Sugar Cane (sometimes called reeds, papyrus, or bamboo) is an item, and an important crafting ingredient, that can grow on grass, dirt, and sand blocks that are directly adjacent to water on at least one horizontal side.
 As a crafting ingredient
|Product||Input » Output|
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.
Sugar cane may grow to a maximum height of three blocks, but is occasionally found in new world generation 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, or 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.
Sugar cane has many of the same properties as cacti: planting it does not require the land to be tilled beforehand, 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.
Sugar cane will block the flow of lava and water; when either liquid 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 a mob. 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.
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.
- Main article: Tutorials/Sugar Cane Farming
Sugar cane must be planted on a grass, dirt or 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.
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. Sugar cane does NOT grow faster on any particular block.
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 or lily pads (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 set up in taiga biomes in Beta 1.8 or before would have grown successfully. After updating to a later version, 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, even when next to ice). To address this, place blocks with torches attached to them immediately above the water blocks in your farm, and then shatter the ice. The ice will not reform and the farm will grow again. 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. Confirmed on version 1.2.5, torches are not necessary. Simply, place a block somewhere above the water to catch the snow.
|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. Prior to this update, the sugar cane block used to be called "Sugar cane" in inventory, but without a capital "C", unlike the item.|
|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 it is adjacent to water, though before Beta 1.8, sugar cane could still spawn on dirt adjacent to water, but could not be placed onto sand. This update allows sugar cane to appear next to water ponds in desert biomes.|
Issues relating to "Sugar Cane" are maintained on Mojira. Report issues there.
- In the code, sugar cane is still referenced as "reeds", both the inventory edited block and the item.
- In Creative, 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. 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. Note that sugar cane cannot be planted in the Nether without an inventory editor, because there is no water, and no water can be placed there.
- 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 there are two different kinds of sugar cane, one got from sugar cane farming and the other one got from the Nether Reactor. Also, the second sugar cane kind cannot be crafted in either paper nor sugar, you can only craft with the first kind of sugar cane.
- There is currently a myth going around that it grows faster on sand than grass or dirt, however this has been proven false by several people.
- In Minecraft PE, this is the hardest block to find, due to the worlds not being infinite.
Naturally generated sugar cane next to water in a ravine.