What can we help you with?
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Growing Guide
Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Lion’s Mane is a very unique and interesting mushroom. Rather than the classic mushroom shape of spine and cap – the Lion’s Mane mushroom consists of many tiny downward cascading spines, these form ball shaped structures that can grow quite large. The spines start out small and grow longer with age. They are especially white when young, and can discolour to a light yellow or brown when mature. Not only are they a culinary delight, they also boast many health benefits!
Fruiting months: Late Autumn, Winter, Early Spring
Pinning Temperature: 10°C – 15°C
Pinning Humidity: 95% – 100%
Fruiting Temperature: 18°C – 24°C
Fruiting Humidity: 90% – 95%
Cultivation Difficulty: Easy – Medium
Lion’s Mane mushrooms fruit easily and readily. Various methods can be employed to fruit them successfully, the following is a tried and tested guideline:
Step 1: Remove the cotton wool plug from the grow stick and fill the hole with a small amount of water. After a few minutes you can pour it out.
Step 2: Cut an X-shape (fruiting site) in the plastic at your chosen spot (see below for a tip!). Each cut should be roughly 1-2cm long. Don’t cut more than one X and make sure to use a sharp knife or pair of scissors.
Tip: Often pins or overlay has already formed under the plastic and look like small bumps or bulges. These are good spots to choose for this step.With Lion’s Mane you can just cut your “x” in a spot that has a good amount of mycelium, wait a few days and you’ll see the bulge start forming like in the picute.
Optional Step 3: Put your perlite in a colander or sieve and run some cold water over it before adding it to your fruiting chamber. Once it’s in the chamber, you can even add a little extra water to make sure it’s soaked through.
Tip: Soaked perlite is highly effective to help create the optimal humid environment for your mushrooms and we recommend using it to get the best results from our grow sticks. We supply perlite with all our fruiting chamber options but it is also readily available at most nurseries.
Fruiting Chamber Tip: Lion’s Mane needs a good amount of moisture and does well with high fresh air exchange. Our countertop or macramé fruiting chambers provide optimal fruiting conditions for this species. If you do not have one of our fruiting chambers you can use a plastic tray or plate instead.
Step 4: To avoid possible contamination, clean your chosen fruiting chamber with soap and water, rinse it thoroughly and let it dry.
Step 5: Place the grow stick in your chosen fruiting chamber. Make sure that your fruiting site is positioned so that your mushrooms will not be obstructed by any part of the fruiting chamber as they grow, and that they are as close to the water or soaked perlite as possible.
Tip: Consider carefully where you place your mushroom kit as this will affect how well they grow. Try to find a spot that receives plenty of ambient light but is out of direct sunlight. Avoid drafty areas such as those next to open windows or doors as this can dry out the growsticks. A closed off room that has a regular temperature is best.
Step 6: Using a spray bottle set to a fine mist, spray your grow stick from about 30cm away. Misting 2 – 4 times per day is enough to keep your mushrooms happy! Before work, when you get home, and just before bed should be sufficient but an extra misting would be beneficial if you’re at home.
Tip: Try to spray so that the mist falls over the grow stick and perlite rather than spraying directly at the mushrooms. It’s ok for the mushrooms to get slightly wet but remember that the aim of misting is to maintain a humid environment for them. Use your mister to rehydrate the perlite if it feels dry, and don’t be afraid to add some more water to the perlite at any stage.
Lion’s Mane should be harvested once the spines elongate, but before the top of the mushroom discolours too much or becomes soft. Discolouration can be yellow or even pink. If left too long, they can become bitter. Once ready for harvest, the body of the mushroom can simply be cut off from the bag with a sharp knife as close to the bag as possible. Handle it with care – delicately handled Lion’s Mane tends to have a longer shelf life. If cleanly harvested, there may be no need to cut a new fruiting site – the next flush could come straight from the previous one.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before harvesting.
- Lightly grip the base of the cluster and with a twisting and pulling motion carefully separate the mushrooms from the substrate of the grow stick.
- Try not to take too much substrate off of the grow stick.
- Tape up your hole with some clear packaging tape as neatly as possible with as little chance for air to enter the gaps.
- Check out our guide on how to get a second flush out of your grow stick – The Second Flush.
Most people compare the Lion’s Mane mushroom to the flavour of lobster, although many also say it’s a great substitution for chicken. A great way to enjoy these mushrooms is to cut them perpendicular to the direction of the spines to make disks and then pan fry with garlic until the disks are a golden brown. The more mature the harvest is allowed to get, the better the flavour, but be cautioned that if it gets too mature it can be bitter.
The health benefits of Lion’s Mane are so vast that listing them here would be a disservice. A short summary will have to suffice for now though (which we will be adding to in due time). Most notably, Lion’s Mane has been found to enhance brain function and may have a revolutionary impact on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s – a particularly fascinating topic which we will be sure to report on as we learn more. A whole host of other health benefits have been noted, including reducing inflammation, improving mental health, and supporting heart and circulatory health. Be sure to keep your eye on our Health Benefits of Mushrooms page for regular updates on this fascinating mushroom.