Many people think that mushrooms need to be in the sunlight to grow, but this is not necessarily true.
Most mushrooms don’t need light or sunlight to grow as they don’t have chlorophyll making photosynthesis impossible. Instead, these mushrooms grow in darkness and produce spores on the surface of their caps. They are called saprophytic mushrooms and mostly live on dead or decaying matter.
But other mushrooms do need a little light for the fruiting phase. These are your typical edible ‘shrooms that you see growing out of logs or stumps. Keep reading to know more about which mushrooms grow in light and dark.
Do All Mushrooms Need Sunlight To Grow?
Sunlight is an essential factor that accelerates the growth of plants, and they need sunlight to fuel the process of photosynthesis.
But, the case is quite different when you take mushrooms into account because they are not plants. They are heterotrophs (species that cannot make their own food) and belong to a separate kingdom, i.e., Fungi.
They have a plantlike structure but do not undergo the photosynthesis process, and they also possess the capability to grow in the absence of sunlight.
Therefore, mushrooms don’t primarily rely on sunlight to grow, as they survive in the dark pretty well.
Why Do Some Mushrooms Need Light To Grow?
Generally, mushrooms do not need light for their growth, but light availability becomes crucial when producing fruit.
A few hours of sunlight a day can assist in the successful fruiting of mushrooms. Even the dim light or a fluorescent bulb is sufficient for mushrooms to produce fruit.
According to research, blue LEDs are more beneficial for mushrooms than ordinary light as they effectively accelerate the overall fruit yields.
Aspiring to determine the most effective color of light that can boost the productivity of mushroom fruiting, Botanists exposed the grey and white oyster mushroom bags to different colors of light, including fluorescent light, blue LED, red LED, and green LED.
Consequently, all the mushroom bags exhibited the best growth performance, and among all, the mushroom bags exposed to the red LED emerged to gain the maximum yield. And from both kinds of mushroom, white oysters surpassed gray oysters in weight and productivity.
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List of Mushrooms That Grow in Sunlight:
Usually, most mushrooms tend to grow in the dark, but some also hold the ability to spring up in sunlight. Here are a few sunlight-friendly mushrooms that develop best in sparkling sunlight:
- Stropharia Rugosoannulata:
This mushroom has several other names like the wine cap Stropharia, garden giant, burgundy mushroom, or king Stropharia. Its growth originated in Europe and North America, discovered in April 2018 in the Colombian city Bogota.
The king Stropharia grows 20 cm high and 30 cm wide, making it quite significant for its size.
It grows on wood chips in the regions of North America during summer and autumn. It is edible and remarked as incredibly delicious by some authors.
- Coprinus Comatus:
Some other names for Coprinus Comatus include the shaggy ink cap, lawyer’s wig, and shaggy mane. It is a common fungus frequently found on lawns, waste areas, and gravel roads.
Coprinus Comatus are unique because they turn black and dissolve after being plucked after a few moments. Coprinus Comatus are cultivated at a large scale as food in China and should be consumed right after plucking it to prevent decay.
- Agaricus bisporus:
It is an edible mushroom that belongs to Europe and North America. It has a combination of two colors, brown and white.
Agaricus bisporus is commonly named as “white button mushroom.” English Botanist Mordecai Cubitt Cooke first explained it in his handbook of British Fungi in 1871.
In its mature state, it develops brown color, and its height ranges from 10-15 centimeters. White button mushrooms are cultivated in more than seventy countries due to their extensive consumption.
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Why Do Some Mushrooms Prefer The Dark?
Almost all the mushrooms grow in the dark since mushrooms sprout from spores instead of seeds and some of them even glow.. Therefore, they need uniform moisture in their spores to reproduce, and darkness makes it possible by preserving this moisture at its best.
Furthermore, an environment having high humidity and less exposure to light is probably the best for the growth of mushrooms.
Even the farmers use humidifiers to ensure optimum air humidity while cultivating mushrooms because humidity avoids water loss, thus enhancing growth.
List of Mushrooms That Grow in Dark:
There is a relatively lengthy list of mushrooms that grow and even glow in the dark. But I would ultimately jot down a few of them.
These mushrooms mostly grow in the dark forests, near the tree stumps or spur from the decomposing dead woods.
