The Sims 4 Fertilizer

Gardening Plant Quality and How Fertilizers Work

The Sims 4 Fertilizer
Fertilizing a plant in The Sims 4

The Sims 4's Gardening skill allows you to grow plants and fertilize them. Unfortunately a lot of what I'd learned had to be scrapped, as the devs at some point changed how fertilizer functions. First we'll look at plant evolution and quality then we'll move on to types of fertilizers. We're going to focus on only the best fertilizers and send you to other areas where you can get specific fertilizer strengths for both produce and fish.

You can like/subscribe to our Here. This video guide to fertilizer in The Sims 4 summarizes a lot of what is here and gives visual instructions on where to find some of the best fish to use for fertilizer.

How to Fertilize and Evolve

Players must be at level 3 Gardening in order to fertilize, which is done by simply click the plant and 'Fertilize'. Fertilizers can be applied about once every four Sim days. The fertilize command will be greyed out when you click the plant if it's not ready yet - check the next day. You are not notified when a plant is ready to be fertilized again, so it's good to form a schedule if you're trying to make plants perfect quality as quickly as possible.

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The Sims 4 Evolving a plant with Fertilizer
Evolve happens instantly. Your plants will begin making higher quality produce the next day.

Plants evolve best when outdoors. There are five levels of plant evolution: Normal, Nice, Excellent, Magnificent, and Perfect. With each evolution, your produce will be worth more - much more when you consider at least 4-6 produce per harvest per day when in season. They will also serve as better fertilizers and boost the quality of meals when used as fresh ingredients in cooking recipes. When a plant is ready to evolve, it will begin to sparkle and the Evolve option will appear when you click the plant. Further progress will be blocked, so it's important to click the Evolve button as soon as possible. Evolve then fertilize, just in case excess 'experience' is wasted.

Fertilizers strength is tied to Simoleon value. More potent fertilizers will apply instant progress to the bar that appears when you hover over a plant. Because you're locked out after fertilizing it is best not to waste the opportunity to fertilize by using a junk fertilizer, such as using rotten minnows or low value flowers/herbs to fertilize. You're better off waiting until you have something better in many cases. Thanks to jjrmich for pointing out these levels and teaching me a bit in the process:

  • Less than $5 - Near-Useless
  • $5 to $11 - Low-Grade
  • $12 to $19 - Medium Strength
  • $20 to $49 - High Strength
  • $50+ - Best Fertilizer

Using Plants as Fertilizer & Their Strength

The Sims 4 How to get Growfruit
How to get Growfruit: Buy Rare Seed Packets for $1,000 each at level 10 Gardening and get lucky (around 20% chance). Or cheat.

Plants are a primary go-to for fertilizing due to their extreme availability. Grow produce, use your own produce to fertilize other produce. Great! However, many produce are simply not worth using as fertilizer due to the long cooldown on the fertilize ability. The higher the quality level of the produce you have on hand, the higher the price becomes. You've got to GET high quality level produce to use them though, and fish are great for getting you there.


At level 10 Gardening, you get the ability to open rare seed packets. Growfruit, originally part of the spring challenge, can be found inside these packets about 20% of the time. They are no better than any other fertilizer as far as I can tell, they are just easy to get to $50.

Fish as Fertilizer and Their Strength

The Sims 4 Using Fish as Fertilizer and its strength
Large fish make excellent fertilizer. The bigger the better, but they also have a hidden modifier that determines the base rate.

The strength of fish as fertilizer varies wildly, based upon freshness. You can see all fish listed on the Fishing Guide. Here I am going to repeat the fish list and order them not by how common they are, as I do there, but by fertilizer strength THEN how common. So you can see common high strength then common medium strength. Now, there is a big caveat. One thing seriously messes with fish as fertilizer.

Freshness of fish matters and directly impacts its fertilizer strength. A foul salmon may not do as well as a fresh tuna of half the size, because it suffers a penalty due to a lack of freshness. What is happening in the background is, as a fish spoils, its internal value falls even if you can sell it for the same amount. Any fish over $100 Simoleons will still function as max-level fertilizer even when foul. An excellent freshness bass at $50 can do the same but if it ticks down even one freshness level it will no longer be high quality. Refrigerate your fish in the $60-90 range to keep them fresh until you get Excellent Pomegranates or something like that, which will let you retire your rod and reel.

