It’s quite hard for me to choose one favorite type of mushroom to grow. There are so many different kinds of mushrooms that I have fun with in my garden.
But if I really have to think for an answer, I would definitely say that lion’s mane mushrooms take the #1 spot in my heart.
A lion s mane mushroom is not only super easy and fun to grow but is also a great, gourmet addition to any meal! A true mushroom connoisseur (like me!) knows that a lion s mane mushroom is truly like no other.
Unfortunately, most local grocery stores hardly ever stock up on fresh lions mane mushrooms. You need to learn how to grow them at home. Don’t worry; we have lots of techniques that will help!
In this blog, we will discuss ways of growing a lion s mane mushroom at home. When you reach the end, you will understand the hype behind this special mushroom.
Grow Lion s Mane Mushrooms Indoors – All You Need to Know
What Is a Lions Mane Mushroom?
Lion s mane are scientifically called hericium erinaceus. They are a species of fungi, most commonly found on dead logs in the wild throughout North America.
Also known as bearded hedgehog mushrooms, bearded toothed mushrooms, or even pom pom mushrooms, lion’s mane grow in the fall season.
These mushrooms start out as tiny, white spines that elongate and into a large snowball-like formation as the mushroom grows. If the spines get damaged or the mushroom gets old, they turn brown from white.
Lions mane mushrooms have more to offer besides their appearance. They have a delectable, crab-meat like flavor. Most mushrooms connoisseurs think that the taste is to that of a lobster.
Types of Spawn and Substrate Needed for Growing Lion s Mane
Mushroom spawn or mycelium is the substance that is grown on mushroom substrate. For lion s mushrooms, mycelium made of grains, rye grain in particular, are ideal.
Sawdust spawn is also used commonly since it helps the h erinaceus mushrooms grow faster.
The mycelium of lion’s mane is thin and wispy, much like the white spines and requires careful inspection throughout the mushroom growing process.
Lion mushroom spawn is best grown on sawdust from hardwood. To grow lion s mane, you will have to supplement it with 10 to 20 percent wheat bran. Full colonization is very much possible with lion’s mane shrooms.
How to Grow Lion s Mane Mushrooms – A Guide
In this section, we will shed light on how to grow lion s mane shrooms inside your home. The process is fairly simple. There are 2 ways to grow lion’s mushrooms at home: using logs and using hardwood sawdust substrate.
Let’s take a look at each of these methods in detail:
Growing Lion s Mane on Logs
What You Will Need:
- Hardwood logs, preferably maple, oak or birch. For long-term flushes, choose elm, oak chestnut or black walnut. For short-term growth, you can also use poplar, willow and tulip.
- Spawn plugs
- Sealing wax
- Double boiler
Place your log on a dry, raised surface with ample sunlight for about 2 months. This will dry them out. Your log must only contain 40% moisture.
When your logs have dried out, it’s time to inoculate them with spawn. The best time for inoculation is during spring.
Using the drill, drill a row of 1-inch deep holes into each log. Mark spots with a chalk so they are equally spaced to get the most out of each log. Each hole must be at least 8 inches apart.
Melt wax in the boiler and use the thermometer to measure the temperature. It should stay below 211 degrees Fahrenheit.
After you have drilled the holes, place spawn plugs into each hole. Use a hammer to gently push the spawn into the hole.
Use a paintbrush to place the melted wax over the spawn plug and hole. Once all holes in a log have been filled and sealed with wax, soak the log for up to 24 hours.
After 24 hours, place your logs in a shaded, moist area with adequate air circulation. You can stack them up as well.
White fuzz on the ends of logs will tell you that the mushrooms are growing. Cut the snowball mushroom pinhead off with a sharp knife to harvest it. Be careful! You don’t want to damage the spines in the process.
Enjoy immediately or refrigerate them for up to 2 weeks.
It can take up to 6 months for lion’s mane to grow on logs and produce the first flush. However, these logs have the ability to keep providing multiple flushes for up to 6 years.
Growing Lion s Mane on Sawdust Spawn
What You Will Need:
- 5 cups of wooden fuel pellets or sawdust in a bag
- 1 cup of wheat bran
- 1 cup of molasses
- 6 cups of warm water
- Mushroom spawn
Combine the sawdust, pellets, wheat bran and molasses together. Add water gradually till the mixture forms clumps. Some water should drip out if you squeeze the mixture.
