A Guide To Knowing How To Grow Wine Cap Mushrooms In Your Garden

If you are a gardener and looking to start getting involved with mushrooms and mushroom cultivation, then one of the best types of mushroom to consider are wine cap mushrooms.

The reason for this is that they will be a perfect match for a vegetable, shrub, or even a flower bed when they start to grow, and this also means that they require very little effort to look after as well!

A Guide To Growing Wine Cap Mushrooms In Your Garden

The scientific name for wine cap mushrooms is stropharia rugosoannulata, but you can also find them being called King stropharia, as well as a garden giant mushroom.

These mushrooms are well known for their size, as well as being meaty as well. They have a red wine colored cap which is the main reason for their name.

Their flavor is incredibly mushroom-y while also having subtle hints of potato, and even a little red wine note of flavor.

A lot of mushroom experts are fond of wine cap mushrooms because they are incredibly easy to grow due to how adaptable they are.

They can be grown easily in an outdoor bed, including garden beds, and work best in temperate climates. If you want to learn more about these mushrooms and how to grow them, keep reading!

Why To Grow Wine Cap Mushrooms

As we mentioned in the introduction, not only are wine cap mushrooms flavorful, but they can adapt to most environments making them easy to grow and produce a consistent harvest.

If you already have wood chips, or straw to use as a mulch, then you already have almost everything you need to get going with wine cap mushrooms.

Wine cap mushrooms feed on organic matter that is dead or decaying, they will feed on your mulch which will break it down and then release nutrients into your soil which can be used by other plants!

You will find that wine cap mushrooms will behave like fungus that is naturally in your garden beds, however, it will instead produce mushrooms that are edible.

All you have to do is refresh your bed with a new layer of mulch every one or two years, and you will continue getting wine cap mushrooms harvests for years.

You can even find it spreading into other beds continuing its positive cycle in the soil.

You do not have to be an expert to recognize them either as their size, appearance, and color is unique, and you should avoid eating mushrooms that you are unable to identify.

What You Need To Start Growing Wine Cap Mushrooms

The minimum you need to get started with growing wine cap mushrooms is a growing medium, known as a substrate, and the spawn of the mushroom which will be used to inoculate the substrate.

The best choice for a substrate for wine cap mushrooms is untreated hardwood chips, and the second best to this is untreated straw.

However, you can also use untreated hardwood sawdust, or a leaf or dried plant mulch. You can also use a cold compost pile that has woody plant matter.

Now when it comes to getting spawn for wine cap mushrooms, you can use grain spawn, and this will be the easiest for beginners to work with.

However, you could also use an inoculated wood chip, or sawdust spawn instead which is just as simple to use as well.

For slightly more complex options, you could use a liquid culture syringe, or a spore syringe. There is also the option to use wine cap stumps or a clump of live roots as well.

If you are a beginner we do heavily recommend using grain spawn or inoculated spawn.

A grain spawn will look like cooked or sterilized grains, and these have been inoculated using liquid culture or spores already and these will grow to a white fuzz or a root structure that is called mycelium.

Grains are easy for fungi to be able to digest, and this mycelium can grow well in mulch.

If you know someone else who is growing wine cap mushrooms, (see also: The 9 Edible Mushrooms That Grow On Wood: Everything You Need To Know)you can simply use some of their wood chips or stumps to inoculate your garden beds and this is how they were traditionally introduced.

Where To Get Wine Cap Mushroom Spawn

You can actually find the spawn for wine cap mushrooms being sold quite wildly if you do not know anyone who is already growing them in your community.

The best place to find trusted distributors is on Etsy, and occasionally Amazon. If you want to use eBay, this can work, but ensure that they have reputable reviews from people in your country.

A Guide To Growing Wine Cap Mushrooms In Your Garden

Preparing Your Garden For Wine Cap Mushrooms

As we mentioned earlier, if you already have or use mulch in your garden, then you do not actually have to do much to get it prepared for growing wine cap mushrooms since the work has mostly been done already, but this section will give you advice on what to do!

Choosing Where To Grow Wine Cap Mushrooms

As we have mentioned, a wine cap mushroom will grow best in a bed that is well mulched, but as well as this you will also want the space to be a little shady as well.

You can also use wood chips or straw, whatever you use, you want the mulch to be at least a few inches thick.

