When cultivating mushrooms of any kind, you will often hear a term called "Fruiting Conditions", meant to explain a significant step in the process when temperature, air-flow, lighting, and more must be optimized for the mushroom to be able to grow. For beginners, understanding the concept of "Fruiting Conditions" can be quite confusing, but the concept is absolutely & undeniably critical to understand if you want to see success. In this guide, we'll explain every thing you need to know about "Fruiting Conditions" so that you grow your mushrooms to completion. Please note that this information is for education only. While gourmet & medicinal cultivation is legal, cultivating Psilocybe mushrooms is not, and can get you into serious trouble with the law. Any mentions of P. Cubensis strains are purely hypothetical and for educational value.
First, make sure to check out our extensive array of magic mushroom spores for microscopy! Or, find spores in stores near you. Now, let's dive in.
What are Mushroom Fruiting Conditions?
In the wild, underground mushroom mycelium must wait for the right environmental conditions to start producing mushrooms. Remember, a mushroom is the reproductive part of the fungal organism, so mushrooms only "pop up" when conditions are absolutely perfect for spore release and after the mycelium has fully colonized or consumed its fuel source (usually dead or decaying organic matter like wood or soil). Those conditions usually consist of a sudden increase in fresh oxygen, indirect sunlight, humidity, and more. In indoor or at-home cultivation, the same is true except for the fact that the cultivator is creating those conditions, not nature. To sum it up, mushroom fruiting conditions can be defined by "the environmental conditions (air exchange, temperature, humidity levels, lighting) necessary for mycelium to start producing mushroom pins and ultimately mature fruit bodies (mushrooms)."
Every at-home cultivator must become familiar with the set of "fruiting conditions" necessary for their selected species of mushroom to grow, and may have to set up specific chambers or tubs to create this conditions. Why? Let us explain.
Why Are Fruiting Conditions Important?
Fruiting conditions are more than important, they're absolutely necessary for successful mushroom cultivation! Why? As mentioned, a mushroom will not begin fruiting unless the environmental conditions allow for it. If you fail to provide the right conditions for your spawn, it can enter a state of stasis, or worse, get contaminated and wither away. All that hard work, gone!
For basidiomycete fungi, proper fruiting conditions tell your mycelium that it's time to reproduce, a critical step in the mushroom life-cycle. Then, it will pin mushrooms, the pins grow into full fruit bodies, and spores can be released! Whether you are growing oyster mushrooms or Penis Envy (P. Cubensis), you will not see mushrooms if you do not consider the environmental conditions necesary for fruiting.
As a cultivator, its your job to create those conditions in a controlled setting in order to initiate growth. Doing so can be extremely easy for some strains, and wildly complicated for others. Let us explain...
How do you create proper fruiting conditions?
Mushrooms are incredibly diverse and have a mind-boggling array of differing characteristics. Naturally, the conditions required for them to fruit vary widely as well. While exact temperatures, humidity levels, etc may vary, there are some concepts about fruiting conditions that you can apply to most basidiomycete (Cap & Stem, spores released from basidia) fungus.
When your mycelium has colonized grain and you have spawn, the conditions in your jar or bag are oxygen poor, moderately humid, and located in darkness. In order for the mycelium to say "okay, let's make a mushroom", those conditions must be altered to mimic what it's like just above the soil. Here are 4 steps to creating fruiting conditions:
- Increase fresh air exchange: Invite oxygen into your tub or bag to feed the growth of mycelium, and initiate fruiting signals. Low oxygen would signal to the mycelium that it's not yet time to fruit.
- Optimize lighting: Many mushrooms require indirect sunlight or artificial light to grow properly. Cultivators will need to position their spawn or set up lights accordingly.
- Maintain humidity: When exposed to more oxygen and fresh air, its easy for your substrate to be wicked away and dry out, leading to damaged spawn or contamination. So, a critical fruiting condition is ample humidity, but not over-saturation, which can also be detrimental to your grow.
- Introduce to a bulk substrate: If all you have is spawn, it's possible to fruit mushrooms by initiating these conditions in your original jar or bag. However, it's pretty tough to do without some extra equipment. Maintaining fruiting conditions, especially humidity, is much more manageable with Monotubs and by moving spawn to bulk substrate. You can learn more about Monotub set up here.
It would serve to look up the "fruiting conditions" for your desired species before attempting cultivation, so you can prepare in advance for what to do when your spawn is fully colonized and ready pin.
When do you initiate fruiting conditions?
Fruiting conditions should be initiated after your grain or inoculation medium you began with has been fully colonized by mycelium. At this point of the process, the fungus has consumed all of its "food" and has nowhere left to grow. How do you tell when your spawn is ready to be moved into a fruiting environment? Well, the bag or jar with your spawn will appear completely white with mycelium. If your grain is only 30% colonized, for example, you should shake it up and break it up to increase inoculation points and speed up growth.
Do all mushrooms have the same fruiting conditions?
As mentioned previously, every mushroom is subject to a unique set of fruiting conditions. Some prefer cold, some prefer heat, some need layers of soil (casing layers) added before they are ready to fruit.
For one example of a mushroom's specific fruiting conditions, let's look at the Golden Teacher strain of P. Cubensis, a psychedelic mushroom which cannot legally be cultivated in the USA. Golden Teacher requires 76-85 degree temps (Fahrenheit), moderate to high humidity, indirect sunlight or blue led light, and a CVG (Coco Coir, vermiculite, gypsum) substrate.
However, something like a Lions' mane mushroom will require a completely unique set of conditions, despite some possible overlap.
How Long Do Fruiting Conditions Last?
Your mushrooms should be kept in fruiting conditions until mushrooms have grown in multiple flushes. Let's say that you initiated fruiting conditions and now have 5 mushrooms growing in your tub. Simply harvest your mushrooms and continue to maintain humidity, air exchange, etc to see a 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th flush, depending on the species. This whole fruiting process can take weeks to months, again, depending on the species.
The beginner mycologist or mushroom cultivator will run into the term "fruiting conditions" all the time. It is our hope that after reading this article, you have a clear understanding of what fruiting conditions are, why they're important, and how to create them.
Disclaimer: We offer Psilocybin mushroom spores intended for microscopy and taxonomy purposes only. Images & Text provided are for informational and educational reference only and originate from cultivators and labs outside of the USA. Buying magic mushroom spores is legal in the United States. However, cultivation of magic mushrooms, which includes all psilocybin and psilocin containing mushroom species, is illegal in many countries, including the United States. Please check your local regulations to ensure that you are following the law properly.