinths in New Horizons.
A chart showing how to breed every color of hyacinths in New Horizons.

Basic combos:

  • red + white = pink
  • red + yellow = orange
  • white + white = blue
  • orange + orange = purple

Best methods for purple hyacinths:

  • orange + orange = special blue (12.5%)
    • special blue + special blue = purple
  • island blue + island blue = purple
  • island blue + island orange = purple
  • island orange + island orange = purple

Lilies

Lilies are the simplest flower to breed, and you can get every color without chain breeding at all. None of the colors are all that rare, either!

A chart showing how to breed every color of lilies in New Horizons.
A chart showing how to breed every color of lilies in New Horizons.

Basic combos:

  • red + white = pink
  • red + yellow = orange
  • red + red = black or pink

Mums

Mums are the only flower species that can be green, and there are a few ways to get green mums. Because hybrid yellow + hybrid yellow can produce seed yellow, make sure you only get your hybrid yellows from seed red + seed yellow or by cloning a hybrid yellow.

A chart showing how to breed every color of mums in New Horizons.
A chart showing how to breed every color of mums in New Horizons.

Basic combos:

  • red + white = pink
  • white + white = purple
  • seed red + seed yellow = hybrid yellow (100%)
  • hybrid yellow + hybrid yellow = green (rare)

Best method for green mums:

  • hybrid yellow + hybrid yellow = special purple (25%)
    • special purple + special purple = green (25%)

Other combos for green mums:

  • island purple + island pink = green (around 19%)
  • island purple + island purple = green (rare)

Pansies

Like hyacinths, the most difficult pansy is the purple one, and it's very rare; however, the chain is relatively simple. Your chances go up to 25% if you use hybrid pansies from a Mystery Tour island.

A chart showing how to breed every color of pansies in New Horizons.
A chart showing how to breed every color of pansies in New Horizons.

Basic combos:

  • red + yellow = orange
  • white + white = blue
  • red + blue = hybrid red (100%)
  • hybrid red + hybrid red = purple (rare)

Best combos for purple pansies:

  • island blue + island blue = purple
  • island orange + island orange = purple
  • island blue + island orange = purple

Roses

Roses are the most complex flower in New Horizons, and blue roses are the rarest flower in the game. There are a few chain-breeding methods to get blue roses, and they are a bit complicated, so bear with it. Keep in mind that you should always be using the standard colors (either the seed colors or the hybrids you get from those seed colors) to ensure the genes are correct unless otherwise noted. Again, this information is from Paleh's Advanced Flower Genetics Guide, simplified for those who don't want to deal with the technical specifics.

Basic combos:

  • red + white = pink
  • red + yellow = orange
  • red + red = black or pink
  • white + white = purple
  • black + seed yellow = orange (100%; same genes as seed red + seed yellow)
  • black (watered with gold watering can) = gold

Blue rose method 1 (Mystery Island):

  • island orange + island orange = blue (rare) OR island hybrid red
  • island hybrid red + island hybrid red = blue (25%)

If you're lucky enough to have roses as your native or sister flower (or have a friend who does), you can totally circumvent all of the complicated stuff below and just use island hybrid roses for a quick path to blue roses.

Blue rose method 2 (simplest):

  • orange + purple = hybrid red (25%, and another 25% will be the wrong kind of red)
  • hybrid red + hybrid red = blue (1.6%)

This method is bad, mainly because there's no good way to check if your red roses are the right kind of red. You just have to get really lucky, and while possible, it's not very efficient. (Note that this hybrid red has different genes than the island hybrid red above, and it's also different from the hybrid red 2 below. Don't get them mixed up!)

Blue rose method 3 (recommended):

  • seed white + seed white = purple
  • seed red + seed red = black
  • black + purple = special red
  • special red + special red = hybrid red
  • hybrid red + hybrid red = blue (1.6%)

This is the recommended method if you don't want to do an extremely long chain; it's guaranteed to get you the hybrid reds you need to make blue, as opposed to method 2 above, which only gives you a 25% chance of getting them and no real way to tell if you did. If you don't have access to island orange roses, you could do worse than this method.

Blue rose method 4 (highest chance):

This method is the longest of all of them, but by the end of it, you'll have a 25% chance of getting blue roses from two hybrid red ones (these are different from the above hybrid reds and are labeled "hybrid red 2" below for clarity). Because this is so complex, it's recommended that you only breed each of these as pairs, rather than setting up grids or any other breeding pattern of three or more flowers.

