Master Guide: How To Grow Turkey Tail Mushrooms at Home

Master Guide: How To Grow Turkey Tail Mushrooms at Home

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to grow Turkey Tail mushrooms in the comfort of your own home. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a beginner, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to successfully cultivate these nutritious and beautiful mushrooms. Turkey Tail mushrooms have gained popularity in recent years due to their promising health benefits, and growing them at home is an excellent way to ensure you have a fresh supply on hand.

Key Takeaways

  • Learning how to grow Turkey Tail mushrooms at home is a simple yet rewarding process.
  • Understanding the characteristics and ideal growing conditions for these mushrooms is crucial for successful cultivation.
  • Selecting the appropriate growing medium and sourcing high-quality spores are essential steps.
  • Creating the perfect growing environment and providing proper care and maintenance are key factors in achieving healthy and abundant mushroom growth.
  • Harvesting and storing your mature Turkey Tail mushrooms correctly will help maintain their flavor and freshness.

Understanding Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Before embarking on your Turkey Tail mushroom growing journey, it’s essential to understand the characteristics and benefits of these fascinating fungi.

The Basics

Turkey Tail mushrooms, scientifically known as Trametes versicolor, are a type of polypore mushroom found throughout the world. They typically grow on dead or decaying hardwood trees such as oaks, maples, and birches.

As their name suggests, Turkey Tail mushrooms have a distinctive shape and texture that resembles the tail feathers of a turkey. Their powerful medicinal properties have been valued in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries, and they are now gaining popularity in Western medicine as well.

Health Benefits

Turkey Tail mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants, polysaccharides, and beta-glucans that boost the immune system and promote overall health. Research has shown that they have potent anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-viral properties, making them a valuable addition to any diet.

Health Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushrooms


Boosts Immune System

1, 2

Anti-inflammatory Properties

3, 4

Anti-Cancer Properties

5, 6

Anti-Viral Properties

7, 8

Ideal Growing Conditions

To grow healthy and abundant Turkey Tail mushrooms, it’s crucial to replicate their natural growing conditions as closely as possible. This means providing the right temperature, humidity, and light.

  • Temperature: Turkey Tail mushrooms thrive in cool temperatures ranging from 55-65°F.
  • Humidity: They require high humidity levels of 85-95% to promote growth and prevent drying out.
  • Light: While Turkey Tail mushrooms don’t require direct sunlight, they do need some light to grow. Indirect natural light or LED lights can be used for this purpose.

With a solid understanding of Turkey Tail mushrooms, their benefits, and growing conditions, you’re ready to move on to the next step – choosing the right growing medium.

Choosing the Right Growing Medium

Growing medium selection plays a critical role in the success of your Turkey Tail mushroom cultivation. Selecting the right medium depends on several factors, including your experience, climate, and available resources.

Hardwood logs

Hardwood logs are a popular growing medium for outdoor mushroom cultivation. Turkey Tails grow best on logs harvested from deciduous trees such as oak, maple, and birch. Logs should be fresh-cut and untreated to avoid any chemical contamination. The logs should be soaked in water for a few days to allow them to fully absorb moisture before inoculation.


Straw is an excellent choice for indoor mushroom cultivation as it is clean, easily sourced, and provides a good substrate for Turkey Tails. Turkey Tails grown on straw require frequent misting and a humid environment to maintain moisture levels.


Sawdust is another popular growing medium for Turkey Tails. It is widely available, easy to handle, and often used for indoor mushroom cultivation. However, sawdust-based substrate requires specialized equipment such as pressure cookers and mushroom bags.

Once you have chosen your growing medium, it is essential to prepare it properly for inoculation. Preparing the substrate involves sterilization to prevent contamination and to promote the growth of mushroom mycelium. The sterilization process requires either a pressure cooker or hot water bath depending on the substrate.