Add mixture to a grow bag. Fold and seal the bag. Sterilize the bag in a canning rack and weigh the bag down (video). Leave the bag for 2.5 to 3 hours to kill bacteria then cool it.
Add mushroom spawn to the grow bag. You will need about 2 pounds of spawn for every 10 pounds of mixture.
Place the bag in a dark, warm and moist area. In a few weeks, you will see your bag would have turned brown and mycelium will be growing over it.
Next, puncture the bag with holes about 1/3rd of an inch to encourage fruit growth. Ensure it gets indirect sunlight and sufficient air.
In 1 to 2 weeks, you will witness mushroom pins emerging from the holes.
Keep checking the grow bag after every few days for fungus growth, mold and dry spots.
Once grown, cut the spiny mushroom heads from grow bag using a sharp knife. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate them for up to 2 weeks.
The Benefits of Consuming Lions Mane Mushrooms
Speed Recovery from Nervous System Injuries
Lion s mane mushroom are known to repair and stimulate the growth of nerve cells. (source) Any injuries to the brain or spinal cord can paralyze the body and cause loss of mental abilities.
Consuming lion s mane can reduce recovery time and severity of brain damage after a stroke.
Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Heart diseases are caused mostly by obesity, high cholesterol and blood clots. Lion s mane mushroom extracts can influence these factors.
They improve fat metabolism, lower levels of triglyceride and prevent cholesterol oxidation in the blood stream. (source)
Help Manage Symptoms of Diabetes
Lion s mane mushrooms improve blood sugar levels and lower the side effects of complications caused by high blood sugar levels such as loss of vision, nerve damage and kidney diseases.
Lion s mane mushroom lowers blood sugars by blocking the activity of the alpha glucosidase enzyme that is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates in the small intestine. (source)
The body is unable to digest and absorb carbs as effectively when this enzyme is blocked. This results in lower blood sugar levels.
Boost the Immune System
A weak immune system increases the body’s chances of developing infectious diseases. Lion s mane increase the activity levels of our immune system and protect against pathogens that enter our gut via out mouth or nose. (source)
Help Fight Cancer
Lion s mane extracts help cancer cells die at a faster rate. Studies have found these mushrooms to kill various types of cancer cells including liver, stomach, colon and blood cancer cells. (source)
Lion s mane mushrooms not only kill cancer cells but also slow down their future growth.
What Is a Lion s Mane Mushroom Used For?
Hericium erinaceus is a medicinal as well as culinary mushroom used in meals and medicines throughout the world:
Lion s mane are used widely around the world for cooking. Sometimes, they are also used as a substitute for crab and lobster meat.
To cook h erinaceus, you need to cut it in half like a cauliflower and then heat over a skillet without using any oil.
You can make many tasty recipes using lion s mane mushrooms such as meat-free crab cakes, sautéed lion s mane mushrooms with garlic, roasted lion s mane with shallots and lion s mane steak sandwiches.
Because of their health benefits, lion s mane are also used widely in Chinese and Japanese medicine. They improve nerve functions and prevent memory loss, anxiety and Alzheimer’s. (source)
A lion s mane mushroom is also used in medicines for gastritis and stomach ulcers as it helps improve swelling of the stomach.
Frequently-Asked Questions About Lions Mushrooms
Q1. How Long Does It Take to Grow Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
It takes between 6 months to 2 years for lion’s mushrooms to grow on hardwood logs. However, in sawdust substrates, they can develop fully in about 3 weeks only.
Q2. Can Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Grow?
Yes. Lion’s mane shrooms can grow as well as other species of mushrooms. You can grow them anytime you want as long as you provide the ideal growing conditions.
Q3. Is Lion’s Mane Easy to Grow?
Yes! The process is fairly simple, fun and fast! It does not require any expensive tools and materials nor do you need to put in hours of hard work. However, it can take a long time for the mushrooms to grow depending on your choice of substrate.
Final Thoughts on Growing Lions Mane Mushrooms
The process of growing a lions mane mushroom is simple and can be performed easily at home. All you need to do is:
- Collect mushroom spawn
- Choose the right substrate
- Provide ideal growing conditions
- Monitor temperature, moisture and risk of infestation
I hope you enjoyed my guide on growing lion’s mane shrooms at home. if you have any questions, feel free to comment them down below and I will get back to you! Until next time!