Plants That Love Mushroom Compost

Mushroom compost is used as a soil conditioner and a mulch. High in organic matter, it enhances the structure of your soil and providing nutrients for healthy plants. It’s slightly alkaline, and should not be used with ericaceous plants, which thrive in acid soils.

Mushroom compost can be a gardener’s best friend This compost is made from a variety of organic materials that have been specially blended and aged to provide optimal growing conditions for mushrooms Once the mushrooms have been harvested, the remaining compost is a rich, fertile medium that can benefit many plants in your garden when applied properly. In this article, we’ll look at which types of plants thrive with aged mushroom compost.

What Makes Mushroom Compost So Special?

Typical mushroom compost contains a blend of materials like straw, hay, peat moss, gypsum, and chicken manure. It undergoes a managed composting process that heats the materials to kill weed seeds and break down the organic matter. This precise combination of ingredients, along with the careful composting method, is what makes mushroom compost an excellent growing medium for fungi.

Once the mushrooms have been grown and harvested, the compost retains many beneficial properties. It has a loose, crumbly texture that aerates the soil. The composting process has reduced the carbon-nitrogen ratio, so the remaining compost has a good balance of nutrients for plants. Mushroom compost can also help retain moisture in the soil.

Plants That Thrive With Mushroom Compost

Many plants in your garden will appreciate being planted in soil amended with aged mushroom compost, Here are some top plant choices


Most vegetables grow exceptionally well when planted in beds enhanced with mushroom compost. The compost provides slow-release nutrition and retains moisture while keeping the soil loose enough for plant roots to grow unimpeded. Some great veggies to try include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Greens
  • Root crops like carrots, potatoes, and radishes

Simply mix 1-3 inches of mushroom compost into the top 6-8 inches of your garden beds before planting. You’ll be rewarded with healthier, more productive veggie plants.

Flowers and Shrubs

Both annual and perennial flowering plants, as well as shrubs and bushes, benefit greatly from mushroom compost. The compost supplies nutrients, enhances moisture retention, and keeps the soil loose and well-aerated around plant roots. Excellent choices include:

  • Annuals like petunias, zinnias, and marigolds
  • Perennials like daylilies, hostas, lavender, and coreopsis
  • Flowering shrubs like roses, hydrangeas, lilacs, and forsythia

Mix compost into flower and shrub beds prior to planting. You can also top-dress established plantings in spring and fall by spreading 1-2 inches of mushroom compost around the base of plants and gently scratching it into the top layer of soil.


If your lawn is looking lackluster, mushroom compost can provide a nutritional boost while also improving moisture retention and soil structure. To improve an existing lawn, apply a 1/2 inch layer of mushroom compost over the grass blades in early spring or fall. Use a rake to gently work the compost down to soil level.

You can also mix compost into the soil when seeding or sodding new lawns. This gives the grass an excellent start by surrounding seeds and roots with nutrient-rich organic matter.


Newly planted trees get a better start when their roots can grow into soil amended with mushroom compost. For best results, dig a wide planting hole and mix compost thoroughly with the removed soil at up to a 1:1 ratio before backfilling around the tree’s roots.

Established trees also benefit from annual top-dressing with mushroom compost. This mimics the natural leaf litter and organic debris that would accumulate around trees in nature. Apply 1-2 inches of compost around the base of trees and gently scratch it into the top layer of soil.

Container Plants

The moisture-retaining properties of mushroom compost make it an ideal addition to potting mixes for container plants. While compost alone is too dense for containers, blended at a 1:4 ratio with a commercial potting soil, it will provide great nutrition and water-holding capacity. Be sure to use aged, fully-cured mushroom compost for best results in containers.

Using Mushroom Compost Safely

While mushroom compost offers many benefits in the garden, a few precautions are advised:

  • Test the compost’s pH and salt content before applying it broadly, as these can sometimes be outside the ideal range for plants.

  • Avoid using fresh, uncomposted mushroom substrate, as this may contain harmful pathogens. Make sure compost has been fully aged, cured, and purchased from a reliable source.

  • Don’t over-apply – a little goes a long way. Excess compost can compromise soil structure.

  • Don’t assume mushroom compost meets all nutritional needs. Test soil periodically and supplement with organic fertilizers as needed.