There is no benefit to using a $3000 Sturgeon as a fertilizer over a $100 Salmon! Many rares should be sold for money instead. The fertilizer strength column is a remnant of the old fertilizer system but it just so happens most of the fish at the top of this chart will meet the $50 minimum requirement when fishing at level 7-10. Fish weight scales with level so you're able to catch heavier fish as you skill up.

PictureFish TypeSizeRarityValue*Fertilizer StrengthFishing Spot & Bait
Tuna in The Sims 4TunaLCommon$50-$90HighThe Sims 4 City Living. Found in San Myshuno fishing spots and in many spots throughout the world.
Salmon in The Sims 4SalmonLCommon$90-$342HighAvailable in most Fishing Spots
Tambaqui in The Sims 4 Jungle AdventureTambaquiLCommon$60-$90MedThe Sims 4 Jungle Adventure. Found all over - can be caught at all spots around the marketplace in Selvadorada.
Wolf Eel in The Sims 4Wolf EelLUncommon$108-$364HighUse Frog as Bait. Found in Forgotten Grotto.
Sturgeon in The Sims 4SturgeonLRare$140-$3000HighFound at pool in back of Oasis Springs Park, Pond in Willow Creek Park, as well as Forgotten Grotto.
Mountain Lionfish in The Sims 4 Outdoor RetreatMountain LionfishLRare$166-$900HighOutdoor Retreat Game Pack. Found in Deep Woods of Granite Falls (Waterfall Spot)
Bass in The Sims 4BassMCommon$16-$70MediumAvailable in most Fishing Spots
Cichlid Fish in The Sims 4CichlidSCommon$10-$20MediumCaught at most fishing spots. Magnolia Promenade (GTW) is a good one, as well as fishing spots in Willow Creek's bottom-right neighborhood.
Koi in The Sims 4KoiMCommon$24-$37MediumFound in Ponds in Willow Creek and Oasis Springs' Parks
Yellow Perch in The Sims 4 Outdoor RetreatYellow PerchMCommon$24-43MediumOutdoor Retreat Game Pack. Caught in most Granite Falls Fishing Spots
Trout in The Sims 4TroutMCommon$19-$113MediumFound in Pond in Oasis Springs Park
Walleye in The Sims 4 Outdoor RetreatWalleyeMCommon$22-81MediumOutdoor Retreat Game Pack. Caught in most Granite Falls Fishing Spots
Armored Catfish in The Sims 4Armored CatfishMUncommon$50-$??MedThe Sims 4 Jungle Adventure. Found under Omiscan Royal Baths (take left doorway when facing the temple gateway, if it is open).
Catfish in The Sims 4CatfishMUncommon$43-$107MediumUse Plants as Bait. Found very commonly in Rivers.
Discus in The Sims 4DiscusMUncommon$35-50MediumSpa Day Game Pack. Caught near the businesses in both Willow Creek and Oasis Springs
Exotic Goldfish in The Sims 4Exotic GoldfishSUncommon$30-60MediumSpa Day Game Pack. Sylvan Glade's waterfall fishing spot
Tilapia in The Sims 4TilapiaMUncommon$54-$62MediumFound in Sylvan Glades, Waterfall Area.
Anglerfish in The Sims 4AnglerfishMRare$38-$1630Medium (but high weight)Use Bass, Salmon, or Catfish as Bait. Found in Forgotten Grotto and Sylvan Glade Ponds.
Electric Eel in The Sims 4Electric EelLRare$50-$??MedThe Sims 4 Jungle Adventure. Found near the temple entrance - take the right gateway when facing the temple entrance, if it is open.
Batfish in The Sims 4BatfishMRare$119-$278Medium (but high weight)Found Commonly in Forgotten Grotto.
Rainbow Fish in The Sims 4RainbowfishMRare$65-$85MediumFound in Forgotten Grotto and the Waterfall in Sylvan Glade.
Treefish in The Sims 4TreefishMRare$151-$375Medium (but high weight)Found at Pond in Willow Creek Park, Sylvan Glade Pond.
Vampire Squid in The Sims 4 VampiresVampire SquidMRare$50-$??MedThe Sims 4 Vampires. Hardly rare - it is caught in Forgotten Hollow and an easy catch at level 10 with no bait.
Goldfish in The Sims 4GoldfishSCommon$12-$15LowFound in Ponds in Willow Creek and Oasis Springs' Parks
Guppy in The Sims 4GuppySCommon$7-$10LowFound in Pond in Oasis Springs Park
Minnow in The Sims 4MinnowSCommon$7-$9LowAvailable in most Fishing Spots
Perch in The Sims 4PerchSCommon$10-$13LowAvailable in most Fishing Spots
Tetra in The Sims 4TetraSCommon$6-$11LowRiver at Willow Creek Park
Angelfish in The Sims 4AngelfishSUncommon$14-$20LowRivers in Willow Creek
Betta in The Sims 4BettaSUncommon$11-$20LowPond in Willow Creek Park
Kissing Gourami in The Sims 4Kissing GouramiSUncommon$16-$18LowFound commonly in Rivers.
Red Crawdad in The Sims 4 Outdoor RetreatRed CrawdadSUncommon$11-16LowOutdoor Retreat Game Pack. Found in most Granite Falls Fishing Spots
Skeleton fish in The Sims 4"Captain Fishbones" BonefishSRare$10-$25LowMagnolia Promenade (Get To Work), Oasis Spring's Park, Sylvan Glades (Willow Creek), Hermit's Secret Location (Outdoor Retreat)
Gummie Guppie in The Sims 4Gummie GuppieSRare$15-30LowMagnolia Promenade (GTW), Oasis Spring's Park, Sylvan Glade waterfall, Hermit's Secret Location (Outdoor Retreat)
Piranha in The Sims 4PiranhaSRare$19-$27LowUse Koi, Bass, Catfish, Rainbowfish, and other Medium Fish as bait. These are caught somewhat regularly in the pool at the back of Oasis Springs Park (not the pond, see below), and occasionally the pond in Willow Creek. As with all Rare catches, it may take higher than Fishing Level 7 to catch. This one most definitely requires bait to come up reliably.
Red-Tailed Black Shark in The Sims 4Red-Tailed Black SharkSRare$18-$22LowUse Small Fish as Bait. Found in Pond in Willow Creek Park.
Blue Crawdad in The Sims 4 Outdoor RetreatBlue CrawdadSRare$50-81LowOutdoor Retreat Game Pack. Found in Deep Woods of Granite Falls (Waterfall Spot)

