Growing Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake is one of the most iconic mushrooms. It is one of the go-to mushrooms for both beginners and professionals. And even though it requires special skills ad methods to grow them, it is the most cultivated species globally. It has a long shelf-life; when properly cultivated, it produces fantastic fruit, making it a culinary delight. 

Methods of growing shiitake

There are various methods of growing shiitake. The recognized traditional growth method originated in Japan a few decades ago. The shiitake mushrooms were cultivated on logs of hardwood and stumps.

There's also the "soak and strike" method, where you soak inoculated logs of hardwood, then you strike them with a hammer, which causes the logs to fruit.

Commercial cultivators use hardwood sawdust fruiting blocks for growing their shiitake mushroom which gives them profitable cultivation. Growing shiitake on logs outdoor is still popular, though.

Best substrates for growing shiitake

Shiitake seems to be picky when it comes to the substrate compared to other mushrooms. Strains of shiitake prefer hardwood as they thrive on them. Don't bank on supplements, as adding supplements at high levels can cause the fruits to be mutated.


You can inoculate your blocks at a high spawn rate. You can use evenly distribute 2.5lbs of spawn between 4 blocks. The colonization rate can be catalyzed by a high spawn rate and supplement the blocks. If you have a very nutritional grain, it can boost overall yield and the time-to-fruit.

 You can get shiitake grain spawn from NootroFx. On the hardwood, our grains have an exceptional growth rate. It makes us unique as some strains have been created to only thrive on straw.

After inoculation under normal lighting conditions at room temperature, you can arrange your blocks on a shelf. You can just monitor it to see how the colonization is progressing.

Colonization of Shiitake Blocks

At first glance, shiitake block has no uniqueness from every other mushroom as the mycelium finds its way through the block. In the blocks, the thickness of the mycelium is not equal. When the block is wholly colonized, it transits to a consolidation phase distinct from other mushrooms.

Mushrooms like Oysters and Reishi start to pin after colonization in some cases before the colonization. On the other hand, continues to consolidate, the mycelium gets strengthened are form large bulbous knots on the outer surface of the blocks. Down the line, the blobs turn out to be "pins."

The blocks will begin to assume a brown color. If you are new to this, you may think it's contamination, but that's not the case; it's a sign that you are doing something right. You should allow your blocks to consolidate for at least 7 weeks to get a desirable result.

Smacking Shiitake

Just like you, we initially felt it was odd. Smacking the blocks help the shiitake fruiting process, which has been proven over the years. Large logs of shiitake are struck with a hammer. The thought behind the smacking is: It is a natural pinning trigger.

The smacking doesn't have to be complicated; mild slaps on every side of the block are enough. Then you can move them into cold shock. 

Cold Shock your Shiitake

Before placing your blocks under fruiting conditions, cold shock them; this process helps initiate the pinning. It's a form of disguise that informs your mushroom it's winter so they can start blossoming. Cold shocking should last around 14-24 hours.

The easiest way to do this is to put your blocks in a fridge. Leave them for a few hours maximum of 24 hours is recommended. But if you have cold weather in your region, you can just leave your blocks outside overnight. Ice in a container is also another option. Whatever you decide, the goal is to just get your fruiting block cold as possible.

Fruiting Shiitake

Allow the fruiting blocks to sit for a day or a little more after the cold shocking them. Then you can remove them from the grow bags; it helps put the blocks in the fruiting mood.

Before you put your fruiting blocks inside the fruiting chamber, exposing them to the environment is essential. Other mushrooms may not require complete exposure, but this is the case with shiitake. All the sides have to be exposed to the environment.

Humidity and Temperature

Shiitake is not as sensitive to temperature and humidity fluctuation as other mushrooms. Shiitake thrives better under high humidity, especially in the early pinning stages. If you plan multiple flushes on your shiitake block, the fluctuating humidity is good for you as it helps avoid contamination.

The type of strain determines the temperature preference. Shiitake strains thrive under colder temperatures, while warm weather strains have also been developed. The temperature has a significant effect on the quality and size of the fruit. A low temperature of around 16-18oC is a good choice.

Fruiting Development

When you put the blocks inside the fruiting chamber, it takes around 3-4 days fr pins to start to form. They initially appear as cracks on the already brown blobs of mycelium. The growth becomes rapid when the pins form. You only need a few hours to spot the significant difference in fruit size.

Closer to harvest, you will want t to reduce the humidity. Maintain the same fresh air and humidity as much as possible to enjoy a quality harvest.


There's no standard time for harvesting shiitake mushrooms depending on your preference. Though it is worth noting that the small fruits have a longer shelf-life, better texture, and are more flavorful. So you may want to harvest your shiitake before the caps curl.

The overall yield is boosted if the fruit grows more prominent; the drop in quality is quite apparent. Larger fruits have thinner flesh around the caps ad are more prone to injury. Their shelf-life is also shorter, and they can't withstand the temperature in the fridge for long.

When you want to harvest your shiitake use a sharp knife to cut the mushroom from the stem. You should allow them to fall into a container as you cut. Though they are rigid, minimizing damage is also essential. You can store shiitake longer than any other type of mushroom; it can survive in a fridge for close to 12-14 days after harvest.

Multiple flushes

Shiitake fruiting blocks produce multiple flushes. Most time, the second and third flushes yield better results than the first flush. But before you can commence your second or third flush process, resting time for the blocks is essential. Typically you allow the block to dry for at least a week before re-hydrating and going over the process again.

The cold shock may not be necessary for your second and third flush. Just ensure you monitor the block rotate where necessary so that the drying can be even. Once completely dried, you don't have to worry about contamination.

Try Growing Shiitake

Growing shiitake is more engaging than with other species,  but it is not as hectic as you may imagine.

The statements from this article are critical and valuable, but they have not been evaluated by the FDA. Don't see this information as an avenue to self-medicate and ignore proper consultation with your physician. Our products are not meant to be used for preventing, treating, or diagnosing any kind of ill-health.


NootroFx is a Canadian brand based in Vancouver, Canada. At NootroFx, we believe in quality. That's why we try our best to offer our customers nothing short of the best. For all your Mushroom needs, you can shop your product from us. Our products include Mushroom supplements, Mushroom chais, mushroom water, mushroom gummy bear Vitamins, and we also sell mushroom teas. For your premium quality product, you will want to shop with us at NootroxFx.

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