When used judiciously, mushroom compost can be a wonderful soil conditioner and organic fertilizer source for many plants. Follow the guidelines here to safely enhance your garden soil and grow thriving plants.

Why should you use mushroom compost?

plants that like mushroom compost

You can make your soil better by adding mushroom compost. This will give plants the air, water, and nutrients they need to grow well.

Mushroom compost has a lot of organic matter, which makes all types of soil better, from heavy clay to light sand that drains easily. Organic matter makes the structure and air flow of soil better while also making it better at holding water and draining. Traditionally, manure or compost would be incorporated into soils through single- or double-digging. More recent “no-dig” methods suggest leaving the soil’s structure alone and covering the flower or vegetable bed with a thick layer of compost. Then, soil organisms like worms, beetles, and millipedes should slowly work the compost into the soil.

Mushroom compost also provides the nutrients that plants need to grow well. The three most important nutrients for plants in soil are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Magnesium, calcium, and sulfur are also very important. These nutrients work together to help plants grow strongly and produce flowers and fruit. They are particularly important on the vegetable patch as vegetable crops need a lot of nutrients. Plant roots can get nutrients from dead plants, manure, and other organic matter that is broken down by invertebrates, bacteria, and fungi in the soil. Mushroom compost is slightly alkaline, with a pH of 6. 5-7, which is suitable for a wide range of ornamental plants. It’s also good for many kinds of vegetables, like brassicas (which are related to cabbage) because the higher pH protects against club root and tomatoes because the higher calcium levels protect against blossom end rot.

Mushroom compost might have less nitrogen than other composts because the mushrooms that were grown on it used up all the nitrogen. Lower nitrogen levels, on the other hand, will encourage the growth of flowers and fruit, while high nitrogen levels can tell the plant to focus on making leaves.

When to use mushroom compost

Spread a 5 cm thick layer of mushroom compost over the soil’s surface in the spring to use as mulch and to improve the soil’s health. If spreading it on vegetable beds, leave for a week after application before sowing seeds.

Plants That Do Not Like Mushroom Compost – Quick Guide


What grows best in mushroom compost?

Mushroom compost is excellent on the vegetable garden, as vegetable crops usually grow best when th soil is not acid and where the soil is alkaline brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts and kale) are less likely to be infected by clubroot disease.

What plants are not good with mushroom compost?

Mushroom compost is also high in salt, which can be problematic for some plants such as blueberries, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas. These soluble salts along with other nutrients in fresh mushroom compost are too concentrated to germinate seeds or plant young seedlings.

Is mushroom compost suitable for all plants?

Mushroom compost is suitable for most garden plants. It supports various types of plant growth, from fruits and vegetables to herbs and flowers. To get the greatest results when organic gardening with mushroom compost, thoroughly mix it in with the garden soil prior to planting.

What are the disadvantages of mushroom compost?

The soluble salts and other nutrients in mushroom compost can be too concentrated for germinating seeds, young plants, and other sensitive plants; this includes plants such as rhododendrons. Using too much mushroom compost can ‘burn’ your plants.

What plants don’t like mushroom compost?

However, there are some plants that don’t like mushroom compost. For example, the ericaceous plant family, such as hydrangeas, blueberries, aster, azalea, Japanese Marple, and holly does not thrive in mushroom compost due to its alkalinity. Ericaceous plants require acidity, which mushroom compost lacks.

Do plants like mushroom compost?

Plants That Don’t Like Mushroom Compost (Good or Bad?) Most of the time, mushroom compost is highly beneficial for plants. But this type of compost has a slightly different chemical composition, which for some plants can be problematic. So even if you think you’re doing your garden some good, a few plants just don’t like mushroom compost.

Is mushroom compost a good substitute for soil?

Mushroom compost itself is not a suitable replacement for soil. While it works quite well for growing mushrooms, it isn’t as good for other plants. A good mix of 25% spent mushroom compost to 75% soil is a good ratio to start out with for container use, and you can fine-tune it from there. It’s definitely a viable soil amendment.

Is mushroom compost good for soil?

It’s true that mushroom compost can be good for your soil – but there are caveats. Ultimately, the impact of this compost depends on different factors. These include soil, the plants you are growing, and the quantity you add to your soil. So before you rush out and start using mushroom compost on your soil, let’s take a detailed look at it.

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