Growfruit, Bee Boxes and Fungal Infusion (Hermit)

Growfruit (from the Spring Challenge) are the only plant that gets a 'high' fertilizer grade score. They are available by cheating (bb.showhiddenobjects). Another item that is extremely potent but not listed here is the special fertilizer you learn from the herbalism Skill and the hermit of Granite Falls. This requires a collectible item to craft, and isn't worth it unless you are a Scientist with access to a cloning machine.

Lastly, Beekeeping can provide an area of effect fertilizer effect to your plants that stacks with everything listed here. See the Seasons Beekeeping Guide for further details.

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Comments (12)

Maple Simmersays...
Thanks for such a helpful guide! I have evolved growfruit in a few of my saves so I'll definitely be using that. FYI, you can buy growfruit at the supplies booth in Granite Falls, so if you have Outdoor Retreat you can easily get it that way. Smile
While you’ve done a great job on this guide and I can see the hard work that’s gone into it, the fertilizing quality system is actually far less complicated than this Blush. While there is leftover code in the game for different types of haervestables and fish having different inherent qualities as fertilizers, it looks like at some point that system was scrapped. Instead, the quality simply revolves around the simoleon value of the fertilizer. fertilizers worth less than 5 simoleons are the worst, followed by 5 to 12 simoleons, followed by 12 to 20, followed by 20 to 50, with the best quality of fertilizer being those worth more than 50 simoleons. This probably explains why you noticed a dip in quality as fish got less fresh and therefore, lost their retail value.
Looks like you may be right about some of this, and you are correct in how the game threw me a massive curveball. All tests come out to show this info 'working' and an extra degree of complexity is added when trying to test this because fish do not visibly drop in value due to freshness. If you catch a salmon at $100, it will still be $100 at foul (I even traveled to test this). So in that way, freshness matters.

