Can mushrooms grow witHout light

Last Updated on May 4, 2024 by Francis

Can mushrooms grow witHout light

Mushroom cultivation has gained popularity due to the versatility and nutritional value of mushrooms.

However, an essential factor in the growth of any plant or organism is light. The question arises: Can mushrooms grow without light? Let’s delve into this topic to understand the role of light in mushroom growth and the conditions necessary for successful cultivation.

Light plays a crucial role in the growth and development of most plants, as it enables photosynthesis and helps in the production of chlorophyll. However, mushrooms are different from plants. They belong to the fungi kingdom and have unique growth requirements.

To understand the role of light in mushroom growth, we need to consider several factors that contribute to successful cultivation. These include temperature, humidity, substrate, air quality, and ventilation. Light, or the absence thereof, is also a significant factor in indoor mushroom cultivation.

Indoor mushroom cultivation often involves the use of artificial lighting sources to mimic natural light conditions. This ensures optimal growth and development. Conversely, some mushrooms benefit from natural indirect light sources, such as filtered sunlight or ambient room light.

The question of whether mushrooms can grow in total darkness arises. While some mushrooms can tolerate low light conditions, total darkness is not ideal for their growth. Mushrooms require at least minimal light exposure to trigger specific metabolic processes and ensure proper fruiting body development.

Light also impacts the characteristics of mushrooms. It influences factors such as color, size, and shape. Adequate lighting conditions can result in vibrant and well-formed mushrooms, while insufficient or excessive light can alter their appearance.

To achieve successful mushroom cultivation, it is crucial to provide optimal lighting conditions alongside other growth factors. This involves adjusting light intensity and duration, monitoring temperature, humidity, and ventilation, and ensuring a suitable substrate and nutrient supply.

Key takeaway:

  • Mushrooms can grow without light: Unlike green plants, mushrooms do not require light for their growth and development.
  • Conditions necessary for mushroom growth: Temperature, humidity, substrate and nutrients, and air quality and ventilation are important factors for successful mushroom cultivation.
  • Impact of light on mushroom characteristics: Light can affect the color, size, and shape of mushrooms, making it a crucial factor for their appearance and marketability.

Can Mushrooms Grow Without Light?

Can Mushrooms Grow Without Light? - Can mushrooms grow witHout light

Photo Credits: Healingpicks.Com by John Roberts

Can mushrooms really grow without light? Let’s dive into the fascinating world of mushroom growth and explore the surprising role that light plays. In this section, we will uncover the truth behind whether mushrooms can thrive in darkness and the factors that contribute to their growth. From understanding the importance of light in mushroom cultivation to exploring alternative methods, get ready to uncover the mysteries of mushroom growth without relying on the sun’s rays.

Understanding the Role of Light in Mushroom Growth

Light plays a crucial role in the growth of mushrooms. It is essential for their development and overall health. The understanding of the role of light in mushroom growth is multifaceted.

Firstly, light is necessary for the process of photosynthesis in mushrooms. It enables them to convert sunlight into energy, which is vital for their growth and reproduction. Without sufficient light, mushrooms may struggle to produce the energy they need to thrive.

Secondly, light affects the direction of mushroom growth. Mushrooms exhibit positive phototropism, meaning they grow towards the light source. This helps them reach sunlight for photosynthesis and ensures proper development.

Additionally, light influences the production of certain pigments in mushrooms, which can affect their coloration. Different wavelengths and intensities of light can result in variations in pigmentation, giving mushrooms their distinctive hues.

It is important to note that while light is beneficial for mushroom growth, understanding the role of light in mushroom growth should also consider excessive exposure. Mushrooms thrive in darkness or low light conditions. Direct exposure to bright sunlight can cause the mushrooms to dry out and become damaged.

Conditions Required for Mushroom Growth

Mushrooms, those fascinating fungi, have a mysterious charm about them. But have you ever wondered what it takes for mushrooms to grow?

In this section, we’ll uncover the essential conditions that mushrooms need to thrive. From the right temperature and humidity levels to the importance of substrate and nutrients, and even the role of air quality and ventilation – we’ll explore the key factors that contribute to a successful mushroom growth.

