A few of our most frequently asked questions

How does a “donation-based business” work?

Fungaia is a donation-based business. We believe that life is a gift, to be shared. Gift-giving is the touchstone of an economy of abundance: it is generative. We seek a balance between the shared abundance of the living world and the harsh demands of an individualistic, capitalist civilization, a compromise which requires discernment and thoughtfulness on all sides.

We like to think of it as a sliding scale: all of our products are name-your-price, with a suggested donation range that helps us cover costs and sustain the work. We trust our customers to decide on a fair contribution, where more generous donations subsidize those with less.

(From a legal perspective, Fungaia is a for-profit business, and all “donations” are reported as income on our taxes. We accrue the same costs as any other retail business: labor, utilities, rent, postage, materials, packaging costs, insurance, licensing, credit card processing fees, maintenance, product loss. Our margins are small and we do not operate at a scale that can compete with big business. We do our best to stay afloat and reinvest everything we can back into the business. We ask that our customers keep this in mind when comparing our suggested donation amounts with other companies’ prices. There is a hidden cost to cheap merchandise.)

What if I can’t afford the minimum donation?

We are a very small company with slender means, and the minimum donation amounts are meant to be as affordable as possible while reflecting the actual costs of the items. We also understand that financial hardship can make mushroom supplies difficult to obtain, and we are delighted to do our part to help make these resources more accessible.

We ask that our truly penniless patrons reach out personally and share a bit about your situation to request pro bono cultivation resources.

Do you ship internationally?

Yes! Fungaia is global. We love to send mushroom mycelium across borders. This works best for small packages, especially liquid cultures. We use cold packs to help protect the cultures from extreme temperatures during transit, and purchase insurance on all international shipments.

Different countries have different rules about importing microorganisms. Check with your country's customs agency to see what species are allowed.

Larger packages like substrate are not always cost effective to ship internationally. If your international order contains one or more of these items, you may want to reach out directly for a more accurate shipping price.

What happens if my package is lost or damaged in transit?

We purchase shipping insurance on most of our packages.

If your package is badly damaged upon arrival, please send us photos of both the outside of the package and of its contents. We will file an insurance claim on your behalf and send you a replacement or a refund.

If your order never arrives, let us know and we will submit a lost mail search request. We have to wait 30 days after sending the package before we can file an insurance claim for lost mail, though we will usually send you a replacement before that happens. Once an order is marked as “delivered” by the postal carrier, it is the responsibility of the recipient and no longer qualifies for a claim.

What’s the difference between a liquid culture and a spore syringe?

Mushrooms reproduce by spore. Spores are like seeds: each one is different. Liquid culture, on the other hand, is the mycelium of a single isolated fungal strain.

A good analogy is with apples: if you plant an apple seed, the chances are 10,000 to 1 that you will get sweet, tasty fruit. This is why apples grown for food are always cloned. A clone is genetically identical to its “mother,” and retains the particular qualities of the fruit.

Mushrooms are often grown from spores, which leads to a remarkable amount of genetic variability. This is great for their long-term vitality, but the results are unreliable. When a desirable, productive culture is isolated from innumerable possible spore combinations, it can be cloned indefinitely and grown to maturity with consistent success.

Liquid culture is the most efficient way to expand a mushroom clone for cultivation. A small amount of this liquid contains thousands of clusters of cells, all making separate points of simultaneous initial growth after inoculation.

How should I store my cultures?

Liquid culture is best used when fresh, but can last for months or more when you keep it in the refrigerator. Do not freeze it.

I didn’t get my cultures in the fridge right away. Will they be OK?

Liquid culture keeps best in the fridge, but it does just fine at room temp for a while. The main issue is growth rates: cultures that have been sitting out for more than a week start to show slower leap-off. As long as they didn’t freeze solid or get too hot for too long, the cultures should be perfectly viable.

Do you work with magic mushrooms?

No. Fungaia does not work with mushroom species that fall under restrictions imposed by U.S. federal law. However, we do acknowledge that there is great value in all forms of fungal life, and we are happy to refer you to resources that will help you further your cultivation journey beyond what we can provide.

We highly recommend True Blue Genetics for a wider selection of mushroom cultures.

What should I do if my culture/spawn is contaminated?

We guarantee our work. A lot of people rely on us for consistently clean mushroom spawn and liquid culture, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We carefully verify everything before it leaves the lab, but some level of contamination is statistically inevitable. In the rare event that you encounter contamination in any of our products, we will be happy to replace them at no cost to you.

However, it is also extremely important to us to ensure the integrity of our products. When issues do arise, we want to figure out when, why and how. If you run into problems, we ask that you please take clear, high-resolution photos of the issues and send them to us in an email, along with any additional information you can provide about your process, experimental controls, materials, methods and observations. We are deeply grateful for the help.

I inoculated grain with my liquid culture, but I don’t see any growth. How long should I wait?

The initial growth rate, or “leap-off,” of a liquid culture depends on many factors. Some species, like those in the oyster family, usually take off immediately, whereas others, like Lion’s Mane and Wine Caps, tend to grow slowly and in phases. Ideally, growth is visible within the first 2 days, but it’s not unusual for it to take a week or more. Slow growth can mean that the culture is old, the food source is new and unfamiliar, the substrate is too wet or too dry, the inoculation rate was too low, or, in rare cases, that the culture was compromised due to contamination, freezing, irradiation or age.

When starting a new spawn run, patience is key. Keep an eye out for contamination, and if it appears, discard your grain and start over. As long as the grain remains clean, you are likely to see growth eventually. If you see poor growth, contaminants or no growth within 2 weeks, please reach out to us for a replacement.

Please reach out with any additional questions, we're here to help!

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Info & Terms

We are committed to providing exceptional customer service.

How It Works

For both privacy and security, we do not process credit cards on this website. Instead, after you place an order, you will receive an email with a link to pay using a secure, trusted third party (or instructions if paying with cash). Unpaid orders will be cancelled after 7 days (30 days for cash orders).

We do our best to process invoices and ship orders within 1-3 business days.


We do not sell or distribute any personal customer data to any third party for any reason.

Cancellation Policy

Excluding custom orders, your order may be cancelled for a full refund at any time until they have been shipped. Once an order is shipped it will not be refunded.

Return Policy

Due to the perishable nature of live biological specimens, we do not accept returns. In the rare case that you should find, with reasonable assurance, that our products were compromised in any way upon arrival, we will promptly replace them at no cost to you. We do not offer refunds after products have been shipped.

Lost or Damaged Packages

When an order is shipped, we provide tracking information. If a package is lost or damaged in transit, we will work with the postal carrier to recover the cost and send a free replacement. However, we are not responsible for orders which are lost or misplaced after they have been delivered by the carrier.


We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.