Ever heard of the incredible effects of eating magic mushrooms? While they may seem like regular shrooms that you find in the wild (or buy in the grocery store), they’re nothing like that.
Magic mushrooms come with unique compounds that produce psychedelic effects. With the right doses, these psychedelic trips can be life-changing. And they could also become anyone’s favorite hobby.
But to enjoy everything they have to offer you’ll have to spend a considerable amount of money. Magic mushrooms tend to be expensive.
If you don’t have the budget, however, there’s an alternative. Learning how to grow magic mushrooms at home will help you enjoy everything these plants provide. And for cheap.
But growing is not easy. That’s why we’ve assembled all the information about these mushrooms (from how to grow them and care for them plus a lot more). Check it out and learn!
What Are Magic Mushrooms?
Why would you try to grow these mushrooms if you aren’t sure what they really are? Let’s give you a heads-up first, then.
To start, it’s important to remember that mushrooms are just fungi. They’re different from other lifeforms like plants or animals, but they still hold similar DNA (or cellular structure).
Most mushrooms grow by absorbing nutrients in their environment (like plants). But this includes molecules from the soil, surfaces, and the air (like plants).
Now, most mushrooms are either harmless or poisonous. But some of them produce unique compounds that can be entirely healthy for humans in the right doses while offering psychedelic effects.
These compound-rich species are called psilocybin mushrooms. As you may guess, psilocybin is the compound that produces these psychedelic effects (thus the “psy” in the name). Usually, this compound produces hallucinations, euphoria, and all kinds of abnormal feelings.
Most of these Magic Mushrooms were originally found in tropical areas like South and Central America, as well as South and East Asia. Nowadays, you can find these mushrooms pretty much anywhere, even in most US, Canada, and Europe. But they still prefer natural tropical environments.
Types of Magic Mushrooms
While most magic mushrooms are similar and come from the same species, it’s essential to know how they differ.
Some of these mushrooms are more potent than others. Similarly, some of them are easier to grow and way less dangerous.
Without much further ado, here are the types of psilocybin mushrooms you should know about:
Original Magic Mushroom or Golden Top (Psilocybe cubensis)
What everyone knows as the Magic Mushroom is the classic psychedelic Psilocybe cubensis. Many people also know it as the shrooms, cubes, and even gold caps due to its unique appearance.
It is an easy-to-grow mushroom, requiring generally tropical environments to grow. But because they’re easy to grow, they’re the most popular. And for growing at home, they make excellent subjects.
A fun fact to know, the “cubensis” part of their name comes because these were initially found in Cuba in 1906.
Blue Meanies (Copelandia cyanescens)
While the psilocybe genus is the most popular, some mushrooms come from the Copelandia genus. The “cyanescens” types, for example, are often called Blue Meanies and shrooms. The color is typically gray with a brownish cap.
It is often easy to grow, as it requires warmer environments than the typical “cubensis.” Thus, the “cyanescens” is one of the most popular as well, as it can be found anywhere in subtropical places.
Its main compound is also psilocybin. But this one tends to be at least twice as strong as the original Magic Mushroom.
Blue Foot Mushroom (Psilocybe caerulipes)
This one is mainly grown in the US as it prefers slightly colder environments. In contrast with other mushrooms, this one loves growing on wood, especially decaying logs and trunks. It also likes high humidity (wood close to rivers, lakes, and ponds).
The Blue Foot name comes from its looks, boasting a slight blue tone on the stem’s low section. Like other magic mushrooms, the cap tends to be brown to gold with a gray or bluish underside.
Most “psilocybe caerulipes” are typically more potent than the usual “cubensis.” For that reason, these are rarer and often more expensive.
Blue Ringer Mushroom (Psilocybe stuntzii)
Preferring the West Coast and Canada’s colder environment, the “psilocybe stuntzii” is a scarce species. This one also prefers decaying wood and mulch. Yet, it can also grow in grassy environments like lawns and gardens.
The Blue Ringer or Blue Legs name comes from an unusual reaction the shroom has when handled. It turns blue to grayish, changing its color. Having said that, it looks like other species of mushrooms that are actually poisonous.
