Think about how mushrooms grow in nature. Their fungal filaments grow in a complex network underground until they get the signal to form mushrooms. These then shoot out of the ground (as the saying goes), to enter the reproductive phase. Now it appears that if you mimic the sunlight, the yield of your mushroom grow kit can increase. We admit, this is an article for the advanced mushroom grower or if you like a nice experiment. We explain that light helps to increase the yield of your mushrooms.

Will your mushrooms be dressed in a purple-blue glow next?

Paul Stamets, perhaps the world's most famous mycologist, talks about the influence of blue light on the formation and yield of mushrooms during a lecture. In his presentation for Exponential Medicine, Stamets explains that Psilocybe cubensis (our magic mushrooms) need 4 things to grow mushrooms from the mycelium; the white fluffy stuff in your mushroom grow kit:

  • An additional amount of moisture
  • Cooling by means of the evaporation of that moisture
  • Oxygen
  • Light

By applying our growing method you automatically take care of the first three points. As the water evaporates in the sealed bag, it condenses against the inside of the bag. As a result, the humidity inside the bag increases and here and there, droplets of water fall onto the "cake" inside the grow bag. The moisture evaporates again, causing the temperature to drop only at the surface. That's because evaporating water costs a lot of energy and therefore it gets a little colder when that happens.

A magic mushroom grow kit for indoor growing always comes with a ventilated plastic bag. Air can pass through it, but not water. That's why it's not necessary to open the bag during the growing process. The ventilated bag has an advantage. Just like us, mushrooms breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. An accumulation of carbon dioxide will cause less mushrooms to see the light of day. The air holes in the bag are there to prevent this.

Blue Light with Magic Mushrooms

Furthermore, Paul Stamets shows that blue light with a wavelength of 320 to 400 nm stimulates mushroom formation. We have found additional evidence for this claim. In 1980, the German researcher G. Eger-Hummel conducted research on light in the formation of some mushrooms [1]. This study indeed showed that most species of mushrooms require light during the reproductive phase.

What turns out? The color of the light also matters [2]. Different mushrooms benefit from different colors (or spectra) of light. For example, oyster mushrooms grow better in red light than in blue light, and shiitake mushrooms grow best in green light. It is therefore plausible that Paul Stamets actually achieved higher yields by lighting his psychedelic magic mushrooms.

Wild Shiitake mushrooms

Stronger Magic Mushrooms too?

In the same breath, Stamets also mentions that the amount of psilocybin and psilocin are higher when you expose magic mushrooms to blue light during their rise. These two substances together with the substance baeocystin determine the effectiveness of a gram of mushrooms. However, we have not found any additional sources for this claim. Whether and how much stronger your mushrooms can become under a blue light, we cannot tell you for sure. You could take Stamets' word for it.

Blue or UV-Light for a Magic Mushroom Grow Kit?

All colors of light have a certain wavelength. We see light with a wavelength of 630 nm, for example, as red. nm, or nanometer, is one billionth of a meter. 510 nm is green in our eyes and 480 nm is blue. Our eyes stop working around 400 nm. Light between 315 and 400 nm is called uv-A radiation. And do you remember what Stamets said? 

Blue light with a wavelength of 320 to 400 nm stimulates mushroom formation.

But those wavelengths belong to invisible ultraviolet light. So it's crucial that you pick the right lighting if you want to do this yourself. Blacklight, that kinky purple light from the disco that turns your teeth fluorescent green, often has a wavelength of 365 nm. In addition, these lamps have a filter that blocks out anything below 320 nm [3].

The Light Experiment

In 2003, a forum user at mushroom website Shroomery did an experiment of his own [4]. He/she tested the following lamps:

  • 100 Watt High Pressure Sodium (HPS) at 1.28 m distance.
  • 100 Watt Metal Halide (MH) at 1.15 m distance.
  • 100 Watt bulb Gro-Light at 10 cm distance.
  • 28 Watt fluorescent Gro-Light (energy saving lamp) at 2.5 cm distance
  • 28 Watt fluorescent ultraviolet light (not a so-called blue black light) at 1 cm distance*

*The differences in distances are necessary to keep the light intensity on the mushrooms uniform, where only the UV-lamp could not achieve the same value.

The result of this home study? The magic mushroom grow kits that were grown under the cooler-tinted energy saving and MH lamp were the first two to show pins or mini mushrooms. But neither grow kit had a higher yield than the other kit. The exception was the grow kit that was set up under the uv lamp. Those mushrooms remained smaller and had deformed parts. Conclusion? The color of the lamp does not matter according to this forum user. We do have a suggestion. We give it to you under the heading "Which lamp should I use for magic mushrooms?”.

Magic Mushrooms by the window

Even if you want to use natural sunlight, you need to take a few things into consideration. Some modern windows such as HR++ with sun protection coating block some of the UV light. Moreover, the temperature next to the window can fluctuate quite a bit, especially in a greenhouse that you create by using the plastic bag of the magic mushroom grow kit. Our explicit advice is not to put your magic mushrooms on the windowsill. A few hours of daylight is very good for young mushrooms. Put your magic mushroom grow kit in a light place, but not near windows.

Increasing your own yield of the Magic Mushroom Grow Kit with light

When growing magic mushrooms you need to have in mind how magic mushrooms grow in nature. When you mimic nature in your grow kit, you create favorable conditions for the magic mushrooms. One of the factors that apparently affects the growth of magic mushrooms is light. The cultivation of the mycelium normally takes place underground. Therefore it is advisable to leave your magic mushroom grow kit in the dark for at least the first week after setting it up.

Most magic mushroom grow kits have at least 15 days to develop the first heads. Our advice is therefore to experiment with light from day 10-15. Then you give the mycelium the rest to develop properly. In the second week you can start giving light.

What Lamp should I use for Magic Mushrooms?

Choose a full-spectrum lamp that picks up at least 320-400 nm. A cool-tinted CFL grow lamp, or a typical grow lamp that you also use for the growing phase of weed may offer the best results. Keep it at a (fire) safe distance above the grow bag. Just feel if the bag gets warm. Also place your hand at that distance from the lamp. If you notice that your hand does not feel uncomfortably warm, you have found the right distance. 

Light intensities as low as 20 lux can already help, but there are also experiments with as much as 700 lux in other mushrooms. With the oyster mushroom the more light the better, but with shiitake 120 lux was less effective than 60 lux*. For our magic mushrooms we can't find data on the best light intensity, so you will have to experiment yourself.

*lux is a measurement of the amount of light that a candle casts on an area of 1 square meter at a distance of 1 meter.

Will you send us a review with your growing results? We are very curious to see if supplementary lighting helps you too! You can write your review on the product page where you ordered your grow kit. Do you want to have a shot at ending up in this article with your name or secret nickname? Take a good quality picture and make sure you are logged in when you write your review. We will then contact you for the photo and your grow report.