How to grow magic truffles Psilocybe Mexicana and Tampanensis
Shroomok story began long time ago with ‘Philosopher’s stones’ from a tiny smartshop in Amsterdam...
Finally the Magic Truffles growing guide in 8 steps has been published. Enjoy!
Complete guide on how to grow Magic Truffles aka sclerotia from scratch
What are Magic Truffles
Psilocybe Mexicana and Psilocybe Tampanensis are probably the most popular psilocybin mushrooms that develop magic truffles is also called 'Philosopher's Stones'
"Magic truffles" and true truffles are not the same. They are totally from unrelated species!
True truffles are fungi that produce spores underground. "Magic truffles", in contrast, are something like the fungal equivalent of a potato, a structure formed by the organism not for reproduction, but for surviving a difficult period, when it's too hot or too dry, or too cold in natural environment and growth is not possible.
The correct term for them are sclerotia of Psilocybin mushrooms.
Sclerotia are not technically the same as mushrooms. They are masses of dense mycelium like chestnuts, which contains the hallucinogenic alkaloids psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin.
At the same time these unique species can produce fruit bodies — mushrooms we are used to seeing. But usually only sclerotia of magic mushrooms are legal in some countries, in Netherlands particularly.
Mexicanae section including Psilocybe Galindoi or Psilocybe Galindii, Psilocybe Atlantis, Psilocybe Samuiensis, Psilocybe Acutipilea, Psilocybe ATL#7 and other synonym species. For the first time Psilocybe Tampanensis was included to Mexicanae section, but then considered as an independent species
There are some mess in taxonomy for all these species. We'll cover all information about magic truffles in a separate article, but they are worth a brief clarifying note here, since all these mushrooms are often grown specifically for its "truffles".Magic truffles also popular with their soft psychedelic effects, less side effects while tripping and pretty good taste.
🔴 Coming soon: All about Magic Truffles: history, species, main features, potency and more
However, this article is about step-by-step cultivation process.
Let’s get started!
Features, pros and cons of sclerotia growing
✅ Noob friendly growing. Sclerotia cultivation is the easiest growing process. Easier to grow than Cubensis.
Sclerotia grow right in the jar/bag. You can skip all steps we usually make for Cubensis, Natalensis, Panaeolus - forget about complicated steps: spawn to bulk, casing, growbox, monotub, grow tent, fruiting conditions, misting, fresh air exchange etc.
✅ No extra requirements to growing conditions. It is possible to grow magic truffles at room temperature (70-80F or 21-27C) in a dark place. Incubator is not necessary, but recommended for cold winter season and if you want to speed up growing process (at least for the first month).
✅ Less contamination risks. As you grow magic truffle in closed jar contamination risks decreases greatly. However sterility for inoculation and grain substrate sterilization to kill bacteria are extremely important steps, because your truffles are going to stay there for a long time.
✅ Stealth growing. It's easy to hide your jars from prying eyes. Any hidden place is great: shelf in a wardrobe, box in the corner, cabinet, dresser etc. Don't worry about someone noticing growing process.
✅ Possible to grow mushroom fruit body. All species that produce sclerotia also can produce mushrooms. But getting these species to fruit is difficult for a new mycologist, required casing and fruiting chamber (growbox, monotub) to provide necessary fruiting conditions (humidity, FAE, light). If you need sclerotia only skip it.
✅ Tripping. The trip with sclerotia is cleaner and smoother. You don't get nauseous when you eat them, less side effects, light entry. To the taste sclerotia like chestnuts and nuts. You can prepare a shroom-shake or magic tea with sclerotia as well, the same recipes as for Cubensis.
✅ Microdosing. Can be used for microdosing (fresh or dried). Sclerotia have more even content of alkaloids in each magic stone.
🔴 Time of growing. Usually you need to wait at least 3 month till good magic truffles formed, but you can have a nice batch of stones in 2 month. You can also let them grow longer, even for 6-12 month. The longer they grow, the bigger truffles you get. Some growers stated that potency also higher with time, but it is still debated topic.
🔴 Sclerotia storage. Fresh magic truffles should be stored in airtight bags in refrigerator only (+2..+5C or 35-41F). Sclerotia save their potency for 6-12 month. Dried sclerotia can be stored at room temperature (+20..+25°C or 68-77°F) or in the in refrigerator in airtight bags for 6-12 month.