They thrive in warmer temperatures, but the best temperature for formulating these mushrooms is actually a little below 68 Fahrenheit or 20 Celsius.

This is why the shade will help when the mushroom is fruiting!

This is why we love using a perennial bed when growing wine cap mushrooms. They are even better when there are shrubs or trees to aid with offering shade.

You can also inoculate your wine cap mushroom spawn wherever is best as long as it is heavily mulched and has good shade as well.

This is why annual vegetable beds that have shady vegetables like corn or tomatoes are quite popular for growing wine cap mushrooms as well.

And you can even use cold compost piles as well for growing wine cap mushrooms.

How To Plant Wine Cap Mushrooms With Spawn

If you want to maximize your chances for success when growing wine cap mushroom spawn, then you want to ensure that you are inoculating your mulch in layers.

You want at least an inch of mulch, whether this is untreated chips or straw on the top of the bed. Then you want the spawn to be spread evenly over the mulch layer.

So, if your spawn comes in a block, break this into smaller clumps so you can spread it evenly. Then add a 3 inch layer of mulch on top of this spawn.

Then you want to water this layer well and evenly, if you do this frequently you will aid the mycelium in getting established! That is really how easy it is!

How To Care For Wine Cap Mushrooms

As we have mentioned a few times, caring for wine cap mushrooms, if they are in a well mulched bed and also have some shade, will be very easy.

They will require very little maintenance, and all you really have to do is make sure that the bed is not too dry, while also not too soggy either.

If it is too soggy, the mycelium will drown instead. Make sure the wine cap mushrooms have a good sprinkling of water when you are treating your garden.

Also, wine cap mushrooms will not need any fertilizer either.

But, it is worth mentioning that since the wine cap mushrooms digest your mulch, they will need some more organic matter to break down occasionally, this is why you have to add a fresh layer of mulch every year or two.

If you are able to keep on top of this your harvest will be great and will last for years! 

How Long Wine Cap Mushrooms Take To Grow

There is no exact amount of time it will take for wine cap mushrooms to grow which can frustrate some gardeners.

However, they can take anywhere from around 2 to 3 months up until 8 months for your first flush of wine cap mushrooms to develop.

This will depend on the amount of spawn that was used as well the conditions the wine cap mushrooms were grown in. After this first flush of wine cap mushrooms, the next could come in around 3 to 4 weeks!

These mushrooms will grow best in warm weather specifically, usually around 64 to 75 Fahrenheit or 18 to 24 Celsius.

However, as we mentioned previously the specific temperature that triggers mushroom formation is 68 Fahrenheit or 20 Celsius.

This is why if you inoculate your beds in summer, you will likely get a yield in fall, but if you spawn in spring, depending on temperature, you will get a harvest in summer, or much later if the weather gets a little too hot.

When the wine cap mushrooms emerge they will look like burgundy stones popping from the mulch, after this they will grow rapidly, so check regularly!

When To Harvest Wine Cap Mushrooms

It is worth knowing that the optimal flavor and texture of your wine cap mushrooms will be when they are still quite young, from around to when the cap of the mushroom opens.

After the veil breaks and your cap opens up, you will be able to harvest and then eat them. However, this is not when they are at their best as the flavor will not be as good and the texture will be too spongy.

It is worth noting that you can eat and harvest the baby wine cap mushrooms however, we much prefer a larger and meatier mushroom.

So, when you think it is the best time to harvest the mushrooms, all you have to do is pluck them from the ground.

They will still live once they are plucked, so some gardeners like to cut the base from the stalks and toss them back to the bed. Or instead, you can use these bases to spread the mushrooms to other beds. 

How To Store Wine Cap Mushrooms

These should be stored like any other mushrooms in the refrigerator in a breathable container like a paper bag. In there they will last around a week. You could also dehydrate them to make them last longer.


Hopefully this guide has given you all the information you need on how to best grow wine cap mushrooms and how you should approach this.

We think that if you love mushrooms and want an easy variety to grow yourself, wine cap mushrooms are one of the best options for just how little effort they need!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Do Wine Cap Mushrooms Grow In Nature?

These naturally grow along the edge of forests near decaying plant matter.

Do Wine Cap Mushrooms Harm Other Plants?

No, since they decompose, but do not infect or harm plants!

Amelia Haslehurt
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