Do you have a frog, snake or turtle terrarium and want to add mushrooms to it? Would it work? I wanted to know so I did some digging. Would it work? What about edible mushrooms?
Can you grow mushrooms in a terrarium?
Yes, you can easily grow mushrooms in a terrarium. There are two main ways to do it. The easy way is to get fruiting mushrooms growing on a small stick locally then place that in your terrarium. This way is great but only lasts a few days till the mushroom dies.
The harder and better way is to plant small chunks of mushroom grow kits in the substrate in your terrarium. You can purchase small blocks or logs inoculated with mushroom spawn, cut them into smaller blocks or discs, shock them to fruit using a cold water soak, plant them in your terrarium, then watch them emerge as tiny clumps of mushrooms.
We’ll cover all these methods below.
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Why Grow Mushrooms In A Terrarium
Mushrooms add color, texture, and diversity to any terrarium. Whether you have a terrarium for a few tropical frogs, your pet snake, or just to add some tropical plants indoors, mushrooms make things better.
Pros Of Growing Mushrooms In Terrariums
Some of the benefits of adding mushrooms include:
- Quickly add color and texture – You can add mushrooms instantly even ones you find outside.
- Constantly change the scenery (mushrooms don’t last long so you need to switch them out)
- Give your terrarium an otherworldly look. Mushrooms quickly give the feel of Sci-Fi Bonsai – a miniature off-world scene where your mushrooms look huge next to your tropical frogs.
- Learn a new indoor gardening skill – growing mushrooms from spawn on small sticks. Master this and you could grow a new batch of mushrooms every few weeks or even more if you overlap new harvests.
- You may get volunteer mushrooms – Depending on the substrate you used for your terrarium it may already have spores in it. In time and with enough moisture these could grow into tiny mushrooms you never expected.
Cons Of Growing Mushrooms In Terrariums
Mushrooms come with their own set of issues though. Here’s some of the biggest downsides to adding mushrooms to your terrarium:
- They don’t last long. The mushroom itself is just a fruit that lasts a few days to a week. Take some video and make it last! Better yet, buy spawn and learn to grow new mushroom sticks over and over.
- Not a ton of mushroom spawn for small decorative mushrooms. Most spawn you find online is built for eating or medicine. It is true that there are some very colorful oyster mushrooms out there. You may be bored with this quickly.
- Poisonous frogs could make your mushrooms poisonous if they touch them. If you do decide to grow edible mushrooms (since they are more available to buy) and you raise poison dart frogs remember not to eat the mushrooms.
- You’ll need to disturb the soil if you plan on doing soil mushrooms. See instructions below and video demo.
- Adding plug spawn to a stick takes time – It can take weeks or months for the mycelium to fully spread throughout the stick and fruit new mushrooms. Stick based decorations are always best to gather from the wild or to commit yourself to make a new batch every week.
Common Mushroom Grow Kits You Can Add to Your Terrarium
Other Places To Get Mushroom Spawn
While you can get a good number of decorative edible mushroom kits to add to your terrarium off Amazon they aren’t the only game in town.
Also check Etsy for both mushroom log kits as well as mushroom kits.
I was able to find an awesome log kit for chicken of the woods, a bright orange beauty that’s one of my favorites.
It’s a true log kit though unlock the shittake versions we showed early. The shiitake kits come on sawdust shaped into a log.
This kit is actually grown on a true log. That means you’ll need to saw it into smaller discs then use the instructions below to plant those discs into your terrarium.
How To Grow Mushrooms In A Terrarium
We’ll use the video below to quickly walk you through growing mushrooms in your own terrarium.
The video below assumes you want to make a terrarium solely for mushrooms. Yes, you can do this and it looks great.
But what if you want to add mushrooms to an existing terrarium? To do that we’ll need to adjust the directions below slightly.
This works great for some of the colorful oyster kits we discussed above.
- Acquire a block of mushroom spawn. Click on one of the pictures above or simply google mushroom grow kit then find the type of mushroom you’d like to grow.
- Cut a small square of the block.
- Wrap the remaining block in plastic and store it in the dark. You’ll end up using a new piece each time you want to grow a new set of mushrooms.
- Wrap it in tin foil leaving the top open.
- Check the directions of your kit. Some will have you soak the block in water for 6 hours. Others will simply require you to water it. If it needs soaking then do this now. The tin foil will help keep it together while soaking.
- Place it into the existing terrarium soil with the open part of the foil face up. This is the area the mushrooms will grow out of.
- Cover with moss or something decorative to help hold in the moisture but not too dense that it still doesn’t get a little light.
- Water daily with a spray mister 1-2 times a day.
- In 7-21 days mushrooms will emerge and grow to full size.
- When they die back you can start over with a new piece from your mushroom block.
Can You Do This With Frogs, Snakes, Or Other Animals?
Absolutely. Mushrooms will not harm your frog, snake or other terrarium dweller. They’ll give it something new to explore keeping them happy.
Just be careful with poison dart frogs and other animals that have a poisonous residue on their skin.
If you choose to grow edible mushrooms never eat them if they’re grown inside the same terrarium as something poisonous.
Use these for decorations only.