Do Mushrooms Need Sunlight? (No, They Seriously Don’t)

Mushrooms are undoubtedly one of the most loved plants for the home gardeners. They are very easy to grow and also offer very high return on investment.

But, do mushrooms need sunlight?

Honestly speaking, mushrooms don’t need sunlight in order grow. In fact, most of them can survive without sunlight. On top of that, Cultivated Agaricus mushrooms, like portabella, button, and crimini can also grow in the dark.

But that doesn’t mean sunlight will harm mushrooms; they can withstand sunlight if it is not direct and wilt out without it. But the wild mushrooms have a tough time neglecting all the sunlight.

Do mushrooms need sunlight
Do mushrooms need sunlight?

Oyster & Shiitake mushrooms, let’s say, would grow in the dark, but they get white instead and then appear more grey or brown. These growers give plenty of light, whether artificial or sunlight, for their mushrooms during their growing period. And they have enough vitamin D without the extra ultraviolet as a consequence.

Here is Our detailed research on this topic to help readers who are concerned about growing mushrooms in sunlight.

Do mushrooms grow better in light or dark? 

Although the atmosphere requires it to be as dark as possible for mushrooms to plant, sunlight isn’t harmful to their growth. Mushrooms do not have chlorophyll and don’t need photosynthesis or light to spawn.

They need less light to shape bodies & fruit but only need a few hours per day to grow successfully.

Do mushrooms grow better in light or dark
Do mushrooms grow better in light or dark?

If you are growing them indoors, fluorescent lamps or indirect sunlight can be enough. They also need humidity to grow their fruit because they have no skin, so moisture is lost easily. So that’s why mushrooms require an atmosphere with a high moisture content to reduce water loss.

Do mushrooms need sunlight to grow?

Mushrooms can consume little sunlight, but the patch you select must be put comparatively in low light or dark. Mushrooms don’t require sunlight or light to grow as they don’t have chlorophyll for photosynthesis. Rather they grow in darkness and give spores on the ground of their caps.

We call them saprophytic mushrooms, and they mostly live on decomposed or dead matter.

Do mushrooms need sunlight to grow

But this theory is not similar for all the mushrooms as others require a little light for the fruiting. These are usually edible ones cropping out of stumps or logs. When you consider mushrooms, they are not plants.

They come into the categories of heterotrophs that cannot make their food and come from a different Kingdom called fungi. They have their body structure like a plant but don’t go through photosynthesis and have the capability to mature in the absence of light.

How many hours of light do mushrooms need?

Mycelium needs a little light to develop its fruiting bodies, while some planters prefer to use CFL or LED lights for 12 hour schedules. Other ones rely on the indirect sunlight provided naturally. Psychedelics need plenty of light to mature fruiting bodies. But that can’t exactly state how much light they need.

Why Do Some Mushrooms Need Light To Grow?

As we already discussed earlier, they need light to grow. Now let’s look at the benefits of placing mushrooms in sunlight. It’s crucial to get your vitamin D from mushrooms, which increases the immune system and has a vital role in human metabolism.

You can make your supply of vitamin D content mushrooms by putting them in sunlight.

Why Do Some Mushrooms Need Light To Grow
Why Do Some Mushrooms Prefer The Dark?  

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to many diseases like rickets and reduced immunity. This is why cancer patients are often given high doses of vitamin D. Animal skins and mushrooms provide vitamin D when put into sunlight. Plenty of vitamin D comes in mushrooms.

List of Mushrooms That Grow in Sunlight

Many of them need to grow in a dark forest or cold weather. However, it is not always the case. Fungi are present in every atmosphere on the planet, and many of these wonderful organisms tolerate extreme environments like deep water, regions of high salinity and deserts.

The species of Fungi Perfecti, these species live on mushrooms and can discover a diverse range of atmospheres. Let’s have a look at some indoor and outdoor mushroom patches:

Outdoor mushroom patches:

  • Reishi: 75 to 80 Fahrenheit
  • Garden Giant: 45 to 90 Fahrenheit
  • Phoenix oyster: 60 to 70 Fahrenheit

Indoor mushroom patches:

  • Reishi: 75 to 85 Fahrenheit
  • Shiitake: 55 to 80 Fahrenheit
  • Pink Oyster: 70 to 90 Fahrenheit
  • King Stropharia: 65 to 80 Fahrenheit

Even if the regions are dryer or hotter, these mushrooms always prefer, and you have ways to create a microclimate in which they can thrive.

How does sunlight affect mushroom growth? 

From the studies, we get the effects of ultraviolet A and ultraviolet C light on the mechanical characteristics of Oyster mushrooms during their growing phase. And studies were conducted for 10 to 60 minutes at an interval of 10 minutes, and the illumination was done for around 3 days.

A study on the effect of the freeze drying procedure’s temperature on the new mushrooms’ mechanical characteristics undergoes a high decrease in the impact of freeze drying procedure, and the freeze dried material conserves around steady stress value in a wide strain range.

How does sunlight affect mushroom growth
How does sunlight affect mushroom growth? 

This method created wheat grains for planting by being boiled, fielding containers, and sterilized through oyster mushrooms. The ultraviolet A and ultraviolet C light indicates the fully separated stem of the mushrooms ready for harvesting. And harvesting was finished by holding the mushrooms by their stocks and breaking them off carefully from the substrate.

Why Do Some Mushrooms Prefer The Dark?  

Some mushrooms prefer the dark as they attract the attention of weeds and insects that spread the fungal spores around; this answer is based on the theory of Aristotle more than 2000 years ago as the insect visitors are good for the fungi because they spread the fungal spores.

Why Do Some Mushrooms Prefer The Dark
Why Do Some Mushrooms Prefer The Dark?  

The new research also indicated that the mushrooms’ bioluminescence goes through the regulation of the circadian clock. It shows the signs of spores making light, marked by insects that can assist the fungus in colonizing new habitats. Out of 100000, only 71 fungal species make green light in a biomedical process that needs energy and oxygen.

Other Growing Conditions for Mushroom

Mushrooms are planted in a wide range of temperatures from 45 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They may start maturing in spring when temperatures are cold, but they survive in a climate where temperatures are over 70 degrees. As the mushrooms have no skin, so they can’t retain moisture. 

Mushrooms need an accurate amount of illumination and temperatures for optimal growth. Most of them prefer dark or shady locations. You can easily often discover them on forest floors. Although some can grow in full sunlight, they discover growing manure in the ground. They are most likely to adapt to less ideal conditions if they have a quality substrate to grow on.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do mushroom kits need light?

No, because mushrooms don’t have chlorophyll or photosynthesize like roots.

Why is my mycelium not fruiting?

Mycelium, the vegetative growth of a fungus underground, requires a humid atmosphere to survive and grow mushrooms. As mushrooms are mainly water themselves, if you let the mycelium humidity level get too low or dry out, nothing will happen.

Does mycelium grow faster in the dark?

The radial growth of the mycelium mushrooms is faster under dark than light, but other ones can survive in light as the conditions at night time are more suited for their growth.

Can you grow mushrooms in the shade?

Yes, you can. Put the logs flat during the growing period just off the ground an inch or two. Humidity is essential during that period.


A few people follow the same pattern for their mushrooms as we do to maintain them in light, namely 16 hours of daytime work and 8 hours of sleep. It might be to make their daily job routine easier to manage.

As a result, mushrooms do not depend only on sunlight to develop, as they may thrive in the dark too.

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