Magic Truffles cultivation guide
Step 1. Spore syringe or Liquid mycelium for grain inoculation
There are several options here!
1. If you have spore print of species that produce sclerotia (i.g. the sign is Psilocybe Mexicana, Psilocybe Galindoi or Psilocybe Tampanensis, Psilocybe Atl#7, Psilocybe Atlantis) it's easy to make a spore syringe by you own. It takes only 10 minutes for preparation and 1-2 days for spores rehydration in syringe before grain inoculation.
Spore print of sclerotia species usually more expensive and much smaller than regular P. Cubensis, P. Natalensis and even Panaeolus
🔴 Check out: How to make liquid Spore Syringe from spore print
2. You can also make a Liquid Culture from Spore Syringe by your own.
🔴 Coming soon: How to make mushroom Liquid Culture
Liquid Mycelium or Liquid Culture (LC) colonize substrate faster. Moreover you can create more material for inoculation, i.g. turn 5-10 ml syringe you bought into 300-400 ml instead. However LC required patience, some additional knowledge and it takes more time for preparation (about 1-2 hours). Further liquid mycelium development takes about 2 weeks until it is ready for grain inoculation
🔴 Check out: Liquid Spore Syringe vs Liquid culture
3. If you bought ready to use Spore Syringe or Liquid Culture syringe you can use it for substrate inoculation right now. Or create more liquid mycelium (highly recommended!)
Step 2. What substrate to choose for magic truffles growing
Substrate is essential part for sclerotia cultivation and has some special requirements
I suggest to use whole grain oats (oats that are intact, meaning they have not been ground down or refined).
On the second place are ryegrass seeds (RGS), rye berry (aka rye grain), barley, brown rise flour (BRF) substrate, whole white/red millet, wild bird seeds (WBS).
I don't recommend to use whole brown rice grain at all! And don't recommend to use wheat berry for beginners due to clumping. Such grain absorb too much moisture. As a result, high risk of bacteria contamination. However with right moisture level wheat berry can be great substrate for sclerotia as any other grain and I'll show you successful examples.
Let's figure out some recipes one by one.
How to prepare grain substrate for sclerotia
Rinse the grain thoroughly 3-5 times in cold tap water to get rid of dust, husks etc. until the water is pouring off reasonably clear.
Pour water in clean grain (tap water or clean drinking water). Leave it to soak for 24-48 hours at room temperature (70-80°F or +20°..+25°C).
💡 Optional! Add one table spoon of gypsum in water while soaking grain. This helps to avoid grain clumping. Adding coffee to this mix also optional. Usually growers prepare a strong pot of coffee and add it to water for soaking or add few table spoons of grounded coffee while simmer
In a few hours you can see bubbles and fermentation smell. On this step it's great, it means bacteria cells and their endospores woke up. It will be easier to kill bacteria on the next preparation steps
After soaking rinse grains in clean water and bring to a boil in a large pot. Let them simmer (low heat)
⏰ oats, rye, millet, wild bird seeds — about 10-15 minutes
⏰ wheat berry, barley — about 25-35 min
Drain the grain in a sieve (or colander). Leave grain in a sieve for 20-30 minutes to remove excess water.
Shroomok's choice on Amazon:
Organic Rye Berries, 5 lbs $21.95
Red Proso Millet, 20 lbs $49.79
Organic Gypsum, 5 lbs $21.36
How to prepare rye grass seeds for sclerotia growing
Rye grass isn't a rye grain. It's very similar to whole oats, but thinner and usually almost empty inside. The main advantage of rye grass seeds that you can prepare substrate without long soaking and boiling.
Pour 400 ml of DRY rye grass seeds (RGS) in 1Qt jar.
Add 1/3 tea spoon (or pinch on eye) of gypsum.
Add 200 ml water.
Close the lid of jar (unmodified lid, without holes in it).
Shake the jar and let it soak for 3-4 hours.
Prepare as many jars as you need.
Shroomok's choice on Amazon:
RyeGrass Seed, 3/5/10/25 lb $17.99
Organic Gypsum, 5 lb $21.36
How to prepare BRF substrate for sclerotia?
Mix 2 cups of vermiculite and 1 cup of brown rice flour. Then pour 1 cup of water.