- Bitter Oyster (Panellus stipticus)
- Little Ping-Pong Bats (Panellus pusillus)
- Honey Mushroom (Armillaria mellea)
- Bulbous Honey Fungus (Armillaria gallica)
- Green Pepe (Mycena chlorophos)
- Cremini Mushrooms (Baby Bella)
- Hen of the Woods
- Sulfur shelf mushrooms
- Conocybe filaris
- Deadly Dapperling (Lepiota brunneoincarnata) and the list goes on.
How Many Hours of Light Do Mushrooms Need?
Mushrooms typically require light when developing fruit from Mycelium, also known as hyphae.
In general, a few hours of dim light is sufficient for mushrooms to attain flourishing fruiting. Even a 100-watt fluorescent bulb or indirect sunlight can satisfy the need when mushrooms are grown indoors.
While cultivating mushrooms indoors, almost 12 hours of light exposure a day is more than enough for their healthy growth. Some prefer to use LED lights on a 12-hours schedule, and the rest rely on indirect sunlight.
A few tend to follow the same routine for their mushrooms to keep them in light, which we usually do, i.e., 16 hours working in the daylight and 8 hours of sleep. It might be to cope with their daily work schedule conveniently.
What Conditions Are Needed For a Mushroom To Grow?
If you desire to acquire mushrooms’ healthy and considerable growth, you must ensure some conditions and circumstances.
These conditions are the backbone and vital for the significant growth of mushrooms. These include; light, humidity, temperature, and nutrients.
Mushrooms don’t need light except during their fruiting period. Mushrooms show relatively more growth in the dark because they need moisture for their spores to reproduce, and darkness secures that water, preventing it from getting dry.
Mushrooms thrive on developing best in a humid environment. We usually come to see mushrooms growing in the moist areas instead of beneath the scorching sunlight.
Growers also ensure the proper moisture level during the cultivation of mushrooms.
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Temperature also plays a vital role in the quality growth of mushrooms. The temperature range should not exceed its optimum value, i.e., 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, for the development of the majority of mushrooms. Above this temperature, mushrooms might get dry or inhibit their growth.
The ideal temperature for the growth of Shiitake mushrooms ranges from 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, but they are also capable of growing in temperature from 40 to 90 F.
It is another crucial factor for the stable and adequate productivity of mushrooms. In particular, mushrooms require fats, protein, sugar, starch, nitrogen, and lignin. They acquire all these nutrients from the place they grow and the surroundings.
You can use compost made of manure and straw in your homes to grow mushrooms because it contains all the required nutrients.
Alternatively, you may use a mixture of corn, peat moss, and sand to provide all the nutrients essential for the mushrooms’ growth.
How To Grow Mushrooms At Home?
Here I would elaborate on the whole process of growing mushrooms at home through step-by-step guidance.
Before commencing this guidance, I would suggest you ensure the availability of the respective mushroom spores you want to grow and the medium to add the spores into it.
Arrange a tray made of plastic, wood, or metal, measuring approximately 12 by 18 inches with a 5 inches depth. Fill the tray with medium (compost made of manure or the mixture of corn, peat moss, and sand), then spread the spores on top of the medium.
While pouring the mushroom spores into the medium, make sure that the medium is moist. Keep the medium moist by spraying water once or twice a day till the mushrooms grow to their best.
Incubate the spores at approximately 70 degrees by placing the tray in the warmer place of your home. Incubating the spores will accelerate the growth of mushrooms.
You can use a thermometer to check and ensure that the temperature does not exceed the optimum value of temperature.
When you observe mycelia or roots sprouting from the spores, reduce its temperature. Fix the temperature to its suitable range, i.e., 55 to 60 degrees, and add more medium to cover mycelium.
Some days later, little mushrooms begin sprouting at this temperature.
Let the mushrooms nourish till they are fully grown. Usually, mushrooms take three to four weeks to get ready for harvesting. Cut the mushrooms with a knife to prevent spoiling the surrounding growth.
Mushrooms continuously grow for almost six months after being harvested because they release their spores once they are fully grown. And these spores ultimately grow into new mushrooms.
Now you can use these mushrooms to satisfy your cravings related to consuming them as toppings on pizza and adding to soups etc.
Mushrooms don’t rely on sunlight for development. Dim light or a bulb can also play its part in boosting their growth.
Moreover, mushrooms merely crave light during their fruiting period. Otherwise, there is no harm if we place or grow them in the dark or shady areas.