Did you ever try your hands at propagating mushrooms indoors? Read on to get the best tips on How to Grow Fly Agaric Indoors!
Native to the damp, temperate forests, Fly Agarics are a delight to watch but a little tricky to propagate. Here’s an informative guide on How to Grow Fly Agaric Indoors to help you!
- Botanical Name: Amanita muscaria
- Reaches a height of 8-12 inches
- Prefers damp growing conditions with periods of complete darkness
- Bears hallucinating properties
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Fly Agaric Plant Profile
Fly Agaric, also known as the iconic red and white mushroom of fairy tales and folklore, is a captivating and intriguing species of mushrooms. The cap is usually quite large, measuring up to 25 cm in diameter, and is often covered in a waxy coating that gives it a glossy, almost wet appearance. As the mushroom ages, the cap often flattens out, and the white spots may disappear or become discolored. The stem of the Fly Agaric is usually quite thick and sturdy, often featuring a ring of white or yellowish scales near the top.
This mushroom has been associated with magic, witchcraft, and even Santa Claus! Apart from the fascinating looks, the Fly Agaric also has interesting properties. In some cultures, it’s used for its hallucinogenic effects, while others use it as a natural pesticide to keep insects away. It synthesizes ibotenic acid and muscimol, which leads to hallucinations and other health issues; hence not recommended to be consumed.
Propagating Fly Agaric
Propagating Fly Agaric is a tricky task and needs specific conditions to succeed. You will need to start by collecting a spore print from a mature and healthy mushroom.
- Place the mushroom cap on a piece of paper with the gills facing down and cover it with a bowl or an inverted container. The spores will drop onto the paper, creating a print.
- Prepare a pasteurized substrate mixture of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite. Scrape the spores from the print using a sterile needle or scalpel and sprinkle them onto the prepared substrate.
- Incubate the substrate in a warm, dark, and humid environment at a temperature between 20-25 C or 68-77 F. Keep the substrate moist but not waterlogged to help the mycelium spread throughout the substrate, colonizing it completely.
- Now, transfer the colonized substrate to a chamber with high humidity, moderate light, and good ventilation.
- Maintain the chamber at a temperature between 15-25 C or 59-77 F and spray the surface of the substrate with water to maintain humidity.
After a few weeks, small bumps will appear on the surface of the substrate, which will develop into mature fly agaric caps.
Requirements for Growing Fly Agaric Indoors
To Grow Fly Agaric Indoors, you do not require direct sunlight. It prefers to grow in areas with moderate to low light conditions; exposure to direct sunlight can cause the fruiting bodies to dry out and become discolored. The best bet is to use artificial light sources with low wattage and a warm light spectrum to simulate the ideal light conditions.
To ensure maximum chances of successful propagation, maintain a consistent light cycle of 12 hours on and 12 hours off. This is a crucial step to promote the growth and development of the fruiting bodies.
Use a substrate mixture that mimics the mushroom’s natural growing conditions. An ideal composition for indoor cultivation would be a mix of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite in equal parts. This substrate mixture provides the necessary nutrients, water retention, and aeration needed for healthy growth.
It is important to pasteurize the substrate to remove any competing fungi or bacteria before inoculating it with spores or mycelium.
- To do so, start by mixing the compost, peat moss, and vermiculite in equal parts in a large container. Add enough water to the mixture to bring the moisture content up to 60-70%.
- Next, place the mixture in a large pot or container and cover it with a lid. Heat the container over a stove or hot plate until the temperature inside reaches 60-65 C or 140-149 F, and maintain that temperature for at least 2 hours.
- This will kill off any harmful bacteria or fungi while still preserving the beneficial microorganisms that are important for the growth of the fly agaric mycelium.
- After pasteurization, allow the substrate to cool down to room temperature before inoculating it with spores or mycelium.
Fly Agaric requires consistent moisture in its substrate but not to the point of waterlogging. Gently pour water onto the substrate or mist the growing area regularly. Water it twice weekly to ensure enough moisture in the substrate. However, ensure that the soil should drain really well to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi.
Temperature and Humidity
Fly Agaric mushrooms prefer cool and humid conditions, with an ideal temperature range of around 50-60°F (10-15°C). They also require a relatively high humidity of at least 85-90%. These conditions can be achieved by growing the mushrooms in a cool and damp environment, such as a basement or cellar, or by using specialized equipment, such as a terrarium or grow tent.
Fly Agaric Care
Organic fertilizer, like decaying organic matter such as mulch made from pine needles, can be mixed with the substrate to provide nutrition and keep the medium damp. In addition to this, you can also use diluted manure tea or a balanced liquid blend while watering the substrate in the growing season. Maintain a gap of 2-3 weeks between the fertilizing sessions.
Pests and Diseases
The most common issues include mites, green molds, nematodes, and bacterial pits. The most potent way to avoid such issues is not to overwater the substrate. However, if you find the beds or buttons getting infected, dispose them off, as even a slight infestation can worsen the quality of the harvest and can spread to the nearby beds as well.