A Morel mushroom is a sandy brown meaty-textured wild mushroom that grows around dying trees and dead woods in hot and wet areas of America.

Every spring season, skilled hunters head to the woods for morel mushroom foraging since the conditions favoring the growth of this highly sought-after mushroom are unpredictable. Several reasons dictate the mushroom’s soaring prices.

One of the prominent reasons is that morel mushrooms are difficult to find in the dead woods and underbrushes due to their sandy brown color. Also, you can rarely find morels in the same place twice. Hence you can’t predict where to find them.

Additionally, morel mushrooms are only available within a short season (March-June). Coupled with the fact that they are highly perishable, morel hunters find it challenging to harvest and preserve, which explains why it’s been difficult commercializing them.

Thanks to innovation! You can now grow this tasty and nutritious fungal species at home as scientists have found various ways of growing it.

This article provides a step-by-step guide to growing morel mushrooms indoors and outdoors.

If you are keen to know what nutritional value you can get from morel mushrooms, then please check our comprehensive breakdown including proteins, vitamins, minerals and in morel mushrooms. 

For mushroom prices, please check the mushroom price insights for United States 

Now back to how to grow morel mushrooms. 

How to grow morel mushrooms at home

Growing Morel mushrooms at home have a 40% success rate, indoors or outdoors. Here, we will explore the different indoor and outdoor ways of growing morel mushrooms at home.

How to grow morel mushrooms outdoors

The best time to grow morel mushrooms outdoors is between late summer and early fall to allow enough time for the morels to grow and mature. 

Here are two ways you can grow morel mushrooms outdoors:

1. Using morel mushroom spawn [The Grow Kit & Spawn method]

i:  Choosing mushroom bed location

Find a 4 by 4-foot shady area which is well drained and remove all the top dressing until the mineral earth is exposed.

ii: Mixing your spawn bed substrate mixture

Mix the following together:

  • 10 gallons of peat moss
  • 1 gallon of gypsum (calcium sulfate)
  • 5 gallons of ash from wood chips (hardwoods like Apple trees, Ash and Elm are preferred)
  • Mix in 5 pounds of Morel spawn
iii: Laying your mushroom bed
  • Fill your bed area with about 4 inches of substrate.
  • Add an inch of hardwood woods
  • Saturate the area with water
  • Wait till it’s the morel season

2. Using Morel Mushroom Spore Slurry

This process involves mixing billions of morel spores with water into twenty 5-gallon buckets and pouring them where you want to grow your morels.

8/20 of the places you pour the morel spores are expected to produce morels (40% success rate)

Making the morel spore slurry

i: Blending the material
  • 1 dry/fresh morel mushroom (rinsed in filtered water)
  • 1 cup of fresh wood shaving/boiled rye gains
  • Filtered water
  • Blend lightly into chunks the size of the kernel corn.
ii: In a 5-gallon bucket, mix the following
  • Your blended mixture
  • Filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons of non-sulfured molasses
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Put an air pump in the bottom of the bucket
  • Cover the bucket with a towel (at 60-80°) and let it sit for 24-48 hours with the air pump running.
iii: Spreading the slurry mixture
  • Take the other nineteen 5-gallon buckets and evenly spread your slurry mixture on them while you fill the rest with filtered water.
  • Add 1 cup of fresh wood ash into each slurry bucket before dumping the slurry.
iv: Dumping the morel slurry
  • Find a shady area (preferably around tree roots) and dump one of the buckets.
  • Cover the dumped area with a few inches of hardwood chips, then lightly press them into the soil.
  • Keep the area moist by watering for 1-2 weeks, and wait till it’s the morel season.

You can learn more about the morel mushroom spore slurry method from this 8-minute YouTube tutorial.

How to grow morel mushrooms indoors

Morels were unsuccessful indoors until 1982, when Ron Ower, for the first time, figured out a way to grow them and filed and received two patents.

In this guide, we’ll look at how to grow Morel mushrooms indoors from spores. But before then, how do you grow your own morel mushroom spores?

How to grow your own Morel mushroom spawn/spores

You can grow your spawn from the spores you collected from the woods or bought from the store. A spawn is the vegetative growth of the morel mushroom, coupled with the material on which it was grown.