  • seed white + seed yellow = special white 1
  • seed white + seed white = purple
  • special white 1 + purple = special purple (50%)

At this step, only half the purple offspring will be the right kind. You can either try your luck or test to see if these purples are indeed the purples you need to continue this method.

  • Good: purple + seed yellow = white or hybrid yellow (it's 50/50)
  • Bad: purple + seed yellow = white only

Give this combination a few tries to see if you get yellow; if you only get white roses, that purple isn't the right kind of purple, so you should get rid of it before continuing. You should also keep any yellow roses from this step, as they can be used later on in the chain.

  • clone the special purple rose to get another one with the right genes!
  • special purple + special purple OR hybrid yellow + hybrid yellow = hybrid white
  • seed red + seed yellow = orange
  • orange + hybrid white = special orange

You can stop here, clone the special orange rose, and breed the two together for a 6.25% of a blue rose. Continue the chain for a 25% combination instead.

  • hybrid white + special orange = hybrid red 2
  • clone or breed another hybrid red 2
  • hybrid red 2 + hybrid red 2 = blue (25%)!

While this path is much longer than the others, its success rate is also much better. You can speed up the process by breeding the orange, special white 1, and purple roses at the same time. Good luck!

Tulips

Back to simple flowers. Like with hyacinths, you can get every color of tulip relatively easily, but purple ones are the rarest. You can increase your chances of getting a purple tulip to 25% by breeding hybrids from a Mystery Tour island.

A chart showing how to breed every color of tulips in New Horizons.
A chart showing how to breed every color of tulips in New Horizons.

Basic combos:

  • red + white = pink
  • red + yellow = orange
  • red + red = black
  • orange + orange = purple (rare)

Best combos for purple tulips:

  • island black + island black = purple
  • island orange + island orange = purple
  • island black + island orange = purple

Windflowers

Windflowers are slightly weird in that they don't have a yellow version; instead, orange is a default rather than a hybrid. While not nearly as complex as roses, getting the rare purple windflower does require a bit of effort. Your chances go up to 25% if you use island hybrids or special blues.

Basic combos:

  • red + orange = pink
  • white + white = blue
  • red + blue = hybrid red (100%)
  • pink + blue = hybrid red (25%)
  • pink + blue = special pink (25%)

Best combos for purple windflowers:

  • hybrid red + hybrid red = special blue (half of the blue offspring)
    • To test the blues, breed them together. Special blues produce pinks half the time, while normal ones will only produce oranges.
    • special blue + special blue = purple
  • island pink + island pink = purple
  • island blue + island blue = purple
  • island blue + island pink = purple

Other combos for purple windflowers:

  • hybrid red + hybrid red = purple (rare)
  • special pink + special pink = purple (rare)
  • special pink + hybrid red = purple (rare)

What To Do With Flowers

Flowers have a variety of uses in New Horizons. Aside from planting and watering them, you can pick them using Y--and unlike in previous Animal Crossing games, you can pick flowers without losing the whole plant, and the flowers will grow back in two days. This allows you to use flowers in crafting recipes including various wreaths and furniture items, and you can also place picked flowers in your home or around your island to use as decoration. You can even wear flowers in your hair!

Flowers are especially important to the ecosystem of your island. They improve your island rating (which Isabelle can tell you about), they can attract different species of bugs, and they're just pretty in general. You'll need at least a few flowers planted around your island in order to have plenty of bugs to catch--butterflies, stinkbugs, mantises, ladybugs, and honeybees will only appear on or near flowers. There are also two bugs that will only appear if you have certain flower colors:

Bug NameLocationMonthsTimePrice
Orchid mantisOn white flowersMarch - Nov (N);
Sept - May (S)
8 AM -
5 PM
2400
Peacock butterflyFlying near
black, blue,
or purple flowers
March - June (N);
Sept - Dec (S)
4 AM -
7 PM
2500

You can also sell flowers (either the plant itself or picked flowers). While most don't sell for much, you can make a bit of change selling any you don't need or want. Gold and blue roses sell for 1,000 bells each, though, so you can make a farm out of those roses and harvest them the way you would a fruit tree.

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A wonderful gaming site. I gather lots of information about games.

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Wind flower: white + white = blue

Hyacinth: blue + blue = purple

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