At first glance the Botanicalist circle seems to be rather limited in utility. However, what not said in the description is as important as what is stated.
You can control plants and cause them to spring for the from nothing. The first part is important because it implies you can control existing plants. You still have to anchor the spell for a persistent effect, but it gives more flexibility when around natural plant life.
The sentence stating you can cause a vine to grow upward also implies you can direct growth in any direction you please. With both these in mind, here are ideas of some actions you can take with Botanicalist.
- Creating plants.
- You could cause spiky bamboo to shoot up from the ground. The sharp tips could impale the feet or legs of enemies (doing 1 strike as typical).
- You could create a large cactus (think saguaro) and bash enemies with it’s spiny limbs (1 strike). A cactus of that size would likely take 2 turns to grow. Similarly, you could grow a huge Venus flytrap.
- You could grow vines in a ladder shape up a sheer surface so you and your allies have an easier climb.
- You could block access points with thick vegetation. A doorway would take 1 turn, a hallway 2-3 turns based on size, and a castle gate 4-5 turns.
- You could grow plants that yield fibers, like cotton, cattail, or milkweed, to use as a firestarter. Once it is burned away, you no longer need to maintain the spell anchor.
- You could grow a bridge across a river or chasm, or span a broken ledge.
- If you need to jump down in a hurry, you could grow a giant puffball mushroom to act as an cushion you land on.
- You could break through a door, gate, or prison cell by growing a tree through it.
- You could create vines that can knock enemies down or lift them into the air and drop them. You can trip large enemies with vine triplines.
- Controlling plants.
- You can cause vegetation to move out of your way so your travel is easier.
- You could make a tree pick up an enemy and drop them, or crush them.
- You could hit an enemy with a thorny branch or irritant, like nettles or poison ivy
- You could keep plant monsters away from allies (they won’t hurt you automatically), but not control them.
- You could make any nut bearing tree like chestnut or walnut sling the nuts like a ranged weapon.
- You could make a tree uproot itself and fall on enemies.
These ideas come from the assumptions I mentioned at the beginning, so not every RR may agree with them. Nevertheless, I hope you found some of these ideas useful or entertaining.