Sourcing Turkey Tail Mushroom Spores

Acquiring high-quality Turkey Tail mushroom spores is essential for successful cultivation. The spores serve as the starting point for the growth of your mushrooms and play a critical role in their overall health and yield. In this section, we will explore different sources for obtaining spores and guide you through the process of selecting, purchasing, and storing them properly.

Where to Find Turkey Tail Mushroom Spores

There are several sources available for Turkey Tail mushroom spores. The most common are online retailers, mushroom cultivation supply stores, and experienced growers. Before purchasing your spores, ensure that the supplier is reputable and that the spores are of high quality.

Online retailers such as Amazon and Etsy offer a wide range of Turkey Tail mushroom spores. When selecting a seller, look for positive customer reviews and check that the spores are suitable for home cultivation. You can also purchase spores from mushroom cultivation supply stores. These stores offer a variety of spores and often have knowledgeable staff who can advise you on which strain is best for your growing conditions.

If you have a friend or acquaintance who is an experienced mushroom cultivator, they may be willing to share or sell spores to you. Not only can this be a cost-effective option, but it also ensures that you receive high-quality spores from a trusted source.

Selecting and Storing Turkey Tail Mushroom Spores

When selecting Turkey Tail mushroom spores, ensure that they are suitable for your growing conditions. Consider factors such as the temperature and humidity requirements of the strain, as well as the type of growing medium you plan to use. Ensure that the spores are fresh and have not been exposed to contaminants.

When storing your spores, keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Spores can be stored in a sterile syringe or a print, which is a method of collecting spores using a piece of paper. If using a print, ensure that it is placed in a sterile container to prevent contamination.

Tip: It’s a good idea to order extra spores as a backup in case of contamination or other issues.

Creating the Ideal Growing Environment

Creating the perfect growing environment is essential in cultivating healthy and abundant Turkey Tail mushrooms. By providing the ideal temperature, humidity, and light conditions, you can ensure successful growth and a bountiful harvest.


The ideal temperature range for growing Turkey Tail mushrooms is between 60°F – 80°F or 15.5°C – 26.5°C. Temperatures that are too low or too high can result in slow growth or inhibit fruiting altogether. Consider using a thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust the heat source as necessary.


Maintaining proper humidity levels is crucial in growing Turkey Tail mushrooms. The ideal humidity range is between 80% – 90%. Inadequate humidity can cause the mushrooms to dry out, while excess humidity can promote bacterial and fungal growth. Consider using a humidifier or a spray bottle to maintain the optimal humidity level.


Turkey Tail mushrooms do not require direct sunlight to grow. In fact, exposing them to direct sunlight can cause the mushrooms to dry out and inhibit growth. Indirect sunlight or low-level artificial light is sufficient for their growth. Consider using a low wattage bulb or natural light filtered through a window or curtain.

Inoculating Your Growing Medium

Now that you have prepared your growing medium, it’s time to inoculate it with Turkey Tail mushroom spores. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Prepare the spore solution by mixing the spores with water or sterilized malt extract. The ratio of spores to water should be 1:10.
  2. Using a sterilized syringe, inject the spore solution evenly into the growing medium. The amount of spore solution required will depend on the size of your medium.
  3. Seal the inoculated medium with wax or plastic to prevent contamination and place it in a warm, dark location that maintains a consistent temperature of 65-75°F (18-24°C).
  4. Wait patiently for the spores to colonize the medium. This process can take several weeks to a few months, depending on the growing conditions and type of medium used.

It’s crucial to maintain a clean and sterile environment while inoculating your growing medium to prevent contamination. Wear gloves and use sterilized equipment to avoid introducing harmful bacteria, fungi, or other microorganisms into your growing environment. If you notice any signs of contamination, such as unusual odor, discoloration, or abnormal growth patterns, take action immediately by removing the affected medium and sterilizing the area.