Mix it thoroughly to have even mass. When you squeeze the mix a water drop should appear.
💡 You can grind brown rice in coffee grinder to get brown rice flour or buy ready flour, up to you
Shroomok's choice on Amazon:
Brown Rice Flour 5 lbs $20.99 - ready flour for BRF substrate
Brown Rice, 2 lb $1.89 - grind in coffee grinder to make a flour
Coffee Grinder w/Cleaning Brush, Stainless Steel $24.95 - great for grain and dry shrooms
Organic Vermiculite 8 qt. $18.39
Step 3. Jars or Bags for magic truffles cultivation
You can use both options either jars or bags. My choice for sclerotia is jar. Why?
Any sudden shaking can disturb sclerotia forming on early stages. Easier to ruin mycelium in bags, than in jars. Cubensis forgive you this, but sclerotia not. Magic truffles extremely sensitive for the first month.
The optimal volume of jars is from 16oz to 1Qt (500 ml to 1 liter). 1Qt jar for magic truffles is the best option!
Up to 1,5Qt (1,5 L) jars are allowed. Sclerotia create great stones in bigger volume of nutrient substrate. At the same time bigger volume takes more time for colonization, need more time for good sterilization and can catch contamination easier. At last you need big pressure cooker (PC) for such jars.
So if you prefer big volume, then better to use spawn bags to fit your PC.
Fill your jars with ready substrate, up to 70-80% of the whole volume.
❗️ I suggest to add 1 table spoon of dry vermiculite at the bottom of each jar. If any excess of condensation and water appear vermiculite absorb it. Sometimes unwanted moisture and condensation appear on the 4-6th weeks of sclerotia growing
One more option for sclerotia is making layers of grain substrate and coco coir.
💡 This method helps to maintain good moisture balance and get bigger truffles. Just soak part of coco brick in water. Squeeze it till you have a water drop in substrate. Use as a layer about 1/2 to 1 inch
Close the jars tightly with modified lids (or seal grow bags if you use bags).
Such lids/bags have inoculation port and air filter (synthetic air filter, Luer lock filter, synthetic bactericidal patch etc.) for gas exchange. It's easy and cheap by your own!
🔴 Check out details: DIY Jars and Bags for grain substrate
Stuff to buy on Amazon:
Step 4. Substrate sterilization for magic truffles
Cover each jar with aluminium foil. This helps to prevent water excess through air filter.
Add a stand at the bottom of PC.
Fill PC/autoclave with water. Water level should be up to 1/2-2/3 of the jars height.
Put jars/bags into PC/autoclave.
Close PC/autoclave. Turn on the stove. Wait for required pressure, then count down the time.
⏰ Sterilize jars for 90 minutes at 15 psi. I suggest to sterilize 1-1,5Qt jars/bags for 2 hours.
💡 If you don't have pressure cooker make sterilization in instant pot for 2 hours. Then leave jars for 24-48 hours at room temperature. Repeat sterilization for 2 hours again
Don't open the PC right after sterilization is completed. Wait till pressure cooker and jars/bags in it cool down the room temperature. Ready!
Recommended stuff on Amazon:
Step 5. Inoculation
Once the jars are room temperature it's time for inoculation.
Prepare necessary stuff for inoculation. Turn off ventilation and/or air conditioning, close the windows to avoid air flows and drafts.
❗️If you have still air box (SAB), glovebox or laminar flow hood use it for inoculation process to eliminate contamination risks
1. Wash your hands and face.
2. Wear face mask, gloves, cap, medical gown (or PE raincoat).
3. Wipe your hands in gloves with isopropyl alcohol.
4. Wipe the table with alcohol (spray it on the table and wipe with a cotton pad).
5. Treat everything on your table with alcohol: jars with substrate, syringe and everything on the table.
6. Remove foil from the jars with substrate.
7. Wipe the inoculation port with iso alcohol.
8. Prepare syringe (spore syringe or LC). Here we used liquid culture. For LC use thick syringe needle 18G. Shake the syringe well before each inoculation!
9. Insert the syringe needle through inoculation port. Inject the liquid spore or LC (1-3 ml per each jar). Make sure the tip of the needle does NOT touch the grain!
