What's the Best Light for Mushroom Growing? (2024)


Mushroom cultivation has gained significant popularity over the years as a fascinating hobby, a source of income for small-scale farmers, and a sustainable food source. A critical component of successful mushroom cultivation is proper lighting. This buyer's guide aims to provide you with comprehensive information on mushroom grow lights, helping you make an informed decision when purchasing the best one for your needs.

Types of Mushroom Grow Lights

There are three main types of grow lights used for mushroom cultivation: fluorescent, LED, and HID. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for different situations and mushroom varieties.

A. Fluorescent

Fluorescent lights are a popular choice for growing mushrooms because of their energy efficiency, low heat output, and affordability.

  1. T5: T5 fluorescent lights have a thin, tube-like design and are known for their high light output and efficiency. They are suitable for small-scale mushroom cultivation and work well for the vegetative growth stage of most mushrooms.
  1. Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL): CFLs are another energy-efficient option for mushroom growers. These lights come in various sizes and wattages, making them versatile for different grow spaces. They are ideal for small-scale mushroom cultivation and can be used throughout the entire growth cycle.

B. Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

LED grow lights have gained popularity in recent years due to their energy efficiency, low heat output, and long lifespan.

  1. Full spectrum LED: Full spectrum LED lights mimic natural sunlight, providing the necessary wavelengths for healthy mushroom growth. They are suitable for all growth stages and types of mushrooms, making them a versatile option.
  1. Customized spectrum LED: Some LED grow lights can be customized to provide specific light spectrums, allowing growers to tailor the light to their specific mushroom variety or growth stage.

C. High-Intensity Discharge (HID)

HID lights produce high light output and are often used for large-scale mushroom cultivation.

  1. Metal Halide (MH): MH lights produce a blueish-white light, making them suitable for the vegetative growth stage of mushrooms. They are less energy-efficient than LED or fluorescent lights, but they provide intense light penetration for larger grow spaces.
  1. High Pressure Sodium (HPS): HPS lights produce a warm, red-orange light that is ideal for the fruiting stage of mushroom growth. They have a high light output but are less energy-efficient than other options.

Important Factors to Consider

When selecting the right mushroom grow light, consider the following factors:

A. Light Spectrum

The light spectrum is critical for healthy mushroom growth. Different wavelengths of light affect various aspects of mushroom development.

What color light is best for mushroom growing?

Mushrooms generally require blue and red light for optimal growth. Blue light promotes vegetative growth, while red light is essential for fruiting. A full spectrum light, which provides both blue and red light, is ideal for growing most mushrooms.

Is blue light good for mushroom growing?

Blue light is essential for the vegetative growth stage of mushrooms, promoting healthy mycelium development. However, blue light alone is not sufficient for the entire growth cycle. Red light is also required for fruiting.

B. Intensity

Light intensity is crucial for proper mushroom development. Too little light can result in slow or stunted growth, while too much light can cause stress and negatively impact yields. The ideal light intensity depends on the type of mushroom and the growth stage.

C. Duration

Mushrooms typically require a specific photoperiod, or light duration, for optimal growth. Most mushrooms benefit from 12-16 hours of light per day, with a consistent dark period for rest. It's essential to research the specific light requirements for the mushroom variety you are cultivating and adjust the photoperiod accordingly.

D. Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a critical factor to consider, especially if you are running grow lights for extended periods. LED and fluorescent lights are generally more energy-efficient than HID lights, which can save you money on electricity costs in the long run.

E. Size and Flexibility

Consider the size of your grow space and the adaptability of the grow light when making your choice. Smaller grow lights, like CFLs or T5 fluorescents, are suitable for limited spaces or small-scale cultivation. Larger, more powerful lights, like HID or full spectrum LED, may be necessary for larger grow areas or commercial mushroom cultivation.

Best Grow Lights for Each Mushroom Species

Different species have very different reactions to light. You should take that into account when choosing a grow light.


Oyster mushrooms are relatively easy to grow and can thrive under a variety of lighting conditions. Full spectrum LED or T5 fluorescent lights are suitable options for oyster mushroom cultivation, providing the necessary blue and red light wavelengths for optimal growth.


Shiitake mushrooms require a more specific light spectrum and intensity. Full spectrum LED lights, which provide the necessary blue and red light wavelengths, are ideal for shiitake mushroom cultivation.

Lion's Mane

Lion's mane mushrooms also benefit from full spectrum lighting. LED or T5 fluorescent lights are suitable options, as they provide the necessary light intensity and spectrum for healthy lion's mane growth.

Best Grow Lights for Each Growth Stage

Mycelial growth

During the mycelial growth stage, mushrooms require blue light to promote healthy mycelium development. LED or fluorescent lights that emit blue light, such as full spectrum LED or MH lights, are suitable options for this stage.


During the fruiting stage, mushrooms require red light to stimulate fruiting body formation. Full spectrum LED lights or HPS lights, which emit red light, are ideal for the fruiting stage.

Top Mushroom Grow Light Recommendations

Here are our top recommendations for mushroom grow lights, considering various factors such as overall performance, budget, energy efficiency, and suitability for large-scale cultivation.

Best Overall Grow Light

The full spectrum LED grow light is our top pick for overall performance. These lights provide the necessary blue and red light wavelengths for optimal mushroom growth and are energy-efficient, making them suitable for all mushroom types and growth stages.

Viparspectra Pro Series P2000: This full spectrum LED grow light stands out for its advanced features and reliable performance. With dimmable lights and an impressive PAR output, it's great for mushrooms and ensures efficient energy use.

