Due to the many health benefits lion’s mane provides, more and more folks are getting into growing this amazing fungus themselves.
Read our guide to growing Hericium erinaceus if you’re learning how to grow lion's mane mushrooms at home, whether you want to grow mushrooms on logs or have a small indoor space dedicated to growing fungi.
To learn more about the wondrous lion’s mane mushroom, read our detailed guide to Hericium erinaceus.
What are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
Hericium erinaceus is an adaptogenic mushroom known by many common names (bearded tooth fungus, monkey head mushroom, the bearded hedgehog), but most people refer to it as lion’s mane. Often referred to as one of the healthiest mushrooms in the world, lion’s mane provides an abundance of benefits for overall mental and physical health.
What are the Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane?
“Hericium erinaceus…has a long history of usage in traditional Chinese medicine as a tonic for stomach disorders, ulcers and gastrointestinal ailments.” (Lakshmanan, et al.)
Research on lion’s mane mushroom benefits indicates this fungus has the potential to promote neurite outgrowth and repair brain cells. It appears to ease the symptoms of dementia, lessen oxidative stress, as well as improve overall mental clarity and neuronal health.
Some of the benefits of lion’s mane include:
- provides antioxidant activity
- improves digestive health and protects against stomach ulcers
- lowers blood sugars and aids in diabetes management
- improves cognitive health and provides protective effects on the brain function
- encourages apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells
- reduces the risk of heart disease and blood clotting
- boosts the immune system and improves immune function
If you want to know more about the benefits of this adaptogenic mushroom, check out our article on lion’s mane health benefits.
What are the Side Effects of Lion’s Mane?
There are no long-term side effects of lion’s mane for the average person, and centuries of use in alternative medicine suggest that this mushroom is completely safe to consume. However, you should be cautious of taking medicinal mushrooms, including Hericium erinaceus, if you are on blood thinners.
Since this mushroom prevents blood clots, lion’s mane could interact with medication that has the same effect (such as Aspirin, Heparin, and Warfarin) and slow down coagulation and wound healing. Thus, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional before you start taking lion’s mane if you take anticoagulants.
Is Lion’s Mane Easy to Grow?
Lion’s mane is relatively easy to grow, given that you provide the fungus with enough humidity. If you’re a beginner, you may find it difficult to distinguish when these mushrooms fully colonise the substrate and are ready to fruit. Luckily, there are a plethora of growing guides online to help you in the beginning stages of your mushroom growing journey.
Where Does Lion’s Mane Grow Best?
Lion's mane grows on hardwood trees. It prefers cooler climates, which is why it grows best in the northern parts of Asia, Europe, and North America. Hericium erinaceus is easily identifiable in the wild, thanks to its long spines and white or beige color.
Lion’s mane grows best in wild conditions. A study on the best growing practices for lion’s mane concluded that “imitating wild technique can improve the yield and quality of Hericium erinaceus.”
Due to the popularity of these mushrooms, many a mushroom farm will grow and harvest lion’s mane mushrooms and either sell fresh lion's mane in farmers' markets or sell it to companies that make mushroom supplements.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Growing Temperature
Lion’s mane mushrooms grow best in cooler temperatures (approximately 65-70° F), though they can tolerate slightly warmer weather. For most growth, keep the humidity at about 85% or higher by keeping the mushrooms in a humidity tent or spritzing the area with a spray bottle frequently.
Lion’s Mane Growth Stages
Lion’s mane mushrooms tend to be ready to harvest much quicker (about a month after inoculation) when grown indoors than in the wild. Hericium erinaceus has three main growth stages when grown in bags, jars, or containers.
- The colonization stage, during which the mushroom mycelium spreads through the substrate (approximately 14-20 days).
- The baby mushroom stage, during which pins (beginning stages of Hericium erinaceus) appear from the fruiting chamber (about 2-3 days).
- The growing stage, during which lion’s mane mushrooms grow until they’re ripe enough to harvest and enjoy (7-14 days).
When is Lion’s Mane Ready to Harvest?
For new mushroom growers, it can be challenging to figure out when lion’s mane mushrooms are ready to harvest. Young mushrooms have short, white spines that grow and turn yellow over time.