10. Heat the syringe needle over a spirit lamp or lighter/candle until red and wipe the needle with a cotton pad soaked in alcohol. Repeat this step after each inoculated jar to have sterile needle between jars.
🔴 Check out detailed guide: Inoculation guide
Recommended stuff on Amazon:
Step 6. Colonization period for magic truffles
After inoculation put the jars in dark place and forget about them for 1-2 weeks
Room temperature 70-77°F or +21°...+25°C is okay for colonization period, but...
If you want to speed up colonization process or if room temperature is lower (especially during cold winter season in some countries) then use simple incubator or incubation chamber with constant temperature control about 77-80°F or +25..+27°C at least for the first month after inoculation.
🔴 Check out: Simple Incubator for psilocybin mushrooms
Actually high temperature up to 90°F or +32°C is considered normal for warm-loving sclerotia species. That's why it's easy to work with these species in hot season. They don't need cooling and feel good!
Low temperature is not a problem as well. It just slows down the growth, so it is still possible to grow sclerotia even in cold winter season.
Magic truffles don't need fresh air exchange. Jars require only gas exchange through air filter in modified lid or through air filter in a grow bag. Open the incubator/box from time to time at least to check the growth and detect possible contamination. That's enough!
Keep your jars/bags in dark place! Sclerotia develop underground and don't need light!
First signs of mycelium growing you can admit in 5-14 days after inoculation. Full colonization takes about 1-1,5 month.
❗️Mycelium of "magic truffles" is thinner and has slightly grayish color in comparison with thick snow-white threads of P. Cubensis mycelium
❌ Don't break and shake the substrate! This advice applies for P. Cubensis only! Shaking the substrate can ruin sclerotia development!
Useful stuff for incubator on Amazon:
Inkbird ITC-308 Digital Thermostat $28.00 - temperature control
Quiet Fan 120mm with plug $19.99 - to spread warm air in the incubator evenly
Step 7. Sclerotia forming and development
During colonization process and/or after full colonization (about 4-10 weeks after inoculation) you can find first signs of sclerotia magic stones
After 4-6 weeks maintain temperature in incubator about 77°F or +25°C.
Room temperature 68-75°F or +20°...+24°C is also okay, but growing process will be slower.
Keep your jars or bags in a dark place!
All you need now is patience! Sclerotia stones continue growth for next 3-6 months, increasing in size the longer you leave them. How long you leave them will depend on how patient you are.
Don't afraid strange look of sclerotia stones further :)
You can harvest one jar in 3 month, another jar in 6 month or even in 1 year.
About 5-8 month is considered the best time for magic truffles harvesting.
Step 8. Harvesting magic truffles
Take a spoon, any plate or box. Clean them with alcohol.
Open the jar/bag. Scrape out the substrate on the plate/box.
Pick sclerotia magic stones one by one
Clean up magic truffles with paint brush and/or wash them in cold water. After shower let them dry on a fabric towel or paper towel
If you use grow bag just crumble the substrate inside the bag, open it and pick the truffles
Check the weight of your harvest
Another butch of smaller magic truffles
Pick tiny magic truffles as well!
How to store fresh magic truffles
Pack sclerotia in airtight bags and store in refrigerator at 35-41°F or +2°..+5°C for 6-12 month.
Room temperature storage can destroy all alkaloids in FRESH magic truffles in a few days (according to my experience)
💡 Use vacuum sealer and make small portions 10-15-20g. Open the pack, when you need to take magic truffles
Actually long time growing is the best way to store magic truffles. Just open the jar and you have fresh truffles to take.
Shroomok's choice on Amazon:
Vacuum Sealer Machine w/Starter Kit - $49.97
How to dry and store dried magic truffles
Magic truffles consist of about 50% water and dry faster than mushroom fruit bodies, that usually consist of about 90% water.
Better to use dehydrator for fast drying. Recommended temperature up to 121°F or +50°C.
Dry magic truffles store in refrigerator (preferable!) or room temperature for 6-12 month.
Keep them in airtight bags or jars!
Shroomok's Choice on Amazon from Simple to Premium:
How to save Psilocybe Mexicana and Psilocybe Tampanensis genetic
Here you have a few options to save mushroom culture for your mycological experiments.
