Do Mushrooms Need Light?

Mushrooms, which are fungi, require different growth conditions than plants. While mushrooms have a different method of getting nutrients and energy than plants do, both rely on photosynthesis, which is a process that requires sunlight for plants to carry out. In this piece, we’ll delve into the intriguing realm of mushroom development and discover why sunshine in particular isn’t crucial to the growth of mushrooms. We’ll also go into detail on the circumstances necessary for mushroom growth and provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to cultivate mushrooms at home. Some mushrooms have particular lighting requirements.

Do Mushrooms Need Light Or Sunlight?

No, Mushrooms do not require light or sunlight for their growth. Mushrooms, in contrast to plants, do not engage in photosynthesis or rely on light as a source of energy. While certain mushrooms may benefit from exposure to dim or indirect light, the majority of mushrooms prefer low-light or completely dark conditions. Other elements including a good substrate, humidity, temperature, and nutrients are the main determinants of their growth.

Mushroom Growth Factors

It’s vital to comprehend the main components that contribute to the growth of mushrooms before we discuss the subject of the light needs for mushrooms. Mushrooms lack chlorophyll, the pigment necessary for photosynthesis, in contrast to plants. Instead, they get their nutrients from decomposing organic materials, including rotting wood, fallen leaves, or animal feces. The major function of mushrooms, which are the fruiting bodies of fungi, is to spread spores for sexual reproduction. Mushrooms require a precise substrate, humidity, temperature, and nutrients for optimum growth.

Do All Mushrooms Need Sunlight To Grow?

Not all mushrooms need sunshine to develop, however. In actuality, the majority of mushrooms prefer dim or gloomy surroundings. While certain mushrooms may benefit from light exposure, it is not a need for mushroom growth. Mushrooms have developed to fit in with a wide range of environments, from forests to caverns to the ocean’s depths. Their special method of acquiring energy and nutrients enables them to thrive in darkness.

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Do Mushrooms Need Light Or Sunlight?

Why Do Some Mushrooms Need Light To Grow?

There are certain kinds of mushrooms that benefit from exposure to light, even though the majority do not rely on it for growth. The creation of fruiting bodies or the start of spore production are two examples of the developmental processes that may be triggered by light in these mushrooms. However, even for these light-sensitive mushrooms, filtered or low-light environments are generally sufficient for them to grow.

List of Mushrooms That Grow in Sunlight:

  1. Known for its unusual look and delicate texture, the Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus) mushroom. It often flourishes in grassy regions and can withstand a little sunshine.
  2. The highly prized edible morel (Morchella spp.) mushroom often appears in the spring. Although they like slightly shady places, you may also find them in spots with dappled sunshine.
  3. Chanterelles are valued for their delicious flavor and golden hue (Cantharellus spp.). They may be found in woods, often in locations where there is a considerable amount of sunlight penetrating the canopy.
  4. Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus): This unusual mushroom resembles a lion’s mane with its shaggy exterior. It tolerates moderate sunshine and may grow on dead or dying trees.
  5. Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.) may grow on a variety of surfaces and are adaptable. They can take moderate sunshine exposure, however they prefer indirect light.


Why Do Some Mushrooms Prefer The Dark?

Because they have evolved to flourish in places with little or no light, many mushrooms prefer the darkness. These mushrooms often flourish in subterranean settings like caverns or tree roots. Instead of depending on photosynthesis, they have evolved to derive their energy and nutrients via decomposition.

List of Mushrooms That Grow in Dark:

  1. One of the most widely produced mushrooms in the world is the button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus). Usually found on compost or manure-based substrates, it thrives in gloomy settings.
  2. Shiitake (Lentinula edodes): For both its culinary and therapeutic benefits, shiitake mushrooms are highly regarded. The majority of their growth occurs in the dark on substrates made of hardwood logs or sawdust.
  3. Known for their robust taste and meaty texture, porcini (Boletus edulis) mushrooms are a delicacy. They love regions with shade and develop in conjunction with tree roots.
  4. Truffles (Tuber spp.) are highly prized gourmet fungi that grow underground in symbiotic relationship with tree roots. To grow, they require certain climatic and soil conditions.
  5. Morchella elata, sometimes known as the black morel, is a dark-hued variety of the morel mushroom. They thrive in gloomy environments, often in or next to wooded areas.

Lighting Requirements

While most mushrooms do not need light for growth, it may influence several elements of their development. Mushrooms that benefit from exposure to light often require low or indirect light as opposed to direct sunshine. To mimic these circumstances and give the essential signals for fruiting body development and spore generation, artificial illumination may be employed. Depending on the species and stage of mushroom growth, different illumination needs apply to growing mushrooms.

How Many Hours of Light Do Mushrooms Need?

Depending on the species and the intended result, different mushrooms require different amounts of light each day. While some mushrooms could benefit from only a few hours of low light exposure, others would require longer exposure times. To create the ideal environment for the mushroom species you wish to cultivate, it is crucial to learn about the precise lighting requirements of that species.

What Conditions Are Needed For a Mushroom To Grow?

In addition to lighting, mushrooms require specific conditions to grow successfully. Let’s explore the key factors that contribute to their growth:


As previously said, although light is not a necessary component for the majority of mushroom species, some may benefit from low or indirect light. It is essential to comprehend the lighting requirements of the mushrooms you are growing and to create the ideal environment.


