How to Grow Maitake


Maitake (also known as hen-of-the-woods) mushrooms have been grown in China for thousands of years for their medicinal properties. Maitake are also becoming favored by international chefs. They are easy to grow using mushroom spawn plugs available at many online sources.

Step 1

Drill the spawn plug holes in the hardwood logs. Use a drill bit the same size as the plug diameter, usually 3/4 or 1 inch. Drill 1/4 inch deeper than the plug length. Space the holes 6 inches apart and drill in a spiral pattern so that the holes are offset from each other.

Step 2

Insert the mushroom spawn plugs into the drilled holes. Use a mallet to gently tap the plugs all the way into the hole. There should be a small gap at the top of the plug. If necessary, use a dowel the same size as the plug to push the plug further into the hole.

Step 3

Seal the tops of the holes with cheese wax that has been melted in a double boiler or a microwave oven. The wax should completely fill in the gap in each hole to make it flush with the log surface.

Step 4

Place the logs in a shady location sheltered from prevailing winds. The location should be accessible to falling rain. Many growers find that the north side of the house under an open porch works well. Lay the logs horizontally on the ground, burying the bottom third.

Step 5

Water the logs thoroughly to begin the growing process. Water once per week when rainfall is light. The log should begin sprouting in 6 months to a year and will continue to produce a flush of maitake for several years.

Step 6

Harvest the mushrooms by slicing close to the log with a sharp kitchen knife. Maitake mushrooms should be used quickly and should not be stored in the refrigerator to ensure the highest quality.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not harvest wild maitake mushrooms unless you are an expert in field identification

Things You'll Need

  • Maitake mushroom spawn plugs
  • Hardwood logs, 4-6 inches in diameter and 4-5 feet long
  • Electric drill with various bits
  • Cheese wax
  • Mallet


  • Marketing Exotic Mushrooms
  • Edible Mushroom Cultivation
  • Brief Introduction of Hen of the Woods
Keywords: mushrooms, gardening, cooking