A burning question for many researchers is how long does it take to grow magic mushrooms from the moment after inoculation?
When studying anything under a microscope, these kinds of questions will naturally arise that can only be answered through further experimentation. But, since the cultivation of magic mushrooms is illegal in the United States, a block inevitably arises in a researcher’s journey.
For that reason we’ve tried to answer here, as best we could, a few questions we feel a researcher might ask when it comes to the growth cycle of magic mushrooms. We’d like to remind our readers that our psilocybin mushroom spores are intended for microscopic research purposes only, and we do not promote the cultivation of any illegal substance.
Now, let’s dive into the facts.
Although most mushrooms grow within a relatively similar time frame, different factors can, of course, impact their growth cycle.
Final mushroom quality, growth cycle time, and yield depend on grower intervention. How well the temperature, humidity, and pests or contaminants were monitored or controlled?
Before digging deeper into how long it takes for mushrooms to fruit, let’s look at what makes magic mushrooms unique. Not to be mistaken for their family members found at the local grocery store.
Gaining a better understanding of how these organisms grow can provide insight into many areas of a mycologist’s experience.
What’s the Difference Between Mushroom Spores?
It’s essential to clarify that ‘shrooms’ as mentioned in this article, refer to any number of fungi containing psychedelic compounds.
These compounds are the main ingredients found in several variants of psychoactive mushrooms—making it perhaps the best-known naturally-occurring psychedelic drug. Quite different from the cremini mushrooms you just picked up from the grocery store, which have zero psychoactive elements at all.
At first glance, shrooms don’t look particularly unique. They’re often small and usually have color shades ranging between brown and tan or golden beige.
The scientific name of this little brown-and-white mushroom roughly translates to “bald head”—befitting their rather plain-looking appearance.
The hallucinogen compound works by activating serotonin receptors in the prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain that affects people’s mood, cognition, and perception.
It’s crucial to note that hallucinogens also work in other regions of the brain that regulate arousal and panic responses.
Shrooms don’t always cause active visual or auditory hallucinations. Instead, it distorts how some users perceive objects and people already in their environment.
Again, they’re very different effects on the body and brain than those of their cousins like Portobello or Lions Mane.
In the wild, people commonly mistake these fungi strains for other poisonous variants. For this reason, workable knowledge about mushrooms is essential—this includes knowing how to identify them properly.
Knowledge is power, and knowing what’s collected from the wild is of the utmost importance.
How Long Does It Take Shroom Spores to Grow?
Whether Golden Teacher, Amazonian, Penis Envy, or another mushroom, they’re going to follow a relatively similar timeline.
Also remember though, that nothing is set in stone when Mother Nature is involved. An approximate timeline for the shroom growth cycle can go as follows:
- Week one: Spore inoculation to spore germination.
- Week two: Spore germination to complete the substrate, or cake colonization.
- Weeks three to five: The fruiting cycle begins. This sometimes takes an additional two weeks. Once the substrate or cakes turn blue and spores start to release, the mushroom fruiting cycle is complete.
The full growth cycle for mushroom spores can take 4 to 6 weeks from inoculation to fruiting.
Remember that the common button mushroom varieties can take up to 15 weeks to complete an entire production cycle. From the start of composting to the final steaming off after harvesting has ended.
A significant part of the growing cycle depends on the strain and conditions of the mushroom spores.
Why Are Penis Envy Mushrooms More Difficult to Grow?
As with all mushrooms, spore size, color, and shape all appear the same.
Even under the best microscope available, an observer may not be able to see any differences between spores.
But what sets the Penis Envy Mushroom apart from others?
The answer boils down to their spores.
Penis Envy mushrooms don’t open up their cap for spore release as other species do.
These mushrooms only release about 5% of their spores, so collecting them is far more difficult than their cousins. This explains why Penis Envy mushrooms would be more difficult to grow than say Golden Teachers.
What’s more interesting about the Penis Envy mushroom is the mystery surrounding its origin, which could explain its unique and rare spore profile.
No one truly knows how this mushroom came to be, with the only theories of their beginnings coming from famous mycologists like Terence McKenna and Steven Pollock.
Without specific proof of their discovery, many believe that the specimens we know today derived from a mutation. This unique creation is said to have come from the Amazonian Cubensis species McKenna carried in his store.
Either way, an artificial biological line like the one found in Penis Envy mushrooms makes them more susceptible to contamination.
Different Factors that Determine How Long A Mushroom Grows
Materials used also determine how long it takes to grow mushroom spores. Typically, vermiculite is used in conjunction with whatever other growing matter is chosen. Organic materials for substrates like brown rice, coconut husks, or whole oats seem to be popular choices.
The variety of shrooms chosen also dictates the best-suited growing materials (substrate) like straw or wood chips.
Whichever organic material is chosen for mushroom spores, it also matters to ensure that the materials and substrate aren’t contaminated with any other microorganisms.
Proper sterilization of all equipment and substrates is essential for any mushroom spores to thrive and prosper during their growth time period. Shrooms are easily outnumbered and can lose their growing ground, literally, if contaminated.
Research has found that the first fungus stage of growth, the mycelium, is also very beneficial in consumption. This part of the mushroom growth cycle is a white web-like structure that forms before sprouting the actual mushrooms. Consuming the mycelium and fruiting bodies both carry beneficial qualities.
Generally, though, the process is the same, and mushrooms can be seen within two months from inoculation.
An Example Timeline For Starting with Mushroom Spores
Although most mushrooms grow within a similar time frame, different factors can, of course, impact their growth cycle.
The final mushroom quality, growth cycle time, and yield all depend on certain factors. Were the temperature, humidity, and grow space closely monitored for pests or contaminants?
The reproductive cycle of the mycelium is referred to as a flush, during which the fungus produces mushroom fruit bodies. To start a flush, or mushroom growth, a fully colonized cake is soaked in water, then it’s kept moist by misting it with water or other means. During the first few weeks is when it’s most essential to monitor the temperature and humidity levels daily.
After Inoculation, the ideal temperature for incubating for the next 4 weeks is around 27 degrees Celsius.
Phase one of growing is to create what’s known as a birthing cake, which helps to feed the mycelium. The substrate serves as fertile ground for the spores to develop and typically will consist of brown rice flour and vermiculite.
After about a month, the spores start growing into mycelium and colonizing the substrate. Technically, a birthing cake is when the mycelium has fully colonized and embedded around the substrate, ready to sprout mushrooms.
These substrate “cakes” can then be moved into grow chambers, where they further develop and eventually fruit.
After sprouting, the mushrooms are usually ready to harvest in about a week or two.
The process is complex and can vary in a number of ways, yet the results produce a mysterious compound with mystical properties.
It certainly deserves appreciation!
So, as you ponder how long it takes to grow psilocybin mushroom spores, enjoy every minute as the mystery of nature unfolds.