Choosing a Lions Mane Mushroom Grow Kit can be a daunting task, especially for beginners. This is why we created an all encompassing breakdown to help make that decision a little bit easier.
But first let’s start with a bit of back ground.
Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a wild-looking wild mushroom notable for resembling a white or off-white version of the tribbles from Star Trek—and for being delicious. These mushrooms may have medicinal properties, too, though the research is still preliminary, and it’s far from clear that eating the fresh mushrooms (as opposed to taking extracts) will cure anything. As a food, lion’s mane is quite healthy, though, and it tastes remarkably like crab meat. Don’t worry about the hair like spines, as they do not impart an odd mouthfeel. It’s just crab meat growing on a tree.
You can, indeed, harvest lion’s mane right off the tree its mycelium is busy eating, if you live within the species’ range. But foraging for mushrooms takes time, effort, and know-how, and if all you want is dinner, you might want to pursue other options.
You can buy lion’s mane at some farmer’s markets and specialty grocery stores. Alternatively, you can grow your own. A grow kit is a great way to get started with mushroom cultivation, and we have some suggestions to help you choose one that works for you.
OUR #1 RATED
Specialize in grow kits, comes with colonized spawn & step by step instructions.
Proven award winning formula, 100% sterile and inoculated with money back guarantee.
Prepacked log with substrate, easy to use.
Buying vs. Growing Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Buying and growing lion’s mane mushrooms each have their pros and cons. The biggest con of buying is that you probably won’t be able to find any for sale. In some areas, they’re just not available anywhere. In others, a vendor at a farmer’s market might sell a few pounds every week for a while, or a package might turn up on the shelf at a more upscale grocery, but in either case the product is likely to be replaced by some other novelty before too long.
Growing your own takes patience and at least a little effort on your part, but at least you’ll get your mushrooms eventually (a grow can fail, but you can always try again).
So, to make things clear:
Pros of Buying
- Convenient (if you can find them for sale)
- Quick (if you can find them for sale)
- Easy (if you can find them for sale)
Cons of Buying
- You probably can’t find them for sale.
Cons of Growing
- Takes time—not spontaneous
- Can fail—not all growing attempts work
- Takes at least some effort and occupies at least some space while growing.
Pros of Growing
- Growing kits can be ordered online and sent to you basically anywhere. So sooner or later, you will get mushrooms.
Things to Consider
Growing mushrooms at home isn’t difficult, but there is a bit of a learning curve, and the process could be intimidating. Mushroom cultivation makes a fascinating hobby, but if you’re not sure yet how far you want to dip your toes in, then a grow kit is a great option. These kids typically come with everything you need included, so you really have to just open the kit, add water, and wait.
But kits vary. Depending on your exact situation, some may work better for you than others—and some barely work at all for anybody. There are a number of things for you to consider before you buy.
Does This Thing Work?
Of course the most important question about a mushroom grow kit is does it grow mushrooms? Even with the best, success cannot be absolutely guaranteed because life, including the life of a fungus, is a precious and precarious thing, not a mechanical process (this is true even if the manufacturer does guarantee the product; that just means if there’s a problem, they’ll take responsibility for it and refund or replace the kit). But you do want a kit that’s reliable.
The problem is that every seller out there will say their kit is reliable, and that’s not always true. So go ahead and talk to other hobbyist growers. Get on online forums and ask questions. If it’s an established company, you can bet people will have an opinion on it. You might not be able to finalize your decision this way, but at least you can narrow it down by eliminating any brands that are actually bad.
Is This Thing Complicated?
Generally, mushroom grow kits are simple, user-friendly, and designed for raw beginners—but there can be exceptions. Some kits require a little more attention than others. It’s worth noting that the reliability of a kit depends to some extent on the ability of the user. Some kits are bomb-proof no matter what you do, while others might do better than average if you have some skill, and worse than average if you have none. The important thing is to match the kit to your skill and interest level.
What Does This Thing Cost?
Kit price varies, as does the anticipated yield. Combine those two sources of variation, and your price per bite of mushroom could be very different from one kit to another. While lower cost is better all things being equal, not all things are equal. Paying a little more money for a more reliable kit is a solid investment. So the important question is not “which is the cheapest kit” but “which has the best value considering all factors.”
Note that some kits can provide multiple flushes, so when looking at predicted yields, find out whether the figure is for one flush only or for the life of the kit—and how many flushed that life might have.
Our Top Lion’s Mane Mushroom Grow Kits
Here we have five of the best lion’s mane grow kits out there. These are listed in the order from best to worst (In my opinion). All are ready to grow immediately and include all needed supplies except water.
This kit from Midwest comes with a bag of colonized substrate, a mister, and a set of instructions for not one but two growing methods. It’s a good value, with an anticipated crop of up to three pounds and a low overall price.
- 5 Pounds of colonized spawn of your choice.
- Ultra fine pump mister
- Step by step instructions
I love this kit because its plug and play. It’s easy to use, made by one of the most reputable suppliers in the industry and at a price point of $20, which is a steal.
Michigan Mushroom’s kit appears to be the second best deal of the group, given the low price and the anticipated yield of up to four pounds of mushroom. It’s not clear from the product description what the kit comes with, though. The kit is ready to grow immediately, and set-up takes about two minutes. Growth is vigorous, and customer service excellent.
- Mushrooms that can reach 7″ in diameter.
- A proven formula (they use the same strain that they supply prize winning Lions Mane to restaurants with).
- 100% sterile and inoculated with a money back guarantee
Root Mushroom’s kit comes with a grow “log” (actually substrate packed into a plastic sleeve), a spray bottle, a humidity tent, and instructions. Anticipated crop size is not listed. Growth is vigorous, although the growing method may need to be adjusted somewhat for people in drier climates. Customer service is excellent.
North Spore’s kit comes with a block of colonized substrate in plastic, a sprayer, and complete instructions. An anticipated crop size is not listed, but growth is vigorous, and users typically get multiple flushes. The price is a little higher than the first three kits, but it’s still quite reasonable.
Hodgins Harvest’s kit is the priciest of the group, but since its total anticipated harvest (over several flushes) is up to four pounds, it’s not a bad deal. The kit comes with colonized substrate, a sprayer, a humidity dome, and written instructions. You can also get an instructional video. Easy to use, produces well, and can tolerate at least a little neglect.