Prepare to dig into the fascinating world of mushroom cultivation and uncover the secrets behind their flourishing existence.


Temperature plays a crucial role in the growth of mushrooms. The optimal temperature range for mushroom cultivation depends on the specific species being cultivated. However, most mushrooms thrive in temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 18 degrees Celsius).

Maintaining the correct temperature is essential to ensure successful mushroom growth. If the temperature is too high, it can cause the mycelium and developing mushrooms to overheat and potentially die. On the other hand, if the temperature is too low, it can hinder the growth and development of the mushrooms.

To provide the ideal temperature, mushroom cultivators often use climate-controlled environments such as grow rooms or incubators. These spaces allow for precise temperature regulation throughout the different stages of mushroom growth.

In addition to the overall temperature, it is important to consider temperature fluctuations. Sudden fluctuations in temperature can negatively impact mushroom growth and development. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a stable temperature within the optimal range.

Achieving and maintaining the correct temperature is a vital aspect of successful mushroom cultivation. By providing the right temperature conditions, cultivators can create an optimal environment for the growth and development of mushrooms.

True history: In 2008, Guinness World Records recognized what is believed to be the largest mushroom ever found. This giant fungus was discovered in the Blue Mountains of Oregon, USA, and measured around 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) in diameter. It is estimated to be more than 2,400 years old and is known as the “Humongous Fungus.” This remarkable and extensive underground network of mycelium reminds us of the incredible ability of mushrooms to thrive and adapt to different environments, including those with extreme temperatures.


Humidity is a crucial factor in the growth of mushrooms. The optimal humidity level promotes the formation of fruiting bodies and prevents drying out and desiccation of the mushroom substrate.

  • High humidity: Mushrooms thrive in high humidity environments, typically between 80% to 95%. This moisture-rich atmosphere helps to stimulate mushroom growth and development.
  • Maintaining humidity: To achieve the ideal humidity level, misting or spraying the growing area regularly can help increase moisture content in the air. The use of a humidifier or placing trays of water near the mushrooms can also help maintain humidity.
  • Humidity control: Having a hygrometer to monitor and adjust humidity levels is important. If the humidity is too low, the mushrooms may dry out and not reach their full growth potential. If humidity is too high, it can create a breeding ground for mold and other contaminants.
  • Fruiting chamber design: Creating a controlled environment, such as using a fruiting chamber, allows for better humidity regulation. The chamber can be lined with a plastic liner or have a humidity tent to create a microclimate with high humidity.
  • Relative humidity: Relative humidity refers to the moisture content in the air compared to its maximum capacity at a specific temperature. Maintaining a relative humidity of 85% to 95% is recommended for most mushroom species.

By ensuring the proper humidity levels, mushroom cultivators can create an optimal growing environment for healthy and abundant mushroom production.

Substrate and Nutrients

To facilitate the expansion of mushrooms, both the substrate and nutrients play a pivotal role. The table provided below delineates the prime factors linked to the substrate and nutrients in mushroom cultivation:

SubstrateThe substrate denotes the material upon which mushrooms thrive. Typical substrates comprise straw, sawdust, or wood chips. The selection of the substrate relies on the mushroom species and the desired conditions for growth.
NutrientsMushrooms necessitate a plentiful supply of nutrients in order to grow and develop optimally. Commonly used organic materials like compost or manure are utilized to provide the essential nutrients. Adequate levels of nutrients are crucial for ensuring robust mushroom growth.

Mushrooms obtain nutrients and energy from the substrate during their growth process. The composition and quality of the substrate have a direct impact on the quantity and quality of the resulting mushrooms. It is imperative to furnish a suitable substrate that contains the requisite nutrients for successful cultivation.

Maintaining an appropriate balance of nutrients within the substrate is vital. Insufficient or excessive nutrient levels can have adverse effects on mushroom growth. It is crucial to ensure that the substrate contains a sufficient supply of nitrogen, carbohydrates, and other vital nutrients to support robust fruiting.

An intriguing fact: The substrate and nutrients directly influence the flavor and texture of mushrooms. Different substrates can impart distinct flavors and characteristics to the mushrooms, thereby enhancing the culinary experience.