With humidity levels ranging from 70% to 90%, mushrooms grow in these conditions. It takes a lot of humidity to keep the mycelium, the fungus’ vegetative portion that makes mushrooms, from drying up. Misting, using a humidifier, or setting up a humid growth chamber are all ways to maintain the right humidity levels.


A critical factor in the growth of mushrooms is temperature. Different types of mushrooms need certain temperature ranges in order to grow. The ideal temperature range for growing mushrooms is often between 60°F and 75°F (15°C and 24°C). The species will determine how this varies. It’s critical to learn the temperature requirements for the mushrooms you want to cultivate.


The substrate on which mushrooms grow provides them with nutrients. A number of materials, such as wood chips, straw, sawdust, or compost, may be used as the substrate. The particular nutritional needs vary depending on the kind of mushrooms and the substrate of choice. In order to improve growth and productivity, certain mushrooms may require extra vitamins or additions.

How To Grow Mushrooms At Home?

After examining the elements required for mushroom growth, let’s talk about a step-by-step tutorial for cultivating mushrooms at home. The following broad procedures will offer you a decent starting point, however the process may change based on the species you select:

STEP 1: Selecting the Type of Mushroom: Choose the species of mushrooms you want to grow by doing some research on them. Select a species that is compatible with your habitat and resources while taking into account their expanding needs.

STEP 2: SELECTION OF THE GROWING METHOD: Choose the growth technique that best meets your requirements. Growing mushrooms on logs, in grow bags, or in containers with prepared substrates are popular choices.

STEP 3: Setting Up the Support: According to the needs of the particular mushroom species you have selected, prepare the substrate. To get rid of rival organisms, sterilization or pasteurization may be used.

STEP 4: Inoculation: add the mushroom spawn (mycelium) to the ready substrate. Adding spawn or combining colonized spawn with the substrate material may accomplish this.

STEP 5: Providing ideal conditions: Place the infected substrate in a location that is appropriate and offers the right circumstances for growth. According to the needs of your selected mushroom species, maintain the correct temperature, humidity, and illumination.

Understanding Light for Mushroom Growth

In mushroom growth, light has a complex impact. While the majority of mushrooms do not require light for growth, certain species might benefit from exposure to dim or indirect light. When growing mushrooms, it is crucial to comprehend the impacts of various light sources, including both artificial lighting and sunshine.

Light and Dark

Mushrooms and light and darkness have a special interaction. Mushrooms typically get their energy and nutrients via decomposition processes rather than photosynthesis, while light exposure may cause particular developmental processes, such as the creation of fruiting bodies.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Light Sources

You may use a variety of lights while growing mushrooms indoors. Depending on elements like energy efficiency, heat production, and light spectrum, every light source has benefits and drawbacks. For growing mushrooms, common lighting options include LEDs, incandescent bulbs, and fluorescent lamps.

Artificial Lighting

To effectively deliver the signals required for mushroom growth and development, artificial illumination might be a useful tool. To simulate natural lighting conditions while utilizing artificial lighting, it is crucial to take into account the light spectrum, intensity, and duration.


Some mushrooms may benefit from exposure to filtered or indirect sunlight, even if direct sunlight is not required for their growth. By giving signals for fruiting body formation and spore generation, sunlight may indirectly help to the growth and development of some mushrooms.

The Amount of Light for Magic Mushrooms

For maximum mushroom growth, magic mushrooms, a kind of hallucinogenic fungi, require certain illumination conditions. These mushrooms are often grown in controlled indoor situations and usually require low light levels. Depending on the species and the intended result, the intensity and length of light exposure for magic mushrooms may change.

Distance to the Light Source

The mushrooms’ growth may be influenced by the distance between the light source and the mushrooms. Maintaining the proper spacing will help prevent overheating or light burn while still providing the mushrooms with enough lighting.


How many hours of light do mushrooms need?

Depending on the species and stage of growth, different mushrooms require different amounts of light each day. While some mushrooms could benefit from a few hours of low light exposure, others would require more time in the light. It is crucial to learn about the particular lighting requirements of the kind of mushrooms you want to produce.

How much light should my mushrooms have?

Depending on the species, different mushrooms require different types of illumination. Some mushrooms thrive in dim or indirect light, while others favor gloomy settings. It is essential to comprehend the lighting requirements of the mushrooms you are growing and to create the proper settings in accordance.

What kind of light do you need to grow mushrooms?

Fluorescent lamps, incandescent bulbs, and LED lights are all suitable for the cultivation of mushrooms. The decision is based on elements including energy efficiency, light spectrum, and heat production, each of which has pros and downsides.

Can you grow mushrooms with LED lights?

Due to their energy efficiency and adjustable light spectrum, LED lights are in fact often employed for mushroom cultivation. LED lights can minimize heat production while yet providing the lighting required for mushroom growth.


Therefore, mushroom growth does not require sunshine. While some mushrooms may benefit from exposure to dim or indirect light, the majority prefer dim or gloomy settings. To create the ideal environment for the growth of your intended mushroom species, it is essential to understand the individual lighting needs of that species. The right substrate preparation, humidity, temperature, and nutrient levels are essential for optimal mushroom culture, regardless of whether you choose to grow mushrooms that enjoy sunshine or those that flourish in darkness. You may have a wonderful experience growing mushrooms at home if you take the right precautions and create the right circumstances.

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark , a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Check our Social media Profiles: Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram Tumblr

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