Sugar Canes

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[edit]Sugar Canes
Sugar Canes.png
Sugar Canes

Non-Solid Block







Blast resistance





Any tool




Yes (64)



First appearance

Alpha 1.0.11



Data values
dec: 83 hex: 53 bin: 1010011
dec: 338 hex: 152 bin: 101010010


Sugar Canes (formerly called reeds, and sometimes called papyrus or bamboo) is an item, and an important crafting ingredient, that can grow on grass, dirt, podzol, sand, and red sand blocks that are directly adjacent to water on at least one horizontal side.

As a crafting ingredient[edit]

Name Ingredients Crafting recipe


Sugar Canes

Grid layout Arrow (small).png Paper3
Sugar Canes Sugar Canes Sugar Canes


Sugar Canes

Grid layout Arrow (small).png Sugar

Sugar Canes


Sugar cane can craft sugar and paper, sugar being a key component of cake, pumpkin pie, and some potions; and paper being required to craft maps, books, bookshelves, enchantment tables, and firework rockets.

Due to its water-displacing properties, sugar cane can interestingly be used to create underwater paths, allowing players to move at normal speed and breathe if it is two blocks in height. Water must be adjacent to the block the sugar cane is placed on.


Naturally-occurring sugar cane near a pond.

Sugar cane may grow to a maximum height of three blocks and can be found in a newly generated world, mostly three blocks tall, but has a small chance to spawn four blocks tall and reportedly even up to seven blocks tall. The player can place sugar cane atop existing sugar cane blocks to make sugar cane of any height.

Sugar cane is found growing naturally, but somewhat rarely, on dirt, grass, and sand directly adjacent to water. Sugar cane can also be planted by the player, though there are no sugar cane seeds, and no need to use a hoe: It is planted by simply placing harvested sugar cane on the aforementioned block types under the same conditions (dirt, grass, podzol, sand, or red sand directly adjacent to water on at least one lateral side). If one block of sugar cane is left on the ground during harvesting (by cutting the second block from the bottom, instead of the very bottom), it will grow again into three-block stalks. Alternatively, entire stalks can be harvested, with one item of each used for replanting.

When water freezes into ice, existing sugar canes break and drops as a resource. Sugar cane is therefore rare in cold tundras, due to the low occurrence of open, unfrozen water.

Contrary to popular belief, the speed of growth of sugar cane is the same, regardless of the block it is placed on.

Sugar Cane will not grow when underwater.

Its growth rate is not affected by light, and it does not need light to grow.


Sugar cane has many of the same properties as cacti: planting it does not require the land to be tilled beforehand, in fact, it cannot be placed on farmland, removing a lower portion of the plant causes all the sections above it to drop resources, and you cannot use bone meal on the plant to make it grow instantly, except on Pocket Edition. Contrary to common belief, sugar cane grows at the same rate on all of the types of blocks on which it can grow.

Sugar cane will block the flow of lava and water; when either liquids hits a block of sugar cane from above, it spreads out as if it were hitting a solid block. It will also support other blocks placed on top of it, but it will not support a player or any other entity. Sugar cane can also be placed in the middle of an existing flow (on a block adjacent to water) and will keep water out of the space it occupies while allowing the player to walk or swim through it. Keep in mind when blocking lava with sugar cane you must also prevent the lava from destroying the water supply the sugar cane is using.

When used underwater, sugar cane displaces water, just as slabs do, leaving an air pocket. Because of this property, sugar cane can be used to create airlocks. As on land, sugar cane can be stacked infinitely underwater, thus creating an air pocket that extends from the bottom of a body of water to the surface. When shot by a bow, the arrow will pass through the sugar cane.


An underground sugar cane farm
An 80% (maximum) efficient farming pattern with lily pads for walkability
A ≈67% efficient sugar cane farm for easy harvesting with slabs over water

Sugar cane must be planted on a grass, dirt, sand, or red sand block that is directly adjacent to water (not merely above or diagonal to water). The adjacent water block can be covered with another block, whether opaque or transparent, and sugar cane will still be able to be placed and grow next to it. It can also be planted next to flowing water. It does not need light to grow.

Sugar cane grows rather slowly. An individual sugar cane block goes through 16 phases of growth before another sugar cane block can grow on top of it. It advances to the next phase whenever it gets a block tick, which happens at random intervals. This can be detected with a block update detector. Only the top block in a sugar cane plant grows in this way, and only if there is empty space above it. After growing a new block above, this growth process restarts from the beginning. Breaking and replanting a sugar cane block also restarts the growth process. Its growth speed is not affected by light. Sugar cane does NOT grow faster on sand or dirt. That is merely a rumor. It grows at the same speed on all of the types of blocks on which it can grow.