Air Quality and Ventilation

Proper air quality and ventilation are essential for successful mushroom cultivation. The term “air quality” refers to the cleanliness and freshness of the air in the growing environment. It is crucial to ensure that the air is free from contaminants such as dust, mold spores, and airborne pathogens. To achieve this, it is recommended to set up a ventilation system that includes fans and air filters. The fans help circulate the air within the growing area, preventing the accumulation of stale air pockets. The air filters are capable of removing particles and impurities from the incoming air, creating a cleaner environment for mushroom growth.

Ventilation plays a crucial role in controlling humidity levels, which are vital for mushroom growth. Mushrooms require a specific range of humidity, typically between 70% and 90%, for optimal development. Excessive humidity can lead to the growth of mold or bacteria, while low humidity can cause drying and hinder proper growth. Ventilation helps regulate humidity levels by allowing excess moisture to escape and promoting airflow, thereby creating an ideal environment for cultivating mushrooms.

Indoor Mushroom Cultivation

When engaging in indoor mushroom cultivation, there are several important factors to consider:

  1. Choose the right mushroom species: There are various types of mushrooms that can be cultivated indoors, such as oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and white button mushrooms. Select a species that is suitable for indoor mushroom cultivation and aligns with your preferences and goals.
  2. Provide the proper growing environment: Mushrooms require specific conditions to grow successfully. Maintain a consistent temperature between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level of around 85-95%. Additionally, ensure proper ventilation and airflow to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.
  3. Prepare the growing medium: Different mushroom species have different growing medium requirements. Common mediums include straw, sawdust, or a combination of both. Sterilize the medium to eliminate any competing organisms that may hinder mushroom growth.
  4. Inoculate the growing medium: After preparing the growing medium, introduce mushroom spawn (mycelium) to kickstart the growth process. This can be done by mixing the spawn into the medium or placing it on top.
  5. Maintain appropriate lighting: While mushrooms do not require direct sunlight like plants, they do benefit from indirect light or ambient room light. A well-lit room or the use of artificial lighting with the right spectrum can enhance mushroom growth.
  6. Maintain proper moisture levels: Mushrooms thrive in moist environments. Monitor and adjust the moisture levels of the growing medium to ensure consistent growth. Using a spray bottle or misting system can help maintain optimal moisture.
  7. Harvest at the right time: Harvest mushrooms when they reach the desired size and maturity. This varies depending on the species and your personal preference.
  8. Practice proper hygiene: To prevent contamination and promote a healthy growing environment, maintain cleanliness throughout the indoor mushroom cultivation process. Keep all tools and containers sanitized, and wash hands thoroughly before handling mushrooms.

Artificial Lighting for Mushroom Growth

When it comes to mushroom growth, artificial lighting is a crucial factor to consider. To ensure successful cultivation, here are some key points on using artificial lighting:

  • Mimicking sunlight: It is important to provide artificial lighting that closely resembles natural sunlight. This means choosing a light source that emits a spectrum of light similar to sunlight, allowing mushrooms to receive the necessary wavelengths for photosynthesis and growth.
  • Light intensity: Different mushroom species have varying light requirements. Adjust the intensity of artificial lighting according to the specific species being cultivated. Some mushrooms thrive in higher light levels, while others prefer lower light conditions.
  • Light duration: The duration of light exposure also varies among mushrooms. Generally, mushrooms require around 12-16 hours of light per day for optimal growth.
  • Light source: Selecting the right type of light source is vital. LED lights are commonly used for mushroom cultivation due to their energy efficiency and ability to emit the desired light spectrum.
  • Light distribution: Ensuring even distribution of light throughout the growing area is essential. This can be achieved by using multiple light sources or strategically positioning the lights.
  • Light distance: Adjust the distance between the artificial lights and mushroom beds to avoid excessive heat or light burn. Regular monitoring is necessary to maintain the optimal distance.
  • Light schedule: Consistency in the light schedule is crucial for mushroom growth. Any disruptions or sudden changes can have negative effects on the mushrooms.

By carefully considering these factors, artificial lighting can effectively support the growth and development of mushrooms.

Natural Indirect Light Sources

When it comes to cultivating mushrooms, natural indirect light sources can play a significant role in their growth and development.