The compounds on this mushroom are often similar to that of the “cubensis.”
Flying Saucer Mushrooms (Psilocybe azurescens)
Taking their name from the shape of the cap that looks like a UFO, the “psilocybe azurescens” is also known as the Blue Angel or Blue Runner, sometimes even Azzies. Either way, it grows in sandy soils and decaying wood – but it is way harder to cultivate than other species.
Still, it is the strongest from the magic mushroom family. It has a massive percentage of psilocybin when compared to the standard “cubensis.” For that reason, it is one of the most dangerous, as it can produce paralysis.
It’s also one of the most sought-after and expensive because it induces intense visual and sensory trips. People who prefer micro-dosing usually go for the “azurescens” instead of the typical magic mushroom.
Liberty Caps (Psilocybe semilanceata)
One of the few mushroom natives from Europe, the Liberty Caps or Witch’s Hat (due to the shape of the cap), is one of the strongest (third behind azurescens). It generally grows in rich soils with tons of vegetation, like lawns and gardens. Yet, it also grows on wood and mulch.
You can find it pretty much anywhere in North America and Europe. For that reason, it is the second most popular behind the standard “cubensis.”
Magic Truffles (Psilocybe tampanensis)
The mushroom boasts a yellow-brown appearance, similar to other species. This one, however, grows like grass (tons of stems close together).
Even though it is a mushroom, the truffle name comes from the preparation. To become edible, people produce a “sclerotia” or truffle. This one is said to have a slightly more intense effect than the “cubensis” but still dull compared to the most potent mushrooms.
The “tampanensis” grows anywhere in tropical and sub-tropical environments. However, it is easy to grow in home environments because of that.
Pajaritos (Psilocybe mexicana)
If you’ve ever heard about the ancient Aztecs taking psychedelics, you’d like to know it was the “psilocybe Mexicana” they were using. Natural to tropical and sub-tropical environments from Central and South America, this species loves humid yet warm areas (meadows, moss, manure-rich soils).
The appearance is close to that of the “psilocybe semilanceata” but with a slightly woodier cap. This cap tends to achieve a burned-like brown tone. It has a similar potency to the “cubensis” species.
Wavy Caps (Psilocybe cyanescens)
The Wavy Caps name comes from the unique appearance of the mushroom’s cap. Looking wavy, it typically holds a white-to-gray stem and a brown top.
This one prefers woody soils like mulch. It also grows anywhere with proper humidity and enough organic material. That’s why it is known as one of the easiest to grow, mainly because it is widely available in the wild too.
The potency of the “cyanescens” is bigger than the “cubensis” but not as much as the “azurescens.” For those reasons, it’s one of the preferred varieties to grow at home.
What Do Magic Mushrooms Need?
Now that you have a better idea of all the different varieties of Psilocybin mushrooms available, it’s time to learn what they prefer. Even though all these species have different needs, they all may grow in similar environments, given the ideal conditions. Here’s what they need:
Space & Pot
Mushrooms love humidity. While considering a pot or space, it’s mostly about ensuring that it can stay moist for long.
But more importantly, it should be a space or pot where the molecules from decaying organic material can be absorbed by the mushrooms.
That’s why your best bet is a plastic container with holes on top. Somewhere that can keep the space humid and sterilized.
Soil & Fertilizer
You don’t need to use any type of soil for growing magic mushrooms. But they still need certain nutrients, such as nitrogen, protein, and sugar. Starch, fats, and lignin are also essential for their growth.
Generally, using manure and straw compost is enough for that. Some alternatives include corn, moss, and sand (for some species).
Most mushrooms grow in woody environments, so sawdust and decaying mulch are also exceptional options.
Lighting & Air
Unlike most plants, mushrooms don’t need any type of sun exposure to grow. But they still need indirect exposure to thrive. This often means a grow light or a bit of sun exposure every day. However, this exposure should never be directly on their caps (as it could cause damage).
