If you are reading this, then you most likely picked up an innocent-looking quest from an NPC in Facade, standing next to the mailbox. Called “Life in the Sands”, this quest asks you to bring ten pink Moonflower seeds to this NPC. You may have also made the trek to every grocery store in the game only to make the horrific discovery that not one of them carried pink Moonflower seeds and audibly gasped. While there are many tried and true guides on this quest in existence, hopefully, my included commentary in defense of this quest also sees readers finishing it. "Life in the Sands" is widely known to be the side quest that breaks the camel's back in attempted 100% runs.
To dive right in, you have to know that there is exactly one way to acquire the pink Moonflower seeds: you have to harvest them from dead pink Moonflowers. The only way to encounter dead plants in NieR is to grow them yourself, and the only way to encounter this specific strain of pink Moonflower is to crossbreed them in the garden outside of your home.
Complete “Shopping List” Quest Line
In order to gain access to the garden by your home you will have to have completed a quest called “Shopping List” in part 1 of the game which you can get from the florist in your village. This quest is pretty self explanatory and as long as you do exactly as it is listed in journal you should be fine. This will allow you to use the back row of your garden.
The other two rows are unlocked by completing the following quest titled “A Return to Shopping” which is just as straightforward and also started with the florist in your village. If you are already in Part 2 of the game and decided to skip these two quests the good news is that you can purchase the Cultivator’s Handbook from the aforementioned florist.
Accept Quest In Facade
Very early on in Part 2, you can accept “Life in the Sands” from a person standing near the mailbox in Facade. This should be able to happen as soon as you advance in the story to a point where you receive a letter from Emil inviting you back to his mansion after the time skip.
Go Shopping In Seafront
So you’ll need some seeds to get started, you’ll want to head over to the grocer in Seafront and purchase about 8-10 of each color Moonflower seed. The ones for sale should be red, gold, and blue. You should also pick up 3-5 bags of Bounty Fertilizer from the material shop as they could come in handy if you find yourself on bad luck as I did.
Farm Indigo Moonflower Seeds
Here’s where we start to get into the icky part of this quest. To get pink Moonflower seeds you have to crossbreed Indigo and Red Moonflowers, and you can’t buy indigo Moonflower seeds. To get indigo Moonflower seeds you will have to crossbreed gold and blue Moonflowers. Plant your blue and gold seeds (without fertilizer) in a checkered pattern as pictured below:
You don’t have to water your plants, but feel free to do so if you want to feel the wonderful sensation of taking care of a virtual plant. The flowers will bloom in approximately real-world 24 hours and you can decrease that by using flowering fertilizer. At this time you DO NOT want to harvest the flowers. Leave them there until they are DEAD, this will take an additional real-world 24 hours.
There are ways to adjust your device time to speed up this process that will vary per your device. I don’t condone the use of time travel in farming sims but I will suggest that you try other methods of making the 48 hours more pleasant; like going to the gym, or binge-watching the brilliant '90s cult classic TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
After your flowers are dead, you should hopefully have at least one dead indigo flower which you can harvest for 2-4 seeds. I have never been able to get more than one flower, but if you were able to get more than 7 seeds you can skip to the next section about getting pink Moonflower seeds.
If you are still here then I apologize, you have bad luck. If you did not get even one indigo seed out of that harvest repeat this section until you get at least 1 indigo seed. The most likely scenario is that you have about 3 indigo seeds after harvesting. To quickly multiply these seeds, put down your bounty fertilizer and then plant your indigo seeds on top of the fertilizer. The bounty fertilizer will increase your seed yield rates and soon you will be swimming in indigo seeds following another 48 hours.
Farm Pink Moonflower Seeds
This step is largely similar to the step to get indigo seeds. The only notable change is that you will want to use indigo and red seeds in the checkered pattern as shown below in order to get the pink Moonflower seeds:
Wait your 48 hours and repeat the indigo and red field pattern if you don’t get any pink Moonflowers. If you got less than 10 pink Moonflowers from your harvest, use the bounty fertilizer to multiply your seeds. And remember, even though this is the last step, you are after the seeds, not the flowers, so DO NOT harvest the flowers at any stage during this quest.
Be sure to make a few extra seeds for yourself if you plan on trying to make white Moonflowers. White Moonflowers are not required for any quest, but they are linked to a trophy/achievement and heal you all the way to full health if you use one from your inventory.
Once you have your 10 pink Moonflower seeds you can take them back to the quest NPC in Facade and complete the quest.
Why Even Try?
If you have been following along, you will have noticed that this quest takes on average a whopping 8-16+ real-world days to complete. Most writers that cover this game have infamously used this quest as an example of why you should skip any and all side quests that seem like they won’t pay off. And to be fair, the payoff of this quest is not great. You receive 10,000 gold for doing this quest, and in the economy of the game after the time skip, this is not a whole lot of money, especially when you consider the time commitment you had to put in to finish it. So why even attempt it?
Part 1 of NieR is a lighthearted adventure set in a town with many trivial and meaningless tasks to complete. It gives you a lot of busy work, but it also establishes this set of towns as your home. You know these people and their cultures. You weren’t able to stop the Shadowlord, but if you completed every side quest, you were able to help so many others along the way. The time skip in NieR changes a lot about your home for the worse. The shades are getting stronger, and the lives of your friends are forever changed. It can be a grim setting. If you return to the village florist, she will often mention that her husband says that this is “no time to be growing flowers.” Maybe he’s right.
It’s important that the most time-consuming quest in this game is about growing flowers. There is something special about taking a step back and realizing that while defeating shades is important to bettering the lives of the people around you, there is a bit more to it than that. Some people just want to grow flowers in the desert to bring something beautiful into the tragic place that the world has become and hopefully give some respite from the terrible realities surrounding them. This quest is designed to make you stop every other day, set down your sword, and do some gardening. To help you realize that maybe when things are tense and the world is crumbling around you, it’s actually the perfect time to be growing flowers.
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