Plants vs Zombies 2 Keys Guide

One of the features that is new to Plants vs Zombies 2 (or PvZ2 if you’re short on time) is the notion of “keys.” In this guide to Plants vs Zombies 2 keys, I’ll explain what keys are, how to get keys fast, and what you should do with your keys.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Keys: What are keys?

Keys are one of the “premium currencies” in Plants vs Zombies 2. Premium currencies in free-to-play games are simply things you don’t get much of through playing, but the game is more than happy to sell you for a small fee.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Keys - Locked Gate

The only use for Plants vs Zombies 2 keys is unlocking certain locked gates on each map. Behind these locked gates are enhancements to your Plants vs Zombies 2 experience. Some contain rare and powerful plants, while others contain boosts that make the game somewhat easier.

In addition to these items, keys also unlock special levels that you can play to earn additional stars. These levels tend to only have one star each.

Watch out! Keys only unlock doors in one time period. That is to say, you can’t earn a bunch of keys in Ancient Egypt and then take them to the Pirate Seas. Your keys are locked to the map you earned them in.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Keys: How do I get more keys?

Generally speaking, there are only two ways to get keys:

  • Zombies sometimes drop them when killed
  • You can spend money to buy them if you tap a gate you don’t have the keys to unlock

Getting a zombie to drop a key is relatively rare, sadly. You’re going to have to fight a lot of zombies in order to get more. I’ve seen perhaps one every solid hour or two of play.

If you need to get more stars, you can use getting stars as a good opportunity to grind zombie kills for keys. Related Guide For more info about stars and how to earn them, visit our stars guide..

Plants vs Zombies 2 Keys: Fastest Keys

The “fastest” way to get keys depends somewhat on how much time you have to play. If you have a lot of time to play, grinding zombies is probably your best bet.

My suggestions for picking levels are:

  • It should be a level you feel comfortable clearing. There’s no point in making this hard on yourself. Personally, I suck at the “memory” game with the zombie camels in Ancient Egypt – if you’re good at this minigame, you can kill a lot of zombies quickly, though.
  • Try to find levels where there are lots of zombies quickly. For instance, levels that use the conveyor belt to give you plants instead of buying them for sun tend to ramp up quicker. Normal levels tend to take a couple of minutes before you’re killing zombies at any appreciable rate.
  • Pick a level in the same era that you need keys in. As I said before, keys only work in the era you win them in, so don’t make the silly mistake of grinding in Ancient Egypt when you need keys in Pirate Seas.

Again, keys are relatively rare, so plan to spend a good amount of playtime earning each one.

Fastest Keys for Casual Players

However, if you don’t play a lot of Plants vs Zombies 2, there is another way to earn a bunch of keys at once. I’m speaking of the Treasure Yeti!

Plants vs Zombies 2 Fastest Keys - Treasure Yeti!

The Treasure Yeti is a rare zombie that spawns occasionally (roughly daily) and can be killed for his Lunch Box, which has a chance of dropping a bunch of keys at once.

Related Guide Since the Treasure Yeti is such a popular topic, I’ve expanded our coverage of him and given him his own article, click here to check it out!

Plants vs Zombies 2 Keys: Spending Keys

Once you’ve got a load of Plants vs Zombies 2 keys, now you’ve got to prioritize what doors to unlock. Here are the things I think are really helpful to use your keys on:

  • Bloomerang – you’ll pretty much get this one by default, when the game first explains keys to you. The Bloomerang is quite powerful, and relatively cheap. It’s a must-have!
  • Twin Sunflower – many of the stars require that you earn a lot of sun, and a lot of them also restrict the amount of plants you can plant. The Twin Sunflower is a win-win here. Or is it a twin-twin? Ba-dum-tish!
  • Spikerock – The Spikerock is an upgrade to the Spikeweed, and the Spikeweed is one of my favorite plants. You can plant it in front of Wall-Nuts to continuously damage zombies that are attacking your defenses.

However, I’d suggest you hold off on:

  • Sun Boost – 25 sun at the start of a round just isn’t that great. If you buy the Sun Bonus, perhaps, but here at Without The Sarcasm we’re all about not buying stuff.
  • Plant Food Boost – 3 Plant Food is honestly kind of enough. There aren’t a lot of situations where things are going great, but then you need to quickly burn through 4 Plant Food at once.
  • Shovel Boost – Generally speaking, you shouldn’t be shoveling plants much. Getting a quarter of your sun back isn’t that awesome.
  • Cherry Bomb – It’s expensive, although damaging. Usually in these cases you can rely on your Plant Food stockpile.
  • Grave Buster – Although it’s super handy to take down grave markers, the slow recharge rate and the fact that a significant portion of the levels don’t even have graves means this is kind of a waste.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Keys: Conclusion

Hopefully through this guide you’ve worked out what keys are, why you should want them, how to earn keys fast, and what you should spend your keys on.