Still, they need air. That’s why a container with holes on top can be so helpful. This air helps the composting happen faster, which is something mushrooms love.
Water & Humidity
One of the reasons mushrooms grow is because of mycelium. It is a bacterial colony, so to say. As you may guess, it grows from humidity. And that’s why you need a lot of it for mushrooms to thrive.
But this humidity should come from sterilized water. The cleaner the water is, the more likely the mushrooms are to thrive. For example, tap water comes with chemicals and other compounds that may not let mycelium form.
An ideal environment for mycelium would be around 90% of humidity. For that, you can propagate the water using a propagator or a sprayer. As long as the mycelium is humid, it should sprout mushrooms sooner than later.
Temperature & Environment
Alongside a humid place, mushrooms love cool to warm environments. That often means temperatures between 69 and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. With lower temperatures, mushrooms will grow slower. Higher temperatures may prevent the mycelium from even forming.
To ensure an environment like this, we recommend leaving them in a basement or similarly enclosed area. This would keep the moisture and temperature in check.
While mushrooms are fungi (they grow from composted organics), they still need clean environments. In fact, any place contaminated with either bacteria or chemicals will cause mushrooms to not grow. In some cases, it may kill them.
That’s why it’s essential to only handle magic mushrooms with gloves, a facemask, and possibly even a lab coat. This should ensure a sufficiently hygienic place.
How to Grow Magic Mushrooms: 9 Steps to Follow
With the basics about magic mushrooms, you can now learn how to grow them. Below, we explain this long and laborious process in nine steps:
1. Pick a Clean Room
Start by choosing a room in your house where you can work with the mushrooms. This place, as stated above, should be as hygienic as possible. It should be free of unwanted bacteria and chemicals that could damage the mushrooms in their growth and developing states.
Once you have the room, make sure to gather all the necessary equipment for the job and clean it, from jars or containers to syringes, gloves, and even the facemasks. Everything should be clean.
2. Gather the Materials
After choosing a room to do your work, it’s essential to bring a jar (or several ones) and a container. The jar is where you’ll prepare the mycelium. And the container (which should be at least thrice as large as the jars) is where you’ll place the mycelium once it’s ready for the mushrooms to sprout.
Other supplies you’ll need to include are the spores (from the species you prefer), vermiculite or peat moss, and mulch or rice. The minerals and the food are where the mycelium will form. They should be nutrient-rich.
3. Prepare the Mycelium Cake
To prepare the mycelium cake, you’ll have to spread the supplies in the sterilized jar. This jar should have the vermiculite or moss, preferably with a sterilized food for further nutrient production.
The materials need to be tightly together. This ensures the spores from the mushrooms can eventually absorb nutrients effectively.
4. Inoculate the Cake
With the cake in its starting form, you can now spread the pores. This is as easy as it sounds. Just heat up the syringe needle with a lighter and pour about one cc of the pores into the jar.
You should see the liquid spores falling down through the materials. If you have several jars, try sterilizing the syringe’s needle before pouring the spores on a new jar.
5. Leave it to Grow
Now that the mycelium cakes are ready, you can leave them to grow. It is essential to place the cakes in a dark place, preferably between 69 and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. A bit warmer could also make it possible (between 80 and 85 degrees).
This mycelium-growing process should last between 5 and 7 days. The materials will start to form a white substance. This is the mycelium beginning to grow.
After 15 days or a bit more, the jar should look completely white (overcrowding the vermiculite or peat moss). If that’s the case, it means the mycelium has colonized the jar, and it’s ready to be released.
6. Prepare the Growing Area
The large container, preferably made of plastic, should be completely sterilized. This will prevent any unwanted bacteria from affecting the mycelium, and thus the mushrooms. We recommend sterilizing with boiling water and a tablespoon of bleach.
In this container you will also use vermiculite or peat moss. Either way, the materials should be sterilized. The best way to do so would be to soaking them in boiling water with a bit of hydrogen peroxide.
Finish by letting the container and the materials to dry. Then pour the vermiculite or peat moss into the container and form a bottom layer with it. This is where the mycelium will grow on. It will work as a perfect humidity keeper.