✅ Grain to Grain transfer. Actually sclerotia don't like break and shake and it slow down magic truffles grow, but right after mycelium colonization (before sclerotia forming) you can use a spawn jar as inoculant for other jars with sterile substrate
🔴 Check out: Grain to Grain transfer guide
✅ Grain spawn to agar. One of the methods to save mycelium samples. Just put a grain(s) with mycelium on agar to multiply mycelium.✅ Sclerotia cloning. Clone piece of sclerotia on agar and save the culture for the next transfers or grain inoculation. In fact sclerotia is tough mycelium that great for further reproduction
❗️Use clean sterile tissue inside the sclerotia stone!
Few days after sclerotia sample cloning on agar
The same petri dish, 2 weeks after sclerotia sample cloning on agar
The same plate, view from another side. Psilocybe tampanensis started to form sclerotia on agar
✅ Make a spore print. As you remember it is possible to grow mushroom fruit bodies, but getting these species to fruit and make print is a challenge for cultivators.
Be ready that single mushrooms produce spores on the 1st flush. Usually mushroom caps are too small, don't open at all or don't have spores. However you can get normal caps with mature spores for reproduction on the 2nd and 3rd flush of fruiting
If you make your own spore prints you are lucky, because such spore prints are expensive. You can use spores any time for making spore syringe, liquid culture or working with agar
🔴 Check out full guide: How to make a spore print
How to get Psilocybe Mexicana and Tampanensis to fruit
You can use grain spawn after sclerotia harvesting for making mushroom cakes and further fruiting.
Usually possible to get 2-3 flushes of mushrooms + harvest sclerotia from mushroom cakes before you throw them away.
How to make mushroom cake for fruiting P. Mexicana and P. Tampanensis
Break spawn, put it in a flat container or plastic box.
💡 You can use spawn right after colonization or pieces of grain spawn after harvesting sclerotia. This is a great feature of this species, because you can harvest both, sclerotia and mushrooms
Bottle-tek works for these mushroom species great enough!
Then cover spawn with casing layer
❗️Try to hide spawn totally under casing substrate. Make even casing layer!
The content of casing substrate is: soil for plants (tomato soil) 70%, sphagnum 20%, vermiculite 10%, water (on eye).
How much water to add? We usually use simple test for bulk/casing substrates. When you squeeze ready-made substrate water drop should appear. It means substrate is moist enough, but not too wet and not too dry for mushrooms development.
Sterilization in PC: for 45-60 mins. Wait till it cool down to room temperature.
Cover spawn with this mix. The layer should be about 1/2-1 inch (1,5-2,5 cm).
Close the tub with lid, foil or film and wait for top layer colonization.
When 80-100% of top layer is colonized provide fruiting conditions:
temperature 68-75°F or +20°..+24°C, relative humidity 90%, FAE every few hours or at least 4-6 times/day.
Don't expect fast fruiting. All species that produce sclerotia are slow growing. Usually pinning and fruiting start only in 3-4 weeks after providing fruiting conditions. Fruiting cycle (2-3 flushes) lasts about 2-3 month
Mexicana and Tampanensis mushrooms are smaller than Cubensis. They have thin wavy stems and small caps.
Sometimes sclerotia species don't fruit and impossible to get them fruiting. Usually after harvesting truffles they continue producing truffles in cakes with casing and don't form mushrooms. If you want to get mushroom bodies for sure it is recommended to make casing right after mycelium colonization, before sclerotia forming.
How to store Mexicana and Tampanensis mushroom bodies for a long time
Dry magic mushrooms in the same way as any other magic mushrooms. Keep them in airtight bags/jars in refrigerator or at room temperature.
🔴 Check out: How to dry and store magic mushrooms
Wrap it Up
Sclerotia growing is the easiest cultivation process for newbies. It's really neglect tek, just try.
You can skip fruiting period and grow magic truffles only.
If you find this guide helpful 🍄 Buy Shroomok a mushroom as a donation and say something nice.
Have a happy growing and magic trips with Philosopher's Stones!
To be continued...
"You can harvest one jar in 3 month, another jar in 6 month or even in 1 year." - Does this mean after innoculation or colonization.. I have a bag that I inoculated with LC 3 months ago and I dont want to accidentially open it too early!
@Mr OCd it depends on the sclerotia species, the speed of colonization and the speed of sclerotia growth. To be sure of the results, I'd recommend waiting 3+ months AFTER COLONIZATION