Caring for Your Turkey Tail Mushrooms

As your Turkey Tail mushrooms begin to grow, it’s essential to provide them with proper care to ensure their health and vitality. Here are some essential tips for caring for your mushrooms:


Mushrooms need a consistent level of moisture to grow correctly, so it’s vital to keep the growing medium moist but not waterlogged. Use a spray bottle to mist the surface of the growing medium regularly, and make sure it doesn’t dry out. Avoid using chlorinated water as it can harm the mycelium, which is critical to the growth of your mushrooms.


A well-ventilated growing environment is essential for healthy mushroom growth. Turkey Tail mushrooms thrive in rooms with fresh air circulation, so make sure to open a window or use a fan to keep the air circulating. Avoid placing your mushroom-growing containers in direct sunlight or near vents, as they can dry out your mushrooms.

Pest Management

Keeping your growing area clean and free of pests is critical to the success of your mushroom cultivation. Turkey Tail mushrooms are susceptible to pest infestations, such as mites and flies, which can damage and infect the mushrooms. Regularly check your growing area for signs of pests and remove any contaminated materials immediately. You can also use natural pest deterrents, such as neem oil or diatomaceous earth, to help control pest infestations.

Monitoring Growth

Regularly monitoring your Turkey Tail mushroom growth is essential to catch any issues early on. Watch for signs of abnormal growth, such as discoloration or unusual texture, which could be indicative of contamination or other problems. Address any issues as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your mushrooms.

By following these simple caring tips, you can ensure your Turkey Tail mushrooms grow healthy and abundant.

Harvesting and Storing Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Harvesting your Turkey Tail mushrooms at the right time is essential to ensure they retain their optimal flavor and texture. Timing varies based on the growing conditions and the desired size of the mushrooms. Generally, Turkey Tail mushrooms are ready to harvest when they reach 2-3 inches in diameter and have a flexible but firm texture.

To harvest, gently twist and pull the mushroom from the growing medium, ensuring the entire stem is removed. Be careful not to damage surrounding mushrooms or the growing medium. If the stem is tough, use a sharp knife or scissors to cut it close to the base of the mushroom.

Once harvested, your Turkey Tail mushrooms should be stored properly to maintain their freshness. For short term storage, place the mushrooms in a paper bag and store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Avoid storing them in plastic bags as this can cause them to become slimy.

For long-term storage, you can dehydrate the mushrooms by slicing them thinly and placing them in a dehydrator or oven set to a low temperature. Once dehydrated, store the mushrooms in an airtight container away from moisture and heat. Rehydrate the mushrooms by soaking them in hot water for 30 minutes before use.

Keep in mind that Turkey Tail mushrooms have a tough and woody texture, so they are best used in soups, stews, and teas where they can infuse their flavor and nutrients. You can also incorporate them into your favorite recipes by grinding them into a powder or making a concentrated extract.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even though Turkey Tail mushrooms are relatively easy to cultivate, growers may encounter issues during the growth cycle. It’s essential to diagnose and address these challenges promptly to avoid compromising the crop’s overall quality and yield. Here are some common problems that may arise and how to troubleshoot them:


Contamination is a prevalent issue among mushroom growers, including those cultivating Turkey Tail mushrooms. It occurs when unwanted organisms, such as bacteria, mold, or other fungi, colonize the growing medium, competing with mushroom mycelium for nutrients and space. As a result, your mushrooms may fail to thrive or develop strange symptoms, such as discoloration, foul odor, or unusual texture.

To prevent contamination, it’s essential to maintain strict hygiene standards throughout the cultivation process. Always wash your hands and sterilize all equipment, including the growing medium, before use. Use a clean, well-ventilated workspace, and avoid touching the mushrooms with bare hands.

If you notice signs of contamination, it’s best to remove the affected mushrooms and dispose of them properly to avoid spreading the problem. You may also try adjusting the environmental conditions, such as increasing ventilation or lowering humidity, to discourage the growth of unwanted organisms.

Slow Growth

Another issue that growers may face is slow or stunted mushroom growth. This problem may result from various factors, such as inadequate nutrition, improper temperature or humidity, or low-quality spores. Slow growth can lead to smaller or misshapen mushrooms and lower overall yield.