Got a strategy or a tip that I’m missing out on? Drop a line in the comments! I love to hear from fellow PvZ2 enthusiasts.

  • ilongbored

    Thanks for posting this! My theory is that PvZ2 will give you all the keys you need in Ancient Egypt, enough for two items in Pirate Seas, and only enough for one item in Wild West.

    Has anyone else noticed this?

    • agent86

      I’ve got more keys than this on all the levels, so I don’t think it’s quite true.

      I do think that you’re probably going to end up with more Ancient Egypt keys, just by virtue of it being the first level, and therefore chances are pretty good that the Yeti will spawn there and so forth.

      It’s also a bit more of a grind to get stars from the beginning – you’re going to have to farm a lot of Ancient Egypt stars (and therefore have more chances at keys) than you would on the later levels before moving on. It all adds up to more Ancient Egypt keys than the other levels.

      With enough playtime, however, you’ll be able to unlock everything.

  • Sallas

    I see the same! Is there anything that ‘spare’keys can be used for in Egypt?

    • agent86

      Not that I’m aware of, sadly. Keys seem useless after you’ve unlocked all the doors in a level!

      Supposedly they’re still adding new stuff to this game, so perhaps eventually they’ll add something to do with these extra keys. For now though, it seems like you’re just going to have to sit on them.

  • Poiromaniac

    I have all the keys I need in both Egypt and pirate seas. I’m currently grinding for keys for the last door in Wild West, so it seems that they will definitely give you enough to not have to use the microtransactions

    • ilongbored

      That’s good to know. It’s been about a week since I’ve gotten a new key in Pirate Seas or Wild West. Guess I’ll just keep going.

  • Moooretales

    I’ve already defeated cowboy final day and the world 4 is lock The world 4 maybe dr.zomboss is inside I always wait the next update to world 4

  • mic

    how do you open that extra level looks like an alien level ive got all the stars in other four levels and still wolnt open

    • agent86ix

      As of this writing, it hasn’t been added to the game yet! PopCap has said they’re working on it, but they haven’t announced when it will be ready.

  • mic


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  • agent86ix

    Apologies if that was confusing – you can unlock all the key gates with enough play time, but there are definitely plants and other boosts you cannot unlock without paying. If it is in the almanac with a price tag, you can’t unlock it through play.

  • Jess

    I’ve played on iOs upon it’s release but because i don’t own any apple gadgets so i was playing on my aunt’s ipad mini. Honestly, I don’t know if it was my luck or was the game made easier for iOS coz i had no problem with getting any keys… and yes i meant no problem as in after i completed the first play through and replayed for the stars, along the way i manage to collect enough keys to unlock ALL the gates for that particular world. There wasn’t a need to farm keys and i did not even have to replay stages at all… so yes it was juz a one shot play through and one shot of getting 3 stars of each stage and voila!!! Owned the whole world XD Imo, maybe it’s not a good thing that they made things too easy but if ithe keys are too rare it’ll spoil the fun as well coz it’s boring to keep repeating the same old stages and fail to get any keys after that… =

  • Kigwaman

    I’ve already completed all the stars on 3 maps. But I haven’t face Dr. Zomboss yet, where can I find him? I want to smash his ass out. :D haha

    • agent86ix

      He doesn’t exist yet! PopCap has said they plan to add the “futuristic” level in some later update, but no firm plans have been announced.

  • zombieszombiesbrains

    Do I need to keep an eye out for the keys being dropped? I’m right handed, so I cover the screen with my hand whilst I play, meaning I can’t see them if they are dropped. Will they stay there until the end of the game, or am I ‘missing’ them by not clicking on them quick enough?

    • agent86ix

      It’s hard to say. I don’t know how long they stick around, since I tend to grab them immediately. They’re so rare, though, that it’s unlikely you’ve missed many if at all. Personally, I’d make sure you check every so often and grab whatever you happen to see, just to be sure.

  • Tao Dang

    I finished Far Future Zone, but I noticed in level 8 each zone has the zombie who hold the key, I’ve got one, but I didn’t how to get it, is it related to 5parties?

    • agent86ix

      I don’t have any idea about the Far Future Zone, I’m afraid. I played this game right when it came out (before that was added) and haven’t been back since I finished the three maps that were included at that point. Sorry!

  • agent86ix

    I think to download assets you need a data connection, preferably a wifi connection. I also always suggest rebooting your phone/tablet if you’re having issues, as that tends to fix a lot of the weirder ones.

    Beyond that I’ve got no idea – might be good to go bug EA and see if it’s something they know about.