Do Mushrooms Grow In The Dark?

Mushrooms are fungi and do not need light to grow. They are also not particularly fond of humidity or warm temperatures, so they do best in moist environments that are a bit cool. Mushrooms can be grown in the dark, but you will have better luck if you offer them some light. This article will answer the question, ‘do mushrooms grow in the dark?’

Do Mushrooms Grow In The Dark

Do Mushrooms Grow In The Dark

The majority of mushrooms are grown indoors, on beds made from straw or sawdust inoculated with spawn – a piece of mushroom tissue taken from an actively fruiting mushroom that has been allowed to grow enough for it to transfer its mycelium (the cellular network under the mushroom’s surface) onto the new material.


Mushrooms typically grow in areas with more organic matter than usual because they need more decomposing plant material for their fertilization needs and air pockets for oxygen to breathe. The soil should include an even mixture of fine-grade compost and peat moss and other nutrients such as magnesium sulfate or iron phosphate to support their growth. Some plants will have their soil requirements, depending on their species. You will also have to determine if the plants require full sun or partial shade.

Soil pH

Experts should identify toxic substances in your soil before planting mushrooms outdoors in your area since some can poison the mycelium and other plant life if untreated first. Soil pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5 for the mushrooms to grow appropriately. In addition, you will also have to determine what sort of temperature the plant likes during the growing cycle.

Temperature and humidity

You will need to create a humid environment for mushrooms to grow, determining the type of light you can use. For example, cromerasee varieties of mushrooms require low levels of light and dry conditions, while fly agaric mushrooms are not fussy about humidity. Mycologists* usually recommend a temperature between 60F and 70F, with the ideal conditions being 70F-80% humidity.


The best substrate for growing mushrooms has a rate of nitrogen ranging from 0.25 to 0.75% and phosphorus between 1 and 2%. However, these numbers are only general guidelines that you should follow, not concrete rules! You may need to be more specific if your ingredients list includes phosphorous not on this list.

There are many different kinds of organic substances (straw, sawdust, horse manure), but they all have different amounts of nitrogen and other nutrients involved in their making. Therefore, it is critical to research your ingredients if setting up a home mushroom farm.

You may be surprised where your mushrooms take root when following these simple rules. Try misting growing mushrooms at night with distilled water or adding them to other growing mediums such as potting soil or window ledge mulch to create a humid environment. That will provide you with the ideal opportunity of growing your delicious mushrooms.

Do Mushrooms Grow In The Dark

Common Diseases

1) Fungus Gnats (also known as fungus flies)

Fungus gnats or “fungus flies” are tiny parasitic insects that can infect the mycelium (the vegetative part of the mushroom) via penetration or by laying eggs directly on top of it. These small insects may also deposit their eggs into visible knots, cracks, or crevices in the surface area where they feed. The adult fungus gnats are often very light in color (almost white), and they do not have any distinct patterns on their wings. They are highly attracted to bright lights at night, so you may find them in your house if you have a lot of windows or other light sources on the exterior walls.

The fungus gnats primarily feed on fungi that grow in soil or compost; however, you can also find them in the substrate of mushrooms such as straw and wood chips. Generally, the adults cause minimal damage to mushrooms because they do not feed directly on the mushroom’s mycelium, unlike other mushroom diseases.

2) Cutaneous Hemorrhagic Dermatitis (caused by the fungus Chloroschloronema)

The disease is caused by the spore-forming structure of the Chloroschloronema fungus, which occurs in soil and contaminates mushrooms once you have harvested them. Once this strain begins to grow, many different symptoms are associated with it, ranging from small bumps all over the mushroom to large open wounds, peels, and even destruction of the mushroom.

The fungus can infect a mushroom in several ways, including direct infection through contamination of the mycelium, penetration or physical contact with the mushroom, and direct contact with the spores (primarily through artificial sprays).

Chloroschloronema is extremely difficult to control because it is very resistant to many standard tools used for controlling insect problems (such as neem oil). The best solution to combating this disease is to avoid using mushrooms known to have it. Also, you should be cautious when sharing your mushroom with others; it should be taken off right away and thrown away in a trash can.

3) Trichoderma Species

These fungi are usually found on rotting wood or decaying tree stumps and can easily infect freshly cut logs or piles of sawdust by penetration into the mushrooms. This mushroom disease usually comes in tiny white specks or molds on the mushroom’s surface, which are very difficult to see without a microscope. These spores will also grow through stalk tissue, causing girdling and subsequent decay.

4) Fungal Leaf EPN, Leaf Spot, and Early Blight (caused by the fungus Pepsin)

It is caused by the fungus Pepsin present on many mushrooms growing in all climates. The disease spreads through spores spread by rainwater splash or wind currents and insects that pick up spores from the soil and transport them to mushroom crops. When this fungus is present in large enough quantities, it will cause damage to hundreds or thousands of pounds of mushrooms because it prevents them from developing correctly on their stalk tissue.

5) Sclerotinia diseases (caused by the fungus Sclerotium)

Sclerotium fungus is quite common on many mushrooms in all climates. It causes sclerotia to form a thin layer (visible under a microscope) on the stalk tissue of the mushroom. That creates conditions that allow it to ‘hatch’ and grow, causing it to die or become unviable as a log or crop. However, sclerotia are extremely difficult to see under normal light and even microscopic examination. Therefore, there is often a lot of product loss due to this disease before the sclerotia are detected.

Further, the sclerotia can remain dormant in the soil for up to 2 years without any access to nutrients or water before hatching; during this time, they pass through their life cycle without having any detrimental effects on the mushroom. Therefore, you should plant new crops each year rather than use a single log or stump to grow everything.

Do Mushrooms Grow In The Dark

Do Mushrooms Grow In The Dark: Conclusion

Mushrooms grow everywhere but usually prefer dark and damp places. Some species of mushrooms can grow in the dark (although not very fast or healthy), such as the shiitake mushroom or oyster mushroom. They grow in the dark because they get their energy from decomposing things, not the sun like plants do.

However, you will need to provide supplemental light sources such as artificial light from a lamp or window for your mushrooms to grow properly. You should also have a humid environment with plenty of airflows to ensure your mushrooms do not dry out.

Related Article: Is a Mushroom a Producer?