For the purpose of mending, are plants considered to be objects? I have a Firbolg nature cleric who sees his healing duties lie beyond that of his comrades and fellow friendly NPC's. If his careless teammates trample a flower, he'd like to Mend the stem back together. If a patch of bark falls off of a tree, or a limb or branch, could he then reattach it?

I understand that living creatures are unaffected by this cantrip, as they are not objects, which is directly stated in Sage Advice, here. But, while plants are living, usually, could the cantrip be cast to restore them to their former beauty if they've been damaged? It could be argued that once the plant has been destroyed, it is now an object, but I'm looking for sound advice or perhaps an official ruling on the matter, though, how would still living trees and other plants be ruled?


Transmutation cantrip

Casting Time: 1 minute Range: Touch Components: V, S, M (two lodestones) Duration: Instantaneous

This spell repairs a single break or tear in an object you touch, such as a broken chain link, two halves of a broken key, a torn cloak, or a leaking wineskin. As long as the break or tear is no larger than 1 foot in any dimension, you mend it, leaving no trace of the former damage. This spell can physically repair a magic item or construct, but the spell can't restore magic to such an object.


By RAW, Mending cannot be used on plants.

The source most frequently used to define an object (according to Jeremy Crawford, the rules writer and arbiter) in D&D lists these conditions (emphasis mine):

...an object is a discrete, inanimate item like a window, door, sword, book, table, chair, or stone, not a building or a vehicle that is composed of many other objects.

Using the "plain language" approach, we can use a dictionary to define any ambiguous terms that are not otherwise defined in the books.

The definition of inanimate is:

not alive, especially not in the manner of animals and humans

And the definition of plant is:

a living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses...

using these definitions, we can determine that plants are indeed not inanimate, and are therefore not objects, making them ineligible targets for the Mending cantrip.

You might be able to get away with a spell like Druidcraft, but as a cleric you wouldn't have access to the spell without taking the Magic Initiate feat and choosing Druid as the class if you didn't already pick it as part of Acolyte of Nature.

If you want to get creative and bend the rules a little, you could reference Jeremy Crawford's ruling on corpses and extend that logic to dead plants, but a recently smashed plant isn't necessarily instantly dead, either.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There might be some wiggle room in the choice of the word 'inanimate' since plants (usually) don't move on their own (with notable exceptions). That would be the GM stretching the intent, but it's probably harmless to do so. \$\endgroup\$ – user47897 Jan 24 '19 at 15:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkTO if you want to get nitpicky, technically plants do move when they grow (it's just very slow), although the definition of "inanimate" says nothing about moving in the first place. \$\endgroup\$ – G. Moylan Jan 24 '19 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @G.Moylan - If the plants were cut and had faded (like in a vase), then then could be mended and brought back to vibrant colors? \$\endgroup\$ – VVilliam Jan 24 '19 at 15:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a nature cleric, the character has the option of picking Druidcraft at level 1 without taking the Magic Initiate feat. \$\endgroup\$ – m bzroll Jan 24 '19 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mbzroll I see that in the description for Acolyte of Nature - I missed that my first time through. I'll edit to include that. \$\endgroup\$ – G. Moylan Jan 24 '19 at 17:46

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