How Much Light Do Magic Mushrooms Need To Grow
3 min

How Much Light Do Magic Mushrooms Need To Grow?

3 min

Mycelium requires some degree of light in order to develop mature fruiting bodies. While some growers prefer to use LED or CFL lights on 12-hour schedules, others simply rely on the indirect sunlight provided by a window.

Some mushroom species require no light at all in order to grow. Others, such as the psychedelic cubensis, require plenty of illumination in order to grow healthy, mature fruiting bodies. That said, opinions differ as to just how much light magic mushrooms really need. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about lighting your next mushroom grow!


How Do Magic Mushrooms Grow?

When it comes to growing magic mushrooms at home, there are roughly seven steps to follow: preparation, inoculation, colonisation, preparation of the growth chamber, fruiting, harvesting, and drying. This method of home-growing was developed in 1991 by Robert McPherson, and is known as the PF Tek method.

In order to grow mushroom fruiting bodies, one must first start with mycelium. After filling containers with a substrate mixture, most growers opt to sanitise and steam it so as to protect against contamination. Following this, mushroom spores are injected into the substrate, which is left to sit out of direct sunlight for 7–14 days as fluffy white mycelium begins to grow.

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Once the jar has been fully colonised by mycelium, it is time for the pinning process to begin. Pins are effectively clumps of mycelium that eventually grow into fruiting bodies. Jars must be kept at room temperature and exposed to a regular light cycle for this process to fully take place. Pinning takes anywhere from 5–30 days.

After pinning, the resulting mycelium cakes can be transferred to a transparent container to allow some light to enter (like a terrarium). Layer the container with a 1.5cm layer of perlite or clay pellets, and transfer the mycelium cakes inside. Mushroom fruiting bodies should begin to grow within the next 7–14 days.

Alternatively, this entire process can be made easier by sourcing a mushroom grow kit from Zamnesia. These kits come with a fully colonised substrate, perlite, vermiculite, and a grow bag, which means fewer things to worry about.


What Kind Of Lighting Works Best For Magic Mushrooms?

There are differing opinions on what kind of lighting truly works best for magic mushrooms. Whereas some growers prefer to use specific LED lights to grow their shrooms, others rely on nothing but natural daylight. While mycelium may not need light to grow, it would be a mistake to assume that mushroom fruiting bodies don’t either. Regardless of whether it's natural or artificial, some lighting is thought to be necessary to complete the fruiting process and guide the growing direction of the fruiting body.

Some growers prefer to use fluorescent (CFL) lighting to grow their mushrooms. Using artificial lights can guarantee that mycelium has access to the light it needs, even in the absence of natural sunlight.

Light intensity and heat should be a primary consideration when choosing a grow light for your shrooms. Ideally, magic mushrooms are best suited to a hotter light that registers closer to the blue end of the spectrum, like "daylight" fluorescent tubes that emit light in the 6,000–7,000 Kelvin range. Furthermore, it is generally advised to avoid using incandescent light bulbs to grow any kind of mushroom since they emit a "red" light in the low range of about 3,000–3,500 Kelvin.

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How To Harvest Magic Mushrooms

Nevertheless, many growers have reported sprouting healthy, mature mushrooms using nothing but natural or ambient light. Mycelium seemingly only requires a little bit of light in order to push upwards and sprout fruits. Placing your terrarium or grow kit somewhere where it can get a healthy amount of indirect sunlight or room lighting should be good enough. Many growers believe that the indirect sunlight a window provides is the best source of light for growing mushrooms.

All in all, your fruiting bodies will require some kind of light source to sprout. Don’t expect your shrooms to just grow in the dark!


How Much Light Should Your Magic Mushrooms Be Getting?

Growers have differing opinions on this subject as well. Whereas some growers rely on a set schedule of 12/12 lighting, others prefer to give their shrooms much less light. A 12/12 schedule ensures that mushrooms have a healthy amount of light to grow. However, this much light is likely unnecessary, and the fruiting process can be completed just as well with much less.

Depending on the intensity of the light you’re using, exposing your mushrooms to 12 or more hours of artificial light per day may even be harmful. Lights measuring under 7,000 Kelvin should be just fine to leave on for extended periods of time. However, if you are concerned that your light may be too intense or may burn your substrate, you can safely limit light to 3–4 hours per day.


Distance Of Lights From Magic Mushroom Substrate

It is always important to avoid excessive heating. Placing your lights too close to your terrarium or mycelium can result in overheating or even burn damage, harming your shrooms or preventing fruiting bodies from sprouting altogether. Remember to leave some space and to monitor closely for burn damage, especially if using particularly intense grow lights.

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons
Professional cannabis journalist, copywriter, and author Adam Parsons is a long-time staff member of Zamnesia. Tasked with covering a wide range of topics from CBD to psychedelics and everything in between, Adam creates blog posts, guides, and explores an ever-growing range of products.
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