To address slow growth, ensure that your mushrooms have access to adequate nutrition, such as nitrogen-rich substrates. Monitor the temperature and humidity levels regularly, and adjust them as needed to meet the mushrooms’ requirements. You may also want to double-check the quality of your spores and try a different source if necessary.

Abnormal Fruiting

Abnormal fruiting refers to the production of malformed or misshapen mushrooms, which may result from genetic mutations, environmental stress, or disease. While abnormal fruiting may not necessarily affect the mushrooms’ taste or nutrition, it can reduce their aesthetic appeal and market value.

To prevent abnormal fruiting, maintain consistent environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and light exposure. Avoid exposing your mushrooms to extreme temperatures, moisture, or direct sunlight, which can cause stress and deformity. Also, make sure to use high-quality spores from reputable sources and avoid reusing old or contaminated growing media.


That’s it! You’re now ready to embark on your journey of growing Turkey Tail mushrooms at home. We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need to have a successful cultivation experience. Remember, growing mushrooms can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it can also be challenging at times.

Stay Patient

It’s important to remember that mushroom cultivation is often a waiting game. Sometimes growth can be slow, and problems may arise that require your attention. But don’t worry, with patience and perseverance, you’ll be able to overcome any obstacles that arise.

Enjoy the Process

Remember to enjoy every step of the process, from preparing the growing medium to harvesting your mature mushrooms. Nothing beats the feeling of growing your own nutritious and beautiful fungi at home.

Experiment and Have Fun

Finally, feel free to experiment with different growing techniques and methods. Every mushroom grower has their own unique style and approach to cultivation. Don’t be afraid to try new things and have fun with it!

Thank you for reading, and happy growing!


How long does it take to grow Turkey Tail mushrooms?

The growth cycle of Turkey Tail mushrooms can vary, but on average, it takes about 6-12 months for the mushrooms to fully mature.

Can I grow Turkey Tail mushrooms indoors?

Yes, Turkey Tail mushrooms can be grown indoors. You will need to create a suitable growing environment with the right temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions.

Do Turkey Tail mushrooms have any health benefits?

Yes, Turkey Tail mushrooms are known for their numerous health benefits. They contain compounds that can boost the immune system, support gut health, and have antioxidant properties.

Can I use coffee grounds as a growing medium for Turkey Tail mushrooms?

Coffee grounds alone are not suitable as a growing medium for Turkey Tail mushrooms. They can be used as a supplement, but you will need to mix them with other materials like hardwood sawdust or straw.

How often should I water my Turkey Tail mushrooms?

Turkey Tail mushrooms require consistent moisture, but overwatering can lead to contamination. It’s best to mist your growing medium daily to maintain the right level of moisture.

How do I know when it’s time to harvest my Turkey Tail mushrooms?

Turkey Tail mushrooms are ready for harvest when they have reached their full size and the edges start to curl inward. You can also gently tug on the mushroom caps, and if they come off easily, they are ready to be harvested.

How should I store harvested Turkey Tail mushrooms?

To store harvested Turkey Tail mushrooms, place them in a paper bag or a breathable container and store them in the refrigerator. They can stay fresh for up to two weeks when stored properly.

What should I do if I encounter contamination in my growing medium?

If you notice contamination in your growing medium, remove the infected area immediately to prevent it from spreading. You may also need to adjust your sterilization techniques to prevent future contamination.

Can I reuse the growing medium for multiple mushroom batches?

It is possible to reuse the growing medium for multiple mushroom batches, but it’s crucial to properly sterilize the medium between batches to prevent contamination. Reusing the medium can also result in reduced yields over time.

Are Turkey Tail mushrooms safe to consume?

When grown and harvested correctly, Turkey Tail mushrooms are safe to consume. However, always exercise caution and ensure you are properly identifying the mushrooms before consuming them.