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Colonization is the process of establishing control over an uninhabited, habitable planet with a Colony Ship.

The first time an empire colonizes another world, it gains Engineering Research.png 12x engineering output (between 250 ~ 100000)

Humanoid empire colonizing a new world


  Habitability is the measure of how comfortably a species can live on a planet. Most species have a climate preference for one of the primary habitable planet types, although more exotic preferences are possible. A planet's habitability for a given species is determined by how closely its climate matches that species' preference. The 9 regular habitable world types are divided into 3 climate categories: dry, frozen, and wet.   Ring Worlds,   Gaia Worlds, and   Ecumenopolises have maximum habitability for all species, while   Tomb Worlds,   Machine Worlds, and   Hive Worlds (except for   Hive-Minded species) normally have   0% habitability for biological species.

Tier Base
Gaia World, Ecumenopolis, and Ring World 100%
Hive World for   Hive-Minded species 100%
Exact match 80%
Habitat 70%
Climate category match 60%
Climate category mismatch 20%
Tomb World, Machine World, and Hive World 0%
  • Every 1% reduction of habitability below 100% increases pops'   upkeep and   amenities usage by +1% and reduces their   job output and   species growth by −0.5%. It floors at 0% Habitability, giving +100% pop upkeep and amenities usage, and −50% job output and pop growth.
  • Homeworlds have +30% habitability for the species originating from them.
  • Robot pops have 200% habitability for each planet type, but empires that aren't   Machine Intelligences require the   Droids technology to build colony ships using robots.
  • Low Habitability can trigger various events.

Visual cuesEdit

Systems containing habitable worlds will have one or more planet icons that are either green, yellow, orange, red, or blue – depending on the habitability percentage and/or status of the planet(s) in question.

Icon Meaning
  World is has at least 70%   habitability for at least one species in the player's empire
  World has 40–69%   habitability for at least one species in the player's empire
  World has below 40%   habitability for all species in the player's empire
  World is habitable but not surveyed
  World is currently being terraformed
  World has the    Terraforming Candidate modifier

Planets with an anomaly or a primitive civilization cannot be colonized.

Habitability strategiesEdit

As only about ⅓ of planets will match the primary species preferred climate category, to fully and efficiently utilize all habitable planets in their own systems, an empire may want to populate its worlds with alien species, genetically-engineered subspecies, or even robots.

It is also possible to   terraform habitable worlds, though this is a costly and time-consuming process and requires the   Terrestrial Sculpting technology to be researched. Only habitable planets and barren worlds with the    Terraforming Candidate modifier can be terraformed.

Genetic ModificationEdit

Using genetic modification, it is possible to create a subspecies of the empire's primary species with a different climate preference. However, as genetic modification targets all pops of the same subspecies on a planet, this needs either a first-in approach, requiring suffering through low habitability until the project is completed, or modifiying the pops on an existing colony, preferably one with increased habitability regardless of current climate preference (Ringworld, Habitat, Homeworld, beneficial modifiers). In either case, the cost of modifying pops will delay researching   society technologies.

Changing a habitability trait costs the equivalent of adding a trait worth 3 trait-points and requires the   Glandular Acclimation technology.


With all the possible climate preferences, it is likely that some alien species can live comfortably on planets which are unsuitable to the empire's primary species. The main disadvantage is that xeno pops might not have favorable traits. There may also be unwanted   Xenophile attraction or faction interactions from this path.

Xeno pops can be added to an empire to use as colonists via   conquest,   migration treaties, or – with the   MegaCorp DLC – the slave market. Empires can colonize with any species that has migration access to the empire, even if no pops of that species live on the empire's worlds.

  Uplifting a pre-sapient species or   Enlightening or   Infiltrating a pre-FTL species is another way to acquire xeno pops. With the first, it's possible to get a rare climate preference trait like   Tomb World Preference. Species native to   Tomb Worlds are extremely adaptive and can thrive on any planet – they have 60% habitability on every normal planet class. The usual way to obtain pops of these species is uplifting pre-sapients found on Tomb Worlds. The Horizon Signal event chain can also create a subspecies of the empire's main species with this trait. Alternatively, pops of the main species on Tomb Worlds may   Self-Modify via the A New Species event and develop into their own species native to Tomb Worlds.

It is also possible to purchase pops with the   Tomb World Preference trait from   Racket Industrial Enterprise caravaneers.