  • Windows: Placing mushroom cultivation containers near windows can provide them with natural indirect light. However, it’s important to ensure that the mushrooms are not exposed to direct sunlight, as it can be harmful to their growth.
  • Skylights: If you have a skylight in your indoor space, it can offer natural indirect light that is beneficial for mushroom cultivation. Make sure that the intensity of light is suitable for the specific type of mushrooms you are growing.
  • Indoor lighting: Utilizing interior lights in the vicinity of the mushroom cultivation area can provide a source of natural indirect light. Some options include fluorescent lights or LED bulbs with a suitable color temperature that supports mushroom growth.
  • Reflected light: Using reflective surfaces such as mirrors or aluminum foil can help redirect and enhance the natural indirect light available in the surroundings. Placing these surfaces strategically can maximize the amount of light reaching the mushrooms from various angles.

To ensure successful mushroom cultivation with natural indirect light sources, consider the following suggestions:

  • Monitor the light intensity: Regularly evaluate the amount of light reaching the mushrooms. Adjust the placement of the containers or use curtains or blinds to regulate the intensity as needed.
  • Duration of light exposure: Mushroom growth can be influenced by the length of light exposure. Research the specific light requirements for the type of mushrooms you are cultivating and maintain a consistent light schedule.
  • Observe growth patterns: Pay attention to the response of the mushrooms to the natural indirect light sources. Monitor their growth, color, and overall health to determine if any adjustments need to be made to the lighting conditions.

By utilizing natural indirect light sources and implementing these suggestions, you can create optimal conditions for successful mushroom cultivation.

Total Darkness: Is It Possible?

Total darkness: Is it possible for mushrooms to grow without light?

Yes, it is possible for mushrooms to grow in total darkness. While light is not a requirement for mushroom growth, it does play a significant role in certain aspects of their development.

Mushrooms are fungi that primarily rely on organic matter for nourishment. They obtain energy through a process known as photosynthesis, which involves converting light into chemical energy. However, unlike plants, mushrooms do not possess chlorophyll, the pigment that enables photosynthesis. Therefore, they do not require light for their energy source.

However, light does influence some characteristics of mushrooms. Exposure to light can affect the color, size, and shape of mushroom caps. Mushrooms that grow in darkness may appear pale, elongated, or have a different texture compared to those exposed to light.

To successfully cultivate mushrooms in total darkness, it is important to consider other factors that contribute to their growth, such as temperature, humidity, substrate, and air quality. Providing the right conditions for mycelium growth and fruiting body formation is crucial, regardless of light availability.

Some suggestions for successful mushroom cultivation include maintaining optimal environmental conditions, adjusting lighting when applicable, and monitoring and adjusting other growth factors as necessary.

The Impact of Light on Mushroom Characteristics

The Impact of Light on Mushroom Characteristics - Can mushrooms grow witHout light

Photo Credits: Healingpicks.Com by Paul Garcia

Discover how light influences the unique characteristics of mushrooms. From color to size and shape, each sub-section will unveil an intriguing aspect of mushroom growth. Prepare to delve into the fascinating world of these remarkable fungi and the role that light plays in shaping their appearance. Uncover surprising facts and gain a deeper understanding of how light affects the captivating qualities of mushrooms.


Below is a table showcasing the impact of light on mushroom color:

Light ConditionsColor Effect
Natural sunlightResults in vibrant, deep colors
Artificial white lightTends to produce lighter and paler colors
Indirect or filtered lightMay cause variations in color intensity
Total darknessProduces white or very pale-colored mushrooms

A farmer noticed that the mushrooms grown in a dimly lit room appeared to have a more intense and rich color compared to those grown in a room with bright artificial light. This led the farmer to experiment with different levels of light intensity for different mushroom varieties. Through careful adjustments and observations, the farmer was able to cultivate mushrooms with colors that were not only visually stunning but also highly sought after by chefs and mushroom enthusiasts. This unique insight into the impact of light on mushroom color helped the farmer establish a reputation for producing the most vibrant and visually appealing mushrooms in the region.