I think a LOT of what was stated stands because you pretty much are wasting time to use low yield fertilizer, but it's very good to be able to say that fertilizer caps in quality a 50 simoleons. You're doing yourself 0 favors by using $1,000 sturgeon vs a fresh bass. So yeah it's correct that a bass (that would be listed as medium here) that is heavy and thus value > $50 can be as good as a salmon.

I feel a bit iffy about nuking so much of this, particularly the video. I show fishing spots in it that are good for catching the higher value fish that happen to almost always be higher value (with some padding to account for freshness) and make fantastic fertilizers. I guess next what needs to be known is to what degree freshness of fish affects the HIDDEN value for retail. If it is $60 and it drops a grade is it now under $50 internally? Some people really like to min-max so I may do some extra testing on this before I pin a comment on my video and make some edits here.
Loving the videos Carl! It makes it so much easier to see what you are trying to explain as well as hearing what you are saying. Combine that with the Guide and it's a terrific way to learn to play more efficiently.
Reading the comments above, I’m super curious to know if freshness really *does* matter. I’ve never noticed that it does in my play. I think it makes more sense story-wise to put decomposed fish in a garden then a perfectly fresh fish, so that’s my bias.

The real reason I’m writing is to request the addition of pet poop to your fertilizer study. Yes, it is gross if you take it literally, but it’s a nice gameplay feature to have a household member naturally produce fertilizer. I am curious to know how it compares to other fertilizers.
Foul fish have a negative penalty when using as fertilizer so they are like an 'anti-fertilizer' in some circumstances, so definitely not a good item to use. I'll pass on your request about pet poop.
I did not see this in your guide so I'll pose the question...

According to your guide, fish make the best fertilizer, with heavier fish being better so I thought, "Why fish when I can just stock the fish tank then transfer to my inventory?" It does work, and the plants accept them as fertilizer but the fish have "no value" or "weight", the fields for this info simply don't exist for them. So the question is, how does this affect their quality for evolving plants?
It's a good question, same thing happens when you use the fish vendor to purchase salmon or tuna and then use those fish as fertilizer. In-game testing shows these unweighted fish as far less effective as fertilizer compared to caught fish.
Gwen Spellbladesays...

copypasto as a caster also works for replicating many things, from highly evolved plants, excellent quality fruit, as well as the fungal infusion fertilizer. . .


I was able to fertiliser my plant with growfruit and then add the fungal infusion immediately afterwards. I was wondering if this stacks the effect of fertilisation or if the fungal infusion replaces the growfruit as the plants' fertiliser. If it stacks the affect that would be amazing!


Carl Re: Fertilzers ~Hight strenght Dragon fruit which sell for over 50 make excellent fertilizer (that way you do not have to be a level 10 gardener to get the growfruit ..Although my level 7 fisherman /mermaid did hook one out of the sea in Sulani)

She is now growing Growfruit at a level 8 gardener

Fellow Simsays...

On my behalf and Sims, thank you! Your guide has helped me so much!


After a plant hits "perfect" does it still need fertilized?



Robin T.says...

As always you nail it. I would like to share though. I grafted a money tree onto a coconut tree from Sulani and i get money bags. I'm sure you can use any tree although i'll have to test it at some point.They make epic fertilizer. (Gives new meaning to 'burying your money')


Update for Cottage Living: If you can turn one of your chickens into a Golden Chicken and introduce it to your garden, it will turn your plants into Perfect plants with its amazing powers. :)

I would love to know what the fertilizer value is of things like pet poops (Cats & Dogs) or the compost/food waste you get from the Sort Out Compostables interaction on lots with the 'Reduce & Recycle' lot trait (Eco Lifestyle). Obviously the monetary value of these things is $1 or $0, but is there code within the game that still gives them a high strength fertilization power comparable to a +$50 fish or plant?

From playing around with these fertilizers, it feels like a Large Pet Poop is very high strength, but the compost/food waste has a lower effect than a $50 fish/plant. But I would love to have confirmation either way.

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