How long does it take to grow mushrooms?
The simple answer: It can take between 3 to 15 weeks for most mushroom species to grow. Now, this is a very wide range and somewhat unhelpful answer.
This is because there are a wide variety of factors that can affect grow-time such as growing conditions, grow method, and even species of mushroom.
So to get a more precise answer, we need to first look at all the factors that affect each stage in the mushroom cultivation process. This will give you a better idea of what you can expect with your chosen cultivation method.
Then we'll look at some commonly grown mushroom species and how long each typically takes to grow—from inoculation to harvest. If you need a fast answer skip here.
With that, let's jump down the rabbit hole!
Alright, so to fully understand how long it will take you to grow mushrooms, we need to look at how specific grow methods and grow conditions affect your grow-time.
Let's quickly cover each of the 4 phases of mushroom cultivation and some cultivation factors to consider!
Alright, so the first phase of growing mushrooms is inoculation. In this phase, we prepare our spawn and inoculate it with our mushroom spores, agar, or liquid culture.
The majority of the time spent in the inoculation phase will be preparing our spawn containers and sterilizing our spawn—which typically takes a day.
After preparing our spawn, it can take a couple of hours to inoculate it.
Unless we use purchase pre-sterilized spawn, the inoculation phase throws about a day on to our total mushroom grow-time.
Next is the colonization phase where our mycelium spawn "colonizes" our substrate.
Factors that can affect this phase include:
The more substrate that your mycelium has to colonize, the longer the colonization phase will take. So if you want to speed up this phase, use more spawn or less substrate.
Each species of mushroom has specific growth parameters in which they thrive. Parameters such as temperature, humidity, light, or gas exchange.
If you can give your mushroom culture these exact growth parameters, you will absolutely minimize your colonization time. If you are looking for exact growth parameters for a particular mushroom, I highly recommend the book from Pual Stamets "Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms." It is the bible of mushroom cultivation and dives deep into growing a lot of different mushrooms.
Next up is contamination. If your mycelium is fighting off any contaminants, your growth will come to a halt until it destroys the invaders or dies trying. Keeping your environment clean is one of the easiest methods to speed up your cultivation time.
Bulk spawning is a method used to increase the yield of your mushroom harvest by giving your mycelium a nutritious mass to colonize.
Bulk spawning will increase your colonization time, but it's a small price to pay for a greater mushroom yield.
The third phase of mushroom cultivation is the fruiting phase. In this phase, we trigger primordia by altering the climate— moisture, temperature, gas exchange, and light.
Like we discussed in phase 2, each mushroom species has its own growth parameters in which it thrives. If we stay within those parameters, then our growth time with be minimized!
Even if we don't know these exact parameters our mushrooms will also tell us what they need—check out this article on fuzzy mushroom stems.
The final phase is harvesting. This phase can be a day, or even last months and years.
This phase fully depends on your method of cultivation and how many harvests your plan on taking. The below data on common mushrooms may help you better determine this timeframe.
Alright, so we have briefly covered each of the 4 phases of mushroom cultivation and you should have a general idea of how your cultivation method and grow environment should affect your grow time.
Now let's look at some of the commonly cultivated mushrooms and the average grow times for each!
First up is the Oyster mushroom! On average it takes about 3 to 5 weeks to grow and harvest your first flush. Here are the average times for each phase:
The notorious Pink Oyster mushroom grows much quicker than the P. ostreatus Oyster mushroom, however, it yields fewer flushes. On average it takes about 2 to 4 weeks to grow and harvest your first flush of Pink Oyster mushrooms. Here are the average times for each phase:
On average it takes about 4 to 5 weeks to grow and harvest your first flush of Enoki mushrooms. Here are the average times for each phase:
Here is the mushroom everyone is talking about. On average it takes about 3 to 4 weeks to grow and harvest your first flush of Lion's Mane mushrooms. Here are the average times for each phase:
Alright so here comes a heavy hitter. On average it takes about 13 to 16 weeks to grow and harvest your first flush of Reishi mushrooms. Here are the average times for each phase:
The Morel mushroom is a different beast and takes about 8 to 12 weeks to grow and harvest. Here are the average times for each phase:
The grow time from inoculation to fruiting for the Shiitake mushroom fully depends on your method of growing. If you grow them on sawdust blocks it can as little as 7 - 12 weeks. However, if you grow them on logs it can take as long as 6+ months.
Last up are the Portobello mushrooms. These honkers take about 4 to 7 weeks to grow and harvest. Here are the average times for each phase:
A lot of data used in this article came from Pual Stamets book, "Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms." I can't recommend this book enough if you have any interest in mushroom cultivation.
I know that this information is hard to come by and I hope this little guide helped answer all your burning questions about how long it takes to grow mushrooms.
If you have any specific mushroom growing topics you would like to see covered, be sure to throw your suggestions in the comments below.