Here’s what you need to grow your own morel spawn from scratch:

  • A canning jar
  • A petri dish
  • Some agar
  • A sharp blade/knife
  • Mature morel mushrooms
  • Growing medium/soil alternative (You can use hemp seed, annual ryegrass seeds, rapeseeds or rice)

Let’s get growing your own morel spawn:

i: Preparing the grain media

  • Soak the grain for 24 hours
  • Drain the water
  • Mix the grain with potting soil in a ratio of  5:1

ii: Sterilizing the grain media

Put the grain media into a canning jar and sterilize it by heating it in a pressure cooker at 15 psi for 1 hour.

iii: Collecting the spores

Collect the spores of a morale mushroom by holding it upside down over a freshly prepared petri dish with agar, gently tapping the mushroom. You should see spores falling into the agar.

iv: Growing the first mycelia strands

Cover and seal the petri dish. Place it in a place with temperatures 13-26°. Some spores will start to grow their first mycelial strands in the dish.

v: Growing the mycelia strands further

  • When the Petri dish is covered in mycelia (3-5 days), cut out a section, about 1 inch by 1 inch, with a knife, then insert it into the sterilized grain media. Add more agar to the remaining section of the petri dish so that the mycelia continues to grow.
  • Shake thoroughly and mix your canning jar with the grain media and the mycelia. You should see the mycelia strands growing through the grain media in a few weeks. 

vi: Collecting your own Morel mushroom spawn

Open the jar in an aerated room for oxygen to stimulate their growth. Once the jar has mycelium strands throughout the grain media, consider this your own morel mushroom spawn.

How to grow morel mushrooms from spores

You already have the mushroom spores, self-made or purchased. It’s time to grow your morels! Here’s what you need to grow morels:

  • Sand
  • Potting soil
  • Grain media
  • oven/autoclave bags
  • Tray with drainage holes
  • Mushroom substrate
  • Organic matter (10% rice hulls, 5% peat moss, 5% soybean meal, 80% hardwood chips from elm, apple, or maple trees)
  • Some lime (optional) to increase soil pH

Let’s grow your morels indoors:

i:  Preparing the morel mushroom substrate

Gather the ingredients for the mushroom substrate (30% sand, 20% potting soil, 50% organic matter)

ii:  Spreading the substrate

Fill your tray with 2 inches of substrate, saturate it with water, and then allow it to drain completely.

iii: Sterilizing your substrate

Place the substrate tray into an autoclave or oven bag with a filtered closure. Sterilize at 15 psi for an hour.

iv: Mixing spawn with the substrate

When cool, open the autoclave bag and evenly mix half a cup of spawn with the substrate using a flame-sterilized spoon. Close the bag and store it in a cool dark place. 

After 4-6 weeks, you should see a hardened fungal mycelium that contains food reserves (sclerotia) covering the surface of the substrate. It should be hard, dark and shaped like seeds. This is called spawn run.

v: Refrigerating the substrate

Once the sclerotia cover the entire surface of the substrate, refrigerate for 2 weeks (3.3-4.4°).

vi: Transfering the substrate tray

Remove the substrate tray from the bag and place it in your grow room. Slowly pour distilled water at 18-26° at a rate of 1.5-2.5 ounces per hour/square foot of the substrate. 

Allow the substrate to drain for up to 24 hours, ensuring enough sunlight and over 90% humidity in the room. Don’t have a humidifier? Spray water droplets on the substrate twice, daily, using a spray bottle.

vii: Regulating moisture and temperature

Lower the moisture level to 60% and raise the temperature to 21-22.7° on noticing baby mushroom caps (primordia). Use grow lights for 12 hours. Moisture should be at 50% and temperatures at 22.7- 25° when the caps mature.

viii: Collecting your morel mushrooms

You can collect your indoor-grown morel mushrooms by cutting them at the base when matured. New mushrooms may also regrow.

Have 4 minutes to watch a demo? You can learn how to grow morel mushrooms indoors in less than 2 months from this YouTube video.

Over to you

You may want to learn other ways of growing morel mushrooms, including how to grow morel mushrooms from liquid culture, how to grow morel mushrooms from inoculated trees and how to grow morel mushrooms in a greenhouse.

What else would you like to know concerning growing morel mushrooms? We’re happy to help.