Lion’s mane is easy to grow because it is so eager to fruit. You can grow it from a grow kit, from spawn, or from scratch. If you stay within your skill level, this mushroom is incredibly easy.
Are you drawn to lion’s mane because of its health benefits, but can’t find it in the store? No worries! It is very easy to grow. Keep reading to learn how to grow lion’s mane yourself.
What is lion’s mane?
Lion’s mane is an edible mushroom. It is white and globe-shaped with shaggy spines.
It is native to Asia, Europe, and North America. It likes to grow on hardwoods such as American beech.
While it usually feeds on dead trees, it can also be found on trees that are alive.
Lion’s mane is scarce and illegal to pick or sell in the UK.
You can eat lion’s mane or take it as a supplement.
What are the health benefits of lion’s mane?
Lion’s mane may be able to protect against dementia. A study led by Puei-Lene Lai published in the National Library of Medicine found that lion’s mane has two compounds that are able to stimulate brain cell growth.
Lion’s mane may also protect against ulcers in the digestive tract by inhibiting the growth of a harmful bacteria.
A study done on animals found that lion’s mane extract was better at preventing alcohol-induced stomach ulcers than traditional drugs, and had no bad side effects.
Lion’s mane significantly lowers blood sugar in both diabetic and normal mice which is promising towards the management of diabetes in humans.
How do you grow lion’s mane from a grow kit?
Grow kits are great if you’re just getting started or if you want to keep things simple. They are essentially mushroom fruiting blocks that are fully colonized.
You just need to put the kit in a fairly humid place and slice some slits in the bag.
Place the block on a plate, causing the mushrooms to fruit on the top.
A couple times a day mist into the bag, and fan a lot of air into it too.
You can get two or three flushes of lion’s mane with a grow kit.
How do you grow lion’s mane starting from spawn?
To grow lion’s mane from spawn, add the lion’s mane spawn at a 10-15% spawn rate. Add it to sterilized substrate.
You should use a laminar flow hood if you have access to one.
Lion’s mane is pretty resistant to being contaminated, but you should still take precautions.
A fruiting block should become completely colonized in two weeks.
The mycelium of lion’s mane may be thin and wispy, so don’t worry if your block isn’t looking as colonized as it might with other mushrooms.
Lion’s mane fruits so easily that fruits may form in the bag before you even open it!
What substrate should I use to grow lion’s mane from spawn?
If you have a little bit of experience with cultivating mushrooms, you can get lion’s mane spawn and then add it to a substrate.
Sawdust made of hardwood with bran mixed in is perfect for lion’s mane.
You can also grow it with 50/50 soy hulls and hardwood sawdust that’s at 60% hydration. This substrate gives good yields and a strong shelf life.
How do you grow lion’s mane from scratch?
First, start with a culture on some agar. You can create grain spawn after that. .
There are a few steps to growing lion’s mane from scratch, not differing from different species.
- Grow the culture on some agar.
- Create grain spawn.
- Add the spawn to a substrate.
- Let it fruit.
What are other things you should know about growing lion’s mane from scratch?
The mycelium of lion’s mane lasts for a very long time when on a plate for culture. They can last over three years and still work!
Keep the plates in the fridge if you wish to store them for a long time. This is because lion’s mane is eager to fruit and will fruit out of the dish. This causes contamination. To prevent this, keep the culture in the refrigerator.
The fruit will often spawn once it is done colonizing on the grain. You just have to pay extra attention and mix the little spawns up with the remainder of your spawn before you add it to the substrate.
What is the best way to grow lion’s mane?
The best way to grow lion’s mane depends on your experience level and how involved you want to be in the growing process.
If you want a mostly hands-off approach and are a beginner, growing from a grow kit is probably your best bet. This will show you the ropes and let you move up to growing from spawn.
If you are experienced in growing with spawn, you can take the leap to growing lion’s mane from scratch.
Can you forage lion’s mane?
Lion’s mane isn’t able to penetrate bark. Because of this, it grows on damaged areas of hardwood trees.
They can sometimes be foraged at chest or ankle height, but are mostly high up in the trees.
According to Hillsborough Homesteading, lion’s mane has no poisonous look alikes so it is one of the safest mushrooms to forage.
When looking for lion’s mane you want to find a white, fresh mushroom that’s big enough to see the shag that resembles icicles.
Lion’s mane tends to grow when it’s a bit colder out, so the seasons depend on the climate you live in.
Is it easy to grow lion’s mane?
It is easy to grow lion’s mane if you stay within your skill level, but it is also a good mushroom to challenge yourself with!
If you are a beginner it will be difficult to grow lion’s mane from scratch. But growing it from a grow kit will be a breeze.
If you are more experienced, growing it from spawn or from scratch will be easy because this mushroom is so eager to fruit, even before being exposed to fruiting conditions.
Lion’s mane is a great mushroom to begin your mushroom growing adventures!
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.