The optimal time for harvesting lion’s mane mushrooms is once the spines are about two inches long and the mushroom is beige or light yellow. Once it turns orange, Hericium erinaceus is past its prime.
Can I Grow Lion’s Mane at Home?
If you want to grow mushrooms at home, you’re in luck. Nowadays, it’s fairly easy to grow lion’s mane mushrooms indoors, thanks to easily accessible lion’s mane mushroom growing kits. You have three primary options when it comes to growing lion’s mane mushrooms yourself:
- Growing with a mushroom kit. Mushroom growing kits are readily available to purchase from various online retailers. This is the easiest option for someone without mushroom growing experience.
- Commercially made lion’s mane substrate mixes. You can buy lion’s mane spawn from and cultivate it yourself.
- Make your own lion’s mane spawn. This is the most advanced method of growing your own lion’s mane mushrooms. You’ll be spawning your own lion’s mane starting with pure culture on agar, a jelly-like substance derived from algae.
Growing Hericium Erinaceus from a Lion’s Mane Grow Kit
A lion’s mane mushroom grow kit often comes with growing bags that contain pre-inoculated spawn, as well as lion’s mane mushroom spray that’s meant to promote mushroom growth. If you want to try growing Hericium erinaceus from a kit yourself, this handy tutorial shows you how to get started.
Growing Lion’s Mane in Jars
A jar makes for a perfect enclosed environment for a lion’s mane mushroom substrate. If you’re making your own lion’s mane spawn and want to grow Hericium erinaceus in a jar, fill it with substrate blocks, hardwood pellets, wood chips, and soy hulls and poke some holes in the lid for lion’s mane to grow. This method won’t produce the highest yields but reduces the chances of spawn contamination.
You can achieve the same process in specialized plastic bags called mushroom grow bags. These bags are easy to DIY by poking small holes on the sides and top of the bags for easy fresh air exchanges. Make sure to sterilize grow bags in a pressure cooker as a non-sterile environment won’t initiate fruiting of the mushroom, and keep the bags away from direct sunlight.
Can I Grow Lion’s Mane Outside?
You can grow lion’s mane mushrooms on logs enriched with the mushroom mycelium if the climate in your area is humid and cool enough. Alternatively, opt for growing mushrooms in a bucket to protect the substrate from harsh environmental factors.
Growing Lion’s Mane on Logs
If you want to grow lion’s mane mushrooms outdoors on hardwood logs, you will need to inoculate your logs (introduce a mushroom spawn to the log), which can be a complicated process.
You can purchase lion’s mane spawn plugs—inoculated logs or hardwood sawdust blocks colonized with lion’s mane mycelium.
Still, these pre-inoculated plug spawn kits can be pretty pricey and may not produce mushroom fruits if you don’t keep them in optimal fruiting conditions.
Growing Lion’s Mane in Buckets
For Hericium erinaceus to grow in a bucket, the lion’s mane mushroom grain spawn must be sufficiently protected from environmental factors. It’s best to cover the top of the bucket and poke holes on the side of the bucket to allow mushroom growth.
Your lion’s mane grain spawn should be touching the bucket. Once you’ve inoculated your substrate, baby mushrooms will grow from it through the holes you punched, and you’ll be able to pick them once they’re ripe without disturbing the grain spawn.
How to Reap the Benefits of Lion’s Mane Without Growing Them Yourself
You don’t have to grow your own lion’s mane to get its many benefits. Nowadays, it’s easy to find powders made from dry mushrooms, mushroom tinctures, and foods fortified with lion’s mane that get you all the benefits of this amazing fungus without the hassle of growing your own mushrooms.
Are You Interested in Trying Mushroom Granola?
If you want to incorporate Hericium erinaceus into your morning routine, you can do so with our healthy mushroom granola.
Our granola contains a hyperconcentrated lion’s mane mushroom extract. The granola is vegan, gluten-free, packed with nutrients, and delicious. What more could you want in a morning bowl of cereal?
How Much Lion’s Mane is in Forij Granola?