Improving habitabilityEdit

Aside from changing climate preference, there are also various other methods for improving habitability:

Species habitability modifiers
−10%   Nonadaptive
+5%   Bioadaptability
+10%   Starborn
+10%   Adaptive
+20%   Extremely Adaptive
+20%   Cybernetic
+20%   Clone Soldier Ascendant
+20%   Spliced Adaptability
+30%   Robust
+50%   Lithoid
+50%   Nivlac
Min +30%
Max −30%
Min +50%   Cave Dweller
Empire habitability modifiers
–2%   Industrial Development 1: Regulatory Facilitation
–5%   Industrial Development 2: Collective Waste Management
–10%   Industrial Development 3: Building a Better Tomorrow
–20%   Industrial Development 4: Environmental Ordinance Waivers
–25%   Industrial Development 5: Project Cornucopia
+5%   Ascetic civic
+10%   Environmental Diversification tradition
+5%   Atmospheric Filtering technology
+5%   Hostile Environment Adaptation technology
+5%   Foreign Soil Enrichment technology
+5%   Eco-Integration Studies technology
+5%   Integrated Cybernetics technology
+5%   Ecological Protection 3: Integrated Gardens
+10%   Ecological Protection 4: Environmental Control Board
+15%   Ecological Protection 5: Paradise Initiative
Planet habitability modifiers
−20%   Project Cornucopia feature
−10%   Lithoid Devastation blocker, each
−5%   Unpleasant Atmosphere blocker
−0.75%   Permutation Attendance Drone, each
per Industrial District
−0.5%   (Overlord) Mutagenic Spa Attendant, each
per Industrial District
−0.25%   Mutagenic Spa Attendant, each
per Industrial District
Varies Planet modifiers
+2.5%   Medical Worker, each
+10%   Tree of Life Sapling
+10%   Gaia Seeder phase 2
+20%   Gaia Seeder phase 3
+20%   Gaia Seeder Outpost
Restricted habitability modifiers
Where   Source
  Habitats +20%   Voidborne ascension perk
  Tomb Worlds +10%   Radiotrophic trait
+20%   Tomb World Adaptation technology
+70%   Survivor trait
+100%   Irradiated trait
Non-Wet, non-Ideal worlds −15%   Aquatic and   Hydrocentric
−10%   Aquatic
  Ocean Worlds +20%   Aquatic
Homeworld +30% Species originating on planet

Colony shipsEdit

Colony ships allow an empire to settle habitable planets or megastructures in owned systems. When ordering the construction of a colony ship, the player is given the option of choosing the species or sub-species of the   pop(s) that will be sent to the new colony. Species require the   Colonization Allowed species rights to be selected for new colony ships. Pops are neither consumed nor transported in this process. Once constructed, the colony ship may be sent to any habitable world within an owned system to start a colony. Colony ships take one year to build and their upkeep cost is maintained throughout the whole colonization process. Colony ships can also be built through the interface of the planet to be colonized, which automatically queues the colonization order as long as the path is not blocked.

The cost of a colony ship depends mainly on the empire's primary species class and governing authority.

Primary species          
  •   200 Alloys
  •   200 Food
  •   200 Consumer Goods
  •   200 Alloys
  •   500 Food
  •   50 Alloys
  •   1000 Food
  •   200 Alloys
  •   200 Minerals
  •   200 Consumer Goods
  •   200 Alloys
  •   500 Minerals
  •   50 Alloys
  •   500 Minerals
  •   500 Food
   Robot   400 Alloys    

The   Frontier Spirit ruler trait reduces the cost of colony ships by −35%.

Alternate colony shipsEdit

Meteorite Colony Ship

In addition to regular colony ships, empires with the   Corporate Dominion or   Private Prospectors civics can also construct Private Colony Ships, which cost   500 energy instead.

Similarly, empires with the   Calamitous Birth origin can also construct Lithoid Meteorites, which cost   500 minerals instead, have no upkeep cost, and take only 150 days to build. Lithoid Meteorites also have a much faster sublight speed than regular colony ships. A planet colonized by a lithoid meteorite gains two Buried Lithoids blockers and the    Lithoid Crater modifier, which adds   −50% habitability.

Colony developmentEdit

When a Colony Ship lands on a planet, a period of initial development will occur during which a colony is extremely vulnerable: just a few days of orbital bombardment will wipe it out completely and the new colony will not produce any resources nor will pops grow on the world. It is possible to remove   blockers while the colony is developing, however their clearance cannot be cancelled or reordered until the colony is fully established. Once the colony has been successfully established, it will have a tier 1 capital building and a single pop of the species selected for the colony ship. It is then possible to develop the planet by constructing   districts and   buildings.

The   Colonization Fever tradition and the   Yuht Cryo Core relic each increase the number of initial pops on a new colony by +1.   Machine Intelligence empires' colonies also start with +1 initial pop.

The initial development period lasts about 2 years and 10 months. Colony development speed can also be reduced by the following:

Source Colony development speed
  Habitat +200%
  Evacuation Protocols edict +100%
  AI-controlled Colony Ships technology +50%
  Self-Aware Colony Ships technology +50%
  Ceramo-Metal Infrastructure technology +25%
  Durasteel Infrastructure technology +25%
  Expansion tradition tree +25%
  Frontier Spirit ruler trait +25%
  Expansionist diplomatic stance +15%


Game concepts
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