Size and Shape


Mushrooms can vary in size depending on the species and growth conditions. On average, the diameter of a mushroom cap can range from 1 to 10 centimeters, with some larger varieties reaching up to 30 centimeters in diameter. The height of the mushrooms can range from a few centimeters to over 20 centimeters. The size of the mushrooms is influenced by factors such as nutrient availability, humidity levels, and the maturity of the mushroom.


Mushrooms come in various shapes and forms. The most common shape is the classic umbrella-like cap with a stem. However, mushrooms can also have unique shapes such as round, conical, or irregular. The shape of a mushroom is determined by the species and its growing conditions. The cap of a mushroom can be flat, convex, or have a bell-like shape, while the stem can be thin, thick, or even absent in some mushroom varieties. The shape of a mushroom can also change as it matures, with some species developing distinct characteristics like a flaring of the cap or curling of the edges.

To ensure optimal size and shape of mushrooms, it is important to provide the appropriate growing conditions. Maintaining consistent temperature, humidity, and providing sufficient nutrients will promote healthy mushroom growth. Additionally, monitoring and adjusting the light intensity and duration can also have an impact on the size and shape of the mushrooms. By paying attention to these factors, cultivators can cultivate mushrooms with desired size and shape.

Tips for Successful Mushroom Cultivation

For successful mushroom cultivation, let’s dive into some crucial tips. Discover how to create optimal lighting conditions, adjust light intensity and duration, and monitor other important growth factors. These tricks will help you maximize your mushroom yields and ensure a thriving cultivation. Prepare to unlock the secrets behind a bountiful mushroom harvest!

Providing Optimal Lighting Conditions

To ensure the best possible lighting conditions for mushroom cultivation, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the role that light plays in the growth of mushrooms. While initial development of mushrooms does not necessitate light, it does play a crucial role in signaling the formation of fruiting bodies and stimulating the production of certain compounds.

To create an ideal lighting environment, it is recommended to utilize artificial light sources such as fluorescent lights or LED grow lights. These lights should have a spectrum that closely mimics natural sunlight, with a balanced combination of blue and red wavelengths. Blue light aids in the vegetative growth stage, while red light is beneficial for encouraging the formation of fruiting bodies.

Adjusting the intensity and duration of light exposure is of utmost importance and should be based on the specific species of mushrooms being cultivated. Some mushrooms thrive in lower light levels, while others require brighter conditions. Regular monitoring of the growth and development of the mushrooms is crucial in making necessary adjustments.

Maintaining a consistent light cycle is also vital. Mushrooms require periods of darkness to stimulate the formation of fruiting bodies. Typically, a light cycle of 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness is recommended.

Providing optimal lighting conditions can greatly enhance the growth and yield of mushrooms. The correct lighting not only stimulates the formation of fruiting bodies but also impacts the size, shape, and color of the mushrooms.

Fun Fact: Did you know that mushrooms are actually fungi and not plants? They belong to a distinct classification of organisms and have unique growth requirements, including specific lighting conditions.

Adjusting Light Intensity and Duration

When it comes to successful mushroom cultivation, adjusting light intensity and duration plays a crucial role in ensuring optimal growth. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Observe the mushrooms daily to determine if they are receiving adequate light.
  2. Start by providing moderate light intensity for a certain duration, usually around 12-16 hours per day.
  3. Monitor the growth of the mushrooms and evaluate their response to the light conditions.
  4. If the mushrooms are growing too quickly and becoming elongated, reduce the light intensity.
  5. Alternatively, if the mushrooms are not growing well or are developing long, thin stems, increase the light intensity.
  6. Adjust the duration of light exposure based on the growth stage of the mushrooms.
  7. During the fruiting stage, decrease the light duration to around 8-12 hours per day to stimulate the formation of mushroom caps.
  8. Ensure the light source is positioned at an appropriate distance from the mushrooms to avoid heat stress or damage.
  9. Regularly monitor and evaluate the mushrooms’ growth and adjust the light intensity and duration accordingly to optimize their development.

By carefully adjusting light intensity and duration, you can create the ideal conditions for your mushrooms’ growth and maximize their quality and yield.

Monitoring and Adjusting Other Growth Factors

When it comes to successfully cultivating mushrooms, it is crucial to monitor and adjust other growth factors in addition to lighting. These factors play a significant role in the growth and development of mushrooms.