Forij granola uses a high-quality lion's mane mushroom extract made from whole medicinal mushrooms. Our dual extraction method extracts both water-soluble beta-glucans as well as alcohol-soluble triterpenes. Our decoction process breaks down the fruited body and the indigestible chitin cell walls of the mushroom to get much more of these compounds out than ordinary processes do.
One serving of our granola provides 250 mg of hyperconcentrated lion's mane extract, which is eight times more concentrated than a regular lion’s mane mushroom supplement. Therefore, you get as much potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg lion’s mane mushroom powder, all in one bowl of granola.
How to Grow Lion’s Mane FAQ
What does lion’s mane taste like?
Lion’s mane mushrooms taste quite similar to seafood. Most people equate the taste of these gourmet mushrooms to that of lobster or crab meat, with earthier overtones.
Lion’s mane is tender and juicy when cooked, and it's often used as a seafood replacement in vegan recipes, especially for vegan lion’s mane crab cakes.
Is lion’s mane psychedelic?
No, lion’s mane is not psychedelic and can’t get you high. This mushroom does not contain psychoactive compounds, such as psilocybin, which are responsible for the mind-altering properties of magic mushrooms.
Therefore, while you may notice the spiritual benefits of lion’s mane such as improved clarity and brain function, you don’t have to worry about psychedelic effects when taking lion’s mane.
Can lion’s mane be eaten raw?
Yes, it’s completely safe to eat fresh lion’s mane raw, but you may not like the flavor or texture of it. Lion’s mane is quite spongy and chewy, and the flavor is subpar without seasoning. Still, if you can get over these qualities, you can absolutely enjoy lion’s mane mushrooms raw.
Can you grow lion’s mane in coffee grounds?
Lion’s mane mushrooms don’t tolerate coffee grounds. While it is possible to grow them in a bulk substrate that contains coffee grounds in theory, it’s difficult to do so in practice. Therefore, if you’re making a mushroom substrate, it’s best to stay away from coffee grounds.
Can you take lion’s mane with other medicinal mushrooms?
Yes, you can take lion’s mane with any medicinal mushroom, including reishi mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms.
When it comes to medicinal mushrooms, the whole is better than the sum of its parts, so you’ll likely reap more benefits of lion’s mane if you take it with other adaptogenic fungi.
Is it hard to grow shiitake mushrooms?
Shiitake is among the most difficult mushrooms to grow. Growing shiitake mushrooms can be more challenging than growing other common varieties of mushrooms, as they need specific environmental conditions and have a longer incubation period. If you’re new to mushroom growing and want to grow your own mushrooms, it’s best to start with a less fussy variety.
For example, growing oyster mushrooms is much easier, as they have a faster spawn time and fruit more easily. And, if you still want to try your hand at growing shiitake, online step by step guides can be a helpful resource for novice growers looking for a challenge.
What are mushroom fruiting blocks?
Mushroom fruiting blocks, also known as mushroom blocks, are a tool used in mushroom cultivation. They are typically made from sawdust and other organic materials, which are sterilized to prevent contamination. Once inoculated with mushroom spawn, the fruit block is left to colonize with mycelium.
When the block is fully colonized, it is ready to fruit and produce cultivated mushrooms. Fruiting blocks are a convenient and efficient way to grow mushrooms, as they provide the necessary nutrients and environmental conditions for successful mushroom cultivation.
What are sawdust spawn rates?
Sawdust spawn rates is a mushroom farming term that refers to the speed at which mycelium is able to colonize sawdust substrate. This rate can vary depending on factors such as temperature, humidity, and the type of mushroom being grown. Faster spawn rates can lead to quicker production times and higher yields.
- Lakshmanan, H. (2016). Haematological, biochemical and histopathological aspects of Hericium erinaceus ingestion in a rodent model: A sub-chronic toxicological assessment. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 194, 1051–1059. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2016.10.084
- Yan, M. (2003). Studies of Different Media Formulations and Stereoscopic Cultivation Technique in Imitating Wild Condition in Hericium Erinaceus. Journal of Henan Agricultural Sciences. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Studies-of-Different-Media-Formulations-and-in-Wild-Yan/e74f6dc6a9e98fee4dfcbe73dd49abfe01bdb54b
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The statements contained herein are not evaluated by healthcare professionals or the FDA advisory board and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment information.