How Long Does Shiitake Take to Grow? (Speed It Up)

Although most mushrooms seem to grow rapidly just about anywhere, shiitake mushrooms take their time. If you’re vying to farm shiitake mushrooms in your area, you must be aware that it could be a long waiting process. This article will let you know how long it takes to grow shiitake and how you can speed it up.

If you grow shiitake on logs, spawning will take 8–12 months, and fruiting is within 7–14 days. If you grow them in bags, the spawn run will be complete in 8–12 weeks. Log-grown shiitakes will fruit for 6–8 years, and substrate-grown shiitakes will fruit 5–6 times per fresh bag of the substrate.

As long as it is growing, shiitake will require patience but will give a continuous yield for years. Keep reading below to learn how long each growth stage takes, and we’ll share some tips on how to speed it up.


  • Log-grown shiitake mushrooms take 8–12 months to mature, while those grown in blocks of sawdust mature in 8–12 weeks.
  • Even though the growing process is long, shiitake mushrooms are worth farming because they can give you a continuous supply of fresh flushes for many years.
  • You can speed up the growth of shiitake mushrooms if you continually apply mist, pick the best substrate and the right shiitake strain, and grow them in ideal growing conditions.

Shiitake Mushrooms Take a Long Process to Grow But are Worth It

Shiitake mushrooms also have very fruitful yields. Although logs take a very long time to spawn, which may take years, the yield from that single log can give you a supply of shiitake mushrooms every 4–5 weeks for 6–8 years.

Because of their taste and benefits, shiitake mushrooms have grown in popularity, and demand has increased globally. However, because they have a long process of growing, they are often difficult to find in local stores and can be expensive.

This gives you even more reason to start growing shiitake mushrooms despite the long incubation process since competitors in the market are still low.

Shiitake mushrooms are popularly associated with Japanese cuisine, not just because of their meaty taste, but also because of the amazing health benefits they offer. They are known to contain cholesterol-lowering compounds and lipids that boost the immune system.

Aside from these reasons, shiitake mushrooms have an excellent shelf life. They can last up to 2–3 weeks in a refrigerator after harvest. For this reason, they can easily be profitable.

Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are edible mushrooms known for being agaric mushrooms, a type of mushroom characterized by the presence of a mushroom cap distinct from a stalk and gills underneath the cap.

They are usually tan to dark brown in color, with mushroom caps measuring 5–10 cm. in diameter. Their name literally means “mushroom of the oak tree," as they are commonly found in the wild.

The incubation period of shiitake mushrooms varies depending on the substrate used

Shiitake mushrooms are not like oyster mushrooms, which can grow on a wide variety of substrates. They can only be grown in hardwood logs or commercially on blocks of sawdust and hardwood chips, like oak. Once you have your chosen substrate, you can prepare it and then inoculate it with the spawn.

If you choose to grow shiitakes on logs, the incubation period is between 6–12 months or more—depending on the size of the log. Since this takes a lot of time, you can do various things to help ensure the success of your setup, such as the following:

  1. Elevate the log off the ground to prevent competitors or parasites from entering your substrate.
  2. Keep the log out of direct sunlight and use a breathable cover like mesh or net.
  3. Water your logs for 10–20 minutes after a week of no rain to keep the moisture.

If, however, you choose to grow your shiitake mushrooms on substrates such as bags or blocks of sawdust, the spawn takes a lesser amount of time to grow and fully permeate the medium. It will be ready in about 8–12 weeks if humidity is maintained at 90%.

To know whether your log is ready, the safest way to check is after it reached at least 9 months during incubation. For those grown in bags, you will know that the mycelium has successfully penetrated the substrate when the block becomes light brown in color.

Regardless of whether you’ve grown your spawn in logs or in substrates, the next growing stage for shiitake mushrooms is called pinning. This is induced by “shocking” the mycelium into producing pins, which will later become the fruiting bodies.

Inducing the pinning process takes 24–72 hours or 1–3 days. Shocking is done by submerging the log or block in clean, cold water. For logs, you can opt for paddling pools, large water collectors, bathtubs, or any clean ponds.

When you remove the bags from the water, keep the bags in an environment that has natural light and a maintained temperature of 59–68° F, as well as a good humidity level that allows air exchange. For logs, you can return them to the area where you had them incubated and position them upright to maximize growing space.

You can expect your first shiitake harvest 7–14 days after shocking. For mushrooms grown in bags, you may expect 5–7 flushes from each mushroom bag. For mushrooms grown on logs, you can expect a harvest every 4–5 weeks for about 6–8 years continuously.

Here's How to Speed Up the Growth of Shiitake Mushrooms

Growing shiitake mushrooms can really test your patience, but there are some ways you can help speed up the process. Below are the following factors you can do to help your mushrooms grow faster:

1. Mist your spawn block several times per day to keep it moist and healthy.

Shiitake mushrooms grow faster with more water, so make sure to water them every few hours.

2. Know the ideal growing conditions for shiitake mushrooms.

Different strains require different fruiting temperature requirements. Each stage also requires varying humidity levels.

3. Pick the right shiitake strain.

This is applicable if you want to grow your spawn on logs and inoculate the logs yourself. You can choose strains with the best characteristics.

Some characteristics that you must keep in mind when picking a strain of shiitake mushrooms are:

  • fruiting temperature requirements
  • cap appearance
  • spawn run time (the time it takes to fruit)
  • productivity

To grow your shiitake mushrooms faster, choose a strain with the shortest spawn run time.

4. Choose the best substrate.

Shiitake mushrooms, unlike oyster mushrooms, grow on a variety of substrates. They are picky and will only grow in a wood-based medium, so you can only opt to grow them in logs or in blocks of sawdust.

Growing mushrooms on sawdust is easier because it can be sourced anywhere. But if you want to stick with the logs, you should pick one made from deciduous hardwoods. Some of the log choices you can pick from are:

  • White oaks – most productive and least invaded by foreign competitors
  • Red oak and sweetgum – can produce mushrooms in 6-8 months, but are susceptible to weed fungi and drying
  • American hophornbeam, northern maple, ironwood, laurel oak, cherry, sassafras, sycamore, tulip poplar, and hickory

Despite picking the best tree logs you can grow your spawn on, the growth of your shiitake mushrooms will still depend on how well you manage them by controlling moisture, temperature, and a few other factors necessary for their growth.

Ideal Growing Conditions for Shiitake (Temperature, Humidity)

Although growing shiitake mushrooms requires some specialized skills and strategies, cultivators still grow them because they are a favorite culinary ingredient. If …

Desiree Vilar in Mushroom Farming
7 Hacks to Speed Up Mushroom Growth Dramatically
Increase Mushroom Yield with 7 Surprising Hacks
Speed Up Mycelium Growth with 7 Surprising Hacks
Mushroom Farming Requirements: Full Overview (2023)

End of content

No more pages to load