  1. Temperature: Monitoring and adjusting temperature is essential for mushroom growth. Different types of mushrooms have different temperature requirements, so it is important to adjust accordingly. For example, oyster mushrooms thrive at a temperature between 18-24°C (64-75°F).
  2. Humidity: Mushrooms require high humidity levels to grow successfully. The ideal humidity range for most mushrooms is around 85-95%. Monitoring and adjusting humidity by using a humidifier or misting the growing area can help maintain the required humidity.
  3. Substrate and Nutrients: Monitoring and adjusting the right substrate and nutrients is crucial for mushroom growth. Different mushrooms have different substrate preferences, such as straw, sawdust, or compost. Additionally, adding nutrient supplements like wheat bran or gypsum can enhance mushroom growth.
  4. Air Quality and Ventilation: Good air quality and proper ventilation are essential for healthy mushroom growth. Proper airflow helps prevent the buildup of carbon dioxide and stale air, which can lead to mold or other contaminants affecting the mushrooms.

By monitoring and adjusting these growth factors, mushroom cultivators can ensure optimal conditions for their mushrooms to thrive. It is essential to regularly check and make necessary modifications to create the ideal environment for successful mushroom cultivation.

The practice of cultivating mushrooms dates back thousands of years. Ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese were known to cultivate and appreciate the unique flavors and nutritional benefits of mushrooms. Mushrooms have been used for medicinal purposes, culinary delights, and even for religious ceremonies. Through trial and error, early cultivators learned the importance of monitoring and adjusting various growth factors to achieve successful mushroom cultivation. Today, with modern techniques and knowledge, mushroom cultivation has become a popular hobby and industry, allowing people to enjoy a diverse array of mushroom varieties and flavors.

Some Facts About Can Mushrooms Grow Without Light:

  • ✅ Most mushrooms do not need sunlight to grow as they do not have chlorophyll for photosynthesis. (Source:
  • ✅ Some mushrooms, like edible mushrooms, do need a little light for the fruiting phase. (Source:
  • ✅ Blue LEDs are more beneficial for mushroom growth than ordinary light, as they increase fruit yields. (Source:
  • ✅ Mushrooms typically require a few hours of light during the fruiting phase, with dim light or a fluorescent bulb being sufficient. (Source:
  • ✅ Regardless of the light source, some lighting is necessary for the fruiting process. (Source:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can mushrooms grow without light?

Yes, most mushrooms do not require sunlight to grow as they do not have chlorophyll for photosynthesis. These mushrooms, called saprophytic mushrooms, grow in darkness and live on dead or decaying matter. However, some mushroom species, like edible mushrooms, do need a little light for the fruiting phase.

What are some mushrooms that can grow in sunlight?

Some mushrooms that can grow in sunlight include Stropharia Rugosoannulata, Coprinus Comatus, and Agaricus bisporus. However, it’s important to note that most mushrooms prefer to grow in the dark and require high humidity and less exposure to light for optimal growth.

What types of lighting can be used for growing mushrooms?

Growers have different opinions on the best lighting for mushrooms. Some use LED lights, while others rely on natural daylight or fluorescent (CFL) lighting. It is generally advised to avoid incandescent light bulbs. The light intensity and heat should be considered when choosing a grow light for mushrooms.

Can mushrooms grow in total darkness?

Yes, mushrooms can grow in total darkness. There have been reports from growers who have successfully grown mushrooms in garbage cans without any light. However, it’s important to note that some mushrooms may benefit from some degree of light for processes like pinning and fruiting.

How much light do mushrooms need during the fruiting phase?

Mushrooms typically require a few hours of light during the fruiting phase, with dim light or a fluorescent bulb being sufficient. The amount of light required may vary among different growers, with some using a 12/12 lighting schedule and others providing less light. Light exposure is necessary for the fruiting process.

Can mushrooms benefit from light?

Yes, while mushrooms do not rely on sunlight for growth, some growers have reported benefits when providing light to mushrooms. Light exposure can help with processes like pinning and fruiting, and some mushrooms may grow towards the light. The length, intensity, and frequency of light can affect the number of pins and the overall growth of mushrooms.

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