How To Grow Mushrooms From Dried Mushrooms

Mushrooms are exciting fungi and are easier to grow than you would think. But what about growing new mushrooms from dried ones? Is it possible? 

You can grow mushrooms from dried mushrooms by rehydrating dry mushrooms that still have active spores. Mushrooms that have been air-dried are more likely to grow as their spores haven’t been killed. Some mushroom types are more resilient and will better maintain spores when dried. 

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the steps to take for growing mushrooms from dried ones. The process is pretty straightforward, and I’ll go over it in depth. Read on to learn how to grow new mushrooms from dried ones. 

1. Select a Dried Mushroom

First, you need to choose the mushroom you want to grow. Not all varieties of dried mushrooms will grow well, and any mushroom spores over 12 months old are likely dead. Additionally, how the mushroom was dried plays a massive role in its ability to grow new fungi. So what factors should you consider when selecting a dried mushroom to grow? 

The Drying Method 

Mushrooms that are dried via wind, air, or indirect sunlight are more likely to have living spores from which you can grow new ones. In contrast, mushrooms that have been dried using a dehydrator, direct sunlight, or other harsh preservative methods are less likely to have living spores. 

Methods like dehydrating or direct sunlight heat the mushroom and kill any living spores. So it’s best to use mushrooms you have dried yourself with a spore-friendly drying method. Mushroom spores that have been exposed to temperatures of 150°F (65°C)

or higher will have dead spores. 

The Type of Mushroom

As for selecting a type of mushroom for growing, a few of them are easier to grow than others. But on the other hand, some mushrooms are hardier, and their spores are less sensitive to being dried. So which mushrooms are best for growing after being dried? 

The best types of dried mushrooms to grow include:

  • Shiitake mushrooms: This mushroom is extremely popular in Asia and can be found in many types of Asian cuisine. Additionally, this mushroom is good for your health and promotes a healthy immune system and cell repair. Shiitake mushrooms are commonly used in holistic medicine for their many health benefits. 
  • Oyster mushrooms: This mushroom originated in Germany and has since been cultivated for selling worldwide. Eating oyster mushrooms has health benefits like a strengthened immune system and an anti-inflammatory effect. 
  • Wine cap mushrooms: Typically, this mushroom isn’t available in stores, so you must forage them or order some online. However, the flavor of this mushroom is fantastic and worth the search. Additionally, if you can get a hold of some spores, these mushrooms are extremely easy to grow. 

These mushrooms rehydrate well, and their spores generally stay intact after drying, so long as they aren’t heated up. Additionally, mushrooms like shiitake and oyster are extremely popular for cooking and have great flavors. 

However, if you don’t have access to any of these mushroom types, using other mushrooms you do have access to is fine. The other mushrooms’ chance of growth is slightly lower, but it doesn’t hurt to try. 

2. Rehydrate the Mushroom 

Next, you’ll need to rehydrate the mushroom you have selected. Unlike rehydrating mushrooms for cooking, you’ll want to stay away from hot water. The best way to rehydrate a mushroom and preserve the spores is by adding water gradually.

Find a dropper or straw and drop water onto the mushrooms over a few hours or until the mushroom appears rehydrated. Room temperature water works best as hot water kills spores, and cold water will result in slower rehydration. 

The reason using a dropper works best is it rehydrates the spores while keeping them safely in place. If you dunk your mushroom into a container of water, the spores will disperse into the water. By carefully dripping water on the mushroom, its spores will stay intact. 

3. Extract the Mushroom Spores 

After your mushroom appears plump, it’s time to collect the spores. Contrary to what you might think, the spore collection process is pretty simple. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 pieces of paper. 
  • A heavy book. 
  • A rehydrated mushroom. 

Here are the steps to extracting the mushroom spores:

  1. Press the cap of the mushroom firmly onto a sheet of paper.
  2. Sandwich the cap between two sheets of paper.  
  3. Take a heavy book and place it on the cap and paper. 
  4. Let the mushroom sit for 24-48 hours. 

You want the book (or other heavy object) to flatten the mushroom against the paper. All the spores are located in the gills of the cap. You are transferring those spores to the sheet of paper. When you lift the mushroom cap, an imprint of the gills should be visible on the papers within a few days. 

4. Select a Mushroom Growing Container 

Once your spores are ready, you need a suitable container for growing your mushrooms. A plastic bin, tub, or storage container will work well for growing your mushrooms. There must be enough room to fill the container with substrate and for the mushrooms to sprout. 

5. Sterilize the Mushroom Growing Equipment 

Next, sterilization is essential as you don’t want your mushrooms to mold and go bad. Sterilize your mushroom growing container by boiling it or introducing hot water to the container. You want to kill any harmful bacteria or mold that’s present. 

6. Select and Apply Mushroom Substrate to the Container

Next, you need to add a substrate to your container for the mushrooms to grow. The best substrates for growing mushrooms are straw and hardwood sawdust. However, other substrates will still work. You can get straw from your local pet supply company and sawdust from woodworking shops in your area or online. 

Once you have your substrate, layer it into your growing container and leave some room for more to be added as a later step. 

7. Add the Mushroom Spores to the Growing Container 

Take an Exacto knife and begin scraping the spores off the paper. You want to do this over the container, so the substrate catches all the mushroom spores. Scrape the paper until you feel you’ve collected all the spores you can. The spores are tiny, so it’s not easy to tell if you got them all. Scraping the entire paper is the best way to ensure you get the most spores. 

8. Incubate the Mushroom Spores 

As the spores begin growing a mycelium, keeping the fungi at 70°F (21°C) is essential. A slightly warm temperature increases your spores’ chances of growth in the substrate. You’ll want to keep the spores well watered during this time and continue to incubate for about 3 weeks. 

After the 3-week period, the temperature needs to be dropped to 55-60°F (12-15°C). This temperature needs to be maintained for the duration of the mushroom’s growth. At this time, you should also add more substrate to cover the mycelium. This will promote better mushroom growth. 

9. Continually Mist the Mushroom Substrate 

While your mushrooms are growing, they’ll need continuous moisture. Mushrooms are fungi and require plenty of moisture to thrive. It’s best to set up a watering schedule and use a spray bottle filled with filtered water. Your mushroom spores should be misted at least once per day.

10. Keep the Mushrooms Somewhere Cool and Dark 

Another critical step is keeping the mushrooms somewhere cool and dark. Mushrooms don’t like heat, and they also don’t enjoy the light. Your mushroom spores will do better somewhere dim and out of direct sunlight. You can place them somewhere indoors, in a garage, or outdoors so long as their temperature and light requirements are met.

11. Harvest the Mushrooms Once Ready 

Finally, after about 8-12 weeks, your mushrooms should be ready to harvest. Each mushroom type will be slightly different, but you can tell they’re ready to be picked if they look like mature mushrooms.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t consume mushrooms that have become moldy due to improper sterilization and exposure to moisture. If consumed, moldy mushrooms can make you sick. Additionally, you should only grow mushrooms you know are edible, as many varieties are toxic. 

Final Thoughts 

Growing mushrooms from dried ones is easy, so long as the spores in the dried mushrooms are still alive. Mushrooms that were dried using heat most likely have dead spores. Additionally, dried mushrooms that have been sitting for more than 12 months are likely useless. 

So it’s essential to use your mushrooms quickly after drying. The sooner you plant the spores, the more likely they’ll grow. Just be sure to keep things sterile when planting mushrooms, or you can end up with unwanted mold growing with your mushrooms.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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