Mushroom Hydroponics – 5 Questions Answered and Extra Point!

Undertaking mushroom hydroponics is a great way to get your fungi fix without having to worry about dirt or pests. It’s not just for hippies and backyard gardeners anymore. Hydroponic mushrooms are becoming increasingly popular with commercial growers thanks to their high yields and low environmental impact.

Mushrooms grown hydroponically tend to be more flavorful and tender than those grown in soil. They’re also packed with nutrients, making them a healthy and sustainable choice for your next meal.

I got hold of a couple of mushroom grow boxes fully colonized with mycelium. I kept them in my laundry and sprayed them with water. It was only a short time before I was plucking the freshest mushrooms- these happen quickly, so you can preserve and use them in many ways. If you have never tried growing mushrooms, this is your cue to start!

To top it off- hydroponic mushrooms are one of the most economical food sources. They produce thousands of spores (invisible seeds); you can take your spore print from your first batch to reproduce them. 

With a small initial outlay for the equipment at the beginning and a little know-how, you could be on your way to being a fully-fledged fungus farmer in no time!

Table of Contents:

What Is Mushroom Hydroponics?

A technique for cultivating mushrooms without soil is hydroponic mushroom farming. Instead, a nutrient-rich solution is pumped through a network of pipes to grow mushrooms. This approach is far simpler, more effective, and more sustainable than conventional approaches.

sporing mushroom black background

A spore is the first stage of a mushroom’s life cycle. Spores are unnoticeable, microscopic seeds that mushrooms emit. Mushroom spores germinate and become mushroom mycelium when they touch down in an appropriate habitat (substrate). The network of cells known as mycelium is responsible for absorbing nutrients from the soil or nutrient solution.

Mushrooms are produced by mature mycelium. Mycelium produces fruiting bodies, which are mushrooms. These are the portions of the mushroom we consume.

Mycelium needs nutrients and energy to develop and create mushrooms. Hydroponic mushroom systems are made to give it those resources. Water, minerals, and organic materials comprise the nutrition solution. The mycelium then absorbs the nutrients as it flows past it and is pumped through the network of pipes.

Hydroponic mushroom systems can be set up in a variety of ways. They can be small enough to fit on a countertop or large enough to produce hundreds of pounds of mushrooms annually.

different types of mushrooms growing in farm

How Can I Set Up a Mushroom Hydroponic System?

So, a few options exist for setting up a Mushroom hydroponics system. Your choice will depend on your space, budget, expected crop yield, etc.

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

NFT is a popular hydroponic system for mushroom cultivation. In this method, a thin film of nutrient-rich water flows over a sloping tray, and mushrooms grow on the surface. The benefit of NFT is that it provides a continuous flow of nutrients, ensuring consistent growth. 

It also allows for easy monitoring and management of the nutrient solution. For example, when I implemented NFT, the mushrooms flourished like wildfire, producing an abundant harvest in no time.

Deep Water Culture (DWC)

DWC is another efficient system for growing mushrooms hydroponically. In DWC, mushrooms are suspended in net pots, with their roots submerged in a nutrient solution. The oxygen-rich environment promotes healthy growth. 

One of the perks of DWC is its simplicity; it’s a “set it and forget it” approach. When I dabbled with DWC, it was a breeze to maintain, and the mushrooms thrived, resulting in firm and succulent caps.


Aeroponics takes hydroponic mushroom cultivation to a whole new level. In this system, mushrooms are suspended in a chamber, and nutrient-rich mist is sprayed directly onto their roots. This method maximizes oxygen exposure and nutrient absorption. In turn leading to rapid growth and high yields. 

While implementing aeroponics required some initial trial and error, the results were mind-blowing. The mushrooms grew at an astonishing pace, giving rise to clusters of plump and delicious fungi.

person picking a champignon mushroom

Each of these systems has its own set of benefits, but they all share some advantages inherent to hydroponics:

  • Enhanced Growth: Hydroponic systems provide a controlled environment where you can fine-tune variables like temperature, humidity, and nutrient levels. This optimization results in accelerated growth, allowing you to harvest hydroponic mushrooms faster than traditional methods.
  • Year-Round Production: Unlike outdoor cultivation, hydroponics enables year-round hydroponic mushroom production. You’re not bound by seasonal limitations, giving you a continuous supply of fresh mushrooms.
  • Space Efficiency: Hydroponic mushroom systems can be designed to fit into small spaces, making them ideal for urban gardeners or individuals with limited room for cultivation. Whether it’s a basement, garage, or even a spare closet, you can transform any corner into a flourishing hydroponic mushroom haven.
  • Water Conservation: Hydroponic mushrooms utilize recirculating nutrient solutions, leading to significant water savings compared to conventional soil-based cultivation. You can grow hydroponic mushrooms with up to 90% less water, making them eco-friendly.