Sugar cane, like saplings, wheat, and cacti, will only grow if the chunk they are on is loaded into memory, so a player should not venture too far from the field. Mature sugar cane can be harvested by hitting the middle instead of the bottom block to save the player the effort of replanting. 

With the setup on the right, it is possible to farm the maximum amount of sugar cane on a flat surface by placing every water block a knight's-move away from every other water block. Slabs, lily pads, or carpet (like in the picture) can be placed over each water source to allow unimpeded travel across the farm.

With the use of pistons, it becomes possible to automate a harvest of sugar canes: a piston (or a block attached to a sticky piston) is placed to extend into the middle of a cane, which will cause the upper segments of the cane to become items when the piston is triggered. This makes it possible to collect them using standard waterway collection methods (though, canes may still fall on the original dirt block), or by simply running over the canes.

If the water source is removed, sugar cane will not break until it tries to grow, disintegrating into two sugar cane resources. Compared to traditional farming, this is an inefficient method because the water supply has to be replaced and the sugar cane replanted repeatedly. Alternatively, redstone wire can be used to collect sugar cane resources (see this farming tutorial). 

Sugar cane farms built in taiga biomes in Minecraft 1.7 or newer work successfully because the taiga no longer gets snow; that ability was transferred to the Cold Taiga biome. In older versions, the taiga biome gets snow. This causes the water in the farm to solidify into ice. Thereafter, the sugar cane stops growing and pops out of the ground; the farm fails (although naturally occurring sugar cane will not uproot, even when next to ice). To address this, place a non-transparent block somewhere in the column above the water to shade it from the sky, and then shatter the ice. The ice will not reform, and the farm will grow again. In versions older than 1.2.5, place a block with torches attached to it in the column above each water block in your farm. You can leave a gap of three blocks between the torch block and the water block to allow you to walk underneath. You can also place glowstone below the ice/water if there is nowhere to place a torch. In Beta 1.8 or older, sugar cane farms in taiga biomes grow successfully.


Note: This video was made before the 1.7 changes.


1.0.11 Reeds, (the previous name used for sugar cane(s)) were added in the Seecret Friday Update 6 (Alpha v1.0.11 patch) and informally referred to as bamboo or papyrus by many players. Since reeds could be washed away with water currents or instantly destroyed by removing the water adjacent to them, automated reed farms could be made in previous versions of Minecraft.
1.2 Notch retconned reeds into sugar cane in Beta 1.2 because the recipe for the cake(s) introduced in that update needed a source of sugar.
1.6 As of Beta 1.6, projectile interaction with sugar cane was changed: arrows no longer stick to sugar cane(s), and instead, they pass through. However, snowballs will still come into contact with any sugar cane blocks as if they are solid.
1.8 As of Beta 1.8, sugar cane can grow and be placed onto sand as long as they are adjacent to water, though before Beta 1.8, sugar canes could still spawn on dirt adjacent to water, but could not be placed onto sand. This update allows sugar canes to appear next to water ponds in desert biomes.
Official release
1.7.2 13w36a The color of sugar cane changes depending on the biome they're in.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.1.0 Added sugar cane.
0.5.0 Sugar cane can now be grown on sand.
0.9.0 Sugar cane color changes depending on the biome.
Console Edition
TU1 Sugar canes added. They are solid, making it useful for growable walls.
TU2 Sugar canes are no longer solid, and arrows pass through them.
Pi Edition
0.1.1 Added sugar canes.


Issues relating to "Sugar Canes" are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.


  • In the code, sugar cane is still referenced as "reeds", both the inventory edited block and the item. It is also called reed in the F3 screen.
  • In Beta 1.8's Creative Mode, giving yourself sugar cane yields the block, not the item itself. However, you can still place it.
  • Neither the sugar cane nor the block it stands on can be lit on fire with flint and steel, although attempting this will still lower the durability of the tool.
  • Ghasts cannot see through sugar cane, while they can be shot through it, making it a safe block to use when making walls (however, remember sugar cane cannot be planted in the Nether without commands or an inventory/map editor, because there is no water, and no water can be placed there). A ghast's fireball will not pass through sugar cane, but it will collide with the sugar cane (and explode) as if it is a normal block.[1]
  • Lily pads can be used to stop harvested sugar canes from sinking into the water, making them easier to collect.
  • When a sugar cane is broken at the second level, the time resets. (For example, if a two-high sugar cane is broken but is just about to grow to the third stage, it would reset that time)
  • In Minecraft Pocket Edition , this used to be the hardest block to find, due to the worlds not being infinite. However, this is no longer the case as of 0.9, due to infinite worlds being added.
  • In Minecraft Pocket Edition , you can use bone meal to help grow sugar cane. You cannot do this on PC.
  • In the older Beta versions of Minecraft, projectile entities such as arrows and snowballs couldn't pass through sugar cane.



  1. Ghast and Reed tests by NorixWolf