Best Budget Grow Light

CFLs are an affordable and energy-efficient option for small-scale mushroom cultivation. They are versatile and can be used throughout the entire growth cycle, making them an excellent budget-friendly choice.

Hydrofarm Agrobrite CFL: Compact yet powerful, this light is perfect for hobbyists or those just starting out in mushroom cultivation. It offers consistent light without the hefty price tag, making it a great choice for those on a budget.

Best Energy Efficient Grow Light

LED grow lights are the most energy-efficient option, providing the necessary light spectrum while consuming less electricity than other types of grow lights. Full spectrum LED lights, in particular, are a great choice for energy-conscious mushroom growers.

Spider Farmer SF-1000: Using the latest in LED technology, the Spider Farmer provides excellent light distribution while keeping energy consumption low. Its full spectrum design ensures that mushrooms get all the wavelengths they need for optimal growth.

Best Grow Light for Large-scale Cultivation

For large-scale mushroom cultivation, HID lights, such as HPS or MH, provide the necessary light intensity and penetration for optimal growth. These lights consume more energy than other options, but their high light output makes them suitable for commercial mushroom cultivation.

EyeHortilux 1000W Super HPS Grow Light: This High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) light is designed for maximum light output, making it perfect for larger growing operations. While it's more energy-intensive than some other options, its power and efficiency are hard to beat for commercial setups.

What's the Best Light for Mushroom Growing? (2024)


What's the Best Light for Mushroom Growing? ›

Mushrooms generally require blue and red light for optimal growth. Blue light promotes vegetative growth, while red light is essential for fruiting.

What light is best for mushroom growth? ›

White LED lights are standard for grow lights, and there is some evidence that it improves mushroom growth. Blue UV Lights, specifically the ones with a wavelength of 330-400 nm, are a powerful stimulant for mushroom growth. Blacklight is purple, and it also has a wavelength of 365 nm.

Do mushroom kits need light? ›

The grow kit will stay fresh in the box for months before you start growing your mushrooms. Make sure you keep your grow kit in a cool area/room that doesn't receive any direct sunlight (i.e., closet, bedroom). Once opened you just need oxygen, water, and light to “activate” your grow kit!

What speeds up mushroom growth? ›

Gypsum is a mineral that helps speed up the mushroom growing process in small amounts. A teaspoon of gypsum is added to the supplemented sawdust mix, which also includes hardwood sawdust pellets, wheat bran and water.

How much light does mycelium need? ›

Mycelium apparently only requires a minor amount of light form knowing which direction to grow and set its fruits. Placing your terrarium or grow tent somewhere where it can get a healthy amount of indirect daylight can be good enough for most mushroom species.

What color grow lights should I use? ›

Blue: This is the most important light for plant growth. It is easy for chlorophyll to absorb and convert into energy. Red: As the second most important wavelength, red light is incredibly potent for plants when combined with blue light. Orange: Similar to red light, but less effective.

Should mushroom kits be kept in dark? ›

Many gourmet mushroom grow kits need light to grow, so keep them in a bright spot away from direct sunlight. This allows you to watch your mushrooms grow and some types will double in size every 12-24 hours.

Does mycelium grow faster in the dark? ›

Radial growth of the mycelium was faster under dark incubation rather than under light incubation.

What promotes mushroom growth? ›

You can blame it on the right mix of moisture, shade or cloudy weather, and rich, organic material in the soil. When those elements combine, it's mushroom time.

What helps mycelium grow faster? ›

Temperature: The optimal temperature for mycelium growth is usually between 24-27°C. 2. Humidity: High humidity levels (around 95-100%) are ideal for mycelium growth.

Does water stimulate mushroom growth? ›

Mycelium requires water to make a fruit body (mushroom), and mushrooms require humidity to release their spores. Growing a water intense crop in the desert requires us to be mindful of how, when, and why we grow mushrooms.

Does blue light help mycelium grow? ›

His latest technique involves exposing mycelium to specific wavelengths of blue light, which activates a series of biochemical reactions: Shikimic Acid and Antioxidants: The production of shikimic acid and antioxidant polyphenols is increased, benefiting the mushroom's development and health-promoting attributes.

What is the lowest light level for mycelium? ›

The mycelium needs light level 9+ above it, while the dirt needs light level 4+ above it, and must not be covered by any light-impeding block or any opaque block. Mycelium reverts to dirt when covered by one of the light-impeding blocks above, and the light level at that block is below 4.

Does UV light affect mushroom growth? ›

UV light exposure has been found to affect the growth and development of mushrooms. UV irradiation during mushroom growth has been shown to increase the concentration of vitamin D2 in mushrooms, which is beneficial for human health .

Do fungi grow better in light or dark? ›

Fungi live mainly in the dark, and they like it that way—out of the sunlight, they can avoid desiccation and damage from ultraviolet rays. The ability to sense light, therefore, is adaptive for fungi of all kinds.

What color of light has the most positive effect on mushroom formation? ›

The commercial yields of mushrooms cultivated under blue LEDs, green LEDs and fluorescent lights were similar, with the highest value of 88% being observed in response to the blue LED treatment (Table 3).

Does UV light affect mycelium growth? ›

UV-C light has been shown to be safe on growing mycelium and mushrooms. These are the current known uses, but we are learning more and hearing more success stories everyday. Sterilizing your fruiting chamber when birthing jars. -Use the UV light to scan the inside of the fruting chamber.

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