How Do I Nurture My Mushroom Babies?

different varieties of harvested mushroom on table

You are ready to grow once your chosen system has all the right equipment. Here is a rundown of the different steps for growing and nurturing your mushroom babies:

Substrate Preparation

Mushrooms require a nutrient-rich substrate to grow. The most common substrate or growing medium for many mushroom species is a blend of straw, sawdust, wood chips, vermiculite, or perlite. 

Start by sterilizing or pasteurizing the substrate to eliminate competing organisms hindering mushroom growth. This can be done in a pressure cooker for 1-4 hours at 250F or held above a boiling pot of water for 3-4 hours. Once prepared, distribute the substrate evenly in containers or bags, leaving room for the mycelium to colonize.


Inoculation refers to introducing the mushroom spores or mycelium into the substrate. You can do this by sprinkling spores directly onto the substrate or using pre-colonized spawn. 

Ensure a sterile environment during inoculation to prevent contamination. Once inoculated, cover the containers or bags to create a humid environment that promotes mycelial growth.

Temperature and Humidity Control

Different mushroom species have varying temperature and humidity requirements. Research the optimal conditions for your chosen species and consistently maintain them. 

Generally, hydroponic mushrooms thrive in temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C) and relative humidity of 80-90%. Use a thermometer and hygrometer to monitor these factors and make necessary adjustments using fans, heaters, or humidifiers.

Light and Fresh Air

While mushrooms don’t require direct sunlight, they benefit from indirect light. Place your mushroom containers or bags in a well-lit area, but avoid exposure to intense or prolonged sunlight. 

Additionally, ensure proper air circulation by opening vents or using fans. Fresh air exchange helps remove carbon dioxide and provides oxygen, creating an ideal growing environment.

Watering and Moisture Management

Mushrooms are moisture-loving organisms. Maintain the proper moisture level in the substrate by misting it with water. 

Avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to contamination or mold formation. Use clean, filtered water to prevent harmful elements.

Disease and Pest Management

Contamination and pests can threaten mushroom cultivation. Regularly inspect your growing area for signs of mold, pests, or other unwanted organisms. 

If necessary, address contamination promptly by removing affected substrates or applying appropriate fungicides. Preventative measures such as maintaining cleanliness and proper hygiene can go a long way in keeping your mushroom babies healthy.

Patience and Observation

Mushroom cultivation requires patience and careful observation. Depending on the species, the growth process can take several weeks or even months. 

Regularly monitor the progress of your mushrooms, noting any changes in color, texture, or aroma. This will help you identify potential issues and take corrective action when needed.

What Mushroom Varieties Are There?

Now you know the process for growing mushrooms, look at some of the mushroom varieties you could grow hydroponically.

Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.): These are among the mushrooms grown in hydroponic systems the most frequently. Oyster mushrooms come in several hues, such as white, yellow, and pink. Oyster mushrooms are fast-growing, versatile, and tolerant of various growing environments. They can be used in various ways in cooking and have a gentle, delicate flavor.

shiitake mushrooms white background

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes): They are renowned for their savory, deep flavor. They have a meaty feel, and Asian cuisine frequently uses them. In hydroponic systems, shiitake mushrooms can produce a reliable output. They favor moderate amounts of humidity and milder temperatures.

lions mane mushroom white background

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus): They have an unusual look due to their cascading spines that resemble a lion’s mane. They have a firm texture and a delicate flavor similar to seafood. Lion’s Mane mushrooms are becoming more well-liked because of their conceivable health advantages, notably for the brain. They can be grown well in hydroponic systems.

king oyster mushroom white background

The King Trumpet or King Oyster (Pleurotus eryngii): Identified by its small-cap and thick stalk. They are suited for various culinary uses because of their meaty texture and mild, nutty flavor. Hydroponically cultivated King Oyster mushrooms are noted for their reliable harvests.

What Are the Common Challenges With Growing Hydroponic Mushrooms?

Growing hydroponic mushrooms can be a thrilling adventure, but it’s not without its challenges. Let’s take a peek at some common hurdles you might encounter:

Contamination Conundrums

Contamination can be a pesky problem in hydroponic mushroom cultivation. The key is to maintain cleanliness, sterilize equipment, and practice good hygiene to minimize the chances of contamination.

Temperature Tango

Mushrooms have their preferred temperature, and finding that sweet spot can be challenging. Monitoring and fine-tuning temperature settings are crucial to keep your mushrooms grooving happily.

Moisture Mishaps: Getting the moisture level right is a delicate balancing act. Mushrooms like a humid environment, but too much moisture can lead to mold or sluggish growth. Regular misting and careful observation will help you find the moisture sweet spot.

Tricky Timing

Patience is a virtue in mushroom cultivation. Remember, mushrooms have their rhythm. Relax, stay observant, and they’ll reward you with their bountiful presence when the time is right.

Learning Curves

Like any new venture, there’s a learning curve with hydroponic mushroom cultivation. Don’t be discouraged by initial setbacks. Embrace the learning process, keep experimenting, and you’ll be a seasoned mushroom whisperer before you know it.