7. Release the Cake
With the sterilized container ready, you can proceed to release the cake. It’s all about letting the materials inside the jar fall into the larger container.
Before handling the mycelium, be sure to wear your gloves and other protective gear. This should prevent unwanted contamination. To avoid handling the mycelium, you can try banging the jars from the bottom (to release the materials). If that doesn’t work, be careful when handling it by hand.
When the mycelium falls off the jar into the container, you may see small mushrooms growing already. If you don’t, no need to worry. They will sprout sooner or later.
Pour all the mycelium cakes into the container and leave them in a refrigerator or cold place (under 50 degrees) for 24 hours.
9. Let Them Grow
Now it’s time to let them grow. In the container, the mushrooms may take anywhere from a week to two weeks to sprout. After they appear, they will start growing at about half an inch per day. Within a month, you’ll have grown up mushrooms.
During this process, you should spray them with a sterilized water and hydrogen peroxide mix. It should be twice a day to keep the humidity above 80%.
10. Harvest the Mushrooms
When the mushrooms are already several inches long, then it’s safe to harvest them. Once again, you should use gloves to prevent any contamination (the mushrooms are still susceptible).
It’s recommended to pinch and twist the mushrooms away from the mycelium. The mushrooms should pop right off.
If you want to reuse the mycelium cakes, you’ll do this carefully, wearing the sterilized gear and preventing any unwanted contamination.
Once you’ve harvested the mushrooms, leave them to dry for at least 10 days in a sterilized area. Then, they will be ready for consumption.
How to Care for Magic Mushrooms
Even though we’ve already covered some of the caring advice, we weren’t detailed. Here is a more detailed set of tips to follow:
Keep Pets & Humans Away
Other people and animals hold a lot of bacteria and germs. When the mycelium is growing and producing mushrooms, it is incredibly fragile. If it gets contaminated, it will likely stop making mushrooms. To avoid that, keep other noisy humans and pets away from it.
Stay Clean at All Times
While handling the mycelium or mushrooms themselves, it is advisable to take a shower first. Then wear protective gloves, a facemask, and possibly even a coat.
At the same time, try turning off fans and AC systems. You may also want to avoid dust or even strong winds from entering the room where you’re at. The cleanest you are, the less contamination you can produce. Thus, the faster the mushrooms will grow.
Only Use Sterilized Water
Because you need to maintain at least 80% of humidity in the container and jars, it is essential to spray them consistently. But for that, you’ll need sterilized water only. We recommend using an osmosis filter that takes away all unwanted bacteria and germs from the water before using it. Then, you can spray it safely.
Leave them Be
Nothing harms their growth more than constant handling. In fact, even a small touch of their cap could cause them to not grow anymore. That’s why keeping animals and humans away is so important. But even further than that, you should avoid any contact with the mushrooms or mycelium until harvest.
Don’t Overcrowd Them
This is both about using a large container as well as not placing several mycelium cakes together. The moisture and nutrients in the environment need to be enough for the mushrooms to grow. If several mycelium cakes are battling each other for these resources, they’re likely to not grow well.
The same happens when leaving them to dry. If you want them to dry safely after harvesting, keep only a few stems together (3 or 4) and the rest in a different container or place. Otherwise, they may collect too much moisture (instead of drying) and mold away (making them unusable).
So, in both their growing and drying process, try keeping the mushrooms separated to prevent unwanted results.
After learning how to grow magic mushrooms, you may be thinking whether it’s worth the try. And in that case, we can’t say anything less than OF COURSE!
While consuming magic mushrooms can be a dangerous experience if you aren’t careful, the process of growing them is nothing but fun. Sure, it takes a lot of hard work and tons of care that other plants don’t, but that’s precisely why it is such an exciting experience.
Once you have the mushrooms harvested and dried up, though, you’ll know exactly why they take so much work and time.
In any case, are you ready to start growing them? There’s no time to lose. Start now, and get your own magic mushrooms in a few weeks. You won’t regret it!