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Our campaign is plodding along steadily and we are approaching the various character made Demiplane levels of play. These demiplanes are full of non living materials, but this question can be applied to any place where there is no vegetation.

So how does a character of whatever class create permanent, living plants? The druid spell plant growth does not work on barren ground - it requires existing plants to modify. From create object spells, and minor/major creation, we were only able to infer the components were organic material, like a wooden box or hemp rope, but saw no indication anything was actually living.

Dark Sun used to have several foliage/garden spells, for example: Tree Growth, Create Oasis, Prolific Vegetation, Prolific Forestation, Hasten Crops, and many related weather/climate spells.

Is the creation of a plant, such as grass, a rose bush, or an oak tree, something that demands Epic level spells? And which seed(s) would you use if that's the case?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you ruling out the obvious "put some seeds in the ground"? \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jun 29 '17 at 6:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik - The OP did specifically ask: "which seed(s) would you use". \$\endgroup\$ – BanjoFox Jun 29 '17 at 12:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BanjoFox not sure if it's a joke, but "seeds" in the context of Epic spells refers to something else. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jun 29 '17 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ What are the create object spells? (I mean, if, instead, the PCs are tossing around salient divine abilities like create object, I'm kind of wondering why they need plants at all!) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 29 '17 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also kind of related if the problem is transporting raw materials. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 29 '17 at 15:55
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If you do not need a magic/spell based solution then I would continue reading my answer below.
If however you want a specific spell then I would welcome others to provide solutions :)

Non-magic based answer
I think perhaps the simplest answer would be to carry a small bag of seeds/organic materials that can then be "planted" and used a a source material for the druid spells you have already mentioned.

For example, if the character(s) were to collect a patch of moss and a handful of soil to go with it (easy to keep alive and transport). Then, upon reaching the barren destination, dump the soil/moss mixture onto the ground thereby changing it from "barren" to "not barren".

There may be other, magic-based, ways of doing this but I tend to prefer solutions of least effort :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you're correct here. It may be worth mentioning the obvious—the polymorph any object spell—, but, yeah, toting around some seeds sounds like the way to go. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 29 '17 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Polymorph any object may well be the "proper" magical solution to the problem. In fact the first example on the Duration Factor table implies that non-organic objects can be turned into organic ones. $$ \begin{array}{|r|l|l|l|} \hline \mbox{Duration Factor} & \mbox{Duration} & \mbox{Example} \\\hline \\0 & \mbox{20 minutes} & \mbox{Pebble to human} \\\hline \end{array} $$ \$\endgroup\$ – BanjoFox Jun 29 '17 at 16:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ (You can totally add the polymorph any object spell to your answer if you want. I'm still figuring out if there's a better way to do it than PAO, and so far I'm coming up empty.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 29 '17 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ in theory a character can start with true creation, creating a permanent organic material object, like fertilizer, ropes, or mulch (non living vegatable matter) then follow up with a polymorph any object of same size, same kingdom (vegetable matter instead of mineral) and either related or same intelligence to get the 9+ duration for permanent. But that costs XP and requires an 8th and 9th level spell. Surely there's an easier way to create a bush/grass/trees using magic or powers? \$\endgroup\$ – Tristian Jun 29 '17 at 21:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately I am not versed enough in the system to know a method using magic and/or powers. While I don't mind adding magical varieties to my answer, it would almost seem to make more sense to have a separate answer for magic/power-based solutions :) \$\endgroup\$ – BanjoFox Jun 30 '17 at 14:10
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The 3rd party, Green Ronin publishing, Egyptian Adventures Hamunaptra has a spell called Root which allows a plant to grow in ANY kind of soil. It also has the Dunewalker Prestige Class which has a capstone called Oasis Seed which literally causes an Oasis, plants and all, to form and grow.

Technically it's a bit of a gray area but the Fabricate spells wording would allow you to transform an object of plant material (like hemp rope or a cotton shirt) into a plant. Your DM might throw a book at you for splitting hairs in such a way but that's neither here nor there.

You could even find a nice mineral vein and then cast Transmute Metal to Wood to start you off. Also Transmute Metal to Wood doesn't specify the state of the wood so if it was "green" wood it would thus be fresh and possibly considered still living and thus affect able by Plant Growth. More hair splitting I'll grant you but still.

Of course it goes without saying, Limited Wish, Wish, & Miracle are always options.

You could also use Tree Shape to turn into a tree then drop nuts/fruits/seeds onto the ground I suppose. Polymorph might be able to allow this as well.

Or use Summon spells to summon plant creatures and maybe, if your DM is generous, they could be ordered to drop seeds.

Honestly, Plant Growth should probably be able to affect seeds, nuts, & fruit so if you have trail rations you've got nuts.

If I remember correctly, there are rules for researching your own new spells in one of the books.

You could cast Create Food and Water, then take any fruit or nuts from it and cast Plant Growth on them before the 24 hours are up. After that, it wouldn't be the food created by the spell anymore so it would probably last. If not, it should still drop more fruit/nuts which should definitely not be affected by the time limit.

You could also buy some Quaals Feather Token: Tree items.

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