Unexpected Surprises

Nature has a way of throwing us curveballs, even in controlled environments. You might encounter some surprises along the way, like a mushroom that decides to grow in a peculiar shape or direction. Embrace these quirks and celebrate the uniqueness of each mushroom. After all, imperfections can make your harvest even more charming and memorable.

When and How Do I Harvest My Mushrooms?

The exciting time has come when you can reap the rewards of your labor. Follow these simple tips to make sure you are plucking your fungi properly!

Monitor Growth Progress

As your mushrooms develop, keep a close eye on their growth. Different mushroom varieties have specific characteristics that indicate when they’re ready for harvest. 

Generally, mushrooms are ready when the caps have fully expanded but are still firm and haven’t begun to release spores. Harvesting too early or too late can affect the taste and quality.

Harvesting Timing

Timing is crucial. It’s like catching a train; you don’t want to miss it or jump on too early! Harvest your mushrooms just before the veil underneath the cap breaks or when the gills change color. This ensures they are at their prime for consumption. 

Avoid waiting until the caps flatten out completely, as the mushrooms might become overly mature and less flavorful.

Gentle Handling

Treat your mushrooms carefully, as they can be delicate. When harvesting, gently hold the stem near the base and twist or cut it away from the substrate. 

Avoid pulling or tugging, as this can damage the mycelium and affect future growth. Use a clean, sharp knife or scissors to make a clean cut. Handle the harvested mushrooms gently to prevent bruising or crushing.

Continuous Harvesting

Some mushroom varieties, like oyster mushrooms, can produce multiple flushes. After the initial bloom and harvest, the mycelium can continue to generate new growth. 

To encourage subsequent flushes, maintain the appropriate growing conditions, and follow the specific recommendations for each mushroom variety. Harvest the mushrooms as they reach maturity during each next flush.

Harvesting Frequency

The harvesting frequency will depend on the mushroom variety and its growth rate. Some types may have a shorter growth cycle and produce several flushes in a relatively short period, while others may take longer. 

Keep track of the growth patterns of your specific mushrooms and harvest accordingly to maximize yield quantity and quality.

Post-Harvest Storage

After harvesting, consuming fresh mushrooms for optimal flavor and texture is best. If you have an abundance of mushrooms and can’t consume them immediately, store them in a breathable container or paper bag in the refrigerator. Avoid airtight bags or containers, as mushrooms need airflow to prevent moisture buildup and maintain quality. Consume them within a few days for the best culinary experience.


What is the fastest mushroom growth?

Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.) are known for their rapid growth. They can show impressive growth rates in optimal conditions, sometimes maturing within a few weeks.

Does mushroom mycelium need oxygen to grow?

Yes, mushroom mycelium requires oxygen to thrive. Oxygen is needed for proper respiration and nutrient absorption. Correct air circulation in the growing environment is essential for healthy mycelial growth.

Which vegetables are not suitable to grow using hydroponics?

Root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and onions are generally unsuitable for hydroponic cultivation. These vegetables need more space and a soil-based growing medium to develop their root systems properly.

Can mycelium grow in water?

It generally does not grow in water alone. Mycelium needs a suitable substrate (wood, straw, or compost) to thrive and obtain the necessary nutrients for growth.

What is the best money-making mushroom?

The profitability of mushroom farming depends on various factors, including market demand, cultivation costs, and personal circumstances. High-demand gourmet mushrooms like shiitake, oyster, and lion’s mane can be profitable. 

Still, conducting thorough market research and assessing local demand is essential before deciding which mushrooms to cultivate for profit.

Which mushroom farming is best?

The best mushroom farming approach depends on available space, resources, market demand, and personal preferences. Different cultivation methods, such as traditional outdoor farming, indoor cultivation, or hydroponics, have advantages and considerations. 

Evaluating your specific circumstances and goals is crucial to determine which mushroom farming method aligns best with your needs and resources.

Hydroponic Mushrooms: Grow ‘Em, Slice ‘Em, and Savor the Fungi-tastic Rewards!

Venturing into hydroponic mushroom cultivation is like embarking on a flavorful, high-yield adventure. By embracing the learning curve and staying on top of the challenges, you’ll quickly cultivate your own delectable fungi. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Nor will your mushroom empire!

With the Nutrient Film Technique, you’ll have a continuous flow of nutrients, making your mushrooms grow like there’s no tomorrow. Deep Water Culture is a “set it and forget it” approach, where your mushrooms soak up the nutrients like a sponge. It’s as easy as pie and it’s my preferred method. 

Aeroponics takes mushroom cultivation to new heights, with misty tendrils of nutrients enveloping your precious mycelium. And let’s not forget about vertical farming, where you’ll stack trays like a vertical jungle of mushrooms.

Whichever method you choose, I’m sure you will be successful in your hydroponic mushroom-growing endeavors!

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Alex Tinsman
An avid plant and flower lover! Ever since he was little, plants, flowers, and shrubbery of all kinds filled his life. Alex credits this fascination with nature's beauty to his mother and grandmother who were - and still are - dedicated gardeners. It's now Alex's mission to pass that same love for plants onto others and show them it's as easy as pie to bring nature inside.

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